Port Vale are one of the most longest standing clubs in the local region, and their significance isn’t lost on those that have supported the team from an early age.
However, down the years, there have been some key figures that have played their part in growing the fan base of the beloved club.
Every club needs to roll with the times and grow and his is the only way that football clubs such as Vale can excel in this modern era. The fan base has always been loyal with Vale selling out their away allocations on numerous occasions already this season. However, which people have had a greater significance than most in making an international audience aware of the club?
Robbie Earle is now a household name around the world and frequently appears on television both in the United Kingdom, and the United States. He played over 570 professional games during his career, with the lion share of them coming during his days at Vale. He joined the Valiants in 1982 after leaving Stoke City. He spent nine glorious years with Vale and made his name as a box-to-box midfielder.
His energetic style made him an immediate fan favourite, and he remains keen to talk about his time with the club, both in private and when on NBC on US television. During his playing career, he won promotion to the Fourth Division in 1983 and 1986, before playing a pivotal part in the club’s play-off win in 1989 to lead them into the Third Division.
That same season he won the PFA Fans’ Favourites award. However, that would be his final season for the club as he moved to Wimbledon. While at his new club he got the chance to prove himself on the global stage by playing in the Premier League.
He also played international football for Jamaica, where he made eight appearances and scored one goal. The funniest story for Port Vale fans when losing Earle was the story that came out about the Wimbledon chairman at the time having to lock the midfielder in the changing rooms to ensure that he would sign for the club. His dedication for Vale had no boundaries, and he is still adored at the club.
Not many players can claim to have achieved as much as Phil Sproson for Vale. He made nearly 500 appearances for the club, in a career that spun over 14 years with Vale. The tough-tackling defender also scored 33 goals while at the club and was an irrepressible force in a backline that saw so much success.
With Sproson in the backline, the club were always among the favourites in the betting odds. Sproson continues to be a dedicated fan of the current team and even works as an agent for some of the players in the squad. Vale was in his blood from an early age as he was related to former defender, club legend Roy Sproson, and his father Jess Sproson also played for the club for seven years.
His story shows Vale is a family club and stays with you throughout your life. His performances on the pitch saw him twice named in the PFA Team of the Year. He also guided the club to three promotions in 1983, 1986 and 1989. He remains a firm fan favourite to this day.
While he may not be a footballer, Robbie Williams has been an avid Vale fan since the day that he was born, and he continues to support the club and keep track of their results no matter where he is in the world. Robbie is for Port Vale, what Johnny Depp is for Miami Dolphins. The team might not be favourite at all in the NFL Superbowl odds, but Depp religiously supports them.
It’s the same thing with Robbie Williams. He speaks highly of Vale, even though he’s rarely in the country and able to see the team in person.
He is, without doubt, the most famous Vale fan to have ever lived, with ten of his eleven studio albums reaching number one in the UK.
Not only that, but he is the biggest-selling British solo artist of all-time. There couldn’t be a better superstar to lead the light in the world for Vale than Williams.