Day: February 23, 2012

The Battle Lines Are Drawn At Port Vale

Since 200% last cast a jaundiced eye over Port Vale, plenty has happened but little has changed. Each week seems to have brought a new revelation of ill-behaviour from Vale’s board (my forecast that at least one director will come out as a woman trapped in a man’s body hasn’t happened… yet). And fans have almost unanimously called for them to push off… or be pushed out.  Future ex-chief executive Perry Deakin, former chairman Peter Miller, current acting chairman Mike Lloyd and soon-to-be-ex-director anyway Glenn Oliver resisted all calls to do anything near ‘the right thing,’ including calling an Extraordinary General Meeting of Vale shareholders to defend their continued tenure. Exasperated fans have been led into battle by the recently-radicalised Official Supporters Club, which organised the Vale shareholders among their number to force the club to call an EGM, or do it themselves. The next ‘Battle for Burslem’ will therefore take place on March 13th.  This EGM will take place as some sort of joint affair with the club’s long-awaited and twice-postponed Annual General Meeting, at which the club will present their soon-to-be-published financial report and statement of accounts to 30 June 2011. In the meantime, all signs point to a Glasgow Rangers-style collapse of club finances, while manager Micky Adams has somehow maintained Vale’s play-off challenge amid the chaos – an achievement of manager-of-the-year proportions if he keeps...

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Villa Boas On The Brink

Sometimes you can see it coming a mile off. There was something heavy hanging in the air well before Chelsea’s match against Napoli on Tuesday night. A lethargic draw against Birmingham City in the FA Cup at the weekend had been the most obvious symptom of the malaise that has come to engulf Stamford Bridge of late, and even taking the lead in Naples wasn’t enough to spare Andres Villa Boas from another disastrous day at the office. The chaotic nature of the rest of his team’s performance that evening served only to further prove the points made by his growing band of dissenters. The team selection, some say, is wrong. The tactics, some say, are wrong. He has lost, some say, the confidence of the team itself, and in particular its senior players. On Tuesday night, they probably both were and Chelsea were, as a result of this, put to the sword by an effervescent Napoli team which played to its attacking strengths and exploited their opponents weaknesses ruthlessly. Over the forty-eight hours or so since the match, the grumbling has given the impression of starting to turn into a more solid form of anger. Not so long ago, Chelsea were fighting on two cup fronts and for a Champions League place for next season. From a distance, little has changed – an away match against a side from the Championship should remain...

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