Let’s be fair and cheer (not jeer) former players

Let’s be fair and cheer (not jeer) former players

OVF founder Rob Fielding argues that it’s high time we appreciated what former players achieved for our club rather than simply jeering their every move when they return to Vale Park.

Rob Fielding writes

It’s time to give our departed players the recognition that they deserve. Like it or not, there is no “umbilical cord of loyalty” that tied Marc Richards, Sean Rigg and Anthony Griffith to Vale Park come what may.

Rob Fielding has been editing OVF since 1996. He can confirm he’s not had any better offers from other football fansites… yet!

In another era, players like Roy Sproson did indeed stay with the club, come what may, but that was then and this is now. One reason for this lack of “one clubmanship” could be that people, in general, are much more mobile. Look at Rigg, for instance, who’s variously played in Bristol, Essex (Grays) and Stoke-on-Trent. Or Richards who had half a dozen clubs before joining Vale. Players will move on if they feel it’s the right thing to do.

These three players were professionals doing a job and they’ve moved because in their professional view – better wages and better prospects lie away from Vale Park. That sort of view isn’t called “disloyalty” it’s called “ambition.”

Just read what the trio had to say about their moves:

Marc Richards –  “The offer Chesterfield made was too good to turn down at this stage, both for me and my family. Vale fans have a good heart. I will never forget them. I’d like to thank them for their support.”

Sean Rigg – “Contract-wise, this is certainly the best deal for my family. It’s also the right move for my career – perhaps I need a fresh start.”

Anthony Griffith – “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Vale, so leaving was a big decision. It is a good club, with a good heart, and the fans have been fantastic. But this is a chance to play in a higher league and it was a chance I couldn’t turn down.”

So these moves offer their family security, the financial aspect was too good to turn down and it’s a chance (in Griffith’s case) to work at a higher level. In many respects these so-called “disloyal” players are doing the exact opposite because they are doing the right thing for their own families in ensuring (to use Sean Rigg’s words) “the best deal.” In my book, that’s commendable, not condemnable.

Would any of you seriously stay in your present job if a similar opportunity arose to be better paid and have better career development opportunities? More importantly, presuming you worked hard at your old job, would you be happy if your former colleagues jeered you whenever you returned to your old workplace?

After a combined total of 483 games and 91 goals in our club colours, Rigg, Richards and Griffith surely deserve an appreciative round of applause, not a chorus of boos, when they return to Vale Park.


  1. Spot on. We’re all looking fr better jobs or jobs with more pay. The reason these players have been snaffled is that they’re good. Like a job interview – the employer goes for the best available.

  2. I have no time for any so-called fan who boos his own team’s players – past or present. As for the three who have left, they have all served the Vale well in difficult circumstances and none of them mentioned the attitude of the fans as a contributory factor to their decisions although all have suffered abuse at times. Roy Sproson served the Vale at the time of the maximum wage although other local lads left the Vale in that era to further their ambitions – notably Ronnie Allen, Bill McGarry, Alan Martin. In those days fans took a pride in the achievements of their former players as I and many others still do today. Unfortunately many Vale “fans” follow the example of our management team and believe players can be bullied into playing better.

  3. And surely the same should also apply to John Rudge, after doing what was right for himself after being sacked.

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