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Fans left shocked as Port Vale appoint new manager

Fans have been left shocked as Port Vale appoint a new manager who has just departed from fellow League Two club Walsall.

The West Midlands outfit’s 43-year-old manager wasn’t at the club’s training ground today as he prepared to leave to the Valiants.

A source from the Saddlers told Football Insider that chairman Leigh Pomlett is addressing the players this afternoon about Clarke’s exit.


Port Vale is delighted to announce the appointment of Darrell Clarke as Manager.

He will immediately take charge of First Team affairs – working with the support of Danny Pugh.

Darrell, 42, brings with him a wealth of experience in football – having spent more than 25 years in the game as a player, coach and manager.

He was the manager at Salisbury City, Bristol Rovers and Walsall where he clocked up 479 games with an average win percentage of more than 44.5 per cent.

Darrell guided Salisbury to two promotions and also led Bristol Rovers to two promotions to League Two and then League One in the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons. After leaving Rovers in December 2018 he has guided Walsall to 11th place in League Two.

During his time in management, Darrell has a proven track record of developing young players.

He has signed an initial deal which will keep him at Port Vale until the summer of 2024.

Port Vale co-owner and Chair Carol Shanahan OBE said: “We are over the moon to have been able to bring in a Manager of Darrell’s calibre. He has such an impressive CV and his pursuit for excellence and thirst for success matches exactly our ambitions for Port Vale.”

UTV, Gaffer!


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Clarke took charge of his boyhood club in May 2019 after 244 games in charge of Bristol Rovers between 2014 and 2018.

He was appointed manager of Bristol Rovers in March 2014, but couldn’t prevent the club from dropping out of the EFL.

However, a year later, Clarke successfully guided Bristol Rovers back into the Football League after winning the 2015 Conference Premier playoff Final, and then went on to take the club into League One with promotion out of League Two in 2015–16.

At the time of his departure in December 2018, he was the fourth-longest serving manager in the EFL, before being appointed manager at Walsall in May 2019.

The Saddlers are 11th in the League Two table after a run of games which has had just one win in seven.

He led them to a 12th-placed finish in his first full season as manager and he was on course to better that this year.

His 78 games in charge of Walsall seen 26 wins, 21 draws and 29 losses.

As mentioned, fans were left shocked as Port Vale appoint their new manager, see what they all had to say below…

@StevePotts16: Great appointment welcome to the Vale.

@19thCW: Well that was quick! 😳

@ross_dibley: Erm didn’t see that coming

@pvfcthistle: Well this came as a surprise

@JackFreemanPVFC: Just relieved we’ve actually got a manager tbh

@rockape793929: Jesus

@alanhill71: Ha ha WTF good luck having him

@Harley1883BRFC: From a rovers fan he’s the type of manager who will create a real family atmosphere within the squad great man management develops players well and will show passion at all times exactly the type of manager you want at this level

@gsm85wfc: Good luck with that he’s dire

@kieranmcg88: Feel like shit just want him back

@alanhill71: At least we know we are going to be in league 2 for the next 100 years

@sturuss1990: I think we are in big trouble money wise tbh

@jackhud98: Nowt like joining a bigger club welcome Darrell

@TheValiants1876: Came to the bigger club in the midlands. Got some sense Mr Clarke

@jimmy329patel: Fucking port vale he fucking having a laugh

@poole_james: Fuck off Clarke. Fucking vale, absolute helmet

@samemery1991: He’s brave give him that. He’s fucked, vale are fucked.

@JME2596: Now that’s good business

@Kada_0106: Is he some kind of idiot? Hahahahahah good riddance

@Ethyyp: First game “defence not good enough, me and my coaching staff will do everything we can on the training ground, and expect 7 changes to the team next week”

@maccapvfc: Vale and the bookies have had everyones pants down with this!

@MachinJessie: Gobsmacked but up the fucking vale

@RyanHughes789: Nice little downgrade for him

@Josh_pvfc: That came out of absolutely nowhere! Flitcroft has tightened the ship and suddenly there’s no leaks…things just happen.

@PicardyBreezer: Bloody hell! I did not see that coming. Saddlers fans must be raging

@Mattjackson_88: Welcome to the Vale Darrell! No one can accuse Carol of taking the easy/cheap option. She’s put her hand in her pocket for Flitcroft & Clarke. Now the players need to repay that faith and investment!

@mattyypvfc: Smalsall are fuming, up the shagging vale #pvfc

@BRFCSamuel: Very confused with this one

@joshyt6: Now that’s a weird one

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