Cult hero Bert Eardley: this is the story of the locally born football player who would only play for one team – his beloved Port Vale.
Rob Fielding writes…
Bert Eardley was born in 1879 in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. He joined Port Vale when he was twenty years old and in the second-half of the 1899-1900 season he was handed his debut – scoring in a 1-1 draw with Luton Town.
He played more regularly in the 1900-1901 season, playing as a right-half or right-winger he scored seven times in thirty games including one against Woolwich Arsenal.
From this point onwards, he was a regular squad member and with a decent goalscoring record – averaging a goal every four to five games.
However, in 1906-1907, Bert’s eighth season with the club, disaster struck. Vale were struggling financially and at the end of the season the club folded leaving Bert and the rest of the players out of work.
Ever the loyal Valiant, it is believed Bert turned down any approaches from other clubs and remained a free agent until the club reformed in December 1908. Eardley immediately resigned and went straight into the first-team.
He was eventually released at the end of the 1909-1910 season at the age of 31 and having played 228 times, scoring 44 times for the Valiants which were (of course) the only club he played for.
Cult hero Bert Eardley
Cult credentials: Loyalty and long service