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OVF feature: Five of the best: Port Vale utility players


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The “utility player” may be a damning phrase (not good enough to be the specialist in one position) but it has often fulfilled a vital role at Vale Park. We take a look back at five of our favourite unsung heroes. Alan Webb When the great players of the John Rudge era are mentioned, the […]

The post Five of the best: Port Vale utility players appeared first on onevalefan.co.uk.

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Good thought provoking stuff, on the back of our signing of Zac Mills.  Overall, in utility terms, I think I find it hard to separate Mick Morris or Alan Webb as the best for us.  Mick was perhaps the best overall utility cover player.  He was signed as a centre-forward, moved on to the wing, became mostly a mid fielder, now and again he covered at full back or centre back when we were really pushed.   He weighed in with a fair share of goals.

Alan Webb pushes him close in utility terms, but in fairness apart from the very odd cover game Webby was almost exclusively a right back.  Matty Carragher was probably used more in differing positions than Webby.  Alan Webb though was a fabulous full-back who easily made the transition to playing for us in 3 different leagues.  The only other player who was able to do that for us was Robbie Earle.  That perhaps is a measure of Alan Webb's quality.

So overall for me, Mickey Morris the best utility man, Alan Webb the best man overall in terms of his ability to play at the highest levels in different positions.

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Simon Mills I am  sure we signed him as a midfielder , turned into a brilliant full back who could find a pass.                                                    Oh yes I almost forgot ,    he had got no hair but we dont care. Simon, Simon Mills.

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I'm surprised Robbie Earle didn't make the list. First season right winger, second season midfielder before playing with great success as a striker. He even had a stint at right back before establishing himself as one of our best ever attacking midfielders. 

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1 hour ago, Essex Vale said:

Alan Webb pushes him close in utility terms, but in fairness apart from the very odd cover game Webby was almost exclusively a right back.

I've not got any stats but I'm sure Alan Webb played more than the odd game out of position. I reckon he must have done 20-30 games as centre-half (he had a run in 1988-89 when Sproson/Hazell were injured and before JR could bring in Glover/West) plus a number as left-back when we had one of regular Vale injury crises.

I was actually close to adding Monty to the article but I thought I would only use former players.

There's also some others who played less but were good utility players - such as Chris Banks who in the early 80's covered the defence and was a regular on the bench,.

 

 

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1 minute ago, krakaddict said:

I'm surprised Robbie Earle didn't make the list. First season right winger, second season midfielder before playing with great success as a striker. He even had a stint at right back before establishing himself as one of our best ever attacking midfielders. 

I guess by "utility" I am making a distinction between a converted player (e.g. Mills CM to RB, van der Laan FW to CM, Earle FW to CM) and those who regularly moved around different positions. Hence why Mills, Earle etc were not included. 

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By the way, I really enjoy it when a post on the blog prompts posts in the forum. As I've said before, the articles are just the views of one Vale fan and I welcome the views of you all - especially as these forum threads often generate some great suggestions and points.

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I've always found the term utility player meaning not found their true position.

Someone say like Phil Neville, was he a left back, right back, holding midfielder ? 

It can hold a player back as they haven't got their own niche. 

Some good names bandied about . Let's not forget Paul Millar who also played in goal once 😂

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Liam Burns played left back, CB and in goal for the Vale. 

Remember Michael Twiss, who had a stint at left back for us, but went on to be a pretty successful striker in the conference.

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Steve Rowlands played both fullback positions and centrehalf, as did Matty Carragher. Best I saw Rowlands play was a oneoff at Wrexham away in central midfield. Colin Tartt played all across midfield and defence. Doug Loft was pretty versatile. 

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