John Green (footballer, born 1939)

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John Green
Personal information
Full name John Green[1]
Date of birth (1939-05-22)22 May 1939
Place of birth Warrington, England
Date of death 15 August 2010(2010-08-15) (aged 71)
Place of death Warrington, England
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)[2]
Position(s) Midfielder
Youth career
Stockton Heath
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1958–1959 Tranmere Rovers 17 (5)
1959–1967 Blackpool 135 (9)
1967–1971 Port Vale 94 (7)
1968Vancouver Royals (loan) 25 (4)
1971–1972 Northwich Victoria
Total 271+ (25+)
Teams managed
1971–1972 Northwich Victoria (player-manager)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

John Green (22 May 1939 – 15 August 2010) was an English professional footballer who played as a midfielder. He played a total of 250 league games in the English Football League.

He moved from non-league Stockton Heath to Tranmere Rovers in February 1958. He played 21 league games before he was transferred to top-flight Blackpool in March 1959. He went on to make 145 appearances for the club, before he was signed by Stanley Matthews for Port Vale in September 1967. He was allowed to spend summer 1968 in Canada with Vancouver Royals, who were then coached by Ferenc Puskás. He returned to help Vale to win promotion out of the Fourth Division in 1969–70, and was also named as the club's Player of the Year. He later served as player-manager of Northwich Victoria in 1971–72.

Playing career[edit]

Tranmere Rovers[edit]

John Green was born and grew up near to Warrington, like his lifelong friend Roger Hunt; both played as amateurs for Stockton Heath before becoming professional footballers. Green began his professional career with Tranmere Rovers, signing in February 1958, with the club in the Third Division North. At the end of the 1957–58 season the Third Division North and South were dissolved and replaced by the Third Division and the Fourth Division. Tranmere were allowed to join the new Third Division having finished in the top twelve in 1957–58 – they finished ahead of thirteenth place York City on goal average.


National Service from August 1959 to August 1961 limited his appearances in his first couple of seasons as a Blackpool player. Green made his debut for Ron Suart's Blackpool on 5 March 1960, in a 4–2 victory at Leeds United.[3] Green went on to make a further six appearances in the 1959–60 campaign. The following season, 1960–61, Green made just one league appearance, on 8 October 1960, as Suart rang the changes following a single-goal defeat at Preston North End in the West Lancashire derby in the previous outing.[4]

In 1961–62, Green made nine league appearances. He also scored his first goals for the club. The first came on 14 April 1962, in a 3–2 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday. A second followed seven days later, this time in a 3–1 victory over Manchester City at Bloomfield Road. Green also made two appearances for the club in the League Cup: firstly in their third-round tie at Workington on 5 November, his strike being the only goal of the game; and secondly in their semi-final second leg game at home to Norwich City on 16 April 1962, which proved to be their elimination match.[5]

Green made twelve league appearances in 1962–63, scoring one goal in the process.[6] It was during the 1963–64 season that Suart gave Green an extended run in the team. He made 23 appearances and scored two goals.[7] In 1964–65, though, he was ever-present throughout Blackpool's 42 league games. He also scored twice.[8] Green returned to being a rotation player in 1965–66, making 26 appearances.[9]

For 1966–67, Green's final season with the club, the midfielder became one of two Greens in the team, after the arrival of Tony Green, a Scot, from Albion Rovers. The Englishman made fifteen league appearances, a third of which occurred under new manager Stan Mortensen. Green's final appearance for the club took place in the penultimate league game of the season, a 3–1 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion on 6 May 1967. After maintaining a First Division status during Green's eight seasons with the club, Blackpool were relegated to the Second Division at the end of the campaign.[10] Green had played a total of 145 league and cup games for Blackpool, scoring a total of 11 goals in all competitions.

Port Vale[edit]

In September 1967, Green was signed for Fourth Division Port Vale by Stanley Matthews, who Green had admired from childhood and alongside whom he had played towards the end of Matthews' playing career with Blackpool. He made a 'superb' start to his Vale career, and was seen as one of the club's most skilful players.[11] However, he soon lost his first team place, and made just eleven appearances in 1967–68.

Green then spent May to October 1968 with Vancouver Royals. Although Green was originally recruited by Bobby Robson, by the time he joined Vancouver Royals, Robson had been replaced as coach by Ferenc Puskás, who made Green captain for his season with the Canadian club. While there he notched 4 goals in 25 matches as the Royals struggled in the North American Soccer League, and finished bottom of the Pacific Division.[2]

Returning to Vale Park for the rest of the 1968–69 campaign, he found himself working under a new manager in Gordon Lee. Green struggled with his fitness but played twelve games, finding himself on the scoresheet in home wins against Newport County and Chester. He then helped the club to win promotion in 1969–70, and was an ever-present with 46 league and six cup appearances. He was given the club's Player of the Year award for his contribution to the campaign.[12] He said that "It came as a complete surprise, all the lads were sure it would be John James".[13] However, he could not translate this success over to the 1970–71 Third Division campaign, and new signings Brian Horton and Tony Lacey established themselves in the first eleven. He was not offered a new contract at the end of the season. Green had played a total of 98 league and cup games for Port Vale, scoring a total of 9 goals in all competitions.

"Green seemed to glide across the turf rather than run. He was different from most of the players who had played for Vale over the years, the creative and artistic element in what was otherwise a team of artisans.

— A Port Vale supporter speaking about Green in 2016.[14]

Later career[edit]

Green rounded off his career in professional football as player-manager of Northern Premier League side Northwich Victoria for the latter part of the 1971–72 season.



Club Season Division League FA Cup Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Tranmere Rovers 1958–59 Third Division 17 5 2 1 0 0 19 6
Blackpool 1959–60 First Division 7 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
1960–61 First Division 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
1961–62 First Division 9 2 0 0 2 1 11 3
1962–63 First Division 12 1 0 0 0 0 12 1
1963–64 First Division 23 2 0 0 1 0 24 2
1964–65 First Division 42 2 1 0 2 0 45 2
1965–66 First Division 26 2 2 0 2 1 30 3
1966–67 First Division 15 0 1 0 1 0 17 0
Total 135 9 4 0 8 2 147 11
Port Vale 1967–68 Fourth Division 11 0 0 0 0 0 11 0
1968–69 Fourth Division 12 2 0 0 0 0 12 2
1969–70 Fourth Division 46 4 5 1 1 0 52 5
1970–71 Third Division 25 1 1 0 1 0 27 1
Total 94 7 6 1 2 0 102 8
Vancouver Royals (loan) 1968 NASL 25 4 25 4
Career total 271 25 12 2 10 2 293 29




  1. ^ "John Green". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b Johnny Green
  3. ^ Calley, Roy (1992). Blackpool: A Complete Record 1887–1992, Breedon Books Sport, p. 294
  4. ^ Calley, Roy (1992). Blackpool: A Complete Record 1887–1992, Breedon Books Sport, p. 296
  5. ^ Calley, Roy (1992). Blackpool: A Complete Record 1887–1992, Breedon Books Sport, p. 298
  6. ^ Calley, Roy (1992). Blackpool: A Complete Record 1887–1992, Breedon Books Sport, p. 300
  7. ^ Calley, Roy (1992). Blackpool: A Complete Record 1887–1992, Breedon Books Sport, p. 302
  8. ^ Calley, Roy (1992). Blackpool: A Complete Record 1887–1992, Breedon Books Sport, p. 304
  9. ^ Calley, Roy (1992). Blackpool: A Complete Record 1887–1992, Breedon Books Sport, p. 306
  10. ^ Calley, Roy (1992). Blackpool: A Complete Record 1887–1992, Breedon Books Sport, p. 308
  11. ^ Kent, Jeff (1990). "Flattering Only to Deceive (1960–1969)". The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. pp. 196–226. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7.
  12. ^ Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 116. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.
  13. ^ "30,000 fans witness the decisive battles as Vale march on promotion". The Sentinel (Green 'Un). 2 April 2016.
  14. ^ Baggaley, Mike (1 April 2016). "Fans recall promotion-winning heroes of 1969/70". The Sentinel. Retrieved 1 April 2016.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ John Green at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
  16. ^ Kent, Jeff (1990). The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. p. 305. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7.
  17. ^ Kent, Jeff (1990). "Surviving on a Shoestring (1969–1979)". The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. pp. 227–257. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7.
  • Calley, Roy (1992). Blackpool: A Complete Record 1887–1992. Breedon Books Sport. ISBN 1-873626-07-X.