Martin Tideswell: New year brings fresh hope of Vale success
I WILL admit to spending the last 10 minutes of the Rotherham game pacing up and down fearing that we were going to let another two points slip.
But when the final whistle blew it really was the perfect Christmas present to Vale fans.
The easier of the three games over the festive period – Wimbledon at home – was a washout.
But Micky Adams' charges battled hard for a point at rivals Cheltenham and then went and completed the double over the Millers on Boxing Day.
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The win leaves us in a great position – just two points off the top spot and with a game in hand over the teams lying third and fourth.
The restoration of Louis Dodds to the starting line-up alongside Tom Pope, a combination which served us so well at the start of the season, is certainly paying dividends.
Both strikers scored and it was great that Doug Loft was reinstated to the midfield which is clearly where he is most influential.
That we are in such a superb position going into the new year is testament to the players and coaching staff who weren't given much of a prayer by the bookies before a ball was kicked.
This time last year things were so very different.
Fans were still reeling from revelations about nil paid shares and the re-mortgaging of Vale Park.
The future looked bleak. Vale were struggling to pay bills and administration seemed an inevitability.
Those who campaigned for change may indeed have taken a gamble with Vale's future.
But, for me, it was far less a gamble than leaving the club in the hands of those who quite clearly didn't have Vale's best interests at heart.
The Port Vale of 2013 will live or die by decisions made by businessmen like Norman Smurthwaite who believe they can make the club profitable and, therefore, successful.
The club's debt has been cleared, we paid the 10-point penalty for entering administration, and the Vale is in a far healthier position than it has been for years.
This is a time of hope and optimism where we can devote our time to discussing the merits of players and formations rather than discredited directors.
A happy new year to all Port Vale fans and employees. We've earned it.