Port Vale legend John Rudge admitted he was 'overwhelmed' with the reaction from Reading supporters in donating almost £10,000 for his statue fund.

Rudge, 79, has been associated with the Burslem club for over 30 years as coach, manager and now director.

Vale supporters aim to raise £100,000 by October in order to unveil a statue at Vale Park on his 80th birthday.

Royals fans donated thousands of pounds as a 'thank you' for Port Vale's response to Reading's match abandonment in January.

Rudge, and over 200 Port Vale fans, returned to Berkshire last night for the rematch as Reading won 2-0.

Welcomed onto the pitch at half-time to thank Royals supporters, Rudge received a standing ovation from all four sides of the stadium.

Speaking to Supporters Trust at Reading chair Sarah Turner before the match, Rudge said: "I’m overwhelmed for what you have done for me. I have been very fortunate that the Port Vale supporters have gone to build a statue for me for my 80th birthday which is in October. To raise £100,000 was going to be difficult, but with your help and assistance in donating nearly £10,000, I am so grateful. Thank you very much indeed."

Port Vale fans joined in last night's protest against Dai Yongge, raising red cards on the 16th minute.