One of the earliest players to appear for the club, crowd favourite “Jammer” had a distinctly unlucky career with Port Vale FC
With a Football League goal record of a goal every three games, right winger Richard Evans certainly had the talent to succeed and if his career had not suffered a number of misfortunes, he arguably would have an even better record.
Born in Smallthorne, Evans joined Port Vale from Newcastle White Star in 1894. The Valiants were in the Second Division at the time and it didn’t take Evans long to net his first senior goal. The winger ended his first season in League football with the impressive stats of sixteen starts and seven goals.
He ended his first season in League football with the impressive stats of sixteen starts and seven goals…
He impressed again in his second season. He netted the first goal in an epic 5-4 win over Liverpool and ended with four goals from 22 appearances. Unfortunately for Evans, the side failed to re-elected to the Football League and Port Vale dropped into the no-league. It was to be the first of several unfortunate incidents for the forward.
Despite the drop, Richard (or “Jammer” as he was nicknamed) found scoring easier in the Midland Division and in two seasons he scored 23 goals in 50 appearances. His tally included a famous cup goal as non-league Port Vale defeated League champions elect Sheffield United. However, Evans was again unfortunate as he lost his place despite his regular scoring feats. He left the Valiants for first-team football at Reading and subsequently Southampton.
In 1904, some five years after leaving the club, Evans rejoined the Valiants but again misfortune was to intervene. He made just one appearance in his second spell before suffering a career-ending injury. He was aged just 31 when he retired and he finished with a fine record of a goal every three games. But how much better could it have been without such bad luck?
Cult credentials: Relatively unknown, prolific but an unlucky career
(League games only)