A prolific scorer of 111 goals in three spells at the club, Brough would have been a club legend if it wasn’t for one crucial flaw…
Rob Fielding writes…
Local lad Joe Brough was born in Burslem in 1886. He joined the Valiants in 1906 and playing as a defender scored a solitary goal in 12 league appearances in the 1906-7 season.
Vale then hit financial trouble and were liquidated. Brough moved to neighbours Stoke City for a spell and also had a brief spell with Tottenham Hotspur.
Brough returned to the Valiants but this time as a centre forward. He was an immediate success with 43 goals in the 1909-10 season…
In 1909, Brough returned to the Valiants but this time as a centre forward. He was an immediate success with 43 goals in the 1909-10 season. His goalscoring came to the attention of Liverpool who signed him in 1910 and Brough scored a creditable three goals in 11 First Division games for the Reds.
After a brief spell at Bristol City, Brough returned to Vale for a third time in 1913.
He picked up where he left off with 35 goals in the 1913-14 season only for World War One to intervene. Brough enlisted in the army but returned in 1919. He scored a further eight goals in the next three seasons.
However, despite his prolific goalscorer feats, the majority of Brough’s goals had been scored when Vale were out of the Football League – something that somewhat dimished their impact. Although he netted 111 goals in 209 games, in League terms, his tally was a more disappointing six in 76 (albeit some of that spell was spent as a defender).
Brough was another of Vale’s players to engage in multiple sports. A keen sprinter and cyclist, he continued to cycle right up to his death aged 81 in 1968.
Cult credentials: Prolific, multiple spells at the club