One is a very well-known name to Vale fans and the other is somewhat surprising – we reveal more two Port Vale transfer near-misses.
About Nearly Men
This is an occasional OVF series about transfer moves that failed to materialise. In other words, players who perhaps in a parallel universe would have been playing for the Valiants…
Port Vale had started the 1985-86 season well but were worried that their relatively inexperienced attack of Andy Jones and Robbie Earle needed experienced cover. In the new year, Rudge tried to re-sign striker Bob Newton. Newton had been a huge success during the 1982-83 season but was controversially sold by Rudge’s predecessor John McGrath the next season. In 1985 Newton had moved onto Hartlepool but was struggling to make the first-team. Sadly for his many admirers on the Vale terraces, the move failed to happen.
The following season, Andy Jones was on fire as he approached a season-end tally of 37 goals but no other player was to reach double figures. Rudge made an even more ambitious move to add a striker when he tried to sign Don Goodman from Bradford City. At that stage, Goodman was a promising 20 year-old but Vale were thwarted when City asked for £100,000 for the forward. Goodman would go on to have an illustrious career for Wolves and West Brom among others.
Later in the 1986-87 season, Rudge finally landed his man. In March, youngster Darren Beckford joined on loan from Manchester City. It was to be the start of a legendary Port Vale career and for Rudge it was definitely third time lucky…