We’re delighted to have an exclusive chat with Port Vale legend Ian Taylor who reminisces about his time with the Valiants.
Taylor was one of John Rudge’s non-league “chancers” – a player that Rudge took out of the non-league circuit for a relatively cheap transfer fee in the hope of making him into a first-team player for the club. Taylor cost just £15,000 (a fee that eventually rose to £25,000) when Rudge signed him from Moor Green and was sold just two years later for £1m.
So, it’s only natural we begin our interview by finding out how Rudgie first got in touch with the midfielder. Taylor explains: “It was at a cup final at the Hawthorns for Moor Green FC,” he told us. “We won the Midland Floodlit Cup and I scored.”
“After the game John Rudge, manager at Port Vale at the time accosted me in the car park and begged me to join them. His enthusiasm was unbelievable and he explained to me how he’d play me and I’d be in the team and it turned out to be true! I could have joined teams in higher divisions but wanted to play straight away.
It was a choice Taylor wouldn’t forget as Rudge was to have a huge influence on the player’s fledgling Football League career. Taylor was effusive with his praise for the former Vale manager saying Rudge was “a massive influence! He had so much faith in me it was unreal.”
Taylor’s Vale career
Time at club: 1992-1994
Bio: Signed from non-league Moor Green for £15,000. Taylor was Player of the Year and top scorer with nineteen goals during his first season.
He was a key member of the Autoglass Trophy winning side and moved on to Sheffield Wednesday for £1m before moving to boyhood idols Aston Villa.
The midfielder believes that faith was due, at least in part, to Taylor’s non-league background with Rudge always keen to develop non-league talent. Taylor told us: “He took great pride in finding good players in the lower leagues, a trait that I like. He saw me as an ideal replacement for Robbie Earle who had been sold to Wimbledon.”
The midfielder had several highlights during his spell at the club, but what was his favourite match? Taylor explains that the club’s first visit to Wembley in the Autoglass Trophy final was the game that meant the most to him.
“My favourite Vale match moment would have to be walking out at Wembley in my first season in league football,” Taylor explains. “It was an amazing day winning the Autoglass Trophy against Stockport and it was a welcome to professional football for me!”
It was an amazing day winning the Autoglass Trophy against Stockport…
Taylor was a prolific scorer during his spell with the club, so were there any goals that stood out? Taylor tells us: “My favourite goal would have to be the ‘overhead backheel’ at Vale Park versus Fulham. ‘Unorthodox’ would have to be the word! Not many goals have been scored like that!”
Here’s a clip of the game against Fulham featuring that goal:
We also wanted to know Ian’s opinion on the Vale Park supporters and he was full of praise for the Vale Park faithful.
After everything they’ve been through in years gone by it was great to see them celebrating. They deserve it!
“The fans were tremendous for me and took to me straight away. I was there at Vale Park to see them clinch promotion against Northampton Town last season and what a day it was for them. Not only did I get a fantastic reception, but after everything they’ve been through in years gone by it was great to see them celebrating. They deserve it!”
Taylor is now retired from the game, aside from his business interests it7audio (which manufacture top-of-the-range headphones) and stadial (a joint-venture to ” join the dots between sports, music, media and business”) Taylor is a club ambassador for Aston Villa and an ambassador for the Help Harry Help Others charity (a cancer research charity).
Despite all those commitments, he still took the time out to visit OVF recently and told us that: “It’s always good to have fan orientated websites and blogs such as yours to get a real fan’s perspective. I think the OVF website is great! Especially when it shows my winning goals!”
OVF would like to thank Ian Taylor for answering our questions. As a gesture of our thanks, we have made a donation to Ian’s chosen charity – Help Harry Help Others.