Port Vale supporters have been having their say after club legend and post-war record goalscorer Tom Pope was among 15 players released by the club. In fact, none of the out-of-contract players were retained.
Phil Sherwin: “I am amazed they have all gone. The biggest surprise to me was Scott Brown, I would certainly have given him another year.
“As for Tom Pope, it was always going to be a sad day when he left the club because he is a total legend. He always gave everything and you can’t argue with 115 goals. If he hadn’t gone to Bury for two years he might have been close to Will Kirkham’s all-time record of 154
“Age catches up with everybody, and Tom is 36 in August, so they probably thought it is time to move on. That happens to every player unfortunately but I am sure it won’t be the last we see of him. He is a fan of the club so I am sure he will be back.
“It was a big downer that his last game, on Saturday, was behind-closed-doors. It is unfortunate that he didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to the fans. That would have been a far more fitting finish for him.
“It is certainly going to be a busy summer because we will probably be seeing about 15 new signings.
“The crux of it all is, it is easy to get rid of players, it is harder to bring better ones in. That is what they will be judged on, whether they can bring in better players.
“This season you couldn’t say this was Darrell Clarke and David Flitcroft’s team, because they couldn’t bring anyone in. We will certainly be able to say it is their team next season.
“Scott Brown is the most surprising one. Thirty six isn’t too old for a goalkeeper, and I still think he was one of the best in League Two.
“They will do well to get a better goalkeeper, but good luck to them. Perhaps they have got one in mind.”
Amber Adams said a testimonial would be well deserved. She explained: “Absolute Legend. A brilliant captain and leader. He gave us incredible memories, saved us from going down… the promotion season 33 goals and that special goal against Man City. He will always be remembered as a Vale legend.
“Hopefully he gets a testimonial match and a statue built at Vale Park
Thank you for all the amazing memories Popey. Feed The Pope And He Will Score.”
Rich Ellis adds: “Shame he couldn’t have had that last game in front of the fans, he would have been worthy of an ovation. The word ‘legend’ is used too easily nowadays. But for the service Tom Pope gave to the club, he is a true legend. Good luck Popey. Feed the Pope.”
Kevin Stanyer recalls Pope’s FA Cup goal at Manchester City, saying: “Led the line with a lion-heart and carved himself a niche in Port Vale history. That goal at the Etihad will be replayed in Burslem pubs for many a year to come. Good luck for the future Tom.”
Steve Taylor would also like to see a testimonial. He said: “He dragged us through a couple of rough seasons where we would have been down into non-league, and possibly gone bust, without his goals.
“His record-breaking season when we got promoted will never be forgotten. He gave us some great memories. Hopefully he gets a testimonial of some kind in front of the fans as a send off.
“Unfortunately, Father Time has caught up and it was time as a club to move forwards and free up the wage budget. A club legend that will be missed.”
Patrick Floyd says: “He gave us ‘THAT’ goal. But he gave us so many more less-glamorous goals too. He had grit and commitment that meant for 2 years (at least) he single-handedly kept us in the Football League. The man is a walking god for Vale fans and will go down, for me, as the most important player in our history!”
Kath Bayley adds: “This is so sad, never thought this would happen. Great memories. That goal at the Etihad, we were jumping up and down the crowd went crazy – what a great day that was. Tom, you are an amazing person and an amazing footballer. Thank you for everything you have done for the Vale and good luck for the future.”
Final word to Terry Bossons, who says: “Gutted! I can’t believe he’s being let go. He scored against Man City just over a year ago, I’m sure he could still score them past Carlisle and Barrow! I trust Darryl Clarke 100% as he has turned the club around, just hope he can find a target man to replace big Tom.”