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Former Port Vale, Stockport, Shrewsbury player dies aged 52

There is yet more sadness this week as it’s confirmed that former Port Vale, Stockport, Shrewsbury player John Jeffers dies aged 52.

He was described to be a highly respected winger as former Valiant players pay tribute to him after hearing the news.

Clubs that he used to play for have also sent their condolences to Jeffers’ family after hearing he lost his life following a long-term battle with an illness.

During his footballing career, he started out a youth player for Liverpool, but never made a first team appearance, being sold on to Port Vale where he ended up staying for seven years, scored 10 goals in 180 appearances and won two promotions under John Rudge, who is now a football adviser and club president at the League Two club.

He stayed with Port Vale between 1988 and 1995 before signing for Stockport County in a two year spell, scoring 6 times in 57 matches and was a Football League Second Division runner up with the Hatters for the 1996-97 season along with guiding them to the semi finals of the League Cup that same year.

He also had a loan spell with Shrewsbury Town while contracted with the Vale Park outfit, finding the net once in 5 appearances for the 1994/95 campaign.

Despite these successes, he left the club in favour of non league football, joining Conference club Hednesford Town in October 1997, and then left the Keys Park outfit and retired at the close of the 1997–98 season

He hung up his boots after a twelve year footballing career and ended his playing days with a record of 297 appearances and 18 goals.

The Liverpool born went on to run a number of used car businesses in Wallasey, a town based in Merseyside.

Port Vale said in a statement: “All at Port Vale FC would like to extend our sincere condolences to John’s family and friends and tell his sons John and Gabriel how proud of their dad we all are.”

Stockport wrote: “Everyone at Stockport County were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our former player John Jeffers at the age of 52. It is reported that he passed away following a long illness.

“John is fondly remembered at Edgeley Park as one of the finest wingers to play for the club.

“Whilst his time at Edgeley Park was restricted to the end of his career and only lasted less than two years, he will always be remembered for the significant contribution he made to a glorious period in our history. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends at this very sad time.”

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Jeffers said on his time at Vale: “I had been on a month’s loan to Port Vale and really enjoyed it. The lads were great and I used to travel in with Darren Beckford and Darren Hughes.

“I was called back midway through my second month because of injuries at Liverpool, but on transfer deadline day, I had the chance to complete the move to Port Vale.

“Kenny Dalglish said the choice was mine. He said I could stay at Anfield, but he thought John Barnes was the best left-winger in the world, which he probably was in terms of club football.

“West Brom and Preston also showed an interest, but I liked it at the Vale and decided to join.”

Jeffers admitted Rudge was second-to-none in the transfer business.

He said: “He picked up bargains and it was typical of John to sign me for £30,000 and sell his reserve for £5,000 more.”


Former defender Simon Mills
Totally shocked and gutted, brilliant player, top bloke and a fantastic team mate. Always laughing and a proper Scouse sense of humour. RIP JJ.

Former midfielder turned manager Ian Bogie
“I only knew John for a short time when I joined the Vale, but he was a lovely lad with a great character and personality to go alongside his undoubted football ability he possessed. Condolences to his family and friends at this sad, sad time. RIP John, you brought a smile to the faces of all you met.”

Former defender Allen Tankard
“One of the most talented and funny people I had the privilege to share the dressing room with, lots of happy memories and laughs. Very sad to be hearing this horrible news today, my sincere condolences to his family at this sad time… God bless JJ The wizard of the dribble as we used to call him.”

Former defender Gareth Griffiths
“Sad day. JJ was a great lad, great player and very very funny. Thoughts are with his family and they should be very proud of him. RIP pal x”

Former defender Peter Billing
You were a legend at Port Vale – you’re more than a legend as a friend and teammate – love and miss you always – so devastated – love to Nicky and the kids xxx”

Former defender Peter Swan
JJ what a player and even more so what a man, friend and all round good bloke, don’t think I ever saw you without a smile on your face. RIP pal xx”

Former goalkeeper and coach Mark Grew
Really sad news, John could turn a game in a second with his brilliant ability, but most of all his smile and personality was what l remember most. My condolences to his family and friends, RIP John top man.

Former defender Alan Webb
So sad news. Great player and a lovely guy. RIP pal Webby.

Former midfielder Andy Porter
John was a great friend and I had the privilege of him being my best man at my wedding. So funny, laughing and joking all the time and always had a smile on his face. He was a brilliant, talented and skilful player and a great character also in the dressing room. My thoughts are with Nicky and the family. RIP John.

Fans reacted after finding out that the former Port Vale, Stockport, Shrewsbury player dies aged 52…

@azzpvfc: Such sad sad news and 52 no age. R.I.P. John. As a teenager I loved watching you up and down the wing for the Vale. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family

@MarkWalton67: Incredibly sad. Could be both maddening and brilliant, often in the same game. A true cult hero and a big part of a great period for the club. RIP JJ.

@_boomstronk: RIP John, condolences to the family. I loved watching you play in the early 90’s – that Kalamazoo home kit was made for you

@PVFCpug: RIP JJ, one if the three mustgetbeers characters in the Seth fanzine. Great memories of the 90’s Rudgie era. Far too young!

@davidkidney: I always enjoyed watching John Jeffers play. So sad. RIP

@RichardMason1: RIP John, an amazing player in one of the best periods for the club. One of my first hero’s.

@thatstherizzler: Sad news. One of my first memories as a young Vale fan was being mesmorised by Jinking John’s wing play. Used to beat a man more than once just for the fun of it. RIP.

@DUCKmagstoke: Cracking player. We send our condolences. RIP.

@chrispearl82: When football was good, used to beat a man twice just to take the piss.

@folkyvale: He excited and infuriated in equal measure but, ultimately, was a cracking player for #pvfc – Brighton’s right-back must still have nightmares (promotion). Remember when we beat Stoke 3-1, the whistle blew just before half time and JJ legged it down the tunnel but the ref had only blown for a free-kick. The look on Rudgie’s face was a picture “where’s HE going?!?”. Came running back out a bit sharpish. RIP JJ

@RealNickE: RIP John, you gave us so many memories that you will be remembered for many years to come

@CrabbyValiant: A bad week for us Valiants. Condolences to John’s family. He will always be remembered as an entertaining tricky winger, and important part of a very successful Vale era by us who were lucky enough to watch him. RIP Jinking Johnny Jeffers

@JonKeighren: Devastating news, such a key figure in our promotion in ‘97 with winning goals v Bury & Watford. Loved watching him on the wing. RIP JJ, taken far too soon

@philtheglass: Vastly underrated player who made & scored some important goals in that 96/97 County side…RIP JJ

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