Uncomplaining McCombe’s my unsung player of the year

Uncomplaining McCombe’s my unsung player of the year

OVF founder Rob Fielding says that following the club’s end of season awards, he’d like to nominate defender John McCombe as deserving of more reward.


Uncomplaining McCombe is my unsung player of the year

By Rob Fielding

McCombe Factfile

John McCombe
Date of birth:
7th May 1985
Other clubs:
Huddersfield, Torquay (loan), Hereford
Vale stats:
169 starts
4 sub appearances
15 goals

Well done to Doug Loft on winning player of the season. Doug’s form this season has been excellent. However, despite awards for goal of the season, top goalscorer and even shirt off the back, I did notice that there was one award missing from this year’s Port Vale end of season awards.

That award was the Chairman’s award and there’s no real surprise it wasn’t included given that Vale doesn’t technically have a Chairman right now. In my mind, the Chairman’s award is effectively a clubman of the year award for the players and I have no doubt who I would award it to – John McCombe.

Why McCombe? Well, because he’s been the only constant at the back during a difficult season for the Vale backline.

McCombe has been partnered with FIVE centre-half partners this season. If you want to tally them up they are – Lee Collins, Gareth Owen, Liam Chilvers, Clayton McDonald and Joe Davis. And that’s not including Tom Pope, who was employed as emergency centre-half at Southend after McDonald was dismissed.

Throughout all the turmoil, McCombe has been arguably the defence’s most consistent performer throughout the season. He’s played 43 games and chipped in with the odd important goal – four in all. He was even dropped for a few games in October, but typically, there was no complaint, he simply knuckled down and forced his way back into the starting eleven.

I also feel that McCombe’s part in the development of Joe Davis should not be understated. Davis was thrown in at the deep end during a defensive crisis and could have sunk or swum. The fact that he has thrived in the first-team is in no small part due to Davis’ own abilities but the calming influence and experience of McCombe alongside him will doubtless have helped.

So, in the absence of an award for clubman of the year, I’d like to propose John McCombe as my unsung hero on the pitch this season.

Rob Fielding has been a Port Vale fan for 31 years. He welcomes your comments on this and other articles.

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