Here’s a clip of one of the eight goals scored in Internationals by Vale players – and this one is by OVF’s favourite player Andy Jones.
Midway through a season that would see Jones net a majestic 38 goals for the club, the former Rhyl man was called up for the full Wales International side. The game was a crucial qualification game for the 1988 European championships with Finland as the opponents. Jones would be in the same squad as Welsh legends Mark Hughes, Ian Rush, Neville Southall and Kevin Ratcliffe.
The match was held in Wrexham and thousands of Vale fans made the journey to the Racecourse Ground to cheer on their star striker. In the crowd (and featured in the video at 2:45 minutes) was a banner that proudly proclaimed “Port Vale’s Andy Jones skins the Finns.” Jones didn’t quite skin the opposition but he did manage to score on his debut, a feat no other Vale International has managed to replicate.
The two sides for the game were:
Wales: Neville Southall,Clayton Blackmore, Kenny Jackett, Kevin Ratcliffe, Pat van den Hawe, Robbie James, Peter Nicholas, Glyn Hodges, David Phillips, Andy Jones, Ian Rush
Finland: Laukkanen, Pekonen, Ikäläinen, Europaeus, Petäjä, Turunen, Holmgren, Tauriainen, Rantanen, Juha Tiainen, Hjelm
Here’s a brief extract from Rob Fielding’s interview with Andy Jones in which he recalls that match:
Rob Fielding: I was also one of the many Vale fans who traveled to Wrexham for your International debut. What was it like scoring on your International debut and did scoring it in front of so many travelling Vale fans make a difference?
Andy Jones: That night is still very fresh in the memory for many reasons.
I was actually told by Wrexham as a schoolboy that I was not good enough to play professionally, so there was something to prove there.
When we came out for the warm-up Mark Hughes pointed out the Vale banners. I just couldn’t believe you had all come, it was a great feeling knowing Vale supporters were there just for me.
Scoring really put the icing on the cake, particularly that late in the game. It’s a moment I’m very proud of.