The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

BRUNO Ribeiro is a de­cent man who at­tempted to bring con­ti­nen­tal foot­ball to League One. His fail­ure was sad, but prob­a­bly in­evitable.

Ap­pointed from left­field in June, the Por­tuguese hit the ground run­ning. For much of a sun-dap­pled Au­gust, it re­ally did seem that Barcelona was re­born in Burslem.

Then it got cold. Pitches turned rank. Op­po­nents learned to ex­ploit Port Vale’s hap­haz­ard zonal mark­ing and kick their pranc­ing play­mak­ers off the park.

Now, af­ter one win in 11 games, Ribeiro has fallen on his sword, hap­pily waved off by fans sick of his dog­matic ad­her­ence to a sti­fling 4-2-3-1 set-up.

The kind­est thing you can say about Ribeiro’s reign is that noble in­ten­tions were un­der­mined by poor ex­e­cu­tion – founded, as is so of­ten the case with over­seas man­agers, on a fail­ure to gauge the qual­ity of League One.

Of Ribeiro’s 17 sum­mer sign­ings, 12 were plucked from the lower leagues of Europe. None used to the power and pace of Eng­land. None used to the lan­guage and cul­ture. None used to a 46-game slog.

In­deed, it is no­table that in his fi­nal game, a 1-0 de­feat to Wal­sall, three of Ribeiro’s four im­ports failed to last the 90 min­utes. Tal­ented they may be, but tough enough? Clearly not.

Had Ribeiro phased in his sys­tem and play­ers, he might have stood a chance. In­stead, he went for revo­lu­tion and paid for it with his job.

EXIT: Ribeiro at Port Vale

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