Steve Cherry’s loan spell at Vale Park will not be remembered with fondness.
Time at the club:
The case for the defence:
He had no previous League experience and was replacing a highly-regarded injured keeper in Mark Harrison.
The case for the prosecution:
He inspired no confidence during loan spell and was almost solely responsible for first FA Cup loss to a non-league side in fifty years.
About Port Vale Fail – Steve Cherry
It’s worth initially putting Steve Cherry’s move to Port Vale in some context. The rookie hadn’t made a start for his parent club Derby County when he was signed, presumably by a panicked John McGrath. The Vale manager had sold Trevor Dance and he had to bring Cherry in on loan when Dance’s replacement Mark Harrison was injured.
Harrison would go to be a star performer for Vale so the contrast between the injured stopper and his replacement could not be starker. Cherry made eight hugely unconvincing appearances for the Valiants including a “comic” performance against non-league Enfield as he was at fault for at least two of the goals. It was Vale’s first cup loss to non-league opponents for fifty years. To make it worse, the game was broadcast on TV.
Watch Cherry’s calamitous performance against Enfield.
It was the goalkeeper’s final performance for the Valiants and one which will live long in the annals of Vale infamity for those who saw it.
Thankfully, there was a silver lining for Cherry. He bounced back to play 77 times for Derby County and was voted player of the year in 1983. In a long Football League career he made nearly 700 appearances. However, we would give good odds that his performance against Enfield on a Tuesday night in early 1981 isn’t one of his treasured memories.