Our weekly magazine article looks at Louis Dodds and his contribution to the Port Vale side.
He’s one of the players that has always divided opinion, but surely even his critics will concede that Louis Dodds deserves his place in the spotlight after his 300th appearance for the club.
This Vale fan belongs firmly in the Louis Dodds’ fanclub. To me, the reason why many of Vale’s players are in the division they are is because they lack the consistency required to play higher up the league. Dodds is one of those players but on his day, his best is very good indeed.
Over the years, Dodds has been a victim of his willingness to play anywhere in the side. Is he a striker at which point that quote of being “the best finisher in the club” (actually something that was attributed to him during his Leicester days, not his Vale Park spell) will undoubtedly crop up, is he a winger (I don’t think so), a midfielder (ditto) or a withdrawn forward (that’s his best position in my view)?
I think this lack of a recognised position in the team has hampered Dodds’ own consistency.
I would agree with former Vale striker Tom Pope in that Dodds “has a great brain and he sees passes that nobody else sees” and that is why I believe he is best-suited to the withdrawn striker role. He lacks the pace to play further forward, in my view, but from that less advanced role, his range of passing can excel.
But enough of Dodds’ skill set, let’s just remember his longevity and loyalty. He was one of the group of players who pledged allegiance despite Vale being in administration in 2012. He’s also almost always one of the first players to announce he’s signed a new contract in the summer. There’s rarely any long and drawn-out negotiations when it comes to Louis staying at the club.
He signed his latest contract in the summer and he could remain at the club until the end of next season. In that time, he could get well go past the 350 game barrier but his quote on signing that contract perhaps sums up the love-hate relationship fans have with him. “I like it here,” he told BBC Radio Stoke. “I like the fans and I think the majority of them like me.”
Now he’s got to the 300-mark and settled in the withdrawn forward role perhaps a few more fans will join the Louis Dodds fanclub?
I hope so.
With Louis Dodds having completed 300 games for Vale, here’s a quiz on the forward…
1. He scored on his debut against?
a. Mansfield Town
b. Luton Town
c. Cheltenham Town
2. How old is he (on the date this article is published)?
3. What football team does he support?
a. Leicester City
b. Sheffield United
c. Sheffield Wednesday
Torquay United continue to be the National League’s crisis club, so Nathan Smith is definitely learning the hard way. The defender played 90 minutes as United lost 2-0 at Lincoln. Meanwhile, Lewis Bergin has had his loan spell extended at Kidsgrove.
Anthony Grant was a runaway winner of the Wigan vote
- Anthony Grant – 70%
- Louis Dodds – 16%
- Uche Ikpeazu – 6%
So overall, the leaderboard looks like this:
- Grant 4 (Swindon, Gillingham, West Brom, Wigan)
- Dodds 1 (Doncaster)
- Purkiss 1 (Crewe)
- Andoh 1 (Burnley)
- Dickinson 1 (Bradford)
- Dodds 1 (Carlisle)
Quote of the week
Chairman Norman Smurthwaite on the launch of the Port Vale Foundation:
“I’m extremely pleased because I’m a great believer that we have a responsibility in doing what we can for the youth within the Burslem area….”
Tweet of the day
Carl Dickinson wants to notify the FIFA 16 haircut police!
Epic fail – Craig Rocastle
Epic Fail Ratings
Time at club: One season
Highpoint: A goal against Yeovil
Lowpoint: Released just eight months into a two-year contract
It will come as no surprise to Vale fans present during the disastrous 2007-2008 season that several of Martin Foyle’s summer signings will feature in this section.
Rocastle joined the Vale to some fanfare as he was one of a “triple swoop” comprising of Paul Edwards, Keith Lowe and Rocastle. It’s fair to say that none were a great success.
Former Oldham midfielder Rocastle had signed a two-year deal but it was soon apparent that he had serious shortcomings in midfield. Like winger Edwards, he was so one-footed, it was almost comical. This fan remembers one away match where Rocastle displayed the turning skills of an ocean-going liner as he attempted to get the ball onto his one good foot.
There was one highpoint – Rocastle scored the winner in an encouraging 3-0 win over Yeovil – but that goal was probably the highlight of his career.
When Lee Sinnott took over from Martin Foyle, Rocastle was promptly loaned out to Gillingham (who also didn’t want him) and in April 2008, just eight months into his two year contract, he was released. He then went to play in Greece for Thrasyvoulos Fylis and spells in non-league before moving to the USA and playing football there.
One hit wonder
We briefly celebrate the brief careers of players who made a solitary appearance for the club.
One Hit Wonder
Name: Winston White
Sole Appearance: 29th October 1983
Winger Winston White had a footballing career that spanned more than 550 games. But just one of them was in Port Vale colours.
White’s was in a 2-1 loss to Newport County. He’d joined on trial but he left the club two days after his solitary game and subsequently joined Stockport County.
Ironically, White’s sole game was just two days before another “one hit wonder” Alan Oakes was to make his only Vale appearance.
Quiz of the week answers: