Ray King, the goalkeeper of Port Vale’s legendary 1954 side has sadly passed away aged 89.
The news was confirmed by Ray’s son, Gary, who wrote “It is with tremendous sadness that I have to tell you that my dad, Ray King, passed away yesterday afternoon, 19th July.
“He was one month shy of his 90th birthday. He was the kindest and most gentle of men and a remarkable husband and father.”
King, who played for the England ‘B’ side is widely regarded as the finest goalkeeper in Port Vale’s history.
Our thoughts are with Ray’s family and friends at this sad time.
Ray King 1924-2014. RIP Forever Valiant
More on the King of the Steele Curtain
King began his career at Newcastle United before joining the Valiants in 1949. He soon became first-choice and remained so until he left the club in 1957. During the 1953-54 season, he played in all but one of the team’s games and kept a club record 29 clean sheets. He even kept his place after chipping a bone in his right knee towards the end of the season.
He was called up to the England squad in 1954 and made one appearance for a ‘B’ side. He was also an unused sub for the full England squad. In 1957, he left Vale to join Boston United as player manager.
After retiring as a player, he published two books – Hands, Feet and Balls and To the End of the Road.
Port Vale appearances: 252
Honours: Football League Third Division (North) champions
OVF has interviewed Ray King about his time at Port Vale. He told us that he believed the 1954 side was “on a par with all the top teams in the country at the time. We could have beaten anyone.” The lengthy interview, which took place in 2000, can be found through this link