The Port Vale team of the decade is nearly in place.
For the past two months we’ve been asking you the fans to come up with your select XI of the last ten years, and so far you have voted in Scott Brown, Adam Yates, Nathan Smith, John McCombe, Lee Collins, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Anthony Griffith, Doug Loft and Dave Worrall.
We are putting Tom Pope into the side as the obvious candidate, and arguably the player of the decade after firing the club to promotion in 2012/13 and going to match the club’s post-war goals record – a record he has subsequently passed in 2020.
So, that means your vote can be cast to decide who joins Tom in your team?
Do you go for Marc Richards, the striker who spent five years at the Vale after Martin Foyle recruited him from Barnsley in the summer of 2007.
Richards is ninth in Vale’s all-time goalscorers list, level with Harry Poole, having scored 76 goals for the Vale.
They included productive seasons over the last decade as he scored 20 in 2010/11, and 17 in 2011/12.
After leaving the Vale he had spells at Chesterfield, Northampton, Swindon and Cambridge. Now 37, he is playing in the National League with Yeovil.
Or perhaps your vote will be for Louis Dodds, the versatile forward who scored 56 goals for the club and created plenty more.
Recruited by Lee Sinnott in the summer of 2008 from Leicester, he spent eight years with the Vale before moving on from Shrewsbury, then had a spell back on loan at Vale Park last season.
Vote for the striker to join Tom Pope in your Port Vale team of the decade
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Dodds was also used in midfield and out wide but perhaps his best position was in the number 10 role behind the striker, where his unselfishness to track back gave the Vale an extra man in midfield, when needed, but he could also support the front man.
His goal in the 5-2 win at Fleetwood in the 2012/13 promotion season has to be a contender for goal of the decade as he bent the ball into the top corner from the edge of the area with the outside of his foot.
Now 33, he’s playing in the National League for Chorley. So, do you go for Dodds to play just behind Pope in your team or will you pick another centre forward in a 4-4-2?
Perhaps you’ll go for Lee Hughes, the striker signed by Micky Adams who was also part of that 2012/13 promotion-winning side.
Hughes joined mid-way through that season, from Notts County, and formed a formidable strike partnership with Tom Pope.
The former West Brom and Arsenal striker chipped in with 10 goals that season, then scored three more in League One the following year before moving to Forest Green mid-way through that season.
He went on to play for Kidderminster, Worcester and Telford. Now 43, he plays for Grantham Town.
Last, but certainly not least on our shortlist is Jordan Hugill, the striker who had a short spell at the Vale but quickly showed the quality that has helped him be a success in the Championship.
Hugill was brought to the Vale by Micky Adams’ chief scout George Foster to be part of the development squad they were setting up at Vale Park.
He was brought in from Marske United and took time to get up to the fitness required for the Football League game. But once he did, his potential was obvious as he scored five goals after breaking into the side half-way through the 2013/14 campaign.
The Vale couldn’t hold on to the target man but they did manage to negotiate a 20 per cent sell on clause in the £25,000 deal that took him to Preston in the summer of 2014.
That paid off when Preston sold the striker to West Ham for around £9.5m in January 2018.
Now 27, Hugill is on loan in the Championship with QPR.
There’s no doubt about Hugill’s ability, but does that get him a place in your team ahead of players who performed over a longer period for the club?
It’s over to you to decide…..