In this second blog posting, Vale legend Ray Williams tells us more about his days at Vale Park and how the players “would go to the Vale Cafe and have pie, chips and gravy and an hour on the pin ball machine.”
It’s a fascinating account of life at Vale Park during the seventies including rival factions “the rum, bum and baccy” club and the “coaches school.”
My first day at Port Vale was a real eye-opener. Roy Sproson proudly handed me his No. 6 training kit as he was retiring as a player. Quick introductions were made, but I knew none of them even though I was living in Dartmouth Street no more than 100 yards from Vale Park!
After a warm up we were asked to split into three teams of five.
Tommy Mac [McLaren] shouted “Come on Willy, join our team.”
That is how the “RUM, BUM and BACCY” relay team were formed. The name was apt as we all liked a drink and a smoke. It was Bobby Gough, Tommy Mac, Brian Horton, John Brodie and me. We became firm buddies for the next couple of seasons until Bobby Gough got a free.
Gordon Lee loved his relay games and we usually won them. It made us very competitive and there was a good bond between us all.
Another team usually consisted of Sammy Morgan, Tony Lacey, Billy Summerscales, Bob Mountford and Roy Cross. This team were known as the “coaches school” – a nickname given to them by Tommy because they were always talking about football.
On away trips we were the team playing cards. The coaches school would be talking football as usual. If they broke out into laughter you could hear Tommy shout out “You lot would laugh if your **** was on fire!” It’s a phrase I still use today in memory of Tommy.
After training we would go to the Vale Cafe and have pie, chips and gravy and an hour on the pin ball machine. Although there was rivalry and some just did not get on with each other, we were as one on match-day and Vale Park became a bit of a fortress.
We weren’t a skillful side but we were a hard team – well maybe ten were. The Wrexham players used to take bets on when Micky Thomas would cry off with an injury when he knew he would be up against Tommy.
The mass brawl in the tunnel after the game against Wrexham was started by Tommy and Colin Tartt. Ten of the team were involved – I legged it into the dressing room to escape from big Eddy May. Happy Days!