Cult Hero 35: Colin Tartt

We take a look at the Port Vale career of Colin Tartt – a ‘hard as nails’ full-back who spent two lengthy spells with the club in the seventies and eighties.

After making 327 Port Vale appearances, 18th in the club’s all-time appearance list, over two spells, Tartt perhaps deserves a place in our cult hall of fame for sheer loyalty to the cause. But thankfully for us, there are plenty of other reasons for Colin to be fondly remembered by Valeites.

He was a player who despite a “hard as nails” reputation, played with a smile on his face, endearing him to the Vale Park crowd…

One was his wayward shooting ability – although he managed 33 goals, he probably hit three times that number way over the goal. Another was his distinctive running style – a kind of Robbie Earle-esque high stepping action. And finally he was a player who despite a “hard as nails” reputation, played with a smile on his face, endearing him to the Vale Park crowd.

So, let’s celebrate the career of Colin Tartt…

Tartt qualified as a teacher before he joined the Valiants, initially on trial, in June 1972. His debut was hardly the stuff of legends – his first game was a 7-0 loss to Rotherham – but he did enough to become a regular in the 1972-73 season.

The hard-working Tartt had to wait three years to score his first Vale goal – but when he did, he went on something of a roll, netting nine times in the next two seasons.

One of his more memorable strikes was a goal against Crystal Palace in March 1976. Colin’s equaliser inspired the Sun’s memorable headline “Palace sunk by jammy Tartt.”

He was sold to Chesterfield in 1977 and was somewhat uniquely targeted for abuse by a rival manager. Ahead of the Spireites’ appearance in the Anglo-Scottish cup, Rangers manager John Griegg bizarrely labelled Tartt as “the worst full-back inEurope.” Colin duly had the last laugh as Chesterfield defeated Rangers 3-0.

Tartt returned for a second spell at Vale in 1981. He was involved in a bust-up with manager John McGrath that saw him transfer-listed but returned to enjoy probably his proudest Vale moment as he played 48 times during Vale’s 1982-183 promotion season.

By this time, Tartt was getting on in years and but he departed in memorable style, hitting a goal from the half-way line against Scunthorpe United.

After a brief spell in non-league football he returned to teaching but he’s still fondly remembered in Burslem.

Colin Tartt
Cult credentials:
Hard-working, tough, wayward but sometimes spectacular shooting, played with a smile
Time at Port Vale:
1972-77, 1981-1985


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