Port Vale’s post-war record goalscorer Tom Pope has joined non-league side Congleton Town, as reported by onevalefan.
The 36-year-old was one of 15 players to be released by the Valiants at the end of last season as Darrell Clarke attempts to re-shape the squad in his first transfer window as manager.
Pope scored 115 goals in 343 appearances across three spells at Vale Park, establishing himself as a fans’ favourite in the process.
The striker has been training with North West Counties League Premier Division side Congleton since the beginning of pre-season. They are currently managed by Pope’s former Port Vale team-mate Richard Duffy.
Whilst it was clear that Tom Pope’s time at Port Vale had run its course – his only league start under Darrell Clarke came in a 3-0 defeat to Mansfield on the final day of the 2020/21 season – it is perhaps a surprise that he has dropped as low as the ninth tier of English football to continue his career.
Injuries permitting, he has proven himself to be a consistent goal-scorer at League Two level and therefore could have feasibly made an impact at National League level.
However, the opportunity to play under a manager he is familiar with in former team-mate Richard Duffy, and remain in the North West at Congleton, was seemingly a good fit for him at this stage of his career.
Clarke will be hoping that new signings James Wilson and Jamie Proctor can have Port Vale careers as successful as the departing Pope.