EAGER POPE PRAYS FOR LOVE
The Non-League Football Paper|July 25, 2021
Veteran striker makes switch to Bears
Chris Dunlavy

LEGENDARY Port Vale striker Tom Pope says he has joined Congleton Town to rekindle his lost love for football.

Pope, 35, spent nine seasons at Vale Park and is the club’s record post-war scorer with a total of 115 goals in 343 matches.

But his final years were marred by what Pope describes as a lack of “honesty and loyalty” as the Stokeborn hitman was effectively consigned to the scrapheap.

Released in May, he rejected a slew of offers from higher up the pyramid to join the North West Counties Bears, who are managed by his former Vale team-mate Richard Duffy, pictured below.

“Duffs is someone who respects me, who trusts me and is a good mate,” explains Pope, who has also played for Crewe Alexandra, Bury and Rotherham United.

“After everything that happened, that’s important. Mentallly, the way I was treated – it’s been a tough two years. There’s just not much honesty or loyalty anymore.

“I know that everybody gets older. I know that everybody gets overtaken by younger and fresher players coming through.

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