Tom Pope on Port Vale – Phone calls to fans, singing stars and more



With no actual football being played at the moment, we hope you are enjoying the skills challenges the players have been setting on social media.

The manager has been phoning everyone up, asking them to set a challenge and then pass it on, so we are all having a go.

He told me to make mine a bit of fun so that’s what I’ve done with a bit of commentary on the video. To be honest I’m just glad no one else had done the ‘ed a bo agen a wo’ (that’s head a ball against wall for non-locals) challenge before it got to me.

I’m not one of those players that can do 18 ‘round the worlds’ and all these other tricks. So, mine was pretty straightforward – heading the ball.  It’s what I do!

The important thing is kids can have a go without leaving the house or garden so hopefully they, and mums and dads, have enjoyed the challenges.

The players have also been ringing fans to see how they are. That’s a great idea by the club and we are more than happy to do our bit.

To be honest it’s the fans I feel sorry for because it’s luck of the draw who you are going to get.

I might not be everyone’s cup of tea so I won’t be offended if a conversation goes ‘Hello, it’s Tom Pope………..click, brrrr….’

Fans who get Luke Joyce will get the most intelligent conversation because Luke is definitely a bright lad. Mind you, he can go on a bit. In fact, he can talk a glass eye to sleep so make sure you have a comfy chair, and maybe a book.

Anyway, talking of keeping people entertained, if you haven’t seen the ‘Wonder of You’ tribute video yet, then I really do urge you to watch it.

It’s a thank you to the NHS and all the workers and has been put together by Vale fan Terry Bossons, featuring Vale players past and present all singing a line.

It’s absolutely brilliant, although I have to say some of the singing on there is hopeless! Chris Birchall can definitely hold a note but I still can’t work out what Adam Yates is doing and Peter Swan is accompanied by his dog who looks bigger than him.

It’s very entertaining though and a great idea by Terry who I’ve got to know over the years. He’s one of those people who doesn’t mind putting himself out there with stuff like this to entertain people.

I’ve done a penalty shoot out video with him in the past although I am just relieved he didn’t ask me to sing for this one. I truly am dreadful so I think that would have been an ordeal for everyone involved.

In fact, the standard of singing in the current Vale squad is mixed – there’s Will Atkinson and then there’s everybody else.

Players sometimes sing a song in front of the group just to break the ice when they join the club. Will did a Ronan Keating number in front of everyone and I have to say he was very good. As for the rest of us, the less said the better.

Anyway, we are just happy to be playing a part in all the community work the club is doing. I am pleased and proud that my club is so heavily involved in helping people – but I am not surprised at all.

After all, we are talking about Carol Shanahan who had already set up the Hubb Foundation, looking after people and for example children who might not be able to afford meals during the school holidays.

When you are a good person with good morals like here then the cream rises to the top and they do everything to help as many people as they can.

So, at a time like this, it’s no surprise she has risen to the challenge.

SEEING Premier League clubs furlough their non-playing staff just doesn’t seem right.

Tottenham for example are a big club but they are doing that to staff who I guess might be on a few hundred pounds a week. So, the government has to pay out for those staff rather than the club.

It’s different lower down the leagues where clubs are having to look at measures just to survive.

Nothing has been said at the moment about Port Vale, but we aren’t daft, we know money doesn’t grow on trees.

Carol isn’t at Port Vale to make hundreds of thousands of pounds, she is doing it to keep the club going and make it more of a community and business-like venture. She’s brought the stability that this club needs.

So, I think the club is probably in a better position than most at this level but having no football is bound to be hurting the club financially.

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