Rob Fielding thinks that the recent statement about John Rudge becoming the club president is very welcome news.
Rob Fielding writes…
Over the years I have heard several conversations among Port Vale supporters about how to properly celebrate legendary manager John Rudge. His unceremonious sacking by then chairman Bill Bell prompted the “flat cap” march by fans and the John Rudge tribute dinner and this season he was named as a lifelong member of the Port Vale Supporters Club. However, until recently there was no official recognition of his achievements by the football club.
That all came to an end this season with the welcome news that Rudge has been made club president by new owners Carol and Kevin Shanahan. It’s a long overdue official recognition of a man of whom legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson once remarked “Every Port Vale supporter should get down on their knees and thank The Lord for John Rudge.”
Rudge was understandably delighted with the award and told the media “I am very proud and honoured to be asked to take this role on. I don’t know 100 per cent what it actually entails! But it will be more or less the same as I have been doing since I have been back in the last 18 months or so.”
Current Port Vale manager John Askey added his congratulations to Rudge commenting: “He has deserved it. He has been the most successful manager the club has had. It wasn’t only the success, I think it was also the way the team played under him.
“It takes a lot of hard work. That is one thing I must say about John Rudge. It didn’t just happen through luck. John used to be out every night of the week watching games. He is an example to people like myself. I am really pleased for him and it is great to have him still at the football club.”
In typical Rudge style the new club president said the new honour will not affect his role as a football advisor to current manager John Askey. Rudge’s wealth of knowledge, nose for a transfer bargain and football tips will undoubtedly continue to be invaluable to Askey and his coaching team.
It was years after his sad passing before the magnificent Roy Sproson status was unveiled to pay tribute to the one-club man, so it’s great that a living legend can be celebrated while he still plays an active role at the club. The reaction from supporters shows that this is clearly another good move from the new club owners and let’s hope more Port Vale living legends are also celebrated at Vale Park in the near future.
John Rudge’s Port Vale Achievements
• Three promotions – 1986, 1989 and 1994
• Autoglass Trophy Final winners – 1993
• Anglo-Italian Cup runners-up – 1996
• Matches in charge: 843
• Time in charge: 16 years
Notable John Rudge transfers
• Gareth Ainsworth to Wimbledon £2m
• Jon McCarthy to Birmingham City £1.5m
• Ian Taylor to Sheffield Wednesday £1m
• Lee Mills to Bradford City £1m
• Darren Beckford to Norwich City £925,000
• Steve Guppy to Leicester City £850,000
• Robbie Earle to Wimbledon £775,000