An exclusive interview with Valiant legend Steve Guppy. Find out why he signed for Vale, his favourite memories and his thoughts on that cup game are all revealed.
Steve, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions…
We were a really entertaining side when I was there and we had some cracking games but the real stand-out game was the Everton Cup match…
It’s no problem at all.
Well you moved to the Valiants from Newcastle United. Was it difficult to take a step down from the Premiership?
To be honest I had mixed feelings.
But Kevin Keegan was very honest with me. I think he’d got some extra money from a sponsorship deal and was prepared to buy proven talent rather than to spend time developing players like Jason Drysdale and myself.
I knew that Billy Dearden [the then Vale number two] was watching me in the Reserves and Kevin Keegan told me I was free to move to Vale.
It was funny when I first arrived at the club to sign. I saw a billboard for a newspaper saying ‘Vale sign Premiership star’ and I thought ‘Great! Who else have they signed?’ but of course the headline was about me. I thought – but I’ve only played a handful of games in the Premiership I’m hardly a star!
I remember watching your first match…
Yeah, I won’t forget that!
And what were your other personal highlights whilst at the Vale?
I was honoured to not be on a losing side throughout the Potteries Derby games with Stoke. We were a really entertaining side when I was there and we had some cracking games but the real stand-out game was the Everton Cup match.
I thought you may pick that one…
Yeah. Everyone played so well, to their potential and beating the cup holders and a Premiership side was something special.
So, did you think your Premiership days were over when you joined the Vale?
Well, I joined to work hard and to improve myself and see what happened and I did get a second chance to return to the Premiership with Leicester.
After you left did you still keep in touch with any of your Vale colleagues?
I keep in touch with Jon McCarthy but he never returns my phone calls!
I also met Allen Tankard and Wayne Corden when I was last at Vale Park. Of course they have also moved on from the club.
What players did you admire when you were at Vale Park?
I was surprised that Gareth Griffiths never went further but he has been hindered by injuries. Vale had some really good players when I was there.
Jon McCarthy was… [laughs] well he still is… a great player. He was more of a goalscoring winger than me – I was more of a provider of crosses. Dean Glover was a good defender and of course you’ve got the experience upfront such as Martin Foyle who I knew from my Southampton days.
On the onevalefan website we run a Fantasy Vale XI where the fans pick their favourite Vale team of all time. You’re selected as the team’s left winger and in fact you’ve got over 90% of the votes for that position. Is it nice to be still held in such high esteem by the Vale fans?
That’s made my night! Yes, I’m really pleased to hear that.
Vale fans still follow your progress and many were delighted to see you play for England. Is it nice that fans of your old club still wish you well?
Obviously I thought I worked hard when I was at the club and it is nice to be remembered by the fans still.
Do you use the Internet and have you visited the onevalefan site?
I’ve only just entered the 20th century I’m afraid. But I have just had a computer installed and I will check onevalefan out.
Finally a quote. You said of John Rudge ‘I now realise how much I owe John Rudge for my career’ – what influence did the great man have?
In terms of people who had an influence on my career there is…
Martin O’Neill who obviously I have spent a lot of time with and…
John Rudge is right up there. I still keep an eye out for how he’s doing – even though he is at Stoke now. He was someone who you would work hard for and who I have a lot of respect for.
Steve, on behalf of Vale fans, thanks for the entertainment you gave us.
It was a pleasure. Cheers.
There was no fee for this interview and in return for Steve’s generosity onevalefan are delighted to make a donation to his chosen charity – MIND – in gratitude to Steve for taking the time to speak to us. Rob Fielding would like to thank Steve Guppy for taking the time to answer these questions. Thanks are also due to Celtic Football Club and Andy Guppy without whom this interview wouldn’t have happened.