In our series of missed Port Vale transfer targets, we look at the time when the Valiants remarkably passed up on a chance of signing Dutch defender Jaap Staam…
About Nearly Men
This is an occasional OVF series about transfer moves that failed to materialise. In other words, players who perhaps in a parallel universe would have been playing for the Valiants… It covers failed Vale bids for (among others) the likes of Steve Bull, Keith Gillespie and Tom Finney
Although such a signing would have been well within their financial reach, Vale were not interested…
So, how come Port Vale failed to take up the opportunity to sign Jaap Stam?
Let’s step back to the mid-90s and Port Vale FC manager John Rudge had begun to add a number of Dutch players to his sides. There was Robin van der Laan and Nico Jalink in 1991. Later on, there were the likes of Marc Snijders, Rogier Koordes and Arjan van Heusden.
Well, back in the early 90’s a player called Lee Payne had left Reading in 1990 and signed for Dutch club Veendam. After five seasons, Payne’s playing career had ended due to injury, so he quickly became an agent in the Dutch market.
One of the first players Lee identified in 1992 was a strapping 20 year old defender called Jaap Stam, He was then playing for Zwolle and he recommended him to Port Vale – quite possibly due to their willingness to bring in Dutch players such as van der Laan. Although such a signing would have been well within their financial reach, Vale were not interested – and perhaps they would not have been unduly concerned at missing out when they heard later that season (1993) that the defender in question had signed for a fairly small Dutch club – Cambuur.
The player’s move in 1996 to PSV Eindhoven, one of the giants of the Dutch game, may have turned a few heads at Vale Park while few in the Potteries would have failed to notice their reject’s next move – a £10.6m move to Manchester United in 1998. Stam later moved on to Lazio for £16m and earned 67 Dutch International caps.
John Rudge’s superb record in the transfer market is well known but this one certainly seems to be one that got away.
References – this is based on this article http://fullcontactlaw.co.uk/2016/04/is-going-dutch-the-way-forward/
Image: Jaap Stam met fan cropped.jpg” by Jaap_Stam_met_fan.JPG: Flovries derivative work: PeeJay2K3 (talk) is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Our thanks to Port Vale fan Tony Boulton who passed this article on to OVF.