A veteran striker, often overshadowed by his more free-scoring partner Wilf Kirkham, Tom Page still achieved a notable feat in the Potteries derbies.
Page’s Potteries derby moment came in 1920, his first season with the club. Page, a striker, had been signed in the summer from St Mirren for a fee of £400. Partnered upfront with Bob Blood, Page had already scored on his debut and for his seventh game, he was set to face Stoke City on September 25th – only the third league encounter between the two sides.
Page found the target for his second Vale goal – and the club’s first league goal against their neighbours…
Page found the target for his second Vale goal – and the club’s first league goal against their neighbours. Billy Briscoe scored another and with a 2-1 win, the Valiants recorded their first league win over their rivals. The victory was made even sweeter when Vale won the away fixture 1-0 to record a notable league double over their rivals.
Page was to prove prolific against the Potters, netting two more times, goals that put him in joint second-place alongside Martin Foyle for career goals scored against Stoke City.
But it wasn’t just derby goals that Page will be remembered for. His old strike partner, Bob Blood had been sold and in 1923 Vale had promoted a local youngster called Wilf Kirkham into their senior ranks. Page was now aged 35 and he provided an ideal foil for 22 year-old Kirkham.
Kirkham was initialy used as cover for established front two Page and Briscoe but in just a year, the youngster had rapidly become first-choice after notching 33 goals in his first full season.
Despite the goal-scoring prowess of the youngster, the veteran Page remained a key player and first-team regular. He scored ten goals for three consecutive seasons while partner Kirkham broke club records with 35 goals in the 1925-26 season.
Page was finally released in 1929 at 40 years of age. He had made over 300 appearances for the club and had scored 65 goals. None more notable than that first strike against neighbours Stoke City.
Cult credentials: Potteries Derby hero, unsung striker, longevity
Honours: Top scorer 1923-24