Port Vale Football Club are saddened to learn of the passing of former players John Poole and Stan Trafford
John Poole (1932 - 2020)
John was born in Stoke-on-Trent on 12th December 1932 and was a goalkeeper who graduated through the Vale youth team to turn professional in September 1953. His future wife Pat was Miss Port Vale in 1954. John made his debut in a 3-2 win over Middlesbrough at Vale Park in April 1956 but he was mainly a reserve.
His best season was in 1959/60 when he made 28 appearances, the highlight being an FA Cup 5th Round tie at home to Aston Villa when the crowd was 49,768, the largest ever at Vale Park.
The penultimate game of that season was an eventful one. It was away at Mansfield Town in April 1960 and John was taken to hospital with a fractured nose during a 6-3 defeat. In those days there were no mobile phones and communication was a lot slower. So much so that John’s wife Pat hadn’t got a clue as to why he was so late after a game a reasonably short distance away. The phone eventually rang at 1am and it was the Vale manager Norman Low on the other end.
“Hello, Mrs Poole, Norman Low here. John’s in hospital with a broken nose. The good news is he hasn’t fractured his skull. Goodnight!”
John was released on a free transfer in May 1961 having played 38 times for the first team. He then joined Macclesfield Town, making 94 apps for them before retiring in 1963. He remained a Vale fan for the rest of his life and he helped to found the ex-players association. His uncle, Tom Davis, was a Vale player in the 1920’s.
Stan Trafford (1945-2020)
Stan was born in Leek on 21st December 1945. He excelled at both football and cricket, once taking 4 wickets in 4 balls in a school game. He graduated through the Port Vale youth team and had already played cricket for Staffordshire before turning professional as a footballer at the Vale under Freddie Steele in October 1964. He made his first team debut aged 18 as a pacy right winger on 12th October in a 2-2 draw at Peterborough United. He went on to make 12 senior appearances that season, scoring one goal, the winner in a 2-1 victory over Oldham Athletic.
Vale changed managers during that season and new manager Jackie Mudie freed Stan in May 1965. He then signed for Macclesfield Town, then a Cheshire League side, and made 10 apps for them in 1965/66, one of his team mates being Colin Askey, father of the present Vale manager John. After that he gave up senior football to concentrate on cricket.
Stan remained a member of the Vale ex-players association and was amongst a group who attended a game at the Vale last season. One of his team mates at the Vale, Terry Lowe, became a lifelong friend and they watched Leek Cricket matches together with their wives until Stan became too ill to attend.
Our condolences go to families and friends of Stan and John.