The first-teamer Port Vale tried to sign before, opposition dangermen and more


Walsall’s Elijah Adebayo was outstanding against the Vale on Saturday. In fact we might start taking this personally.

The 22 year old has scored 13 goals in his fledgling career – and four of them have been against the Vale, for three different clubs!

Adebayo, scored the Saddlers’ first equaliser in Saturday’s 2-2 draw having netted the winner at Vale Park in December when Walsall became the first, and so far only, team to beat John Askey’s team in Burslem in the league.

Thanks to Vale historian Phil Sherwin for pointing out that former Fulham striker Adebayo has also scored against the Vale while on loan for Cheltenham and Swindon.

The forward proved hard to handle as did Josh Gordon, the former Stoke City academy striker, from Birches Head, who scored the second.

Elijah Adebayo of Walsall (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Adebayo’s impressive record sparked a conversation with Phil about players who always inevitably seemed to score against the Vale. I came up with former Chesterfield striker Luke Beckett and fear I may have ruined Phil’s morning as I asked him to ponder a list of players who invariably found the net against the Vale. 

He came back with Marco Gabbiadini, Rory Fallon and Nicky Ajose. 

“And Steve Bull,” he added ruefully.

“Mind you, he scored against everybody.”

WE hope Colin Askey got a warm welcome at Walsall. After all, Colin not only played for both clubs – he won promotion with both.

Colin, now 87, is of course the dad of Vale manager John so was at the Banks’s Stadium to cheer on the Vale.

The winger, from Milton, was part of the legendary Vale side that won the Division Three (North) title and reached the FA Cup semi-finals in 1953/54.

He moved on to Walsall, made eighty-three appearances for them and helped them win two promotions.

He then moved on to Mansfield – and won promotion again with them.

Port Vale legend Colin Askey

Former Vale scout and advisor Steve Joesbury was among the crowd at the Walsall game. Steve, who is a regular at Walsall, was brought in by Lee Sinnott to help with recruitment at Vale.

Although Lee’s time at the Vale, from 2007-08, didn’t work out as he couldn’t keep the club in League One, they brought in some good players who proved great servants for the club.

Anthony Griffith and John McCombe, who have just been voted into Vale fans’ team of the decade, were recruited in that time. So was Louis Dodds.

Steve tells me another youngster they inquired about taking on loan was a certain Dave Worrall – then a teenager at West Brom.

David Worrall of West Bromwich Albion in action during the Pre Season Friendly match between Cheltenham Town and West Bromwich Albion at Whaddon Road on July 23, 2008 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Dave went on to play for Bury, Rotherham, Oldham, Southend and Millwall before finally joining the Vale in 2017.

Now 29, he has to be among the favourites – arguably THE favourite – to be Vale’s player of the season. 

Look out for a landmark for Tom Pope. The Vale striker is on 149 career goals, although he was denied the chance to reach 150 on Saturday when referee Anthony Backhouse decided he wasn’t fouled in the area in the closing stages.

John Askey understandably stuck with Mark Cullen to start after his two-goal performance in the previous week’s 3-0 win at home to Colchester.

Back to Phil Sherwin, who said: “On Saturday before the match I went into the Walsall version of the Valiant Suite in the home end stand with a Walsall season-ticket holder I know.

“It was packed, they had ex-players there and the MC was whipping up the atmosphere.

“I was the only one there who was heading for the away end!

“The MC then announced that he had some good news and some bad news.

‘First the good news, Tom Pope isn’t playing (much cheering).

‘Now the bad news, he is on the bench! (much booing!'”

Phil adds: “It just goes to show how much opposition fans fear him.”

Daniel Trickett-Smith made his debut for FC United of Manchester on Saturday after joining them on an initial-month’s loan from the Vale. The attacking midfielder started in the 3-0 defeat at Bamber Bridge. 

Two of the Vale’s promotion-rivals meet this week, but who do we want to win?

Cheltenham’s home game with Northampton on Tuesday is significant for the Vale because the Robins are two points above them, in fifth, and the Cobblers ahead of Vale with a seven-better goal difference, in seventh.

Cheltenham currently have two games in hand on the Vale and Northampton one.  So, a thumping Cheltenham win to keep Northampton in Vale’s sights or maybe a draw to keep them both within reach?  

What’s the most unusual place from which you have seen a Vale game?

Thanks to Jean and Eddie Jackson who nominate their friend and fellow Vale fan David Picken, a local lad now exiled in Australia.

David managed to watch the Forest Green game on iPlayer while at 35,000 feet over the Indian Ocean. He was on Qatar Airlines flying to Australia. Jean asks: “I wonder if anyone has watched a Vale game in a more bizarre place!”

That’s quite a leap in technology from when Dave was working in Hong Kong and the Vale got promoted through the 1989 play-offs. There was no international radio coverage so he called his dad and got him to tape his radio to the mouthpiece of his phone so he could follow the commentary.

This and plenty more is discussed by David in his book ‘The time of my football life (or how I spent my long service leave). ‘

Published by Popcorn Press, it follows the story of Dave’s 2006 World Cup, following the fortunes of England and his adopted country Australia.

Don’t forget the Vale Supporters’ Club meets this Thursday at Tommy Cheadle’s (7.30pm).

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