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Congleton Town leaves fans shocked with signing of experienced EFL goalscorer

Congleton Town leaves fans shocked with signing of experienced EFL goalscorer Tom Pope, a what a drop down it is for him.

The North West Counties League Premier Division outfit has brought in a number of players this summer, but it’s the player who was playing in the fourth tier of English football just a few months ago that is catching everyone’s attention.

The centre forward links up with his former teammate Richard Duffy who has also played a huge amount of games at EFL level.


A Crewe Alexandra Academy graduate, he turned professional with the club in 2005 after impressing at non-league side Biddulph Victoria in 2004–05. He was loaned out to Conference North sides Lancaster City and Stafford Rangers in 2005–06, before he spent 2006–07 on loan at Barrow, also of the Conference North.

He established himself in the Crewe first team picture in 2007–08, before becoming the club’s top scorer in 2008–09 with ten League One goals.

He became Rotherham United’s joint-record signing when he made a Β£150,000 move to the Yorkshire club in June 2009. He scored five goals in the 2009–10 campaign, before he was loaned out to Port Vale in January 2011.

The loan was made permanent in time for the start of the 2011–12 season. He scored 33 goals and was voted League Two Player of the Year as he helped the club to secure promotion out of League Two in 2012–13.

He was voted Port Vale’s Player of the Year in 2013 and 2014. He signed with Bury in June 2015, and remained with the club for two seasons before rejoining Port Vale.

He claimed the club’s Player of the Year award for a record third time in 2018 and the following year he became the second highest goalscorer in the club’s history.

He scored 115 goals in 343 league and cup appearances before leaving the club in May 2021.



Youth career
Crewe Alexandra
Hanley Town

Senior career
2004–2005 – Biddulph Victoria
2005–2009 – Crewe Alexandra – 56 games (17 goals)
2005 β†’ Lancaster City (loan)
2006 β†’ Stafford Rangers (loan)
2006 β†’ Barrow (loan)
2009–2011 – Rotherham United – 53 games (4 goals)
2011 β†’ Port Vale (loan) – 13 games (3 goals)
2011–2015 – Port Vale – 163 games (56 goals)
2015–2017 – Bury – 73 games (10 goals)
2017–2021 – Port Vale – 130 games (37 goals)


A 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) centre forward, he has a natural advantage in the air. A target man, he is able to hold the ball up and bring other players into the game.

As he said in an interview in September 2011, “I do the nitty-gritty and the dirty stuff.”

In terms of motivation, he also said that “some players need an arm around the shoulder but a kick up the backside seems to work better for me”.

is goal tally is not supplemented by penalty kicks, as he converted his first penalty in normal time at the age of 32. He does not possess great pace however.


Port Vale
Football League Two third-place promotion: 2012–13

PFA Team of the Year: 2012–13 League Two
Football/EFL League Two Player of the Month: September 2012, October 2017
Football League Two Player of the Year: 2012–13
Port Vale Player of the Year: 2012–13, 2013–14, 2017–18

Congleton Town leaves fans shocked with the signing of experienced EFL goalscorer Tom Pope…

@gnpoole: The old band back together, great to see Popey and Roberts on the same team sheet again. All the best for the upcoming season

@Valetillidie123: All the best Tom going be a big void at vale without you good luck for the new season

@ryan_ATY: Champions of whatever league they play in next year for sure πŸ†

@owd_79: Best of luck Popey!

@VicsNews: What a signing

@LilT1m: Feed the pope and he will score ⚽⚫βšͺ⚫βšͺ

@CrabbyValiant: You’ve got a great player there. #PVFCLegend #FeedThePope

@jackhud98: Legend good luck to him

@jw_turnock2: Feed the pope and he will score. All the best Popey. #pvfc

@Wayneconnor2: Good luck Thomas πŸ‘ might pop up watch a few home games @valiantchicken if your up for it??

@_alexsteventon: I’d kind of got in my head that I Never wanted see popey in another football clubs shirt until he’d finished his career at the vale πŸ₯Ί Glad for tom though that he’s managed to sort himself a club but didn’t expect him to drop as low as he has but who knows πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ #pvfc

@ole20legend: That’s some fall 😳

@rockape793929: Good lucky Tom forever a valiant.

@Mr_Recruitment1: That’s a great signing

@ChrisLukeJones: Tom Pope & Gary Roberts on the same team again. Ah.

@neilevo18781967: Quality signing

@pvfcthistle: You had better look after him @CongletonFC!!!! Give the man what and who he wants #feedthepope

@EdBarbour: Christ this is a signing.

@JoeStephenson96: Could still score at this level but also he’s an antisemite and scum so shouldn’t be employed anywhere!

@edward3747: What a signing

@Jim__ll: Well thats the maddest signing of the summer so far.

@rjb_1998: Alright then

@AleAndValePod: I’m not going lie…it doesn’t look right! Look after him and more importantly #FeedThePope

@AKA_DanThompson: If he was going to drop into Non-League, I didn’t think he’d have to go that far down! He’s better than that level, surely?!

@andycCAFC: I think this is a great signing for congleton. I thought Popey still had at least another season in league 2 in him

@jrj21_: Feed the fucking Pope

@DeanHiggs17: Congleton promotion confirmed 🐐

@Buntingfootball: What a signing for non-league this is.

@MattParker10: Amazing signing for @CongletonFC. Surprised he’s dropped to that level tbh but hope he enjoys it #feedthepope #pvfc

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