Weekly Digest: Reasons to be cheerful

Our weekly magazine article rounds up stories from the last week and also a few favourites from further back in time.


This week…

Despite the doubters, Vale are off to a good start…


There’s a section of the support who’ll never be happy…

One accusation often leveled at Vale fans is that if there’s a negative to be drawn, then some fans are more than happy to produce it. In other words, there’s a section of the support who’ll never be happy.

Well, in an effort to raise spirits, here are some stats…

  • 1953-54: W-D-D
  • 1982-83: L-D-D
  • 1993-94: L-D-W
  • 2015-16: D-W-D

That’s the opening three results from three promotion-winning seasons (including the 1953-54 record-breaking campaign) and this one. We’ve picked up the same results this season as the Valiants did in 1953.

When you consider that Vale’s win this season came against Championship side Burnley then we think there’s more than enough reasons to be cheerful.

Yes, it’s early doors and perhaps the two draws should be wins, but we’ve achieved this start without key performers Chris Neal and Michael O’Connor. So, let’s look on the bright side and look up rather than down after the Gillingham result…

Former Valiants: Sam’s the man…

There are many former Valiants in action at the moment but perhaps one that has slipped under the radar is stand-in Hartlepool manager Sam Collins. Collins has taken over the team after Ronnie Moore took leave due to a family illness and has guided the club to two straight wins. Hartlepool’s 2-1 win over York came courtesy of a goal by Billy Paynter, a former team-mate of Collins.

Elsewhere, Tom Pope scored his first competitive goal for Bury, Jordan Hugill was sent-off playing for Preston and Marc Richards netted for Northampton. In the National League, Danny Whitaker was on the mark for Macclesfield.

Quick quiz of the week…


Five of the fourteen players who featured for Vale in their League Cup win over Burnley have twenty or less first-team appearances to their name. Clearly, full debutant Enoch Andoh was one of them, but can you name the others? Answers at the bottom of this page…



Aziz Deen-Conteh became the second player to go out on loan as he joined Boston United for a month. Rob Page is pleased for the left-back telling the Sentinel that “I think sending him out to play real men’s football will bring him on leaps and bounds.” Fellow defender Nathan Smith is also earning plaudits at Torquay United, winning the sponsor’s MOTM award after his first appearance. Vale are also seeking a loan deal for striker Achille Campion.

How did Vale’s loanees fare on Saturday? Well, they both enjoyed wins. Smith’s Torquay side beat Neil Aspin’s AFC Halifax Town (for whom Kingsley James played) 3-2. Deen-Conteh played the 90 minutes as Boston beat nine-man Curzon Ashton 2-1.

Weekly awards…

Man of the match result…


It was a memorable debut for defender Ben Purkiss who was the winner of the OVF man of the match vote against Crewe.

The results were as follows:

  1. Ben Purkiss (31%)
  2. Byron Moore (27%)
  3. Anthony Grant (11%)

Quote of the week…

His “how many mirrors do you have in your house Lee?” comment was good, but BBC Radio Stoke’s Ray Williams’ view on Enoch Andoh’s debut was better. Asked by Lee Blakeman to assess his home debut, Ray simply opined…

“I think I love him…”


Tweet of the week…

Sam Kelly received a special gift on his full League debut…


Blasts from the past

Ponder the past…


What is the significance of that sequence? Answer at the bottom of the page.

“Steak and Chips” – a Q&A session with John Ridley

Taken from the mid-1970’s we hope you enjoy this vintage programme interview with Vale’s John Ridley. We’re particularly fond of his “personal ambition”…

Chamberlains: Breaking down barriers in 1979…

We like this vintage photograph of the Chamberlain brothers lining-up together for Port Vale in the late 1970’s. The ground-breaking pair were responsible for many feats in Vale colours. Mark made his debut aged just 16 while Neville was the club’s first-ever black professional. Mark was named in the PFA Fourth Division team of the season in 1982 and following a move to Stoke City he went on to represent England.


Epic Vale Fails: Martin Henderson

Epic Fail Ratings

Cost: £8,000 plus Bob Newton

Impact: Helped to relegate the club

Highpoint: A purple patch of three goals in six games

Lowpoint: Sacked after failing to turn up for training

For Vale supporters still basking in the 1982-83 promotion season, the new Third Division campaign should have been a period of consolidation and development. Instead, it turned into a nightmare. The team had to endure a 7-0 defeat to Burnley and the dismissal of John McGrath. And at the centre of it all was the signing of Martin Henderson.

The goals of Bob Newton had propelled Vale into the new division but McGrath seemed to be uncertain if the burly striker could cope in Division Three. To some surprise and disquiet, rather than bringing in competition for Newton, he opted to sell him and bring in Henderson. The warning signs should have been there – Henderson had totalled four and six goals in two seasons for Leicester City. He fared scarcely better at Vale Park.

Henderson netted just seven times as Vale were relegated. His stay was an unhappy one and to no general surprise, he was sacked in the summer of 1984 when he failed to turn up for pre-season training.

One hit wonder… Delape Olaoye


We briefly celebrate the brief careers of players who made a solitary appearance for the club.

Dele had been in the Vale junior squad and made his senior debut in 2000 coming on to replace Tony Naylor in the 84th minute of Vale’s 3-0 win over Oxford. That six minutes would be the only first-team action he got as he was released at the end of the season although… he did return to the club as a trialist in 2005 (when the above photo was taken). Sadly, his second attempt at a Vale career also ended in failure as despite a few goals in friendlies, he failed to earn a contract.

He went on to play for Rugby Town and Redditch.

Video Vault: League Cup Classics

To celebrate Vale’s win over Burnley, here are some more favourite League Cup moments on video…

Quick quiz of the week answers:

Enoch Andoh (2)
Jak Alnwick (19)
Remie Streete (6)
Ryan Inniss (20)
Sam Kelly (2)

Ponder the past answer:

Jim Gannon’s managerial record at Vale.



Weekly Digest: Reasons to be cheerful
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