Legendary former Port Vale midfielder Robbie Earle ended his playing career in 2000 at the age of 35 after playing over 650 games. Rob Fielding pays tribute to a true gentleman both on and off the pitch.
Much has been written about Robbie’s superb playing achievements, but I recall two personal moments, that to me say as much about Robbie, the person.
When Vale won promotion through the play-offs in 1989, it was Robbie, the only locally-born player who scored the winner. While others justifiably celebrated, Earle was so overwhelmed and overjoyed by his achievement that he sat in the tunnel and wept tears of joy.
On a more personal note, I recall the time this website was trying to get interviews with Vale players past and present.
I sent out many, many letters asking for interviews. After receiving several rejections and having had no reply from many other players, it came as a truly refreshing change to receive a prompt hand-written reply from Robbie.
It contained not just the answers to my questions but also an offer of further help in the future – all of which was offered completely free of charge and at any time. I must admit it staggered me at the time.
A (then) top Premiership player with many business and professional commitments, was willing to try and help out my small, independent website.
I was thrilled to be able to make my thanks to Robbie in person shortly afterwards and I found him to be as pleasant and accomodating face-to-face as he was by letter.
Thanks Robbie for being that rare person – a man as generous off the pitch as he was gifted on it.