Lawrie Pearson is probably the most extreme example of when John Rudge’s wheeler-dealing went wrong…
Time at the club:
The case for the defence:
He was only at Vale Park for a relatively short period.
The case for the prosecution:
Oh dear, he was released just a few games into a two-year deal and was a pale replacement for Russell Bromage.
About Port Vale Hall of Shame – Lawrie Pearson
By 1987, the master wheeler-dealer John Rudge was entering his stride. Locally-born defender Russell Bromage had his head turned by interest from Bristol City so Rudge tried his magic once again. The manager, who would bring in Gareth Ainsworth to replace Jon McCarthy, attract Lee Mills and £450,000 for Robin van der Laan and had more recently signed Simon Mills and Gary Ford from the Andy Jones transfer profit, spotted a potential deal…
28 year-old Bromage, veteran of 400 games, two promotions and a player of the year award was shipped to Bristol City in exchange for £30,000 and 22 year-old Lawrie Pearson. Would the former Hull defender prove a canny replacement at left-back?
Sadly, the answer was a resounding “no”.
Pearson looked massively out of his depth and was dropped after just six games. John Rudge acted quickly and signed Brighton defender Darren Hughes for a mere £5,000. That move matched the Rudge model much better as Hughes quickly developed into one of the club’s finest full-backs.
But Pearson would never follow Hughes’ path. Just a few months into his contract, it was ended by mutual consent and he dropped down to non-league football with Whitley Bay. He remarkably made a return to Football League level with Darlington in 1993 but the vast majority of his long career was spent in the non-league.
John Rudge brought in millions to Port Vale through canny transfer deals, however the Lawrie Pearson move just wasn’t one of them.