Everyone at the club was sad to learn of the death of our former player John Ridley, who passed away at the age of 67 last weekend.
John was born in Consett, County Durham, in April 1952 and he played for Sheffield University, where he trained as a teacher, and English Universities before turning professional with the Vale in July 1973. He combined teaching duties alongside his football and he made his debut as a substitute at Charlton in December 1973. He was an elegant presence in midfield and he was an ever-present in the 1975/76 season when he also won the Player of the Year award.
In May 1978 he joined Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the USA on loan but returned in time for the following season. Bigger clubs were watching him including Spurs and in October 1978 he signed for Leicester City for a then club record fee of £55,000. He played 26 times for Leicester in 1978/79, including one game that saw the debut of Gary Lineker.
In August 1979 he moved on to Chesterfield for £35,000 and he moved back into central defence. He helped them to win the Anglo Scottish Cup but a financial crisis led to him returning to the Vale in July 1982. He was used in midfield and at the back in the promotion season of 1982/83, making 44 appearances. He left Vale to become player-coach at Stafford Rangers in July 1985 for £700 after making 310 appearances for the Vale and scoring 9 goals. He was later player-coach at Matlock Town, Newcastle Town and a player at Eastwood and Silverdale Athletic.
Everyone at Port Vale thanks John for his service and sends their deepest condolences to his family and friends at this time.