A classic winger, often infuriating, but brilliant on his day, John Jeffers is a worthy entrant in our cult hall of fame…
Name: John Jeffers
Cult credentials: Infuriatingly inconsistent winger, Scouser, crowd favourite
Time at Vale: 1988-1995
John Jeffers in Kalamazoo kit pose
John Rudge knew how to pick ’em. When he needed width to boost Vale’s 1989 promotion campaign (the luckless Paul Atkinson having been injured) he opted for a young winger, schooled in the right way by Liverpool’s famed academy.
His name was John Jeffers. And he was to drive Vale fans to delight and despair in equal measures for the next seven years.
At first, Jeffers joined on loan, but in another Rudge masterstroke he sold underperforming wing rival Steven Harper for £35,000 to Preston and used £30,000 of the cash to secure Jeffers on a permanent basis. It was to prove fruitful with Jeffers helping Vale to promotion to the second division in 1989 and, for good measure, a further promotion in 1994.
Jeffers thrived on Vale Park’s wide pitch, although his tendency to overdo things did infuriate some fans. The classic Jeffers’ trick appeared to be to shimmy past his man… and then do it all over again for good measure!
However, when he was on form, “JJ” was pretty unstoppable. Take a look at the YouTube video below and check out Jeffers’ relatively unsung work in Vale’s last-gasp equaliser. Look how he turns effortlessly inside Liverpool defenders, as if they weren’t there, and curls a beautiful ball into Peter Swans’ feet:
Jeffers will probably never be in Vale fans’ best-ever eleven (it’ll take some doing to oust Steve Guppy) but for a £30,000 outlay, 219 appearances, 11 goals and two promotions, he did prove to be an absolute bargain!
Go on JJ… beat him again…