Supporters' Club show their gratitude to the fans
Port Vale Supporters’ Club wishes to thank around 1,000 fans who attended the long-awaited unveiling of the Sproson Statue before yesterday’s game against York.
On top of those thanked during the ceremony for ensuring the unveiling would happen we would also like to thank all staff at Port Vale FC and the match day stewards, preferred bidders Norman Smurthwaite & Paul Wildes and finally club secretary Bill Lodey who has worked closely with the SC over the last month to ensure all went smoothly on the day.
to his uncle Roy and the wider Sproson family for the remarkable service they have given to the club.‘perfect tribute’Phil Sproson described the day as a
The special day began at 1.45pm when the sun came out and Supporters’ Club Chairman Pete Williams welcomed the crowds and the 70-odd VIP guests, including the Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, councillor Terry Crowe, who had gathered outside the main entrance.
Pete pointed out that it was impossible to individually thank everyone who had been involved with the project over 11 years. Instead he explained that literally hundreds of Port Vale supporters had given their time and money to realise the dream of a permanent memorial to the club’s greatest servant.
The actual unveiling of the statue was conducted by Roy Sproson’s widow Joyce and one of the Vale’s oldest fans – Les Yates, aged 94 – who well remembers Roy in his prime.
As the black shroud fell away cheers and applause rang out. Mrs Sproson then told the crowd that she was extremely proud to see the statue in-situ and that Roy would be too.
Other VIPs interviewed during the unveiling ceremony included sculptor Mike Talbot who explained something of the process of creating the magnificent statue – which included taking images of former Vale skipper Sam Collins jumping to head a ball.
One of Roy’s former team mates Colin Askey told the crowd that he thought the man who played 837 games for Vale would probably get into Micky Adams’s team and the manager concurred – saying the statue would help to inspire his players.
Phil Sproson, whose club record is also etched on to the plinth, spoke of his and the family’s pride at the tribute from Vale supporters.
Current players Gareth Owen and Doug Loft said they thought the statue was tremendous and that they understood fully what a special day it was for Vale fans.
Gordon Taylor OBE, from the Professional Footballers’ Association said that, like the statue, the achievements of the Sproson family were remarkable and that it was a privilege to attend the unveiling.
All 100 limited edition Sproson Statue mugs, produced for the unveiling, were sold – netting the Sproson Fund £1,000.
Before kick-off Joyce Sproson and Phil Sponsor were invited on to the pitch. Mrs Sproson and Phil’s wife Jean both received flowers and Phil was presented with a framed Vale shirt carrying the name Sproson.
Mrs Sproson also received a special, one-off canvas portrait of her husband from the Supporters’ Club which had been painted by local artist and Vale fan Paine Proffitt.
Eight minutes and 37 seconds into the game against York, Vale supporters in the ground rose to give one minute’s applause in recognition of the 837 appearances Roy Sproson made for the club.
A video of the unveiling ceremony will be posted on the internet on Thursday which was kindly captured by the Sentinel’s Martin Brough on his day off.
Port Vale Supporters’ Club, which now boasts more than 1,600 members, would like to wish Micky Adams and the lads all the best for Tuesday night’s game at home to Bristol Rovers.