January the 1st. 2019. Manager Andre Jenson sets up a whole new team of loans to take this club forward, now the transfer window is open he thinks “well, this can be a new start to the season.”
The New Years day fixture is Lincoln City at Cincil bank. 5th place. We, at the foot of the table could do with a win or something, but everything is tight down at the bottom, 1 point seperates the bottom 3 teams.
We draw 2-2, the bottom 2 clubs Tranmere and Macclesfield lose. Happy days, we’re out of the relegation zone and onward and upward, right?
Sacked. In January. That’s a record for me I think. So yeah no longer Port Vale manager.
Where did I go wrong though?
Well I’m pretty sure I didn’t do the squad review properly, it was rushed, completely haphazard and nonsensical. In fact, just look at the blog post on it, it was literally nothing. Thinking about it, I should have stuck with a simple 4-4-2. When we started to lose I switched to gegenpress and all sorts of nonsense. My team wasn’t exactly blessed with amazing quality and what little we had was on the wings. Unfortunately it was stacked on the right wing and only Whitfield was decent on the left. Which leads me to my next, and rather more major issue.
I didn’t play the loan market enough.
In my first transfer window I figured that it’d be alright, that I didn’t need an overhaul or anything and thought that my squad was good enough for at least the first season. How wrong I was!
So I leave the Port Vale series, with a measly 3 mediocre posts and an underwhelming performance to be sure. Onwards and upwards though eh?
Now what next? I’m torn between either a new save or taking over someone else and really shitting on Vale. I’ll think on it and decide. Crewe maybe…
I knew Port Vale were bad. Like a really bad team in real life that only Robbie Williams could love, like the kind of kid with a face only a mother can love.
I wasn’t expecting this though:
No balance, no heart, no commitment. Robbie would most certainly not approve of any of this.
So what can I do? I was trying to play with a 4-4-2 wing play formation, I create plenty of chances of course, but concede more. Maybe Brown is just not up to it and I need a new keeper. Maybe a whole new defence. Either way it’s only a matter of time before I go get myself canned I think.
Let’s hope I can survive until January. Maybe, maybe not. EIther way I gotta throw out a prayer for Tom Pope to come save me here.
So Straight away I wanna thank Fox in the Box, he had a ridiculously handy video which helped me figure out how to play and how to do some squad analysis, which is why you’ll see random numbers on my screenshots. Check him out.
Anyway, to Port Vale. Should we play fancy dan attacking football? Tiki Taka? Gegenpress? Fast attacking crazy intricate passing?
No, of course not, we’re in league 2 and we have this guy up front.
Tom Pope – Talisman, legend, Mr Vale.
We’re blessed with a decent target man in Pope, (that I’m pretty sure I’d be lynched if I tried to drop) and a couple of good wingers and full backs in Ben Whitfield and Mitch Clark . So I’m looking at the classic 4-4-2 with wing play, hoof it to Pope and hope he does something with it. At least that’s the theory anyway, this is our ine up against the u23s.
So yeah, the theory is Clark will combine with Worrall on the right, while our left back will overlap with Whitfield and cross in for Pope to score or knock down to our more pacey strike partner. The only issue I have is we have one natural left back. He’s going to be great, but he’s 17. So we need a left back in the transfer market. I got no problems playing a teenager, but I have to have backup – a fair few players can play left back in my team but not naturally. So I’ll have to go sign a left back in pre season.
All in all, we have a relatively well balanced squad. There should be no problems hitting mid table or even playoffs this year. As long as nothing will go drastically wrong at least.
Things will go drastically wrong, won’t they?
Anyway, this is just a small post for now, a bit more of a breakdown of my team will happen when we get further in to pre season and I can watch them a little more.
Hello! Welcome to my little corner of this place. I’m Wool, a 36 year old guy from over in Staffordshire. More about me will be added to the about section at some point in the near future. Obviously the site is a little bare bones right now, it’ll be built over time as I get more experienced at things and generally be more comfortable, so stay with me here.
FM 19 is out! Which is a good place to start, we’re all super excited and starting to take their teams on an epic journey to conquer their respective leagues and, well, I’m no different. I usually take on my favourite club, Liverpool but this year I figured in what might end up being a complete disaster to take on a team closer to home this time around, a team that represents the grand old city of Stoke-on-Trent. A team that is closely followed by the elite celebrities of the world and has won a grand total of diddly squat in history, minus the odd Autoglass Trophy or whatever it’s called now (I want to say Checkatrade).
Yes, I’m talking about the misfits of Stoke-on-Trent
Yes, Port Vale. Located in Burslem (because a place called Port Vale doesn’t exist), one of the 5 towns of Stoke-on-Trent. Previously of Hanley, the City Centre of Stoke-on-Trent, Cobridge and er, Burslem before that. They play their home games at the aptly named Vale Park which, when you look at its history is laughably brilliant. More on that in a minute.
First, a brief history lesson.
Port Vale were first founded in 1876 as an amateur team playing in Longport before moving to Westport then Burslem for a year before going pro and moving to Cobridge. They were founder members of the Football League, Division 2. As is the pattern throughout their history, they completely failed to impress, spending 13 years in the league and a couple of seasons in the midland league before going into liquidation.
End of story, right? Nothing to see here. If they went into liquidation, why the hell are they in FM? Well, my friends, you know how I said they played in Cobridge for a bit? Well that only inspired Cobridge Church – an amateur team to change their name to Port Vale when it became available. They soon went pro, moved to Hanley and got back into the Football league, replacing Leeds City. After time though, they decided that Burslem wasn’t so bad after all, I mean they were only there for a year so it is as good a place as any to be a spiritual home, besides, Stoke were in Stoke – way too close. Let’s move away a little bit and forget about the Eviction notice by the council.
This is where the hilarious history of Vale Park comes in.
Vale Park, courtesy of Port Vale’s official site. https://www.port-vale.co.uk
This was built in 1950, Vale were at their height and they were ridiculously optimistic after being evicted from Hanley. They submitted plans for a “Wembley of the North” an 80,000 spectator stadium which would be the envy of the North, despite being in the Midlands. The pitch was immaculate, the most expensive money can buy – tickets were on sale for £100 so all the movers and shakers could be there. Surprisingly 100 people did go on and buy them, further cementing Port Vale as the celebrity club of Stoke-on-Trent.
Unsurprisingly the 80,000 dream didn’t take off, Vale were forced to downgrade their plans to 40,000 because a third division team didn’t have the funds to do this kind of thing, why would they? This wasn’t the last time they went and messed it up either. I mean 4-4-2 magazine apparently wrote in a piece once that Port Vale are “Britain’s most dysfunctional football club”. This is highlighted most by the Lorne Street Stand at Vale Park, which was a partially built stand from back in the day. Someone had the idea in the 90s to redevelop it, finish it off and boost the capacity of the stand to around 8/10,000.
It never got finished. They literally fixed an incomplete stand with an incomplete stand.
The Lorne Street Stand – from http://www.groundhopping.se
Not much happened since, they were in the Championship for a while in the 90s, slugging it out with Stoke, before they both got relegated and slugged it out some more. Vale even won the Autoglass trophy at some point in time and even played in the Inter Toto or Anglo Italian cup, whichever. They didn’t do well anyway.
So yeah, Port Vale have survived more dysfunction than the Kardashians, they were in administration in 2012 but yet still managed to hold on and survive. Their fans are celebrities, pretty much, boasting Phil “The Power” Taylor and Robbie Williams amongst their biggest fans. If you ask any Vale fan though, I’m sure they’ll claim Lemmy and Slash because they lived in Burslem at some point or another or something. They have also set a record – the most seasons in the football league without ever playing in the top flight.
Armed with our legions of celebrity fans, our not-quite-completed stadium and pretty much no money, along with a probable dispute with Stoke-on-Trent council and an owner who might or might not own another stadium somewhere in Nuneaton I think, we take on the job at Port Vale with one aim in mind.
End that record and get into the Premier League – hopefully before Stoke.
Next time, join me while I review our squad (God help us if Tom Pope can’t score) and see what we do in pre season.