Robbie Earle: Let's pray Vale's latest saviour really means business
I'M KEEPING my fingers crossed that a knight in shining armour really did ride into Burslem this week.
The 3-0 win over Oxford on Monday was great news, especially as it kept Port Vale second in the League Two table.
But Tuesday's developments could be infinitely more important for Vale's long-term future after Paul Wildes' bid to become the club's new owner was endorsed by administrators.
Before we proclaim the building of a new empire, we mustn't forget that Vale have already been courted by several would-be emperors with no clothes.
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However, Wildes, a baby-faced millionaire who controls a diverse group of businesses, is making all the right noises.
I must admit, I've have been encouraged by the 36-year-old's understated demeanour.
He looks like a serious businessman who is talking sense rather than promising the earth.
His insistence that he will use some of his everyday business practices to help knock Vale into shape certainly adds up.
I also like the way he has stressed the importance of turning the football club into a viable business utilising his commercial acumen.
Vale Park is one of the biggest football sites in the country and has plenty of potential that has never been realised.
Of course, what happens on the pitch is also crucial, and Wildes must be aware of the sterling job Micky Adams has done on a relative shoestring budget.
In recognition of that, Wildes would do well to secure the services of his under-rated manager on a long-term basis.
That would help ensure he's not poached on the cheap again, as he was by Sheffield United two years ago.
With Vale just three points behind leaders Gillingham, Adams has done magnificently to achieve what he has with such a threadbare squad.
But we are approaching the time of year when injuries and suspensions can start to have an impact on a team's ambitions.
The demands of the winter months during a gruelling 46-match season have a big bearing on a club's ability to stay the course, and Vale will be aware of that.
So Micky will hopefully be given the financial support to recruit one or two players to help ensure this great start is not wasted.
I also hope it wasn't just clever PR speak when Wildes said he was keen to involve Vale's long-suffering fans in his plans.
They have seen some seriously dark days in recent years as their club has twice slipped into administration.
All this while the club from the red and white half of the city has gone from strength to strength.
However, Stoke's City's success has never deterred the real Vale fans from supporting their club.
So Wildes is taking on a tremendously loyal, committed bunch of supporters who just want to see their club run in the right manner.
Of course there will be differences of opinion from time to time between chairman and fans. That's just the nature of the business.
I just hope the possibility of this takeover doesn't produce a collective sigh of relief before the team and club start to lose focus.
That said, everyone involved at Port Vale, including the administrators, should take a huge sense of pride from the club's current position and standing in the game. There are plenty of people who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to keep this great little club going.
It would be criminal to allow all that hard work go to waste at a time when there is so much to look forward to.
I have not even had time to properly do justice to the work of Adams, Mark Grew and Robert Page.
Or the form of a team who boast seven wins two draws and just one defeat in their last 10 games
Or the goalscoring phenomenon that is local boy Tom Pope, his 13 goals from 15 games making him the quickest Vale player to reach double figures in a season since the second world war.
But right now the security of the club's future is my priority. I just pray it's not another false dawn.