Long-serving Port Vale kitman Stan “Stan the man” Nicholls has passed some more of his anecdotes onto OVF. In his latest anecdotes, Stan recalls an unfortunate clash at Wembley stadium, life away from football and how he got revenge after yet another Peter Swan prank…
“DADDY” NOT SO COOL…
I remember when we played the Autoglass trophy final at Wembley. A shop in Newcastle offered to fit us out in suits for the big occasion.
Well, Robin van der Laan was the “daddy” of style at the time and he acted as the chief style “guru” as we all picked our outfits.
We decided we looked the “bees knees” but on the big day, as we walked out on the pitch, the Stockport players were there and guess what, they were in exactly the same suits as us.
I was asked by Jim Cooper (head of Vale in the Community) if I could give a talk on kit to school children who visited the club.
This was right up my street as I was a instructor at the Michelin and used to training new employees in all kinds of jobs.
So, I said yes. I got out the full strips for Vale’s home and away kits plus the training kit. Then I laid it out on the tables and explained it all to them, how we transported the kit to away matches and so on.
Then I asked if they had any questions. Well, you wouldn’t believe what they asked; how much were the players paid, what sort of washing powder we use, lots of things about their favourite players and so on. I was pleased with the result and they went home happy.
So, you can see, the kit man’s job is not always football-related.
SWEET REVENGE ON SWANNY
I had a lot of tricks played on me by the players and mostly by Peter Swan and Keith Houchen.
Once, I went to pay my bill at the hotel (I only had a morning news paper to pay for) but the girl said the bill was £12. I was shocked, so I ask what for? She said it was for the five bottles of beer ordered from the bar. Rudgie said “I’ll get that Stan, it’s the players who’ve done it.”
I thought, right, well I will have a bit of fun for a change. So, come match day, I laid out the kit as normal, but I laced Swanny’s underpants with Ralgex. That stuff gets very hot after a short time, so when he was on the pitch warming up he was jumping like a jack in the box.
Swanny thought it was me but couldn’t be sure while I acted all innocent and got away with it!
These are the personal recollections of Stan Nicholls.