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Interviews

Neil Aspin delighted for fans and players after opening day win

5 August 2018

A win and a clean sheet on the opening day at Vale Park. Yesterday couldn't have gone any better for Neil Aspin and his side, and the manager was full of praise for his players and the Vale supporters.

A stunning Ricky Miller free kick on the stroke of half time followed by Tom Pope scoring from the penalty spot and a header, saw the Valiants power through the opening day with a fantastic 3-0 win over Cambridge United. 

After ending last season against Cambridge with such a disappointing result, one which Neil Aspin admitted he was embarrassed to go over to the supporters who he said were "more than fair" to him on the day, the gaffer was determined to improve on that and give the fans a team that they can get behind.

"Today was really good. There was no criticism, even in the first half when we weren't creating loads of chances, everybody was positive and that's what you need. Last couple of years have gone, we've got to be positive.

"There's going to be some difficult games but we've shown we're capable and we've got to continue that on. It's only one game and I'm well aware Port Vale won their first game of last season, so it's only three points but it's great to get them on the board.

"It was a very good performance, I'm pleased for all the players because they deserved that today. I'm not going to single out players because they were good all the way through the team and it's a great start for us."

With the half drawing to a close, Ricky Millers free kick to open the scoring sent Vale Park into chaos. The sea of Valiants celebrating and wearing their Vale colours with pride in Railway Stand is a moment the players will cherish for a long time, as they joined Ricky in celebrating the goal. 

There was a sense of togetherness when all three goals were celebrated. Tom Pope tucked away his penalty in standard Popey fashion followed by his header to put Vale out of sight, the players regrouped together to celebrate a brilliant team performance. Manager Neil Aspin admitted, if there were two players he wanted scoring today, it was Ricky and Popey. 

"If you had asked me before the game who I would've like to get on the score sheet, obviously it would be Ricky and Popey. You want your main scorers to get on the score sheet as early as possible.

"Ricky has had problems in the past. He wants to play football, he wants to be on the pitch and he wants to contribute. He's not suddenly going to become a choir boy, but you don't want to take his desire and hunger away from him and that's what he's got.

"I'm delighted to have him here and of course it always helps with the supporters if you get off to a good start and they gave him a good ovation."


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