Louis Bartholomew Dodds (born 8 October 1986) is an English footballer who plays for EFL League Two club Port Vale, on loan from National League side Chesterfield. He can play either as a midfielder or as a striker.
After many years at the Leicester City Academy, he turned professional at the club in 2006. He spent the 2006–07 season on loan at Conference side Northwich Victoria and League Two club Rochdale. He then spent the entirety of the 2007–08 campaign on loan at Lincoln City. He turned down a new deal with Leicester to sign for Port Vale in July 2008. He helped the club to secure promotion out of League Two in 2012–13 with seven goals in 36 matches. He ended his eight-year spell at Port Vale when he joined league rivals Shrewsbury Town in May 2016.
Dodds warming up for Port Vale before the match against Northampton Town on 20 April 2013.
Louids Dodds was born Sheffield, though moved with his family to Leicester when he just five years old, where he joined the Leicester City youth academy at the age of ten. He joined Leicester after being spotted by a talent scout while playing for Ratby & Groby, and whilst there earned himself a call-up to the England under-18 squad. He finished the 2005–06 season with a hat-trick in the final of the Westerby Challenge Cup, and also picked up the Academy Player of the Year trophy having scored 65 goals in three seasons for the Academy and reserves. Dodds was described by the Leicester management as "the most natural finisher at the club".
Dodds signed a new contract with the "Foxes" to keep him at the club until the summer of 2007, but on 9 October 2006 was allowed to join Conference side Northwich Victoria on loan to gain some first team experience. This loan deal was extended in November, before he was recalled by the "Foxes" at the end of the month due to an injury crisis. In February 2007 he joined Rochdale on loan, and scored an early winner on his first start. He scored two goals in twelve games for the "Dale".
In July 2007 he agreed to a season long loan deal at Lincoln City. He scored nine goals during his spell with Lincoln City and was voted as scorer of the club's goal of the season for his long-range strike against Wycombe Wanderers. He showed an interest in joining the club permanently and was offered a new contract at parent club Leicester, but instead joined League Two's Port Vale on 21 July 2008, penning a two-year deal.
On 9 August 2008, Dodds made his first start for the Vale in the opening game of the season against Luton Town and he was quick to win over his new supporters, scoring Vale's opening goal of the season with a 20-yard right footed shot. He further enhanced his popularity with the Vale faithful with a long range strike against Shrewsbury Town. He especially enjoyed great popularity with the club's female support, as he took away the club's 2009 "Mr Shirt of the Back" Award; he went on to pick up the award for three seasons running. He scored a total of ten goals in 48 games in 2008–09.
Manager Micky Adams arrived for the 2009–10 season, and transfer listed Dodds in late September, along with the entire Port Vale squad, after Vale slipped to a third consecutive defeat. Dodds maintained his first team place however, scoring seven goals in 48 appearances. He was offered a new two-year contract by the club at the end of the season, which he duly signed.
Vale enjoyed a positive start to the 2010–11 season. However, in January 2011, Dodds found he was not a first team regular under new manager Jim Gannon, despite calls from supporters for Gannon to include Dodds in the first eleven. Yet he managed to force himself back into contention with an impressive strike to seal a 2–1 win over Macclesfield Town on 5 March, after coming into the match as a late substitute. After Gannon left the club just two weeks later, Dodds admitted that he probably would have left the club had Gannon remained in charge much longer. He scored his first hat-trick in the Football League on 30 April, along with Justin Richards, in a 7–2 win over Morecambe.
He was not in the first team at the start of the 2011–12 campaign, but instead came off the bench in five of the "Valiants"' first six games. Having started just three league games by the half-way stage, Dodds admitted that his versatility was preventing him from nailing down a specialized role in the first eleven. His third goal of the season came on 14 February, when he scored a "sensational" 15 yard volley past Bradford City at Valley Parade. This was later voted as the club's Goal of the Season. He struck twice in a 2–1 win at Aldershot on 6 April, and was named on the League Two team of the week. He agreed to commit his future to the club in May 2012.
Desperate to play as a striker in the 2012–13 season, he got his wish as he was played as a deep-lying striker in partnership with Tom Pope. Combined with wingers Jennison Myrie-Williams and Ashley Vincent, the four man strike force fired Vale into second place in the league over the first quarter of the campaign. On 18 September, he converted a "stunning strike with the outside of his foot" in a 5–2 victory over Fleetwood Town at Highbury Stadium – later this was voted the club's goal of the season. However, he lost his first team place, before "a heart-to-heart with boss Micky Adams... got him back on track", and on 15 December he marked his first start for a month with his first goal in three months – it proved to be a crucial goal against promotion rivals Cheltenham Town in a 1–1 draw at Whaddon Road. Vale secured promotion with a third-place finish at the end of the season, with Dodds finishing on seven goals in 36 games. He agreed to sign a new two-year contract in the summer.
Towards the end of the 2013–14 campaign Dodds was utilized in central midfield. He ended the campaign with four goals in 34 games, helping the club to a ninth-place finish in League One.
After impressing in caretaker-manager Rob Page's first game in charge on 20 September, Page said Dodds was "magnificent" but needed to improve his consistency. Dodds fitted in well to Page's system, with a greater emphasis on possession than under Micky Adams. It took him 21 games to get on the scoresheet in the 2014–15 season, when he put in a man of the match performance in a 2–1 victory over Crawley Town on 20 December. He passed the 300 career league game mark during the campaign, but admitted he was worried about his future at the club as his contract was due to expire in the summer and chairman Norman Smurthwaite was in no hurry to negotiate new deals with any of the playing squad. He signed a one-year contract with the option for a further year in June 2015.
He scored twice in a 3–0 win over Crewe Alexandra on 9 April, earning himself a place on that week's Football League Paper's team of the week. He ended the 2015–16 campaign with eight goals in 44 appearances, and was voted Away Travel Player of the Year. After choosing to leave the club in the summer, he described how it was "an honour and a privilege to represent the club for eight years of my career" and that "I will always have a huge amount of love and respect for both the club and the fans".
Dodds signed a two-year contract with League One side Shrewsbury Town in May 2016. His first goal for the club was a 77th-minute winner in a first-round EFL Cup tie against Championship side Huddersfield Town on 9 August. He went on to finish the 2016–17 campaign as Shrewsbury's top scorer with ten goals in all competitions. Paul Hurst, who was appointed as manager mid-way through Dodds first season at the club, admitted that the player presented him with "a nice problem" regarding team selection, having been deployed successfully either wide left, wide right or in a central attacking midfield role in his preferred 4−4−2 system.
Style of play
A skilful and pacey player, due to his goalscoring ability he is able to play as both a midfielder and as a striker. He has stated that he prefers to play in the centre of the pitch. Despite his finishing skills from open play, he is a very poor penalty-taker.
" has a great brain and he sees passes that nobody else sees. He has unbelievable quality and he's always trying different things. He has that ability similar to how Dennis Bergkamp used to be at Arsenal. I'm not comparing him to Bergkamp, but he had that vision to spot a pass and time it well. If you can read it and make the runs, he will create a lot for you."
— Port Vale teammate Tom Pope was full of praise following a comfortable win over Barnet on 20 August 2012.
Dodds as a Port Vale player at Vale Park.
Dodds was born in Sheffield, and grew up supporting Sheffield Wednesday, but now lives in Stoke-on-Trent with his wife and children. During his time at Vale Park he was considered the "ringleader of the dressing-room banter". He began writing a column in Staffordshire newspaper The Sentinel in November 2015.
Former Youth Teams
Former Senior Teams