Talking on the latest episode of the club's official podcast, 'Talk of the Vale', Adam Yates has discussed the heart-breaking moment he was forced into an early retirement.
Yates had been playing for the Vale for nearly nine-and-a-half years prior to his injury, which he picked up in a reserve match following a clash with keeper Sam Hornby, leaving the defender with a series of horrific injuries including a broken upper jaw as well as fractured eye-sockets and cheekbones.
He was 34 at the time of the injury, and stresses that it was not the way he wanted his career to end, but was thankful for the opportunities he had during his time as a player.
He explained that he didn’t feel that much pain as soon as it happened, but then realised the extent of the injuries once he arrived in hospital, and that’s when he knew that retirement would be the only option.
“I collided with Sam Hornby in a game, I just remember the ball going over the top I’ve got my arm on the forward, I’ve gone to head it back to Sam, and he’s just come out and crunched me. I stayed on my feet and I was arguing with Sam at the time, but gone down and there was blood anywhere.
“I didn’t really feel any pain if I’m honest, but you know when you’ve been hit, then I got my fingers into the gashes and the cuts, and my eye just completely shut straight away. There was blood everywhere, the physios were out and I walked off the pitch straight into the dressing room.
“I’d been at the club almost nine-and-a-half years as a player at the club, and I didn’t want it to end that way, but as it happened, I was unable to play.
“I was forced to retire, and even though I knew I would have to retire, when you’re told it’s a different kettle of fish. It was difficult, but I was thankful for the career I’d had and if I was five years old and you would have offered me that career and it to end the way it did, I would have taken it, I would absolutely have taken it."
During his time at the Vale, Yates played under numerous different managers, yet on the latest epiosde of 'Talk of the Vale' he admits that Micky Adams was the best he worked with during his time at the club; Adams led the club to promotion to League One in 2013.
The former Vale defender explained that he was the best manager he had seen with the ability to get the best out of every single one of his players, although he never really praised the squad when they were doing well, instead he pointed out things the team need to improve on.
Yates joked about Adams’ size, yet then went on to stress how intimidating he was as a manager, and gave Adams huge credit in the way he always kept the squad in order.
“Micky [Adams] was the best I worked with, in terms of galvanising both the dressing room and the fans, and upstairs, and that was a big thing for us. He was intimidating, he was five-foot-one, we used to take the micky out of him behind his back, and he knew it, but you knew he could get the best out of his players.
“He was the type of man that if you were doing well, he wouldn’t give you praise but he wouldn’t give you a rollicking, and you knew you were doing okay. He always kept us on our toes, and as players you knew he was going to get the best out of us. Managers have to know the players, and Micky was the best manager that I’ve seen, and I would imagine Tom has seen, at getting the best out of what we’ve got. You knew that we were performing to the best of our ability with him at the helm.
“I think there has been better players that have been at the club when Micky wasn’t there, that haven’t performed as well, I believe, as they would’ve done if he was there. He just has a knack of getting the best out of his players, and he made us a unit, he managed big characters, he signed big characters, but also those big characters managed the dressing room and that was a big plus for him as a manager."
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