Kitman confessions: Swanny and the string

Kitman confessions: Swanny and the string

We’re delighted that long-serving Port Vale kitman Stan “Stan the man” Nicholls has agreed that OVF should publish some of his Vale memories in a regular column.

In this episode – Swanny and the string, Paul “memory man” Kerr and an incident involving John Rudge and a bowl of salted peanuts…

Stan Nicholls writes…


About the author

Stanley “Stan the man” Nicholls was a long-serving Port Vale kitman and his blog is exclusively on OVF.

My favourite player was Peter Swan, what a lad he was. Once, he was injured and having physiotherapy while all the other players went out training. He came and asked me for some string.

What was he going to do with it? Well, he  put up a washing line in the dressing room got all the players clothes off their hooks and hung them up on the line – all mixed up.

When the rest of the squad got back from training, Swanny had gone home and the players all thought it was me who’d done it.


Another funny thing that happened was when we went to play away in London. We stayed at a really posh hotel. We went to book in at reception and they showed us to a lounge. It really was top class and there were even bowls of salted peanuts on all the tables

Well, all the players sat just behind the “gaffer” (John Rudge), Bobby Downes, Jimmy Joyce and myself.

And of course, after a minute or two these nuts kept hitting the gaffer’s bald head. I was trying not to laugh but they hit us as well. The gaffer said “If I catch any of them then you’ll be fined.” But he never did catch who was to blame.

What great times and great team spirit!


Paul Kerr was one of a kind.

Once, when he was going out to training, he asked me and five of the youth team for our home telephone numbers. He had no pen and paper but when we came back from training, he rattled ever number off – and all six of them were correct.

He also played the piano but would only play one tune. When we were at a hotel on another away tip, he got onto the piano and just starting playing away. The people around the piano were amazed and asked for requests but he simply shut the lid and walked off.

There will be further recollections from Stan in the next edition of “Kitman confessions” which includes stories about Andy Porter, Keith Houchen and an incident with the Autoglass Trophy…

These are the personal recollections of Stan Nicholls.

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