So once again the Vale are after a new manager, their 16th in 13 years. Recent results made it inevitable, but overall it has been a surprising sudden turn of events.
Just a year ago this week we were preparing for an unforgettable day out in the FA Cup at Manchester City. On the morning of what turned out to be the final game of last season in March we were 7th, and had we won and not drawn at Cheltenham we would have been in the play offs instead of Northampton, who went up.
It isn’t as if we have struggled all of this season, early on we played some good stuff with a solid defence and after the 2-0 win at Southend at the end of October we were 5th in the table and only goal difference out of the automatic promotion spots.
A week later we lost at home to King’s Lynn Town in the FA Cup and apart from a ludicrous game at Bolton we’ve nosedived quicker than when Michael Brown was in charge. Bolton fans must bang their heads on the wall every day if they look at our recent results.
What has caused it? It seems as though something has gone very wrong behind the scenes which will no doubt come out in time, it’s just too big a fall from grace otherwise.
After picking up just six points out of 36 a change just had to be made, and the Barrow and Mansfield games showed that the players weren’t playing for the manager any more. Ironically we now need someone to do what John Askey was asked to do two years ago! The bottom two is just five points away and the transfer window is upon us.
It is also a test for Carol and Kevin, as it’s the first time anything has really gone wrong at the club since they took over.
Transfers is where I think a lot of the overall problems lay. Since John took over almost two years ago we have signed 21 players on permanent deals, eight of them have already left and Robinson and McKirdy are on the available list.
Of the other 11 how many would get into the side if everybody was fit? I would say just Rodney and Amoo, and certainly none of the eight who have left, so it’s not been a great success in the market.
Our better players were already at the club although Hurst is one for the future and Visser would be decent if we hadn’t got Scott Brown.
It’s a shame for John Askey the way things have worked out, he’s a decent bloke who has always done his best, but football is a harsh business.
Our thanks go to him for steering us away from danger in 2019 and a good season last year. Now we turn to Danny Pugh, the new man in charge albeit on a temporary basis. It would be nice if he did as well as a previous coach who hadn’t managed anyone before either, a certain John Rudge – no pressure then Danny!
Seriously, all the best and I hope you can get the best out of the players.
One conundrum is that if we want to sign any players, we’ve only got this month to do it, so do we allow a temporary manager to make signings?
If a new manager comes in he may want different ones and the budget may be spent. I know we will get loads of applications in the next few days, 75% of them rubbish, but we do need to see who is out there.
We are a big club at this level and it would be a great job for someone. Nothing against Danny, but I would first ring the Cowley brothers who did well at Lincoln and Huddersfield and maybe Graeme Alexander, ex Salford, Scunthorpe and Fleetwood.
They are out of work at the moment and would do well at Vale, I am sure.
Carol, it’s over to you, good luck.