Canadian Randy Samuel is probably the only player called “Randy” to appear for the Valiants but aside from that, he also has several other claims for fame.
What claims to fame? Well, apart from playing alongside Ruud Gullit, Samuel is a national hero in his home country, he’s played in the World Cup finals, he’s one of a select number of Vale players to score on his debut and he’s the first Canadian to make a first-team appearance for Vale.
Let’s pick up Samuel’s story in 1985 as this was the moment Randy became a Canadian hero. The country’s football side were facing Honduras in a crucial World Cup qualifier. Samuel, known as the “quiet man” of the side, was a key member of the defence that held firm to secure a 0-0 draw and earn Canada a place in the World Cup finals for the first and (so far) only time. Although they soon departed after three straight losses in the group stages, Samuel was one of the few players to enhance his reputation.
Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven soon expressed an interest and snapped Samuel up. At the time, PSV were enjoying the best period in their club’s history. The side won back-to-back league championship and went on to win the European Cup in 1988. Naturally, with such a successful side (and star names such as Ruud Gullitt and Ronald Koeman) competition was intense and Samuel only made a half-a-dozen appearances for the Dutch champions.
Randolph (Randy) FitzGerald Samuel
A World Cup and national hero, a rare Port Vale International and an unusual name
Time at Port Vale:
Samuel remained in Holland, playing for FC Volendam and Fortuna Sittard but he left the latter when they were relegated in 1995. Later that year, he joined John Rudge’s side after a trial.
He signed a deal until the end of the season and got off to a flying start, scoring on his debut – a 1-1 away draw at Watford in November 1995. He was then a fairly regular starter in the side until he suffered a knee injury. Once recovered, he failed to regain his first-team spot and was released at the end of the 1995-96 season.
After leaving the Valiants, Samuel continued playing in the Norwegian and North American Leagues. When he retired in 2001, he had made 82 International appearances – a record that stood until 2010. He was also inducted into the Canada Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
Samuel has stuck with football after his playing days ended. He ran a soccer coaching school and is currently the head coach for a Canadian league side.
His side, Lobbans FC, are (at time of writing) looking for new players if anyone fancies being managed by a genuine Canadian footballing legend!
A YouTube video celebrating Samuel’s induction into the Hall of Fame
References: The images used in this article are from canadasoccer.com and www.thesoccerhalloffame.ca. Randy Samuel’s International appearances can be found at www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/samuel-intl.html