Exiled Valiant Barry Edge lives in Australia and is a regular columnist for onevalefan. Here is another of his exclusive poems about one of the Legends of our past.
This dedication draws on Rob Fielding’s exclusive interview with Steve Guppy, conducted in May 2002, and onevalefan.
Guppy – A Legend of our Past
He was playing ‘Reserves for Newcastle United
When ‘Vale’s number two was more than delighted
With his flair and dash, plus style of play,
The news of which made Rudgie’s day,
So the Port Vale boss told Billy Dearden
To speak at once to Kevin Keegan.
Newcastle’s gaffer was honest with Steve
And told him he was free to leave
To join Port Vale in Division One
A deal almost good as done,
So with feelings mixed he packed his kit
And prepared to make the Burslem trip.
When he arrived in the Hamil in ninety-four
He saw a billboard on a door
‘A Premier Star signs for Vale’
On that November day it was a happy tale,
Great news he thought ‘who could it be?’
Then quickly checked ‘they’re talking about me!’
The Potteries Derbies gave him personal pride
Because he was never on the losing side,
But his standout game was in ninety-six
A day in which Everton were between and betwixt
From the likes of Foyle, Naylor and Porter,
Plus Bogie man Ian to add to their torture.
With Aspin, Tankard and Griffiths too
The Merseyside boys wondered what to do
To curb Port Vale’s dashing two wing attack
That never surrendered; never looked back,
And who ran and taunted in a dazzling display
Leaving the FA Cup holders in complete disarray.
For those who were there it was a wonderful sight,
Guppy on the left; McCarthy on the right,
Combining together in their own special way
To outrun and outpass and completely outplay
A Premiership side with its back to the wall
And its ‘Cup reputation ready to tumble and fall.
In the eighteenth minute Bogie made it one-nil
And the Toffee Men were certainly feeling the chill
Of knowing their game was really in trouble
That Vale was the team to burst their bubble,
With emotions running high on that Valentine’s Day
The visitors were having a miserable stay.
Just before half-time Valiant hearts stood still
When Everton’s Stuart passed Andy Hill
Against the run of play, and to their followers’ delight,
Put the ball in the net past Musselwhite,
But Rudgie’s ‘Lads remained on their metal,
For them that day was to be something special.
It was more of the same in the second half
With Port Vale attacking right from the start,
Then a throw-in by Tankard sent a smiling Steve
On a blistering run and a magic weave,
And when his pinpoint cross found Jon McCarthy
All Valiants knew it was time to party.
That second goal in the sixty-ninth minute
Had finally stretched Everton to the limit,
The all-round performance from the ‘Lads in white
Gave Port Vale supporters a memorable night,
And Rudgie’s joy was vocal and loud
Declaring the ‘Lads had done themselves proud.
The Winchester Wizard was being watched from afar
And would eventually become a Premiership star,
But when recruited by Leicester in ninety-seven
Did he know he would wear the number eleven
And fulfil what must be every boy’s dream
To play international in his country’s team?
He keeps in touch with football mates
Like Jon McCarthy, another Vale great,
He admired Griffiths and Glover, Tankard as well
Plus Martin Foyle – they were together at the ‘Dell,
But now that he is an Internet man
He’ll check for others on onevalefan.
Of those who have guided his career
His dad is the one he holds most dear,
And Martin O’Neill his manager has been
With the Wycombe, Leicester and Celtic teams,
But for Rudgie there is a special place
In the heart of this genuine football ace.
There are many reasons why Valiants rate
Steve Guppy as an all time great,
But more than that, he’s been voted the king
Of all who have played on Vale’s left wing,
And on the Scroll of Honour in Rob’s Hall of Fame
Etched forever is Steve Guppy’s name.
May 10, 2002