Port Vale: Popular winger Lewis Haldane to be honoured at tribute night
LEWIS Haldane says he is thrilled and surprised his old club Port Vale have planned a tribute evening in his honour.
The event, to be held on Sunday, March 17, is a fund-raiser for the popular winger, who was forced to retire from football, aged just 27, in October.
Haldane broke his leg in two places while playing for Vale at Tranmere in August 2011 and failed to fully recover.
Boss Micky Adams and assistant Mark Grew will take part in a question and answer session, while other entertainment will be provided by youth-team player Ollie Marland, who doubles up as a singer.
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Haldane said: "Mark Grew rang me up last week to see if I would be available on that night and I wondered what he was going to say next. I wasn't anticipating anything at all like this.
"Watching the boys doing so well lately and not be involved has made what happened to me all the harder.
"It's been a year-and-a-half since it happened and I've more or less come to terms with it, but I still know I should be coming into my prime as a footballer now, instead I'm looking at a different career.
"Still, after everything the players, fans and the gaffer have gone through over the past few years the club thoroughly deserves this success."
Haldane, below, played 74 times and scored four times for Vale after joining from Bristol Rovers, initially on loan, in 2009.
He is now planning to go on a course to become a personal trainer with a plan to open up his own business in the West Country.
"It's something I've always been really into," he said. "I took some stick about it in the Vale changing room, but then again I took stick about a lot of things.
"I'm looking forward to the evening and being able to have a drink without needing to get up for training.
"Ollie has been doing well for Vale's youth team this season and with his singing. Will I join him on stage? Of course not."
Tickets for the event, to be held at the Valiant Suite (7pm) are priced £10 and will be available soon.
Haldane is already in line for a testimonial at former club Bristol Rovers.
That game, between the current Rovers side and a Rovers 'Legends' XI, will take place at the Memorial Ground on May 18.
Haldane said: "I played fewer than 200 times for Rovers and most players who get a testimonial have played nearer 500 so I'm honoured."
Rob McFarlane, who has helped organise the event, is sure it will prove popular.
"Lewis was a popular player during his time here, and I thought it would be a good idea to give him a proper send-off," he said.
"It's never nice when a player has to retire through injury, but particularly so at such a young age.
"Tickets won't go on sale until next week at the earliest."