Port Vale: Pope might have moved on if he wasn't a Vale fan
TOM Pope might not have signed his new deal with Port Vale if he wasn't a lifelong fan of the club.
The 27-goal striker, who penned a two-year contract on Tuesday night, reckons he could have been far better off, financially, if he had looked for a move.
But he said the thought of doing so never crossed his mind.
"If it wasn't my own club then I probably wouldn't have signed," he said.
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"I would have waited until the end of the season to see what's available.
"Not because I'm greedy, but because that's the way football is.
"I probably could have got more money if I had waited, but when you're scoring goals for the club you love and you live half a mile from the ground, you have everything you need.
"I never had any intention of going elsewhere.
"The new owners are showing a massive amount of ambition to hopefully get us back into the Championship one day and I want to be part of that.
"The chairman sold me his dream, and it was an easy decision in the end."
Pope, who was derided by sections of the Vale crowd as he struggled for goals last season, said he hoped he had proved a point this term.
"I always had belief in myself," he said.
"Everyone has opinions and you're never going to please everybody, but what irritated me last year was the fact I was getting stick when I felt my game wasn't too bad.
"The job I had was to hold the ball up.
"We didn't have wingers then and the style of play didn't suit me, but I gave 100 per cent in everything I did.
"I tried my best to make chances and created goals for others.
"The fans who criticise just think about goals. They're the ones who don't know anything about the game.
"I heard plenty of people say I contributed nothing and it's a shame to think there are fans who thought that way.
"But anyone who knows the game will know I did contribute last year.
"Having said that, I've changed the way I play this season, I've got really fit and people are now seeing the real Tom Pope."