1903–04 Burslem Port Vale F.C. season

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Burslem Port Vale
1903–04 season
Chairman England Robert Audley
Manager England Sam Gleaves
Stadium Athletic Ground
Football League Second Division 13th (29 Points)
FA Cup First Round
Staffordshire Senior Cup First Round
Birmingham Senior Cup First Round
Top goalscorer League: Adrian Capes (14)
All: Adrian Capes (17)
Highest home attendance 5,000 vs Bristol City (26 December 1903)
Lowest home attendance 500 vs Grimsby Town (13 February 1904)
Average home league attendance 2,250+
Home colours

The 1903–04 season was Burslem Port Vale's sixth consecutive season (tenth overall) of football in the Football League.[1] The club went the whole season without recording an away win, part of a club record 29 away games without victory. With the new rule of the direct free kick introduced, Arthur Rowley also wrote himself into the history books by becoming the first player to score from a free kick.[1]

The first team was firmly established, and the players had been together for some years. The financial crisis that loomed over the club was held at bay by an FA Cup run and by selling a promising young winger.

Bert Eardley, in his fifth season with the club, was a key first team member.
Ageing Winger Billy Heames was still a key threat.
George Price was at the heart of the Vale team, as he remained throughout his career.
Top scorer, and Valeite legend, Adrian Capes.
Right-back Ernest Mullineux played 40 games for the club in all competitions.
Half-back Harry Croxton become crucial to the spine of the team.

Overview[edit]

Second Division[edit]

A rather quiet pre-season saw no major signings or departures, and hopes were built of an improvement on last season's ninth place finish.[1]

The first game of the season was on 7 September 1903 against Bolton Wanderers, where Arthur Rowley wrote himself into the history books by becoming the first player to score from a direct free kick.[1] Five days later the Vale beat Manchester United 1–0, and their season got going – albeit very slowly.[1] Four games later they found their second victory – against new boys Bradford City, however by October they had racked up just five points from their opening eight games.[1] A seven game unbeaten run saw them surge up the table towards the end of 1903. This run ended at Gainsborough Trinity, but could be justified by the fact that they had played three games in four days.[1] They went on to muster just one point from seven games to find themselves back in the danger zone as players looked towards their promising cup run rather than the league itself.[1] An inconsistent end to the season followed, though picking up points from eight of their last twelve games was enough to ensure safety.[1] On the final game of the season 20,000 Woolwich Arsenal fans turned up to watch their team claim the championship, however the "Valeites" hung on for a draw, with Harry Cotton in remarkable form, and a goalless draw was enough to hand the league title to Preston North End.[1] Port Vale were one of only two teams to take a point home from London that season. This was even more surprising considering that Vale went the whole season without recording an away win, and had to rely entirely on their home form to stay in the league. They finished two points ahead of the re-election zones, and were twenty points shy of promotion.

Adrian Capes was top scorer for the fourth consecutive season with seventeen goals, fourteen of them coming in the league.[1] Tom Simpson contributed fifteen goals, and would only score thirteen more Football League goals in his entire career. Goalkeeper Harry Cotton missed just two games, as did right-back Ernest Mullineux; Harry Croxton, Arthur Rowley, Billy Heames, George Price, Bert Eardley, W. Perkins, and Joseph Holyhead made up the first of the first team – who each made a minimum of 35 out of 42 possible appearances in all competitions.

Finances[edit]

Again attendances were disappointing, and to improve the financial outlook players were sold as early as October, when a highly promising Tom Coxon signed to nearby Stoke for £200.[1] Their FA Cup clash at Southampton saw them rake in a £491 share of gate receipts.[1] A loss of £39 was recorded on the season, and raising wages and falling gate receipts were only off-set by the income from transfers and cup runs.[1] Recognizing this, the directors insisted that a controversial policy of selling on players had to be adopted.[1]

Cup competitions[edit]

In September the club were eliminated in both county cup competitions by Stoke by three goal margins.[1] The "Valeites" found rather more success in the FA Cup, though had to win four matches to reach the First Round, at which point they were eliminated by Southampton of the Southern Football League. On the way they racked up a 6–0 home win over Stockport County in the Fourth Qualification Round Replay.

Final league table[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A F A GA GD Pts
1 Preston North End 34 13 4 0 38 10 7 6 4 24 14 62 24 2.583 + 38 50
2 Woolwich Arsenal 34 15 2 0 67 5 6 5 6 24 17 91 22 4.136 + 69 49
3 Manchester United 34 14 2 1 42 14 6 6 5 23 19 65 33 1.970 + 32 48
4 Bristol City 34 14 2 1 53 12 4 4 9 20 29 73 41 1.780 + 32 42
5 Burnley 34 12 2 3 31 20 3 7 7 19 35 50 55 0.909 – 5 39
6 Grimsby Town 34 12 5 0 39 12 2 3 12 11 37 50 49 1.020 + 1 36
7 Bolton Wanderers 34 10 3 4 38 11 2 7 8 21 30 59 41 1.439 + 18 34
8 Barnsley 34 10 5 2 25 12 1 5 11 13 45 38 57 0.667 – 19 32
9 Gainsborough Trinity 34 10 2 5 34 17 4 1 12 19 43 53 60 0.883 – 17 31
10 Bradford City 34 8 5 4 30 25 4 2 11 15 34 45 59 0.763 – 14 31
11 Chesterfield 34 8 5 4 22 12 3 3 11 15 33 37 45 0.822 – 8 30
12 Lincoln City 34 9 4 4 25 18 2 4 11 16 40 41 58 0.707 – 17 30
13 Burslem Port Vale 34 10 3 4 44 20 0 6 11 10 32 54 52 1.038 + 2 29
14 Burton United 34 8 6 3 33 16 3 1 13 12 45 45 61 0.738 – 16 29
15 Blackpool 34 8 2 7 25 27 3 3 11 15 40 40 67 0.597 – 27 27
16 Stockport County 34 7 7 3 28 23 1 4 12 12 49 40 72 0.556 – 32 27
17 Glossop 34 7 4 6 42 25 3 2 12 15 39 57 64 0.891 – 7 26
18 Leicester Fosse 34 5 8 4 26 21 1 2 14 16 61 42 82 0.512 – 40 22

Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against;
GA = Goal average; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

Results[edit]

Burslem Port Vale's score comes first

Legend[edit]

Win Draw Loss
Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34
Ground H H A H A H A H H H H A A H A A A A H A H H H A H A H A A A H H A A
Result L W L D L W L L W D W D D W D L L L D L L L W L W L W L D D W W L D
Position 14 9 11 11 13 10 12 14 11 11 9 10 9 9 9 9 9 11 11 12 14 15 15 16 16 17 16 16 16 15 14 13 13 13

Sourced from Statto.[2]

Football League Second Division[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
7 September 1903 Bolton Wanderers H 2–3 3,000 Rowley, Price
12 September 1903 Manchester United H 1–0 3,000 Simpson
19 September 1903 Burnley A 0–1 6,000
26 September 1903 Glossop H 1–1 3,000 Rowley
3 October 1903 Preston North End A 1–3 9,000 Coxon
10 October 1903 Bradford City H 5–2 3,000 Coxon (2), Simpson, Capes, o.g.
17 October 1903 Grimsby Town A 1–3 3,000 Coxon
24 October 1903 Woolwich Arsenal H 2–3 3,000 Heames, Simpson
7 November 1903 Barnsley H 3–0 1,000 Simpson (2), Capes
21 November 1903 Lincoln City H 2–2 1,500 Perkins, Simpson
5 December 1903 Stockport County H 2–0 Perkins, Capes
19 December 1903 Chesterfield A 1–1 2,000 Capes
25 December 1903 Leicester Fosse A 1–1 8,000 Capes
26 December 1903 Bristol City H 3–1 5,000 Capes (2), Simpson
28 December 1903 Bradford City A 1–1 13,000 Simpson
29 December 1903 Gainsborough Trinity A 0–3 2,000
2 January 1904 Bolton Wanderers A 0–5 5,000
9 January 1904 Manchester United A 0–2 10,000
16 January 1904 Burnley H 2–2 Allman, Capes
23 January 1904 Glossop A 1–4 5,000 Mountford
30 January 1904 Preston North End H 0–1 3,000
13 February 1904 Grimsby Town H 1–2 500 Price
27 February 1904 Leicester Fosse H 6–2 1,000 Capes (2), Croxton, Simpson, Price, Eardley
5 March 1904 Barnsley A 0–1
12 March 1904 Blackpool H 5–0 Price (2), Capes, Mullineux, o.g.
19 March 1904 Lincoln City A 2–3 Capes, Simpson
26 March 1904 Gainsborough Trinity H 3–0 1,000 Allman, Capes, Simpson
1 April 1904 Blackpool A 0–1 1,500
2 April 1904 Stockport County A 1–1 2,000 Allman
4 April 1904 Burton United A 0–0
9 April 1904 Burton United H 3–1 2,000 Mountford, Holyhead, Eardley
16 April 1904 Chesterfield H 3–0 1,500 Heames, Price, Capes
23 April 1904 Bristol City A 1–2 4,000 Loverseed
25 April 1904 Woolwich Arsenal A 0–0 20,000

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 1903–04 FA Cup
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
3Q 31 October 1903 Crewe Alexandra A 0–0 4,000
3Q Replay 5 November 1903 Crewe Alexandra H 2–1 2,000 Simpson, Heames
4Q 14 November 1903 Stockport County A 0–0 3,000
4Q Replay 19 November 1903 Stockport County H 6–0 2,000 Simpson (2), Capes, Eardley, Holyhead, Price
5Q 28 November 1903 Nantwich A 1–0 3,000 Capes
IR 12 December 1903 Burton United H 3–0 Capes, Heames, Simpson
R1 6 February 1904 Southampton A 0–3 8,000

Player statistics[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Kent, Jeff (1990). "The Hopeless Struggle (1898-1907)". The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. pp. 50–70. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7. 
  2. ^ Port Vale 1903–1904 : Results & Fixtures. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  • Kent, Jeff (1993). The Port Vale Record 1879-1993. Witan Books. ISBN 0-9508981-9-8.