Firstly, it would be remiss of me to not mention the potential new owners at Port Vale. I know that there are still the final little hurdles, but it looks promising. I also wanted to thank Paul Wildes for giving me my favourite photo of the weekend (see above).
They say that chairmen are businessmen, and often don’t care about the football. This man doesn’t even own Port Vale yet and seems to be enjoying it! Long may it continue!
Anyway, onto business. I’ve been putting off writing about this topic, too scared that by acknowledging the fact that Tom Pope is having a fantastic season, it would destroy his fantastic season. It’s the nature of football, we all have our little rituals, and if we miss something, all hell will break loose.
But I have to talk about Tom. While the rest of the team have chipped in this season, it is the form of the Pope that gives us something to talk about. Take the following statistics:
• 4 – Number of League goals Tom Pope scored for Rotherham in 53 appearances.
• 4 – Number of League goals Tom Pope scored against Rotherham this season.
• 29 – Number of Football League goals Tom Pope had scored before this season (In 163 apperances)
• 14 – Number of Football League goals Tom Pope has this season.
• 0.2 – Goals to games ratio before this season, all competitions.
• 0.88 – Current goals to games ratio this season.
No-one saw this coming. Over the summer, when news of Richards and Rigg (Our two top scorers the previous season) broke, there was despair. How would we replace the 20 goals a season that Richards had been providing? Especially when the only recognised striker we had left had scored 8 league goals in his previous 54 appearances for the club.
Step forward, the Sneyd Green Sniper.
I know that a football fans have a tendency to go over the top when we describe players. Every player to pull on the shirt is a potential legend, and every player to leave is a villain, but Hollywood scriptwriters must be close to cashing in on the Port Vale story. Two seasons ago, we were top of the league before our manager left for his boyhood club. Jim Gannon, Busgate…need I go on. Last season, we were on the edge of the play-off places until administration hit. The players who were widely regarded as our best had all left, and the future looked bleak. Step forward Tom Pope. Having cut his teeth at such footballing giants as Biddulph Victoria, Stafford Rangers and Lancaster Town, who would have thought that the lifelong Port Vale fan would find the form of his life, at exactly the moment his club needed him.
Do I expect this form to continue? No. I hate to be brutally honest, but on current form his is on to score around 50 goals this season. That probably won’t happen. I just want to thank him for giving all Vale fans something to cheer after the awful years we previously had. I can only hope that at the end of the season, I get to write a blog congratulating him on being the League Two top scorer and leading Port Vale to promotion.
Written by Steve Donaldson, We Are Going Up’s Port Vale Blogger
Steve tweets at @the_vogster
(Image: The Guardian)