1968–69 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
1968–69 season
Chairman England Arthur McPherson
Manager England Gordon Lee
Stadium Vale Park
Football League Fourth Division 13th (46 Points)
FA Cup Third Round
League Cup First Round
Player of the Year Scotland Ron Wilson
Top goalscorer League: Roy Chapman (11)
All: Roy Chapman (12)
Highest home attendance 8,800 vs. Shrewsbury Town (18 November 1968)
Lowest home attendance 2,679 vs. Grimsby Town (21 April 1969)
Average home league attendance 4,361
Home colours

The 1968–69 season was Port Vale's fifty-seventh season of football in the Football League, and their fourth successive season (fifth overall) in the Fourth Division.[1] New manager Gordon Lee used the season to consolidate the club after it was readmitted to the Football League immediately after being expelled for illegal payment of players. Managing 46 goals scored and conceded, and 46 points gained in 46 games, he had built a solid base for future progress. However the club's financial problems continued, as another loss was made to increase the club's debt levels.

Overview[edit]

Fourth Division[edit]

On 8 June, the club's future was decided, as a vote of 39 to 9 allowed the club readmission to the Football League, despite the conclusion of an investigation earlier in the year which ruled that the club should be expelled from the League.[1] New manager Gordon Lee thus began work on rebuilding his squad, announcing a team approach with an additional 'individual coaching plan' for players to improve their personal weaknesses.[1] Lee was big on coaching, and replaced cross country running exercises with realistic match-day situations.[1] Stanley Matthews would become more of a scout and would only visit Burslem on a weekly basis, he also agreed to allow the £9,000 owed to him in payments delayed until the club were on a sounder financial footing.[1] His name removed from his office door, he 'gradually drifted out of the picture'.[1] Three signings of note included: 'tenacious' wing-half John King (Tranmere Rovers); Wales international winger Graham Williams (Tranmere Rovers); and teenager Bobby Gough (Walsall).[1]

The season opened with four Roy Chapman goals in four games, though only three points were won in the first six encounters. With Sharratt out injured, in came 'part-time, pipe-smoking civil servant' Geoff Hickson on loan from Crewe Alexandra.[1] Lee quickly earned the respect of the Vale fans despite his team lying bottom of the table in mid-September.[1] A new club mascot was unveiled at this time – 'Prince Val'.[1] Some good home performances lifted the club off the bottom of the table, including a 4–1 thumping of Scunthorpe United and a stylish back-heeled goal from Roy Sproson in a 1–1 draw with Lincoln City.[1] Chapman then developed sciatica and had to be rested until December.[1] An excellent defence helped the club then to achieve a five game unbeaten run in the league.[1] In November, goalkeeper Keith Ball was signed from Walsall for 'a small fee' and Graham Newton joined on trial after leaving the Atlanta Chiefs.[1] On Boxing day, Vale travelled to Sincil Bank, where they beat second-placed Lincoln 1–0 in front of 12,208 spectators.[1] Soon after Bill Asprey retired as a player to coach at Sheffield Wednesday.[1]

A 5–0 mauling of Newport County on 18 January sent the Vale into the top half of the table, though just one goal was scored and one point gained in the next four games.[1] In March, Lee adopted a more 'hit and run' style, and saw his team achieve three straight wins.[1] On the 29th, with the club seeming safe from re-election, 'hooliganism reared its ugly head' as Chester found their team bus smashed with bricks following a 2–1 loss at Burslem.[1] On 21 April, Sproson made his 700th league appearance in a 1–0 win over struggling Grimsby Town.[1] The final day was a 1–1 draw with wooden-spoon club Bradford Park Avenue, though the Vale had five goals disallowed.[1] Nevertheless this game was the first of a club-record nineteen league game streak without a loss that would end on 22 November 1969 the following season.

They finished in thirteenth place with 46 points from their 46 games, scoring 46 and conceding 46 goals.[1]

Finances[edit]

On the financial side, a £10,900 loss was made despite donations of £16,734 from the Sportsmen's Association and the Development Fund.[1] This left the club's total debts standing at £178,277.[1] The club needed an average home attendance of 6,000 to break even, and were almost two thousand short of this total.[1] More stringent economies were thus imposed upon the club.[1] Five professionals left on free transfers: Mick Cullerton (Chester); Mick Mahon (York City); Jimmy Goodfellow (Workington); Graham Williams (Runcorn); and Milija Aleksic (Eastwood).[1] Lee claimed 'it was a hard decision, but I have had to create room for improvement'.[1] Roy Chapman was offered a new contract, but opted instead to sign with Chester.[1]

Cup competitions[edit]

In the FA Cup, with Sharrat injured and Hickson re-called by Crewe, seventeen-year-old Milija Aleksic was roped in to play in the First Round clash with Third Division Shrewsbury Town.[1] He also played in the replay following the 1–1 draw, and the club progressed with a 3–1 win over their 'lacklustre' opponents.[1] The "Valiants" also required a replay to progress past Workington. Vale then exited at the Third Round with a 1–0 defeat at Vicarage Road to Watford.

In the League Cup, defeat came in the First Round to Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground. Stuart Sharrat cracked a kneecap in the game and later contracted a virus in his blood, which kept him out of action for the rest of the season.[1]

Final league table[edit]

P W D L F A GA Pts
1 Doncaster Rovers 46 21 17 8 65 38 1.711 59
2 Halifax Town 46 20 17 9 53 37 1.432 57
3 Rochdale 46 18 20 8 68 35 1.943 56
4 Bradford City 46 18 20 8 65 46 1.413 56
5 Darlington 46 17 18 11 62 45 1.378 52
6 Colchester United 46 20 12 14 57 53 1.075 52
7 Southend United 46 19 13 14 78 61 1.279 51
8 Lincoln City 46 17 17 12 54 52 1.038 51
9 Wrexham 46 18 14 14 61 52 1.173 50
10 Swansea Town 46 19 11 16 58 54 1.074 49
11 Brentford 46 18 12 16 64 65 0.985 48
12 Workington 46 15 17 14 40 43 0.930 47
13 Port Vale 46 16 14 16 46 46 1.000 46
14 Chester 46 16 13 17 76 66 1.152 45
15 Aldershot 46 19 7 20 66 66 1.000 45
16 Scunthorpe United 46 18 8 20 61 60 1.017 44
17 Exeter City 46 16 11 19 66 65 1.015 43
18 Peterborough United 46 13 16 17 60 57 1.053 42
19 Notts County 46 12 18 16 48 57 0.842 42
20 Chesterfield 46 13 15 18 43 50 0.860 41
21 York City 46 14 11 21 53 75 0.707 39
22 Newport County 46 11 14 21 49 74 0.662 36
23 Grimsby Town 46 9 15 22 47 69 0.681 33
24 Bradford Park Avenue 46 5 10 31 32 106 0.302 20

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 A H A H A H H A H H H A A H A H H A A H H A A H A H A A H A A H H A H H A A H H A A H H A A
Result L W L D L L W L W W D L D D L W D D D W L L W W D W L D L L W W W L D W L W D D D L W D L W
Position 20 15 17 20 20 24 22 23 19 13 15 18 17 17 18 18 18 18 19 17 18 19 15 13 15 12 15 16 17 19 17 14 12 15 13 13 14 11 14 13 14 14 12 13 13 13

Sourced from Statto.[2]

Football League Fourth Division[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
10 August 1968 Chesterfield A 1–3 7,158 Chapman
17 August 1968 Peterborough United H 1–0 5,085 Chapman
24 August 1968 Brentford A 1–3 7,443 Chapman
31 August 1968 Rochdale H 1–1 4,591 Chapman
6 September 1968 Chester A 0–2 8,144
14 September 1968 Doncaster Rovers H 0–2 4,616
16 September 1968 York City H 3–0 3,466 Chapman, Gough, Cullerton
20 September 1968 Colchester United A 0–1 6,441
28 September 1968 Scunthorpe United H 4–1 3,823 Chapman (2), Goodfellow, o.g.
30 September 1968 Exeter City H 1–0 5,235 Gough
5 October 1968 Lincoln City H 1–1 6,152 Sproson
8 October 1968 Exeter City A 1–3 3,981 Chapman
12 October 1968 Notts County A 0–0 4,127
19 October 1968 Halifax Town H 1–1 4,493 Morris
26 October 1968 Swansea Town A 0–1 6,091
2 November 1968 Workington H 3–1 2,953 Sproson, Morris, Williams
4 November 1968 Southend United H 1–1 3,668 Wilson
8 November 1968 Newport County A 0–0 3,137
23 November 1968 Grimsby Town A 1–1 3,313 Goodfellow
30 November 1968 Wrexham H 1–0 5,421 Sproson
14 December 1968 Notts County H 0–2 4,169
21 December 1968 Halifax Town A 1–2 3,806 Chapman
26 December 1968 Lincoln City A 1–0 12,208 Newton
28 December 1968 Swansea Town H 1–0 5,431 Chapman
11 January 1969 Workington A 0–0 2,538
18 January 1969 Newport County H 5–0 4,040 Mahon (2), Sproson, Morris, Green
1 February 1969 Darlington A 0–1 5,071
24 February 1969 Southend United A 1–1 10,888 Mahon
1 March 1969 Chesterfield H 0–1 3,610
5 March 1969 Aldershot A 0–3 5,020
8 March 1969 Peterborough United A 1–0 5,337 Mahon
10 March 1969 Darlington A 1–0 3,957 Morris
15 March 1969 Brentford H 4–1 4,478 James (2 [1 pen]), Wilson, Carrick
22 March 1969 Rochdale A 0–1 4,860
24 March 1969 Aldershot H 0–0 4,140
29 March 1969 Chester H 2–1 4,690 Green, Sproson
4 April 1969 York City A 1–3 4,999 Chapman
5 April 1969 Scunthorpe United A 1–0 2,966 James
8 April 1969 Bradford City H 1–1 5,963 James
12 April 1969 Colchester United H 0–0 3,774
16 April 1969 Bradford City A 2–2 8,772 McLaren, Sproson
19 April 1969 Doncaster Rovers A 0–2 9,795
21 April 1969 Grimsby Town H 1–0 2,679 Mahon
25 April 1969 Bradford Park Avenue H 1–1 3,873 Sproson
28 April 1969 Wrexham A 0–2 3,787
5 May 1969 Bradford Park Avenue A 1–0 1,572 McLaren

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 1968–69 FA Cup
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 16 November 1968 Shrewsbury Town A 1–1 5,933 Gough
R1 Replay 18 November 1968 Shrewsbury Town H 3–1 8,800 Gough, Mahon, Morris
R2 7 December 1968 Workington H 0–0 7,635
R2 Replay 11 December 1968 Workington A 2–1 6,038 Chapman, James
R3 4 January 1969 Watford A 0–2 14,076

League Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 14 August 1968 Wrexham A 0–2 6,927

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 ad ae af Kent, Jeff (1990). "Flattering Only to Deceive (1960–1969)". The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. pp. 196–226. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7. 
  2. ^ Port Vale 1968–1969 : Results & Fixtures. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  • Kent, Jeff (1993). The Port Vale Record 1879-1993. Witan Books. ISBN 0-9508981-9-8.