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You think we have trouble !!! Port vale

TEAMtalk's Mark Holmes details some of the incredible goings-on at Port Vale this season, which led to the sacking of Jim Gannon on Monday.
You may not know it, but Port Vale was a pretty successful club not so long ago. FA Cup semi-finalists in the 50s, the North Staffordshire outfit were a regular fixture in what is now the Championship during the 90s and at one stage even pushed for promotion to Premier League.
However, when long-serving manager John Rudge left the club in 1999, a decline began. Vale were relegated from the second tier at the start of the millennium; 11 years and six managers later, they find themselves in the fourth division.
This season is the Valiants' third at that level but never has the club been in a mess as big as this one. Yet things were going well until December. Micky Adams had led the team to the top of League Two...but not even the writers of 'Dream Team' could have scripted what has happened since.
Adams left to take his dream job at Sheffield United and the board, hugely unpopular among supporters, installed Jim Gannon as the Yorkshireman's replacement.
From the outside looking in, it looked like a sensible appointment. Gannon had enjoyed great success as a manager at Stockport and also won some praise for his work at Motherwell and Peterborough.
However, he arrived at Vale Park with a reputation as an experimental tactician with a habit of falling out with people. This appointment did not come without warning, given Vale defender Gareth Owen had signed from Stockport after a bust-up with Gannon - and the 42-year-old has lived up to his reputation.
One of his first decisions was to switch from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3, the new boss insisting the former did not suit the players he had at his disposal - a bizarre claim, given the success the team had enjoyed in that formation under Adams.
Gannon's reign began with four defeats in five games and he quickly found himself having to answer criticism over his team selections, with the regular omission of Gary Roberts - the team's stand-out performer - a particular bugbear for Vale fans.
To make matters worse, a scarf campaign (Black and Gold Until It's Sold) was started, aimed at forcing the board to sell to local businessman Mo Chaudry. It is the latest in a long line of protests against the board - such is life at the Vale.
The gloom lifted for a short period at the start of last month as the team went on a four-game unbeaten run but there was further drama on February 26 when Gannon got off the team coach on the way to Vale's game at Aldershot following a bust-up with his assistant Geoff Horsfield.
The plot was this: Horsfield had asked for a day off in the week to attend a family matter and Gannon agreed to the request, only to write a letter of complaint to the board about Horsfield's conduct.
The Vale assistant was then shown the letter by an unnamed director and confronted Gannon on the coach to Aldershot, with the manager initially denying having ever written a letter before Horsfield informed him he had seen it with his own eyes. Gannon was forced into a climbdown, but not before a sweary tirade at his number two. He left the coach at a service station to meet his legal representative.
It soon became apparent that Gannon had a dislike of Horsfield and had been attempting to force him out of the club. The players, however, were firmly behind the former Birmingham striker, with widespread reports emanating that Gannon had 'lost the dressing room'.
It seemed certain the Vale board would use the incident as an excuse to get rid of the divisive Gannon, but a subsequent internal investigation led to both the manager and his assistant remaining in their roles. A recipe for disaster if ever there was one.
And so it proved. Vale visited Accrington on Saturday with Gannon making four changes to his side, dropping popular defender Lee Collins to the bench and leaving Roberts and Louis Dodds out of his squad altogether. It was one hell of a risk and, unfortunately for Gannon, it did not pay off.
The Vale fans called for his head throughout the game and one of his signings, Exodus Geohaghon, was roundly jeered. After the game, which Vale lost 3-0 to drop out of the top seven for the first time all season, the on-loan Peterborough player confronted the visiting supporters and became embroiled in a furious row during which punches were thrown.
That is not all. Whilst all of this was going on, Gannon was nowhere to be seen - his players were either trying to hold back Geohaghon or watching from the dressing room, yet the manager had vanished.
The media were informed that he would not be available for interview and it soon emerged that he had gone into hiding 'for his own safety' due to a group of angry fans waiting to confront him at the team coach. Vale captain Marc Richards revealed afterwards that not even the players had seen their manager since the game. Nor had he travelled with them to the Crown Ground.
But still there is more. Since the game, there have been widespread reports that Roberts' omission from the squad was down to an altercation with Gannon ahead of the game, and that even Tom Pope, signed by Gannon on loan from Rotherham, had fallen out with the manager.
Vale released a statement on Sunday morning to confirm they "will be reviewing video and photographic evidence" as part of an investigation into the latest events, and it was obvious that Gannon's position had become untenable.
The Vale board took their time but on Monday afternoon they confirmed the departure of Gannon, much to the delight of the black and white half of the Potteries. Thankfully the team remains in with a chance of promotion and, with Gannon gone, perhaps there will be a happy ending to this truly incredible tale


  • I do feel sorry for them, but fans who boo a player called Exodus Geohaghon don't deserve success. That's right up there with Cliff Hercules and Jermaine McSporran.
  • he must be a bit mad that gannon
    wasn't geoff horsfield considered the hardest (oooerrr) man in football
  • [cite]Posted By: Uboat[/cite]I do feel sorry for them, but fans who boo a player called Exodus Geohaghon don't deserve success. That's right up there with Cliff Hercules and Jermaine McSporran.
    And Danny Invincible, once at Swindon town!
  • [quote][cite]Posted By: oohaahmortimer[/cite]he must be a bit mad that gannon
    wasn't geoff horsfield considered the hardest (oooerrr) man in football[/quote]

    Probably after Joe Jordan
  • Cry me a river, i don't give a toss about Port Vale...
  • Least they have a chance of promotion.
  • Good job for Parky.
  • [cite]Posted By: Henry Irving[/cite]Good job for Parky.
    He who laughs last etc
  • And there was silly old me thinking Charlton had problems !!!!
  • They have a chance of promotion and are a tin pot club at best...think our troubles are far bigger!
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  • [quote][cite]Posted By: agim[/cite]Cry me a river, i don't give a toss about Port Vale...[/quote]

    Just getting used to the CL language. How do I say it?

  • At vale a bad board appointed a bad manager, I wouldn't say they are in a worse position than us, in fact they could still get promoted. We're not going to be promoted bar a miracle. They have had a tough time recently but they're not worse off than us.
  • The first thing I thought when I saw this article was that we've had worse form, yet we know we'll be sticking with Powelly. It's good to know that in our board and manager, we can trust.
  • but hang on, according to some Lifers the mistake we made in appointing CP was going for a manager with a lack of "experience"!!!

    Gannon has managed over 300 games, so loads of "experience" - should he replace Powell ;)
  • Bizarrely I was at this game on Saturday! (I was in Accy on other business and took in the game).

    Out of a crowd of about 2,400 the split was about 50/50 between home and away fans. Exodus Geohaghon was jeered and booed pretty much everytime he touched the ball, but to be fair to him he wasn't the worst player on the pitch. At Accy the tunnel is in the corner of the ground by the away fans and at half-time there was a lot of abuse thrown at Jim Gannon and the players and a number of items were thrown by the fans at the players as they left the pitch.

    Before the 2nd half began Gannon was escorted by 2 stewards from the tunnel the dugout and was met by chants of "you don't know what you're doing". In the second half Exodus continued to be jeered each time he touched the ball.

    Unfortunately I had to leave the game before the end to get the train back to London so missed the scenes at the final whistle but as I was walking out a couple of Police vans arrived to control the Vale fans.

    As an aside the Accrington "Ultras" are an amazing bunch of fans who didn't stop singing all game, they seem to have at least 20 songs and chants and really make an atmosphere.
  • Ha ha - Accrington 'Ultra's' - classic! Fair play to them!
  • [cite]Posted By: former addick[/cite]
    [cite]Posted By: agim[/cite]Cry me a river, i don't give a toss about Port Vale...

    Just getting used to the CL language. How do I say it?


    Careful - I did that once and got asked if the rest of my post had gone missing...
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