|Full name||Allen John Tankard|
|Date of birth||21 May 1969|
|Place of birth||Islington, England|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
He began his career with Southampton in 1987, before moving on to Wigan Athletic the following year. He spent five years with the "Latics", being voted the club's player of the year in 1992–93, before making a £87,500 move to Port Vale in July 1993. He spent the next eight years at Vale Park, helping the club to win promotion out of the Third Division in 1993–94, and to reach the final of the Football League Trophy in 2001. He retired from the professional game after helping Mansfield Town to win promotion out of the Third Division in 2001–02.
Tankard started his football career with Southampton, however after only five First Division appearances under Chris Nicholl in 1987–88 it was apparent he had no future at The Dell, and so he signed with Wigan Athletic in July 1988. The "Latics" finished 17th in the Third Division in 1988–89 under Ray Mathias's stewardship, just four places and two points above relegated Southend United. They dropped to 18th in 1989–90 under new boss Bryan Hamilton, three places and three points ahead of relegated Cardiff City. Wigan then rose to tenth in 1990–91, three places outside of the play-offs. They then dropped to 15th in 1991–92, before suffering relegation with a 23rd place finish in 1992–93; it would prove to be his last season at Springfield Park, and Tankard departed after being voted as the club's player of the year.
In July 1993, John Rudge signed Tankard to Port Vale for a £87,500 fee. Initially unpopular with the fans, he turned things around at Vale Park after a last minute FA Cup winner against Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup second round. He spent December to April of the 1993–94 season on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury, but his performances whilst fit helped the club to promotion out of the Third Division. He played regular football in the 1994–95 season, helping the club to avoid relegation out of the (newly re-branded) First Division by a ten-point margin. He was again a regular in the 1995–96 campaign, until he was sidelined again in March due to another hamstring injury.
Following his recovery, he played 44 games of the 1996–97 season, one of the most successful of the club's history, as Vale posted an eighth place finish, two places and four points below Crystal Palace, who went on to win promotion to the Premier League as winners of the play-offs. He made 42 appearances in the 1997–98 season, helping the "Valiants" to avoid the drop by finishing three places and just one point above relegated Manchester City. However his reputation was somewhat sullied in an FA Cup third round game on 14 January 1998, as he blasted his penalty over the bar in the penalty shoot-out with Arsenal; it was the final kick of the 4–3 defeat (the game had finished 1–1 in normal time). Recovering from their lacklustre third round performance, Arsenal would later go on to win the competition.
In 1998–99, Tankard was the only outfield player to hit the 40 game mark for the Vale, and also netted goals against Watford, Crystal Palace, Norwich City, and Oxford United. The club went on to avoid relegation only due to the fact that they had scored more goals than Bury. However relegation came in the 1999–2000 season under new manager Brian Horton; Tankard played 37 games, scoring in a 3–2 win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. He remained loyal to the Burslem club despite their fall into the Second Division, and played 39 games in the 2000–01 season, scoring a personal best of five goals. He also played every game of Vale's run to the final of the Football League Trophy; however he was an unused substitute for the final itself at the Millennium Stadium, which Vale won with a 2–1 victory over Brentford. Tankard was released in June 2001 after turning down the club's offer a new contract. In all he had made 324 first team appearances for Port Vale, scoring 13 goals. One of the club's most consistent performers, years later the club were still trying to fill the void Tankard's departure had left in the left-back role.
He spent the 2001–02 season with Mansfield Town, helping Bill Dearden's "Stags" to gain the third and final automatic promotion place of the Third Division, one point ahead of Cheltenham Town. He was contracted with the club for the 2002–03 season, but did not make any appearances at Field Mill. He then had brief spells with Southern Football League clubs Hednesford Town and Stafford Rangers.
After retiring from the game, Tankard took up work in Mow Cop at a minibus and coach hire company. He now co-owns the company, CMP minibuses, with his wife Julie. They have a son, Charlie Matthew Tankard, born in 2000.
- with Port Vale
- Football League Third Division runner-up: 1993–94
- Anglo-Italian Cup runner-up: 1995–96
- Football League Trophy winner: 2001
- with Mansfield Town
- Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 286. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.
- "Who Gets Your Vote?". wiganlatics.co.uk. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
- Shaw, Phil (4 December 1993). "Tankard raises cheers for Vale". The Independent. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "Penalty heartache for Port Vale". BBC Sport. 14 January 1998. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "Port Vale's route to Cardiff". BBC Sport. 18 April 2001. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "Port Vale pen pictures". BBC Sport. 18 April 2001. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "Vale to unleash teenager". BBC Sport. 1 August 2003. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "Tankard's the toast of Field Mill". BBC Sport. 20 July 2001. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "Tankard cheers Mansfield". BBC Sport. 12 June 2002. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "Football: Veteran Tankard gets another Rangers run.". The Birmingham Post. 23 July 2003. Retrieved 12 April 2012.