Saving Vale from Fail – Part 1

Good day to you. With both Matt Stockport and Matt Man Utd (not real names) having a week off I decided to step into the gaping hole in my schedule with another survival challenge. You might recall, way back last summer, I took over Swindon who were in a load of trouble and managed to save them. You can relive that through part 1 and part 2.

As it’s a nice an easy two part series to keep you entertained why the Matt’s recharge their batteries, I’ve loaded another game, fast forwarded (left it on holiday…) and come to see what’s available with 12 games to go. Across all the divisions, this was the most perilous:

League table

Port Vale, who have as many points as they do goals, and not in a good way, seems like a good challenge. 13 points (14 when you take into account goal difference) from safety and not a dime to spend.


Great times. It seems they spent all of their money on Tommy Widdrington, for reasons I will never understand

PV squad

Aspin is of course the current real life manager. Ainsworth has 6 goals and Foyle 4, to say there aren’t many goals in the team is an understatement. Sadly they can’t defend either, having shipped 62 so far this season.

Richie Wellens, on loan from Man Utd, is at least a talented player but he is recalled the day after my arrival. A bit rude, especially as they go on to loan him to Macclesfield. I have to move quickly and loan in Ben Thornley, also from Man Utd, and Francis Jeffers, who is 16 but seems willing to run about for me. Beggars can’t be choosers.

With Swindon I could build a solid base as they had a solid enough defence, but there’s no chance of that here. I’m breaking out the Aberdeen formation in the hope we can score one more than you/them.

game 1

It’s Huddersfield who are our visitors, they sit 13th and have nothing to play for. Let’s turn this disaster around

5-1 hudds

Yikes. I didn’t expect that. Thornley doesn’t score but does everything else, I just hope he can wait a month until the window closes before he realises he can do far better than this

thornley recalled

One day. ONE DAY. Cheers Fergie. That won’t help, so it’s back into the loan market but nobody is keen to come. Sigh. Off to West Brom

Andy Hunt has chance after chance and the game descends into a battle.

wba 0 - 1 PV

It’s FOYLE’S WAR. Does that work? As a pun? Anyway, we’re 3 points richer thanks to the veteran striker who has 3 in 2 for me and has nearly matched his tally for the season.

It’s the big derby next, at home to Stoke. If I can win this the fans will love me forever, but Stoke are on the fringes of the playoffs and it won’t be easy.

Alex Notman joins on loan, again from Man Utd, but it’s all for nothing. We dominate the chances but can’t score before an Aspin handball hands them a penalty and three points. One step forward, two steps back.

PV 0 - 1 stoke

Games are running out so home defeats can be critical, so a trip to Molineux could spell curtains for us. Isiah Rankin arrives on loan from Arsenal, our final permitted loan signing, and he goes straight into the team.

We trail early on and we’re being battered, but Rankin smashes one in on the counter. Wolves are pushing for a winner but we get a corner. A scramble ensues and Aspin bundles it in. The away end erupts.

Wolves 2-1

That result takes us off the bottom of the table at the expense of Bradford, who are our next opponents. First though, it’s deadline day and with no loan spots left I’m trailing the freebies for anybody who could improve us. This guy has as good a chance as any


He’s straight onto the bench for the Bradford game, which is an absolute must win.

I fear the worst when we are 1-0 down but Talbot and that man Foyle have a great 15 minutes and we’re looking comfortable until Steiner makes it a tricky last half hour. Big Poppa Pump will do that to you.

3-2 bradford

Still, a vital win and we’re within 3 points of safety, though our goal difference is still rancid.

QPR is a horrible fixture on this game. They have so many good players who usually get moves to the Premier League after a season or so – sometimes less. Sadly Sheron and Gallen are still at Loftus Road and they absolutely rinse us. Foyle gets a late consolation that I tell myself might make help our goal difference. It’s a bare faced lie that not even I believe.

5-2 QPE

With 6 games to go, we’re 6 points from safety. Though that minus 40 goal difference is going to be problematic.

6 games to go

We’ve got out work cutout. This is going to go right to the wire, and by that I mean Thursday when this series ends. See you then!

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