Not all the cult heroes we will feature stayed at Vale for a long time and Chris Killen is a fine example of a brief, but hugely popular stay.
Name: Chris Killen
Cult credentials: Prolific short stay, now a World Cup finals star
Time at Vale: 2001
Chris Killen’s loan spell at Vale Park was one of the most prolific in recent memory, with perhaps only Tony Sealy and David Lowe enjoying similarly successful spells.
The 20 year-old New Zealand International arrived at Vale Park in September 2001 and the tall striker promptly scored on his debut – which ironically was against Wrexham, a club for whom he had also spent a period on loan.
Killen didn’t rest on his laurels, he scored in his next game (away at Wycombe) and then netted twice on his home debut – a 5-0 thrashing of Cambridge United.
He eventually netted six goals in nine appearances for Vale and his form was such, he was promptly recalled to the Manchester City first-team.
Things didn’t progress so smoothly after the end of his loan.
He was unable to force a regular place at Maine Road and was sold to Oldham for £200,000. After a prolific spell there, he moved on to Celtic and eventually Middlesbrough, for whom he currently plays.
Still blessed with the ability to find the back of the net, Killen has a record of more than one goal every four games, having scored 57 times in 208 appearances.
Unless you’re reading this some time after this was published, he’s also starring in the World Cup, being one of two former Valiants (the other being Dave Mulligan) to be playing for New Zealand in South Africa.
Who’d have imagined that when the young, lanky striker first arrived at Vale Park?