1958–59 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
1958–59 season
Chairman England Jake Bloom
Manager Scotland Norman Low
Stadium Vale Park
Football League Fourth Division 1st (64 Points)
FA Cup First Round
Top goalscorer League: Stan Steele (22)
All: Stan Steele (22)
Highest home attendance 20,916 vs. Coventry City (4 April 1959)
Lowest home attendance 8,851 vs. Chester (21 February 1959)
Average home league attendance 12,757
Home colours

The 1958–59 season was Port Vale's forty-seventh season of football in the Football League, and their first season in the newly created Fourth Division following their relegation from the Third Division South.[1] They scored a club-record 110 goals in 46 league matches to storm to the Fourth Division title. Forwards Stan Steele, Jack Wilkinson, Graham Barnett, Harry Poole, and John Cunliffe all reached double-figures in front of goal.

Overview[edit]

Fourth Division[edit]

The pre-season saw the arrival of the 'speedy and direct' winger Brian Jackson (signed from Liverpool for £2,000), experienced left-back Roy Pritchard (Notts County), and Peter Hall (Stoke City).[1] There was also a change of chairman, as Jake Bloom took charge.[1] He initiated a change of kit, as Vale played in black and amber striped jerseys with black shorts.[1]

The season opened with a 4–1 home defeat by Northampton Town, Andy Woan scoring the first goal of the new division.[1] Roy Sproson was then dropped from the first eleven, and Vale failed to find a win in Burslem until 29 September.[1] Their away form proved to be outstanding though, as the team recorded seven wins in their first nine away fixtures.[1] On 24 September, Vale Park saw its first match under the new £17,000 floodlights, as the club beat West Bromwich Albion (who included Ronnie Allen in their line-up) 5–3.[1] With a 4–1 win over Southport five days later, The Sentinel's 'T.G.F.' remarked that "the spell is broken".[1] Vale remained unbeaten at home for the rest of the season.[1] Strong in attack, the club took until 11 October before failing to score, in a goalless draw with Oldham Athletic witnessed by Shirley Bassey (as a guest of Norman Low).[1] A fortnight later Vale failed to beat Carlisle United, as referee J.G.Williams blew the full-time whistle just as a Jack Wilkinson header was floating into the opposition's net.[1] On 8 November, Vale beat Exeter City 5–3 in a top-of-the-table clash.[1] Two consecutive away defeats followed soon after, as Vale fell down to third.[1] The 4–2 loss in an 'appalling mud bath' at The Den saw the débuts of keeper Ken Hancock and striker Graham Barnett.[1]

A twelve match unbeaten run followed, taking Vale four points clear at the top.[1] This included a triumphant 8–0 Boxing day win over Gateshead (their biggest win since 24 September 1932), followed by a 4–0 win at Redheugh Park on New Year's Day.[1] Roy Sproson was then brought back into the defensive line, whilst up front Stan Steele 'did the work of two men', Harry Poole brought 'flexibility and fluidity', and Barnett scored from half-chances.[1] Just as Vale seemed to be running away with the title, defeat came on 16 March at Highfield Road to Coventry City.[1] The following month the "Valiants" beat the "sky blues" 3–0, taking them six points ahead of the chasing pack.[1] Promotion was secured on 18 April with a 1–1 draw at home to Darlington, and the title was secured with a final day victory over Millwall.[1]

They finished as champions with 64 points, four points clear of second, and seven clear of fifth spot.[1] They had secured twelve victories on the road, as despite nobody recording a hat-trick all season, a club-record 110 goals were scored – with five players reaching double-figures.[1] The defence was also strong, only Coventry and York City conceded fewer.[1] Praise came in for manager Norman Low, who in turned praised Barnett as 'the supreme goal poacher', Hancock as 'the find of the season', whilst Steele was 'the model of consistency'.[1]

Finances[edit]

On the financial side, gate receipts rose by 20% to £39,934, whilst there was a transfer credit of £6,075.[1] Wages had risen to £26,535, however the club's Sportsmen's Association made a donation of £9,069 to give the club a profit of £8,595.[1] Pleased with his players, Low only released Alan Martin (Northwich Victoria) and reserve Ken Higgs (who went on to enjoy a successful cricket career).[1] The stadium received an upgrade, as the Bycars End was terraced, increasing capacity by 6,500 to 50,000, and the car park was extended and additional drains were installed.[1]

Cup competitions[edit]

In the FA Cup, Vale exited in the First Round with a 1–0 defeat by Torquay United at Plainmoor.

Final league table[edit]

P W D L F A GA Pts
1 Port Vale 46 26 12 8 110 58 1.897 64
2 Coventry City 46 24 12 10 84 47 1.787 60
3 York City 46 21 18 7 73 52 1.404 60
4 Shrewsbury Town 46 24 10 12 101 63 1.603 58
5 Exeter City 46 23 11 12 87 61 1.426 57
6 Walsall 46 21 10 15 95 64 1.484 52
7 Crystal Palace 46 20 12 14 90 71 1.268 52
8 Northampton Town 46 21 9 16 85 78 1.090 51
9 Millwall 46 20 10 16 76 69 1.101 50
10 Carlisle United 46 19 12 15 62 65 0.954 50
11 Gillingham 46 20 9 17 82 77 1.065 49
12 Torquay United 46 16 12 18 78 77 1.013 44
13 Chester 46 16 12 18 72 84 0.857 44
14 Bradford Park Avenue 46 18 7 21 75 77 0.974 43
15 Watford 46 16 10 20 81 79 1.025 42
16 Darlington 46 13 16 17 66 68 0.971 42
17 Workington 46 12 17 17 63 78 0.808 41
18 Crewe Alexandra 46 15 10 21 70 82 0.854 40
19 Hartlepools United 46 15 10 21 74 88 0.841 40
20 Gateshead 46 16 8 22 56 85 0.659 40
21 Oldham Athletic 46 16 4 26 59 84 0.702 36
22 Aldershot 46 14 7 25 63 97 0.649 35
23 Barrow 46 9 10 27 51 104 0.490 28
24 Southport 46 7 12 27 41 86 0.477 26

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

Results[edit]

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 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46
Ground H A A H H A A H A A H H A H H A H A H H A A A H A H H H A H A H H A A H A A H H A A H A A H
Result L W D L D W W D W D L W W W D W D W W W L L W W W W W W D W W W W W L W L W W W L D D D D W
Position 17 15 13 17 17 9 6 7 4 6 9 6 4 3 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 3 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Sourced from Statto.[2]

Football League Fourth Division[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
23 August 1958 Northampton Town H 1–4 15,018 Wilkinson
26 August 1958 Watford A 2–0 11,948 Jackson, Poole
30 August 1958 Workington A 2–2 5,998 o.g., Steele
1 September 1958 Watford H 1–3 10,458 Poole
6 September 1958 York City H 2–2 10,104 Steele, Wilkinson
8 September 1958 Hartlepools United A 5–1 6,158 Wilkinson (2), Cunliffe (2), Steele
13 September 1958 Bradford Park Avenue A 2–0 9,683 Wilkinson, Steele
15 September 1958 Hartlepools United H 1–1 9,313 Wilkinson
20 September 1958 Aldershot A 4–0 6,211 Poole, Steele, Cunliffe, o.g.
23 September 1958 Southport A 2–2 3,274 Steele, Wilkinson
27 September 1958 Crystal Palace H 2–3 13,952 Poole, Hall
29 September 1958 Southport H 4–1 9,788 Poole (2), Cunliffe, Wilkinson
4 October 1958 Chester A 2–1 8,197 Steele (2)
6 October 1958 Torquay United H 3–1 13,102 Wilkinson (2), Hall
11 October 1958 Oldham Athletic H 0–0 13,432
18 October 1958 Barrow A 2–1 4,909 Wilkinson, Cunliffe
25 October 1958 Carlisle United H 1–1 12,894 Wilkinson (pen)
1 November 1958 Gillingham A 2–0 9,940 Jackson, Steele
8 November 1958 Exeter City H 5–3 14,282 Steele (2), Poole, Jackson, Cunliffe
22 November 1958 Shrewsbury Town H 2–0 12,047 Poole, Wilkinson
29 November 1958 Darlington A 0–2 6,160
13 December 1958 Millwall A 2–4 11,056 Steele, Barnett
20 December 1958 Northampton Town A 4–2 6,907 Poole (2), Kinsey, Barnett
26 December 1958 Gateshead H 8–0 16,899 Cunliffe (2), Poole (2), Steele (2), Jackson (pen), Barnett
1 January 1959 Gateshead A 4–0 4,674 Cunliffe (2), Steele, Poole
23 January 1959 Walsall H 2–1 11,569 Barnett, Wilkinson
31 January 1959 Bradford Park Avenue H 4–2 12,377 Wilkinson (2), Steele, Kinsey
7 February 1959 Aldershot H 3–2 10,608 Barnett (2), Steele
14 February 1959 Crystal Palace A 1–1 13,305 Cunliffe
21 February 1959 Chester H 4–0 8,851 Wilkinson, Jackson, Steele, Barnett
28 February 1959 Oldham Athletic A 2–0 7,515 Barnett (2)
2 March 1959 Workington H 2–0 10,978 Poole, Kinsey
7 March 1959 Barrow H 4–1 10,034 Wilkinson (2), Cunliffe, Barnett
14 March 1959 Carlisle United A 3–0 6,110 Barnett (2), Steele
16 March 1959 Coventry City A 0–1 28,429
21 March 1959 Gillingham H 3–1 11,119 Steele, Cunliffe, Barnett
27 March 1959 Crewe Alexandra A 0–2 15,330
28 March 1959 Exeter City A 4–3 12,088 Steele (2), Poole, Sproson
30 March 1959 Crewe Alexandra H 1–1 20,524 Jackson (pen)
4 April 1959 Coventry City H 3–0 20,916 Wilkinson (2), Jackson (pen)
11 April 1959 Shrewsbury Town A 3–4 10,619 Barnett (2), Cunliffe
15 April 1959 York City A 0–0 9,755
18 April 1959 Darlington H 1–1 11,577 Barnett
22 April 1959 Torquay United A 1–1 5,036 Barnett
25 April 1959 Walsall A 1–1 6,626 Barnett
27 April 1959 Millwall H 5–2 13,473 Barnett (2), Poole, Jackson, Cunliffe

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 1958–59 FA Cup
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 15 November 1958 Torquay United A 0–1 6,526

Player statistics[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Kent, Jeff (1990). "Fame and Fortune (1950–1959)". The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. pp. 171–196. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7. 
  2. ^ Port Vale 1958–1959 : Results & Fixtures. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  • Kent, Jeff (1993). The Port Vale Record 1879-1993. Witan Books. ISBN 0-9508981-9-8.