Today marks four years since striker Tom Pope joined the Valiants. Four years and 66 goals later, we look back at his Vale career.
Pope joined Vale on January 28th 2011, initially on a month’s loan from Rotherham. Pope was signed by Jim Gannon, who reacted to the injury sustained by Marc Richards by signing Pope.
His loan spell didn’t begin in a blaze of glory – he missed a penalty in his second appearance…
His loan spell didn’t begin in a blaze of glory – he missed a penalty in his second appearance – but he finally got off the mark in his fourth game, scoring twice in a 2-1 win over Bradford.
Gannon managed to extend the loan spell to three months but Pope was recalled early after manager Ronnie Moore left Rotherham.
Pope had made it clear that he would love to return to Vale and he got his wish in the summer of 2011 when Vale signed him on a one-year deal. Pope had turned down more lucrative offers from Morecambe and Mansfield to join the Valiants.
His first season was not prolific and included fifteen games without a goal. Pope did become the target of the boo boys due to his poor goal return, but he was to prove the doubters wrong in 2012-13.
Pope hit the net 33 times that season as the Valiants were promoted. He was named the club’s player of the year as well as in the PFA team of the year…
Pope hit the net 33 times that season as the Valiants were promoted. He was named the club’s player of the year as well as in the PFA team of the year.
Last season, Pope hit 15 goals during Vale’s return to League One and picked up his second, successive player of the year award – the first Vale player ever to win it in successive seasons.
He is currently on 66 goals for the club – but with nine goals already this season and Pope back to full fitness, there is every chance that tally will increase before the end of this campaign.