Here are five of Rob Fielding’s personal highlights from thirty years as a Vale fan.
This list contains some great performances, great goals and upsets against the odds. If you feel you can predict when Vale will upset the odds next and put in another memorable performance why not take advantage of free bet offers which we recommend and you could be a winner both on and off the pitch.
1. Port Vale 2-1 Spurs, 1988
It was a close call which game was the top of the pile but this one edges it for several reasons. Prior to the match, Vale’s would have been odd-on to lose a match that no-one would have felt they could have won. It was also the first time I had experienced the thrill of a giantkilling at Vale.
In the long-term, Vale’s giantkilling and the TV coverage of the cup run generated enough money to not only keep John Rudge in a job but also gave him the transfer kitty take Vale into the Second Division.
2. Port Vale 2-1 Everton, 1995
The reason why this is second and not top in my list isn’t down to the performance. Arguably this game was the most complete performance under John Rudge, Vale completely outplayed the cup holders and thoroughly deserved victory.
However, it wasn’t as much of a shock as the Spurs game. Vale were higher-placed, had held Everton at home and were fast gaining a reputation as giantkillers. Having said all that, the wingplay of Steve Guppy and Jon McCarthy remains a joy to behold.
3. Port Vale 3-1 Stoke City, 1992
I haven’t picked this just because it was a win over the local rivals.
To me, the moment that showed the class of John Rudge’s side was evident in this match. While Stoke’s Dave Regis’ shot stuck in the Vale Park puddles, classy striker Martin Foyle showed his skill and composure by dinking the third and decisive goal in so it didn’t get clogged in the mud.
I look at this clip nowadays and revel in a packed Vale Park for live TV coverage.
4. Derby 2-3 Port Vale, 1990
For some reason, this game is somewhat overshadowed by the Everton and Spurs games, but it remains a consumate performance by Rudge’s side and all achieved away from home to boot. The stand-out moment is undoubtedly a lung-busting run by full-back Darren Hughes to set up Nicky Cross for Vale’s third.
5. Port Vale 2-1 Stockport County, 1993
Port Vale’s first visit to Wembley has to go in the list – especially when that visit results in a win. But it wasn’t just the result that created a lasting impression – once again Vale’s elegant football impressed on the big stage with two excellent goals from Paul Kerr and verteran Bernie Slaven.