Port Vale round-up: Postponement hands advantage to relegation rivals; new signing confirmed; Smurthwaite speaks out.
Port Vale dropped further into the League One relegation zone after seeing their mid-week fixture against Rochdale postponed.
The Valiants would have been hopeful of securing a result at Spotland with their hosts on a seven-game winless run but were forced to sit out the fixture after the match officials called the game off due to a water-logged pitch. This gave their relegation rivals the opportunity to gain an advantage with Swindon Town, Bury and Oldham Athletic all capatalising by securing victories in their mid-week contests to leave Michael Brown’s side five points from safety.
However, Port Vale do have three games in hand on many of the teams in the bottom half of the table, although supporters would much prefer to have the points on the board.
Port Vale have announced the signing of 24-year-old goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet on a short term deal via the official club website.
The former Turkish youth international has been without a club since January after leaving Scottish second-tier side Falkirk by mutual consent due to a lack of game time. The 6ft 3in goalkeeper made only five appearances for The Bairns in twelve months at the club, the last of which was in October 2016.
Mehmet was born in Kent and but has spent time at various clubs as a youth team player in both England and Turkey whilst he has also represented the Turkish under-19 team twice. He becomes the second goalkeeper to sign for Port Vale since the departure of first-choice ‘keeper Jak Alnwick, who moved to Glasgow Rangers for £250,000 in January, and will be competing with Glasgow Celtic loanee Leo Fasan for a place in The Valiants’ starting eleven.
Port Vale coach Mick Ede believes that some of the current first team squad should be performing much better if they want to break into Michael Brown’s first team.
Ede was speaking after The Valiants’ fielded a strong team in their mid-week reserve team fixture against Bradford City but produced a poor performance in a two-goal defeat. First team players Scott Tanser, Paulo Tavares, Axel Prohouly, Seb Amoros, Sam Kelly, Dan Turner and Olomide Shodipo were all selected in the starting line-up whilst Quentin Pereira and Gezim Shalaj came off the bench during the second half. However, it is unlikely that many of the senior players involved in the contest will be knocking on the manager’s door demanding to be selected in the first team after a poor showing.
Ede told the Stoke Sentinel that the overall performance levels were simply not good enough at a time when players should be trying to force their way into Michael Brown’s plans.
“We fielded a team there which we thought should have gone on and won the game. We weren’t good enough. The last words we said before the game were “with how it is in the first team, you have to be looking to try and force your way in”. But after that performance I don’t think that many of them can be knocking on the gaffer’s door and saying “I should be playing on Saturday”. We looked a poor outfit.”
Deniz Mehmet featured in the reserve team fixture on the same day that he signed a contract with The Valiants whilst former Coventry midfielder Ivor Lawton, who is currently without a club, also made an appearance.
Port Vale chairman Norman Smurthwaite has told supporters that he remains committed to “leaving the club in a better place than when he started” and insists that he will only sell if the right buyer comes forward.
Smurthwaite took the unorthodox approach of communicating via the unofficial Port Vale supporters’ website onevalefan and posted a variety of replies on an open forum thread discussing the club’s finances.
The chairman defended his tenure at Vale Park but did admit that he had made mistakes. He insisted that he was determined to correct any errors that he had made, would now take a backseat from the day to day running of the club and revealed that he would only sell if a buyer with genuine financial backing came forward. Joint club secretary / chief executive Colin Garlick is handling the club’s affairs and Smurthwaite reiterated his belief that “with a fair wind and lady luck things will improve”.
However, he faced significant criticism from many supporters with some insisting that he should step down or sell the club at the nearest possible opportunity. Smurthwaite was accused of alienating fans, wasting money on players and for the club not taking a more active role in the local community. There were also concerns aired that the club had been separated from the ground and that £3,700,000 was owed to the chairman through the money he had invested via director’s loans.
Smurthwaite purchased Port Vale in November 2012 and has overseen promotion from League Two and four consecutive seasons in League One. However, the club currently sit in the relegation zone and have not won a game since the turn of the year.
Vale Park is set to host international football later this year when England Women continue their preparations for the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 finals.
The Lionesses will travel to The Potteries and use the home of Port Vale when they face Italy on Friday 7th April 2017.
Full details are available via The FA official website.
Featured Image: All Rights Reserved Ben Stanley-Clarke (Ben Stanley-Clarke)