Striker Martin Foyle played for nine years, was the club’s second highest scorer of all time and is now manager. We pay tribute to his goalscoring exploits.
Martin Foyle was one of only a select number of Vale players to win the club’s Player of the Year award twice.
That is an achievement in itself.
But when one realises that his second award came in 1999, when Foyle was 36 years old and had previously ‘retired’ from football it only makes the feat even more remarkable.
Foyle was a unanimous choice as fans favourite that season. The so-called “bit part” player at the start of the season, ended up as club top scorer, the second-highest scorer in the club’s entire history and ultimately Vale’s saviour from relegation.
Foyle swept the boards at the award ceremony. This sums him up.
Foyle has never been anything other than the 100% professional combining total effort and dedication with no little skill. The player may have had to overcome serious injuries and the loss of his first team place, but he never gave up trying for the club.
Top scorer for three of his nine seasons with Vale, Foyle was a vital cog in the teams that won the Autoglass Trophy (1993) and promotion (1994).
Two memories of Foyle in particular give the measure of the man.
The first was a fantastic last ditch equaliser against Liverpool at fortress Anfield. Typically for Foyle, even though the final minutes were ticking down, he had never given up hope of a goal – and it duly came.
The second was a stunning finish to an FA Cup victory over Stoke. On a soaking pitch, Foyle ran over puddles and mud to collect a through ball from Nicky Cross. Taken wide, it seemed impossible to score from such a narrow angle and on a slippery surface.
However, showing supreme striking skill, Foyle, at full pace, chipped the ball from the narrowest of angles past the Stoke keeper and into the corner of the net.
I think this was the key to Martin Foyle – 100% effort and a striker’s brain.
After over 350 games and 108 goals it’s time to say goodbye to Martin Foyle the player.
Even though he’s now the club’s manager, I’m sure we’ll still be hearing the cries…
“Foyley! Get your boots on!”