Tom Pope on Port Vale – We’d love to be playing but football can wait


Suspending the league is not ideal, but I am certainly not going to be moaning about it.

Football’s important but let’s get it into context. The most important thing is dealing with the effects of coronavirus and protecting the frail and elderly in our society.

So, yes it’s an inconvenience not having football until at least April 3 but there are bigger things in life.

The news came out at 11am on Friday by which time we were already out on the training pitch. Once we got the news, we stayed out but there wasn’t much point carrying on with our usual pre-match preparations.

In fact, we’ll be training from home for the next seven days. All the players have been sent home with heart rate monitors to keep check on our fitness, but of course going for runs is not the same as playing and being match fit.

If the league does resume on April 3 then, no matter how much fitness work players have done, they are still going to be rusty. But it’s the same for every club so no one’s got an advantage.

The decision to suspend the league didn’t come as a complete shock. I think we were all expecting it having followed the news on Thursday night.

I thought we might get through this weekend but, with leagues and other events around the world being cancelled or suspended, it was only a matter of time before the Premier League and the EFL went the same way.

So, we’ll see what happens now, whether we are back in early April or the league has to be extended. If we do come back then and play Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday then we could still pretty much get the games in.

Tom Pope in action for Port Vale against Salford

I wouldn’t want the season to just end here, not when we have just dropped out of the play-off places and are eighth!

There’s got to be a better solution than just drawing a line under where teams are at the moment. But it’s out of our hands, we’ll just get on with whatever is decided. 

I’d have preferred to be playing but football’s just one part of our society. People will be waiting to see what happens with schools for example.

The most important thing at the moment is people are looked after, whether that be in nursing homes or hospitals.  We are all frustrated not to be playing, but football can wait.

THERE was some good news to come out of the Vale on Friday as James Gibbons and Leon Legge both signed new contracts.

From the club’s point of view, as well as supporters, you want your best players to be staying. Those two have done as well as anybody this season so it’s great they are signed up.

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