Port Vale: Gateshead manager Neil Aspin returns to former club as manager

Neil Aspin came up against Wolves' Robbie Keane when his playing career with Port Vale reached second-tier level
Neil Aspin spent the majority of his playing career with Port Vale, reaching second-tier level

Former Port Vale defender Neil Aspin has left National League side Gateshead to return to the struggling League Two club as their new manager.

Vale, who are 22nd in the fourth tier, sacked Michael Brown on 16 September.

Aspin, 52, who made 410 appearances for Vale in 10 seasons, won 39 of his 100 games as Gateshead boss in almost two years as manager.

Former Vale boss John Rudge will also return to Vale Park to work with Aspin as the club's director of football.

Rudge, 72, previously spent almost 14 years as Vale manager from December 1984 to January 1999, encompassing almost all of Aspin's Vale career.

He then spent a further 14 years in the Potteries as director of football with Vale's neighbours Stoke City until 2013, since when he has scouted for Hull City.

Neil Aspin has spent 12 years in non-league management - half of them with Halifax Town
Neil Aspin began his managerial career with Harrogate Town in 2005, then had six years at Halifax Town until 2015.

Aspin's 'step into the frying pan'

"We're in the mire," Aspin told BBC Radio Stoke. "And we need to get out of it. We're at the bottom of the Football League. It's a massive job and I'm not shying away from it. It's a step into the frying pan.

"I know it's a risk. I could have stayed and managed in non-league football a lot longer. And I know how long managers tend to last in the Football League. But it was a challenge I couldn't turn down.

"Having played here for 10 years, I have an affinity with the club and a good feeling. I wanted to manage in the Football League so, for me, it's a step up the ladder."

The Burslem-based side are five points adrift of the side above them Morecambe in League Two - and level on points with the bottom two, Forest Green Rovers and Chesterfield.

Vale have played three league games since Brown departed, during which time they have picked up just one point under caretaker bosses David Kelly and Chris Morgan.

But they did beat Newcastle United Under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy at Vale Park on Tuesday, their first win since the opening day of the season, to end a winless 12-game run.

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