Former Vale club captain Tommy Widdrington talked to us about what it means to be captain and his unusual Alan Shearer connection.
Were you proud you were named as player of the year?
I was extremely proud and indeed shocked to be named as Vale’s Player of the Year, however, no personal accolades compensate for the huge disappointment of the relegation season.
I’ve read that you were spotted for Southampton by the same scout that discovered Alan Shearer – is that true?
Yes this is true. The man who spotted us is called Jack Hixon. If I listed all the other players Jack has unearthed I`d be here quite a while. Jack is 77 and has recently not been in good health, however I`m pleased to say he is now on the mend and is actually doing a little work for Burnley. Both Alan and I still speak to Jack at least twice a week, and he still goes for a pint with both of our Dads every Friday afternoon in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is a living legend!
You use the Internet – do you like the site – www.onevalefan.co.uk?
Although I do use the Internet I really am still very much a novice. I think the site really is great and I visit it just about every time I log on.
Did you adapt to Potteries life – did you try a North Staffs oatcake?
Myself and my wife Candice had settled very well in the area. We were really lucky with the neighbours we have, we got on really well with them all. Oh and I like bacon & cheese in my oatcakes!
What are Brian Horton’s qualities as a manager – was he influential in your decision to join Vale?
He is a very passionate man who really wants to do the best he can for Port Vale F.C. As he is the man who signed me I have to say he was influential in me signing for the club.
I was fully aware of what a difficult job he would have replacing John Rudge, not least in the eyes of the public. However towards the end of last season when things got really tough he never lost heart and tried to keep the lads minds focused even when our fate had already been sealed.
You enjoyed a good rapport with the fans everywhere you go – does their support spur you on and help your game?
At the end of the day I too am a football supporter so I suppose I try give as much to them as I would expect to receive if the roles were reversed. Of course it really does spur you on when you know you have the backing of your own fans.
Any advice for youngsters trying to get into the game?
This is really tough. As a dad myself I can see how many different opportunities will be available to my boys, whereas when I was a kid I lived for football. So my advice to any budding young stars of the future would be don`t let the idea of being a footballer mean you limit the time you give to other things because if indeed you are good enough your chance will come because nowadays the size of the scouting networks in this country are huge.
Any message for the Vale fans who visit the site from across the world?
Thanks for your continued support wherever you are in the world, and of course UP THE VALE!
Many thanks to Tommy Widdrington for taking part in the interview and his support for onevalefan