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Ex-players - Unappreciated at Vale but went on to much better things


philmpv

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1 name immediately springs to mind for me - Marcus Bent. Totally wasted talent by the management at the time, sold for only just more than we paid for him, before going on to command over £5,000,000 in future transfer fees!

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Wasn't Rudgie sacked the day after we signed him? Did Bent then want to stay? Unstable period at the Vale, would probably have been much different if signed 3 years earlier or Rudgie had stayed. I am sure there are many other examples where players are not appreciated or under-utilised. Rapid changeover of managers does not help, whether Vale are particularly poor I do not know, but there are bound do be some at all clubs. With similar type players it is likely that one will be less picked.

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Apart from Marcus Bent I think you have to go a very long way back to find someone who did not do well at Vale but went on to do well elsewhere. Bent was a classic case. Rudgie would have got the best out of him without doubt. He is not, and never would be, Horton's type of player, which is why he got rid quickly.

 

In recent years Sam Morsy is the only player from memory that I think went on to do well. There are a couple from the past though. Ray Kennedy was released by Vale in 1967 because he was not good enough for us. Two and a half years later he started the season for Arsenal and went on to score 26 goals for the Gunners as they won the FA Cup and League double. That must be the most catastrophic decision made by the club.

 

The other major cock up concerned Milja Aleksic. He played only two FA cup games for us, and no league games before being released in 1969. In 1981 he played in both games in the FA Cup final at Wembley for Spurs.

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Apart from Marcus Bent I think you have to go a very long way back to find someone who did not do well at Vale but went on to do well elsewhere. Bent was a classic case. Rudgie would have got the best out of him without doubt. He is not, and never would be, Horton's type of player, which is why he got rid quickly.

 

In recent years Sam Morsy is the only player from memory that I think went on to do well. There are a couple from the past though. Ray Kennedy was released by Vale in 1967 because he was not good enough for us. Two and a half years later he started the season for Arsenal and went on to score 26 goals for the Gunners as they won the FA Cup and League double. That must be the most catastrophic decision made by the club.

 

The other major cock up concerned Milja Aleksic. He played only two FA cup games for us, and no league games before being released in 1969. In 1981 he played in both games in the FA Cup final at Wembley for Spurs.

 

Over that period, 1967-69, we had Jackie Mudie, Sir Stan and Gordon Lee as managers, which goes to show you can’t always get it right!

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Over that period, 1967-69, we had Jackie Mudie, Sir Stan and Gordon Lee as managers, which goes to show you can’t always get it right!

 

 

Jackie Mudie's record was poor, so was Sir Stan's, although Sir Stan was not well supported or treated by the Board. Sadly the ridiculous buying spree of Freddie Steele almost destroyed us and those two had the difficult task of picking things up.

 

I just remembered Terry Harkin, jettisoned by Freddie Steele, and he went on to score over 30 goals for Crewe in a single season and moved into the second tier with Cardiff as well as winning a few caps for Northern Ireland.

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Every Club has dropped huge clangers and the classic example is Jose 'The Special One'. Goodness me his list of cast offs is amazing. The classic ones include De Bruyne and Mo Salah. Oh yes he is the special one alright.

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Rudgie bought him and might have handled him better than Horton in which case we’d have made the profit.

 

Horton. Say no more. Fantastic player for us, but disaster area as manager. The master of re-writing history. Sorry to go off topic, but the mere mention of his name (in a managerial capacity) sends shivers down my back. Canvey Island and Scarborough immediately comes to mind. Did he ever play players in their right position ?

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Horton. Say no more. Fantastic player for us, but disaster area as manager. The master of re-writing history. Sorry to go off topic, but the mere mention of his name (in a managerial capacity) sends shivers down my back. Canvey Island and Scarborough immediately comes to mind. Did he ever play players in their right position ?

 

The great irony of all you say is that he's only one of very few managers to win us a trophy!

 

Back on topic, the most unappreciated player ever to wear a Vale shirt has to be Ray Kennedy, admittedly it's a famous tale now that when Vale released him as a youngster he "couldn't trap a bag of cement" but there must have been something there because a couple of years later he won the double with Arsenal then went on to be a Liverpool legend in their glory years and at one time was the most decorated player in English domestic football history! He had a very sad decline and passing with the horrible condition that is Parkinson's disease. RIP Ray.

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Horton. Say no more. Fantastic player for us, but disaster area as manager. The master of re-writing history. Sorry to go off topic, but the mere mention of his name (in a managerial capacity) sends shivers down my back. Canvey Island and Scarborough immediately comes to mind. Did he ever play players in their right position ?

 

Horton is a strange one.

He did play folk in odd positions and shuffle the team around alarmingly at times. I guess he was the type of bloke who very much liked his own way and didn't get on with a lot of players.

But - he produced a very good team, the one that won the LDV at Cardiff and went about 17 games unbeaten. Didn't he team up McPhee and Brooker, two of his best ever signings? And had not they left in the summer and the team broken up then I think we might have walked the league the next year. That LDV winning team was really very good indeed.

There are very few Vale managers that have ever won anything, so I wouldn't describe him as a "disaster" though I agree that before he went he made several perplexing team selections and puzzling decisions.

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The great irony of all you say is that he's only one of very few managers to win us a trophy!

 

Back on topic, the most unappreciated player ever to wear a Vale shirt has to be Ray Kennedy, admittedly it's a famous tale now that when Vale released him as a youngster he "couldn't trap a bag of cement" but there must have been something there because a couple of years later he won the double with Arsenal then went on to be a Liverpool legend in their glory years and at one time was the most decorated player in English domestic football history! He had a very sad decline and passing with the horrible condition that is Parkinson's disease. RIP Ray.

 

According to his wiki Ray is still alive and using a donated computer to chat about football

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Unless my memory fails me Ray Kennedy never wore a Vale shirt in battle ergo not an ex-player, and non of us would have known about him but for his post success at the higher level and for England.

 

Ray, along with many other hopefuls, was rejected by Jackie Mudie (player-manager) and Stan Matthews. However, I'm led to believe that all young hopefuls rejected by Jackie and Stan were farewelled with firm handshakes plus a going away gift of a packet of 'unnamed' Oats.

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Local lad Steve Harper springs to mind.

 

He played 30 odd games for Vale, but was released in ‘89 following our promotion to what is now the championship. In his case, I don’t think that he was unappreciated at Vale, but perhaps lacked that extra bit of quality needed at the higher level.

 

But the went on to play over 500 games in the lower leagues for various clubs, notably Mansfield as I remember.

 

The term “good pro” could have been made for Steve. One of the more successful local lads to come through the Vale system.

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Good call for Steve Harper, although we sold him for £35K so not exactly unappreciated. I disagree with Aussie rules about Ray Kennedy. Ray never played for the first team but he was a youth player at Port Vale and hugely unappreciated and is by far the most successful ex player in Port Vale's history.

 

Another name that springs to mind is someone who was given a free, went on to play many games, and was within a heartbeat of getting in to the Premier League. That is Ryan Kidd. I think unlike Steve Harper, Ryan was truly unappreciated because he left on a free.

 

This is a good thread though and some interesting names are coming out of the pack. Until I checked his record I had not realised what a good career Steve Harper enjoyed.

 

Another name that comes back to me, who also went on to have a good career in the lower leagues after being given a free by Vale is Wayne Corden.

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