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About the author: A Port Vale fan since 1980, Rob Fielding created this website in 1996. Originally called "There's only one Vale fan in Bristol?" it became simply onevalefan or OVF for short. You can get updates on Twitter through the account @onevalefan


  1. Ken Grocott
    11th February 2021 @ 9:17 am

    Those pictures show the sort of forward he was – right in against the goalie, putting his body on the line to get goals for the Vale. Three promotions with three different clubs shows what a valuable player he was. Rest in peace John, and thank you.

  2. Mr Johnson
    11th February 2021 @ 9:51 am


    Great forward for the vale Jessy James he was so popular with the fan’s

    Rest in peace

  3. Michael Amison
    11th February 2021 @ 9:52 am

    Johnny James. (Jamo ) he would run through a brick wall for the club not blessed with pace or skill but a worker every game 100 percent another local player sadly gone to join Clinton Boulton RIP lads

  4. John zyla
    11th February 2021 @ 11:41 am

    Great player he was my favourite player. I first saw him when I was 11yeats old I’m now 71

  5. John zyla
    11th February 2021 @ 11:44 am

    He was a great player I saw him play when I was 11 yeasrs old. I’m now 71. Born 1950
    He was my favourite player RIP John boy

  6. Gareth Frimston
    11th February 2021 @ 11:45 am

    This bloke will always be a Chester legend , it was privilege to have watched him especially that great night against Leeds rip

  7. John zyla
    11th February 2021 @ 11:52 am

    John was a great player he was my favourite player I was 19 Years old whe I first saw him play at vale park. I’m now 71 born 1950. RIP John James my regards to all his family I will miss players like him.

  8. Nigel Kelsallpp
    11th February 2021 @ 11:56 am

    I worked with John at Michelin, just one of the lads. He joined in all inter departmental games., cricket and football. Used to play squash at Michelin sports centre after a night shift, both of us tired but still competitive, (accidentally whacking each other). Lost touch after he moved to Torquay to take over a newsagents.
    As the previous comments have said a very wholehearted payer who gave everything for Port Vale. R I P Jamo

  9. Ian Clarke
    11th February 2021 @ 12:15 pm

    Anyone who watched the Vale in the late sixties and early seventies would have had the greatest regard for John James. He was loved by the fans. Committed and wholehearted he wouldnt have been one of the players needing to ring Carol to apologise for a lack of effort in games. His 31 goals between 1969 and 1971 were in a Vale side better at defending than attacking. He was the focal point of our promotion side of 1970 and will always have a place in our hearts along with the recently departed Clinton Boulton and Mick Morris, players yoy were proud to have in your team.

  10. Mogger
    11th February 2021 @ 12:25 pm

    Another vale favourite gone RIP John

  11. Samuel Brotherton
    11th February 2021 @ 12:43 pm

    A true pro hard as nails rip john

  12. Ken, North Wales
    11th February 2021 @ 1:06 pm

    Brave and took a lot of stick of his markers. Took a lot of weight of his teammates with his hold up play. RIP Jessy James.

  13. Brian Horton
    11th February 2021 @ 1:46 pm

    11th Feb just read about the death of John James just sending my condolences to his family. He was one of the bravest and committed players l ever played with and was a fantastic person and colleague RIP Brian Horton

  14. Marilyn Smith
    11th February 2021 @ 2:13 pm

    Excellent player .for the Vale . John always gave 100 per sent . Enjoyed watching Him playing football. RIP .

    11th February 2021 @ 2:41 pm

    Fond memories of John James. A brave, skillful favourite of all Vale fans in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Who can forget the Wrexham and Wigan games? He was one of the most committed players ever to put that white strip on. “Super Vale Away “always with Jamo, Tommy Mac, Ray Williams, Mick Cullerton and Nobby Horton to name a few. The laundry lass couldn’t have been happy, as Jamo’s kit was always filthy. RIP legend John James.

  16. PJW
    11th February 2021 @ 4:31 pm

    John was my wife’s cousin, he was a lovely bloke, a true Vale Hero, all the family also Valiants.
    His grandparents lived in the lock keepers cottage at Aston in Stone where he was born and he lived in Walton,. There was a terrible tragedy in his family when he was a very young lad but he overcame this to go on to have a great career. He once gave our young starstruck Tony a lift home after a match back in those days of the 60s, went out of his way too. RIP John hope you meet your Mum.

  17. Phil Bass
    11th February 2021 @ 5:32 pm

    Loved him at Tranmere. Always committed. Sadly suffered a horrific broken leg against Crystal Palace in 1976. Never really recovered. RIP.

  18. Trevor Williams
    11th February 2021 @ 6:57 pm

    A Port Vale hero of mine
    RIP John “Jessy” James

  19. Glyn
    11th February 2021 @ 7:39 pm

    My classmate he was always special

  20. Morris Rowlands
    11th February 2021 @ 8:15 pm

    I remember John when he played for Tranmere Rovers. A willing energy filled player who gave his utmost. A great example to those around him.

  21. Michael quinn
    11th February 2021 @ 8:17 pm


  22. Bobby gough
    11th February 2021 @ 8:29 pm

    Great memories of jamo one of the bravest lads I ever played with r.i.p john

  23. Nigel Cook
    11th February 2021 @ 8:56 pm

    I remember Jessy James as he was known when i was a kid in the railway stand , the smell of pipe smoke and him banging the goals in great times bless him RIP John

  24. Glenn Fowler
    11th February 2021 @ 8:58 pm

    Can only emulate what other vale supporters have said, remember on one occasion he got injured paddled in the sea at Blackpool guess what he made the next game, shame we don’t have the same steel and commitment now Rip John very fond memories

  25. Dave, Powys
    11th February 2021 @ 9:00 pm

    One of the greats of Tranmere’s 1976 promotion year. RIP.

  26. Ray Mathias
    11th February 2021 @ 9:25 pm

    Sorry to hear about my old playing mate Jamo (John James) what a player and character who played in our promotion winning team. He formed one of the toughest partnerships and goalscorers with Ronnie Moore in the division, with nobody wanting to play against them. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this very sad time.

  27. Tim the Valiant
    11th February 2021 @ 9:38 pm

    John James, probably the bravest forward I have seen in my 60 odd years of going there. RIP

  28. Ray Mathias
    11th February 2021 @ 9:43 pm

    So sorry to hear the sad news of John James (Jamo) my ex team mate. My thoughts are with his family. A great player and a true professional.

  29. Paul Townsend
    11th February 2021 @ 9:44 pm

    No Chester fan will ever forget that evening in November 74. A brace from “Jesse” James taking us to a scarcely believable 3-0 humbling of the same Leeds side that reached the European Cup Final later that season. It was no flash in the pan from James: he scored the winner against Newcastle in the quarter final and was again on target against Villa in the 5-4 aggregate defeat in the semi. By some way Chester’s best ever cup run. He was also leading scorer in the club’s first ever promotion that same season. Need I say more? Incomprehensibly, he was allowed to join Tranmere a few months later. It came as no surprise when he promptly fired them to promotion as well. Remembering the likes of John James keeps us going now that the club struggles in National League North. Will those nights ever return? RIP. One of the all time club legends.

  30. Tim the Valiant
    11th February 2021 @ 10:29 pm

    John James was probably the toughest and bravest forward we have ever had at the Vale, certainly during the 65+ years I have been going there.
    Many great memories watching from the old Bycars End.
    Rest in peace ‘Jessy’.

  31. Barry Sides
    12th February 2021 @ 12:31 am

    Hello im 66yr old who absolutely loved watching John(Jessee)James while singing in the Bycars end , this exciting player will always be in my memories.I loved the football back then .God Bless Jessee James.

  32. Daniel Shaw
    12th February 2021 @ 9:55 am

    Jamo epitomised the Valiants in the late 1960s and early 70s. He was so determined to embarrass opposition defences, and to please us fans. We were blessed with some brilliant players at this time, and John James led the forward line magnificently. It’s great to see legends Brian Horton and ‘Viva’ Bobby Gough paying tribute to their teammate. Respect to you great John ‘Jesse’ James. RIP.

  33. Tony Loska
    12th February 2021 @ 10:08 am

    R.I.P. “Jamo” Jill and Tony Loska.

  34. Steve Sanford
    12th February 2021 @ 12:29 pm

    Remember him from his Tranmere days. A vital part of the promotion team in 75/76. I was at the Crystal Palace game when he suffered a broken leg.


    12th February 2021 @ 3:11 pm

    I’m a Tranmere Rovers fan and watched John “Jesse” James play for us as a teenager from the Cowshed. Great memories of a brilliant player, R. I. P John SWA sad day for us all, respect to your family ⚽⚽⚽

  36. Pauline Ravenscroft
    12th February 2021 @ 5:22 pm

    Hi thank you so much for your kind words. John passed away on Sunday 7th February at 6 :55am. I’m the company of his wife of 53yrs and my self his sister in law. X

  37. Kevin Stanyer
    12th February 2021 @ 6:20 pm

    God bless Jamo. My first Vale football hero. Loved his goal celebrations to the Bycars, both arms raised in a famous V for Vale salute.I am so shocked and sad to hear of him passing on.

  38. Peter Loakman
    12th February 2021 @ 9:31 pm

    Just read the sad news down here in New Zealand

    John James lived a few hundred yards down the road from me on the Walton estate in Stone. He was one of my first soccer hero’s, and I was awestruck when I first met him and started following the Vale in the late 60’s. He was a quiet, genuine down to earth bloke helpful and friendly and would sometimes give my sister a lift into Hanley on his way to the Vale! That promotion season he seemed to be everywhere, nicking goals and causing mayhem in opposition defences.

    Fond memories of a true hero! R.I.P. Jesse James.

  39. Roy Cross
    13th February 2021 @ 1:06 am

    RIP John.

  40. ian w seddon
    14th February 2021 @ 12:54 pm

    So sad to hearing of Jesse’s passing… played alongside him in those Chester League Cup triumphs against Leeds & Newcastle of 1974-75 season. Lovely guy, great company off the field, brave player, he roasted centre halves with his passion, non stop effort & ferocious tackles. They no longer make strikers like Jesse. Ian Seddon

  41. Peter Barnes
    15th February 2021 @ 10:44 am

    R.I.P. John, one of my forever favourite Vale players.
    Perhaps a nice tribute just for one game could be the Vale team coming out to Chers “Just like Jessie James”

  42. Paul CCFC
    15th February 2021 @ 7:04 pm

    Chester fans will never forget jesse james putting leeds to the sword in 1974 , RIP and thanks for the memories .

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