Cult hero Paul Maguire: hmmm, this could be another controversial one – why did we chose a balding, ex-Stoke as a cult hero?
Cult hero Paul Maguire
Name: Paul Maguire
Cult credentials: Underrated, anti-hero with Stoke connections, a one dimensional player who did leave a legacy
Time at Vale: 1985-1988
OK, we admit, this may not be a promising start for some viewers.
Why choose a veteran at the tail end of his career, with seemingly little to offer than the ability to take short corners and who also (horror of horrors) played over 100 times for the neighbours down the road?
Well, Paul Maguire DID add something to the Vale side of the mid-eighties and as usual, the canny John Rudge had spotted it earlier than the rest of us.
Maguire had finished a spell in the United States MSL, playing for Tacoma Stars when he joined Vale. As a 29 year-old veteran of over 250 games he definitely added experience to what was very much a promising, young Vale side (the likes of Robbie Earle and Andy Jones were still promising youngsters at that time).
During play, Maguire often looked ineffectual with the stocky, shambling, balding figure making only occasional clever passes (although to his credit he also chipped with a number of valuable goals) – but his deadball abiity (and indeed its legacy) cannot be underplayed.
In Maguire’s first season, Vale won promotion thanks to the goals of the experienced Ally Brown and rookie Andy Jones forward partnership, but Maguire was the regular supplier through countless numbers of his trademark short corners.
Indeed, such was Maguire’s influence that the short corner routine continued after his departure.
Maguire left Vale on a free transfer in 1988, after 115 games and 22 games, but his short-corner game stayed with the club for at least another twelve months.
It helped the club to a further promotion in 1989. That time the supplier was Simon Mills, with Beckford flicking on and Earle supplying the finish in what was then known as the ‘MBE’.
Maguire would no doubt have been proud of them…