Port Vale have had several prolific forwards in its history and as a result the achievements of Jack Wilkinson have gone unnoticed by many.
The striker certainly had an impact on the club, netting a goal almost every other game and helping the club to promotion in 1959.
The forward had an instant impact as he netted nineteen times in his first season, forming a prolific partnership with Stan Steele who scored 22 goals…
Wilkinson was born in Winsford and was snapped up by First Division Arsenal aged 22. He managed just one appearance for the Gunners before a spell with Sheffield United which showed glimpses of his potential. Wilkinson scored sixteen times in 29 games for the Blades and was snapped up by Vale manager Norman Low in 1957.
The forward had an instant impact as he netted nineteen times in his first season, forming a prolific partnership with Stan Steele who also scored 22 goals. The duo were on song the following season as the duo hit 43 goals (Steele 22 and Wilkinsn 21) and Vale were crowned Division Four champions.
The deadly duo were broken up the next season, the 1959-60 campaign, as Wilkinson was signed by Exeter City for a fee of £2,500. The Grecians were so keen on the player he was helicoptered down to St James Park. Wilkinson found the target regularly for Exeter as he ended his playing career with the commendable stats of 84 goals in 166 games.
It’s fair to say that while Wilkinson will never be regarded in the same way as Messrs Naylor, Pope, Foyle and Kirkham, Jack was a highly effective and successful player for the club. He’d scored 41 goals in 84 games, providing a 40-goal plus partnership with Stan Steele for two seasons running and had also helped the club to promotion.
Our cult section highlights those players who are not regarded as club legends but nevertheless deserve to be remembered – on that basis Jack Wilkinson is a deserved entrant into our cult hall of fame.
Cult credentials: Prolific scorer and promotion winner