John James (footballer, born 1948)

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John James
Sir Stanley Matthews Port Vale Manager.jpg
Brian Wharburton, Paul Bannister, James, Stanley Matthews, John Bostock and Stan Turner (left to right)
Personal information
Full name John Brian James[1]
Date of birth (1948-10-24) 24 October 1948 (age 68)
Place of birth Stone, Staffordshire, England
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
1964–1966 Port Vale
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1966–1973 Port Vale 210 (39)
1973–1975 Chester 98 (40)
1975–1978 Tranmere Rovers 73 (24)
1976 Chicago Sting (loan) 9 (4)
Stafford Rangers
Total 390+ (107+)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

John Brian James (born 24 October 1948) is an English former footballer who played as a striker. He played in The Football League for Port Vale, Chester and Tranmere Rovers, making 381 appearances in the process, and also played in the North American Soccer League for the Chicago Sting. He won promotions out of the Fourth Division with Port Vale, Chester and Tranmere.

Playing career[edit]

James began his career in his native Staffordshire with Port Vale, turning professional in April 1966. He became a first team regular from September 1967 and went on to make more than 200 league appearances for Vale, including 43 in the club's promotion season from Division Four in 1969–70. His goals were crucial to the club, top scorer in both 1969–70 and 1970–71 with 17 and 15 goals respectively. He missed much of the 1971–72 campaign due to a cartilage injury requiring two separate operations. After returning to the squad in February 1972 he was much less effective and lost his first team spot.[2]

In February 1973, James moved to Chester for £5,000,[3] playing his first game alongside fellow home debutant Reg Matthewson in a 5–0 win over Darlington, that saw James amongst the scorers.[3] The following season saw James net 21 league goals, the highest tally by a Chester player since Gary Talbot in 1968–69,[4] but his most memorable campaign would follow in 1974–75.

James struck 13 times as Chester won promotion from the Fourth Division, but he was to enjoy national fame thanks to his goalscoring exploits in the League Cup during the same season.[5] After wins over Walsall, Blackpool and Preston North End, Chester were drawn at home to First Division champions Leeds United. On a momentous night, Chester recorded a shock 3–0 win, with James scoring twice. He followed it up by scoring the winning goal in the quarter-finals against another top-flight side, Newcastle United,[6] to set up a semi–final tie with Aston Villa. James found the net in the second leg to level the aggregate score at 4–4, only for Brian Little to grab a late Villa winner and break Chester's hearts.[7]

Despite his contribution to Chester's success, James played just two first–team games for Chester after promotion and joined neighbours Tranmere Rovers in part-exchange for Paul Crossley in September 1975.[8] Once more promotion from the Fourth Division was enjoyed, with James netting 19 times in 38 league games. After a spell playing for Chicago Sting in the North American Soccer League,[9] he returned to Prenton Park and remained at the club before joining non–league Stafford Rangers in 1978.[10]

James later moved to Torquay to run a newsagents.[11]

Style of play[edit]

Speaking in 2016, a Port Vale supporter who remembered seeing James play compared him to a Duracell battery due to his high stamina levels.[12]

"John James did everything wrong, but he was a great player. He wasn't quick, he couldn't beat people and he couldn't shoot, but he'd hold the ball up all day. He disproved the coaching manual."

— Teammate Roy Sproson described him as an unconventional player.[13]

Statistics[edit]

  • Sourced from John James profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
Club Season Division League FA Cup Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Port Vale 1965–66 Fourth Division 10 0 0 0 0 0 10 0
1966–67 Fourth Division 7 0 0 0 1 0 8 0
1967–68 Fourth Division 41 2 1 0 1 0 43 2
1968–69 Fourth Division 34 4 4 1 1 0 39 5
1969–70 Fourth Division 43 14 4 3 1 0 48 17
1970–71 Third Division 45 15 1 0 1 0 47 15
1971–72 Third Division 14 1 0 0 0 0 14 1
1972–73 Third Division 16 3 2 1 2 0 20 4
Total 210 39 12 5 7 0 229 44
Chester 1972–73 Fourth Division 15 6 0 0 0 0 15 6
1973–74 Fourth Division 41 21 3 2 1 0 45 23
1974–75 Fourth Division 41 13 1 0 8 4 50 17
1975–76 Third Division 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Total 98 40 4 2 10 4 112 46
Chicago Sting (loan) 1976 NASL 9 4 9 4
Tranmere Rovers 1975–76 Fourth Division 38 19 1 0 0 0 39 19
1976–77 Third Division 16 4 2 0 2 3 20 7
1977–78 Third Division 19 1 2 1 1 0 22 2
Total 73 24 3 1 3 3 79 28
Career Total 390 107 19 8 20 7 429 122

Honours[edit]

with Port Vale
with Chester
with Tranmere Rovers

References[edit]

  1. ^ "John James". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  2. ^ Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 151. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0. 
  3. ^ a b Chas Sumner (1997). On the Borderline: The Official History of Chester City 1885–1997. Yore Publications. p. 85. ISBN 1-874427-52-6. 
  4. ^ Chas Sumner (1997). On the Borderline: The Official History of Chester City 1885–1997. Yore Publications. pp. stats section. ISBN 1-874427-52-6. 
  5. ^ Chas Sumner (1997). On the Borderline: The Official History of Chester City 1885–1997. Yore Publications. pp. 88–90. ISBN 1-874427-52-6. 
  6. ^ "Chester 1 Newcastle United 0". football-england.com. Retrieved 19 February 2008. 
  7. ^ Chas Sumner (1997). On the Borderline: The Official History of Chester City 1885–1997. Yore Publications. p. 90. ISBN 1-874427-52-6. 
  8. ^ Chas Sumner (1997). On the Borderline: The Official History of Chester City 1885–1997. Yore Publications. p. 91. ISBN 1-874427-52-6. 
  9. ^ "Chicago Sting All-Time Player Roster 1975–1994". Retrieved 19 February 2008. 
  10. ^ "Tranmere Rovers 1946/47–2006/07". Neil Brown. Retrieved 19 February 2008. 
  11. ^ Maul, Rob (13 August 2006). "Caught in Time". London: TimesOnline. Retrieved 19 February 2008. 
  12. ^ Baggaley, Mike (1 April 2016). "Fans recall promotion-winning heroes of 1969/70". The Sentinel. Retrieved 1 April 2016. 
  13. ^ Kent, Jeff (December 1991). Port Vale Tales: A Collection Of Stories, Anecdotes And Memories. Witan Books. p. 306. ISBN 0-9508981-6-3. 
  14. ^ 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.