Pictured is Port Vale winger Paul Smith taking on a Carlisle player from a match in 1987
The 1986-87 was a middling one for the Valiants as they finished in 12th place in the Third Division. Port Vale winger Smith had joined from Sheffield United for a fee of £10,000 in the summer. Renowned for his pace, Smith finished his only full season at the club with nine goals from 51 games. Early in the next season, manager John Rudge was able to use his transfer skills to sell Smith for £40,000 to Lincoln City – a profit of £30,000 in a year.
This game was a 0-1 away loss to Carlisle United at Brunton Park on 11th April 1987. Smith is taking on Billy Wright, the former Everton and Birmingham City defender while Vale teammate Jon Bowden looks on. It was the third loss in a row for the Valiants and it prompted the Sentinel newspaper to say “Relegation is a real possibility.” However, Vale rallied with two straight wins which included two goals from newly capped Welsh International striker Andy Jones (who would finish the season with a stunning 37 goal haul).
Smith would spend eight years with Lincoln before ending his playing career in 1995. He made 364 games and scored 43 goals for his three professional clubs.