View From The Bycars
During his thoughtful and impressive interview at the unveiling of the Sproson Statue, Gordon Taylor spoke of 'the football family`. This is, in truth, a somewhat dysfunctional entity in which someone, somewhere, anytime is behaving badly. But on Saturday the Vale football family did come together to produce a moving and uplifting occasion. The toecap of the statue`s left boot has already achieved iconic status. People began to touch it almost as soon as the ceremony was over. Roy Sproson was a very fine player. He was an important part of Port Vale history, including some of the most treasured parts of it. He was also an important part of my childhood. The begetters of this superb project deserve every respect for carrying it through during some of the worst times in Vale history. Let`s hope it marks a true turning point.
Micky Adams said in his interview at the unveiling ceremony that he had impressed upon the players in his team talk the importance of the occasion. They were clearly not listening, producing instead an insipid display that must rank among the worst - if not the worst - of the season. In his pre-match comments Mr Adams mentioned that York City were a good team 'with lots of movement`. This turned out to be a perceptive analysis. But if the manager`s decision to set up in a 4-5-1 formation was designed to counteract York`s movement, it failed dismally. Despite the commendable efforts of Ryan Burge Vale were second best in midfield all afternoon. Pope became isolated and ineffective. What`s the point in having a hot striker if he never gets the ball? Other than Burge, only Yates, playing at left back, had good games, though Neal was a calm presence and McCombe generally did well. I was disappointed that Mr Adams did not give Ryan Lloyd a start, preferring to move Rob Taylor upfield. Taylor was again disappointing. And so was Myrie-Williams. I state this as a fact not as a criticism. Myrie-Williams has been outstanding. He gives the team a threat that it has lacked for several seasons. He always puts in a shift despite regularly getting lumps kicked out of him. But he seems to have been running on empty for a while and looks in need of a rest. This is going to be difficult until reinforcements arrive. Much has been made of Vale 'blowing` a two-nil lead for the third time in four games, but the real mystery was how we achieved a two nil lead in the first place. The most damning moment of the game for me was Clayton McDonald telling the ball boy behind the Bycars goal not to rush to get the ball back in play. We need to show more ambition and self-belief than this if we are to maintain a promotion push. And we need to play for 95 minutes not for five.