Valiants Keeper Loaned to Tynesiders

By Steve Whitney

Port Vale goalkeeper Sam Johnson is the latest player to join Gateshead ahead of the new Vanarama National League season.

The 6' 6" shot-stopper has joined Gateshead on a season-long loan from the Valiants.

The 23-year-old has played twenty-two games in League One for local club Port Vale having come through the ranks at Vale Park.

Last season he made his mark on loan at FC Halifax Town having previously had loan spells at Stafford Rangers and Alfreton Town.

Vale's young player of the year in 2013, Johnson played thirty-three games at Halifax, including twenty-five in the National League.

"I enjoyed my time at The Shay," said Johnson. "It went well for me personally and I was very pleased with my performances.

"It was a bitter-sweet experience, however, as we were relegated on the last day and then won the FA Trophy at Wembley.

"To beat Grimsby Town and keep a clean-sheet in the final was the perfect way to end my time at Halifax and I'm now looking forward to a good season at Gateshead.

"I've got another year at Port Vale and just want to play as many games as I can this season and do well at Gateshead.

"The club has signed good players from all over the country. The squad looks strong and it's a challenge I'm really looking forward to."

The deal to bring Johnson to Tyneside was in limbo when Vale manager Rob Page left for Northampton Town a month ago.

The paperwork has been done for some time, but there was a delay until Port Vale appointed a new manager, which they did this week.

Heed boss Neil Aspin, who played over 400 games for Port Vale, is pleased to finally get the deal completed.

"I didn't expect there to be a problem," said Aspin, "and it's great that Johnson will be with us for the start of pre-season training.

"He is keen to do well and progress his career at Gateshead. His size and stature should make him a commanding figure in the box.

"He's played a number of games for Port Vale but wanted to get out and play games rather than be on the bench.

"I've had good reports on him and, of course, he played against us in the two FA Trophy games against Halifax.

"He has presence but ultimately it will come down to keeping the ball out of the net.

"We need to concede a lot less goals than we did last season and defend much better as a team.

"I needed to make a change in the goalkeeping department and I'm pleased to bring Johnson to Gateshead".

Where next?

Peers Becomes a Buck Vanarama National League North club AFC Telford United have completed the signing of former Chester FC forward Tom Peers.
Butler Leaves Torquay Kevin Nicholson, player-manager of Vanarama National League club Torquay United, has announced that Dan Butler has decided not to re-join the Gulls for 2016/17.