All praise the Pope!

All praise the Pope!

OVF reflects on a dramatic change of fortunes for Vale striker Tom Pope, currently the second-highest goalscorer in the country.

Port Vale have a born and bred striker that is making waves throughout the country…

Just a few short years ago Tom Pope’s career was in the balance.  The Crewe Alexandra academy graduate moved to Rotherham United for a record-signing fee of £150,000 but with the departure of then-manager Mark Robins came the departure of Pope’s goal scoring form.  Five goals in 35 appearances followed and that led us here, where Port Vale have a born and bred striker that is making waves throughout the country.

In the 2010-11 season Pope’s goal drought continued and this resulted in Rotherham gaffer Ronnie Moore putting Pope on the market.  But despite interest from a number of clubs in League Two, only one caught his eye… Port Vale.  He eventually joined on loan with an eye to a permanent move and the rest was history.  This was Pope’s opportunity to return home to the club he had supported all of his life and help to rescue them from what was then a dire situation.  But the impact of “The Pope” wasn’t immediate.  In fact, in his first season he appeared 13 times for the Valiants, scoring just 3 goals.  The following season he made 41 appearances for Vale and only netted on five occasions.

It was throughout this period that Pope came under criticism from fans.  His lifestyle drew criticism and brought into question his commitment to the side and indeed his commitment to football as a whole.  But little did the critics know what was about to come.  For his 2012-13 season has been one that many footballers only dream of.

 Pope sits top of the League Two goal-scoring table with seven goals in hand…

In 37 appearances this season Tom Pope has scored an incredible 27 goals.  And what’s even more impressive is the fact that before this season, he had scored a total of 31 goals in his career!  With 25 goals in 32 league games this season, Pope sits top of the League Two goal-scoring table with seven goals in hand.  He’s the second highest goal scorer in English football just a solitary goal behind Crystal Palace’s Glenn Murray and is the quickest player to reach 20 goals in a season in the history of the club.

Tom Pope is a target man that most clubs would look to hold on to with their life, especially a League Two side, and when Pope confirmed that he’d be spending the next three years with the Vale back in February, it was music to most fans’ ears.
Port Vale are currently 1/9 to be promoted this season- sitting 2nd in the league but seven points clear of the playoffs. Part of the reason for that is Tom Pope, who is currently as short as 1/14 to finish League Two’s top goal scorer.

Neither of these are worth a bet of course, unless you are investing considerable amounts, but you might consider Port Vale to win the league outright at 6/5 with their talisman leading the line.

You can also generally pick up Tom Pope to score anytime at just less than evens most weekends- always worth a bet in this kind of form!

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