Sitting pretty at the top of the league, a win at previous league leaders Gillingham, and new signings coming in, suddenly there is an air of positivity around the previously dark halls of Port Vale.
While Lee Hughes is a name that polarizes, there can be no argument that the addition of him, Darren Purse, Chris Birchall and Daniel Jones have added experience, quality and cover in positions that we needed them. But not only that, we have been told the signings haven’t stopped! I don’t know how to react to this.
I’ve been supporting Port Vale for the best part of fifteen years (more than half of my life!) and it has been bleak for most of them. Under the previous regime, we were treated to relegations, and no real hope. This has been the life of a Port Vale fan, and it’s a tough thought process to break.
Picture the scene. In years gone by, our managers list has read like a who’s who of no-hopers. Names such as Dean Glover, Lee Sinnott, and the ever popular James (Don’t call me Jim, especially not on a bus) Gannon have graced the dugout, and each destroyed the faith that I had in my club a little bit.
I don’t want sympathy; I know that this is the curse of being a lower league football fan. We don’t have the continued highs of a Manchester United, but they don’t get to share the crippling roller coaster of emotions that we consider a normal season. We consider a trip to Wembley a unique experience (I’ve been to two finals while a fan, the LDV Vans and the Anglo Italian Cup) and winning a title is a once in a lifetime thing.
This new turn of events, leading a league, bringing in signings that the footballing world has actually heard of, I didn’t see it coming. I don’t know how to react to it at all! I appreciate that many fans would give their right arm to have some form of success, but I just don’t know what to do!
Seeing us take 2000 fans to Fleetwood, winning at top of the league, beating Rotherham at Rotherham. These are things that just don’t happen to little Port Vale! I got so used to the misery, it became normality. The ups and downs of a single season in the Football League would make most people crack.
But you know what, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m hooked on the emotional ride. I crave the highs and the lows. I spend my time searching for my next fix of terrible stadiums, awful pitches, route one football, and starting a season knowing that promotion or relegation are both distinct possibilities.
Written by Steve Donaldson, We Are Going Up’s Port Vale Blogger
Steve tweets at @the_vogster