Some cult heroes build their reputation over months or even years – Kevin Finney’s cult credentials was assured after a solitary FA Cup goal…
Name: Kevin Finney
Cult qualifications: unlikely saviour
Time at Vale: 1987-1991
So far, so good, we’ve looked at five classic cult heroes in some depth. We’ll try our best with Kevin, whose cult credentials almost entirely rest on one moment in 1988.
Finney’s header saved John Rudge’s career, paving the way for a memorable giant-killing…
In an otherwise, uneventful Vale career, Finney struggled for first-team football, finding central midfield already well stocked with the likes of Ray Walker, Robbie Earle, Simon Mills and the emerging Andy Porter.
It looked like Finney’s Vale career would follow the likes of his close contemporaries: Wayne Simpson, Chris Banks and Steve Harper – all local lads who made the first-team breakthrough, but failed to take the next step and become a first-team must-pick.
And it would have been if it hadn’t been for one thing… Finney scored against Macclefield Town in the FA Cup and in the process saved John Rudge’s career.
If you don’t believe us about the importance of that header then read the views of respected Sentinel journalist Chris Harper, who told Radio Five Live: “Who knows what might have happened had they not got through that game ?…In fact, the Chairman said to me that he would not have looked forward to the following Monday if they hadn’t got through…”
But Finney’s header saved John Rudge’s career, paving the way for a memorable giant-killing and a glorious period in Vale’s history – not that, after his solitary moment in the spotlight, our Kevin played much of a part in it…