‘Stoke City and Port Vale owners have been different class’


Former Stoke City and Port Vale defender Carl Dickinson says the owners of both clubs deserve huge credit for the way they have responded in the coronavirus crisis.

Dickinson is in a select band of players to be highly regarded for his efforts with both Stoke and the Vale.

He came through the academy at Stoke City and helped the club win promotion to the Premier League. But he would also spend three years across the Potteries at Vale Park where he captained the club and was named supporters’ player of the year.

Both clubs have been playing an important part in their communities even though the football season was suspended in March.

Stoke’s owners, the Coates family, told employees at both the football club and their bet365 business there will be no job losses or pay cuts through the uncertain summer. They have also donated £10m to local hospitals through the Denise Coates Foundation. 

Meanwhile, at Vale Park, owners Carol and Kevin Shanahan have combined the resources of their businesses and charities to make Vale Park into a community hub, sending out hundreds of food and care packages.

Dickinson told StokeonTrentLive: “We are lucky in this area that the owners have been different class. That’s especially with the situation we have at the minute and how they have run things. 

“For me, it just shows they have proper owners that know how to run a football club. Stoke came out straight away and said what they were doing with staff, and would be giving money to the NHS. It just shows what a special club it is and how special the people in charge are as well.

“Then you look at all the work Carol had been doing improving the stadium and helping John with his squad. That’s as well as the work both clubs are doing in the community in terms of helping the elderly and kids. It just shows we have got two good, well-run clubs in this area.”

Dickinson, who now plays for Yeovil, but still lives in Staffordshire, signed for Micky Adams’ Vale in 2013 from Watford when he was already well well known locally as a popular player at Stoke.

The 33 year old said: “If you are willing to work your socks off, and give everything you have got on a pitch on a Saturday, then both Stoke and Vale fans really appreciate that. For me to be able to leave an impression on both sides is really pleasing.”

He believes both clubs are heading in the right direction under their respective managers. Stoke have pulled clear of the Championship relegation zone since Michael O’Neill was appointed in November while John Askey has transformed Vale from relegation candidates in League Two to promotion hopefuls in his 14 months in charge.

Vale assistant boss Dave Kevan coached Dickinson in Stoke’s academy so he and Askey allowed him to train with the club last season when the defender wasn’t in the then-Yeovil manager’s plans.

Former Port Vale defender Carl Dickinson

He said: “I could tell, from the short time I was training there, how John wanted things so it is no surprise to me that they have achieved a lot this year.

“I have known Dave since I was 16 or 17. He was brilliant with me and is a top coach. He has big demands on how he wants people to train every day. He wants you to come in, work hard and enjoy yourself. If you are doing that then he is a happy man, but if people aren’t doing it then he’s not shy to let them know it.

“I can’t thank them enough for last season for letting me come in and make sure I was still able to work my backside off.”

Stoke City are broadcasting, free on their website, a two-part interview with Dickinson.  That’s part of a series of features with former players in which they also encourage viewers to donate to the NHS.

He added: “I have loved it, and it is all for charity. I just hope people enjoy it and, even if they donate £1 or whatever, if we can all come together during this situation, the better off we will be when it does die down.”





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