1971–72 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
1971–72 season
Chairman United Kingdom Graham Bourne
(until January)
England Mark Singer
(January onwards)
Manager England Gordon Lee
Stadium Vale Park
Football League Third Division 15th (41 Points)
FA Cup Third Round
League Cup First Round
Player of the Year Northern Ireland Sammy Morgan
Top goalscorer League: Bobby Gough (10)
All: Bobby Gough (10)
Highest home attendance 11,118 vs. Aston Villa (6 November 1971)
Lowest home attendance 2,475 vs. Rochdale (12 May 1972)
Average home league attendance 4,366
Home colours

The 1971–72 season was Port Vale's sixtieth season of football in the Football League, and their second successive season (eighth overall) back in the Third Division.[1] Roy Sproson's 22-year career at the club came to an end, in what was an otherwise unremarkable campaign.

Overview[edit]

Third Division[edit]

The pre-season saw the arrival of left-half John Flowers from Doncaster Rovers and full-back Tony Loska from Shrewsbury Town for 'a small fee'.[1] Meanwhile three players picked up injuries: John James (cartilage), Roy Sproson (ribs), and Stuart Sharrat (ankle); whilst Sammy Morgan threatened to quit altogether after falling out with manager Gordon Lee over his decision to remain resident in Great Yarmouth rather than moving nearer to Burslem.[1] Violence broke out in pre-season games, as the sport was in the grip of hooliganism.[1]

The season opened with a 1–1 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion in front of just 4,384 fans, causing Lee to warn that such low attendances would require him to sell off the club's best players.[1] By the end of September Vale were performing well on the pitch, and off it had sold the main car park to The Co-operative Group for £30,000.[1] Goals were at a premium despite a 4–3 win over York City and 4–4 draw with Aston Villa at Vale Park.[1] Sporadic violence continued to break out at many matches, as local businesses had their windows smashed, local residents were menaced and fights broke out.[1] In November, Clint Boulton was sold to Torquay United for £10,000.[1] The next month Lee brought Ray Harford from Mansfield Town for a £5,000 fee, as well as Keith Lindsey from Southend United for 'a small fee'.[1] Vale comfortable in the league, Chairman Graham Bourne resigned in January, along with work colleague and fellow director George Sanders.[1] This left the Board of Directors with just two members, one of which, previous chairman Mark Singer, was re-elected as Chairman.[1] The Sentinel's Chris Harper stated that "Vale will never make progress while they are plagued by trouble at the top".[1] The team continued with good home form, but invariably lost away from Vale Park.[1] On 16 February, Sammy Morgan scored on his debut for Northern Ireland, and picked up six further caps whilst at the club.[1] On 4 March, only 2,809 bothered to turn out for a 1–0 home win over Mansfield Town in strong wind and snow, whilst rivals Stoke City won the 1972 League Cup Final in front of a crowd of nearly 100,000 at Wembley Stadium.[1] Vale went on to go ten games without a win, also scoring just one goal in a run of seven games, to the frustration of their supporters.[1] Despite this, the now annual 'Meet the Manager' evening 'warmed the heart' of Lee.[1] A 1–0 win over Barnsley at the end of April ensured the club's safety from the drop.[1] On 8 May, Sproson made his farewell competitive appearance for the club in front of only 2,743 supporters, in a 2–1 defeat to Rotherham United.[1] Lee angrily declared that "the attendance was nothing short of a disgrace to mark the end of a legend".[1] Four days later there was an even smaller turnout for a final day 1–1 draw with Rochdale.[1]

They finished in fifteenth place with 41 points, 30 of which were won at home.[1] With just 43 goals scored, they had the lowest goal tally outside of the bottom four.[1]

Finances[edit]

On the financial side, a drop in average home attendance of over a thousand failed to prevent a profit of £596.[1] This profit was due to a £10,000 transfer credit and £13,967 worth of donations from the Sportsmen's Association and the Development Fund.[1] The club's total debt stood at £100,130.[1] Four players were let go at the end of the campaign: Mick Morris (Stafford Rangers), Keith Ball (Stourport), Stuart Sharrat (retired), and John Flowers (Eastwood).[1] Sproson also retired as a player, but stayed on as a scout and coach.[1]

Cup competitions[edit]

In the FA Cup, Vale beat Blackburn Rovers 3–1 following a 1–1 draw at Ewood Park. A last-minute Sammy Morgan goal then defeated Fourth Division Darlington in the Second Round.[1] Vale then were defeated 3–0 at St Andrew's by Second Division Birmingham City.

In the League Cup, Vale made 'their annual early exist', losing 2–0 at home to Shrewsbury Town.[1]

Final league table[edit]

P W D L F A GA Pts
1 Aston Villa 46 32 6 8 85 32 2.656 70
2 Brighton & Hove Albion 46 27 11 8 82 47 1.745 65
3 Bournemouth 46 23 16 7 73 37 1.973 62
4 Notts County 46 25 12 9 74 44 1.682 62
5 Rotherham United 46 20 15 11 69 52 1.327 55
6 Bristol Rovers 46 21 12 13 75 56 1.339 54
7 Bolton Wanderers 46 17 16 13 51 41 1.244 50
8 Plymouth Argyle 46 20 10 16 74 64 1.156 50
9 Walsall 46 15 18 13 62 57 1.088 48
10 Blackburn Rovers 46 19 9 18 54 57 0.947 47
11 Oldham Athletic 46 17 11 18 59 63 0.937 45
12 Shrewsbury Town 46 17 10 19 73 65 1.123 44
13 Chesterfield 46 18 8 20 57 57 1.000 44
14 Swansea City 46 17 10 19 46 59 0.780 44
15 Port Vale 46 13 15 18 43 59 0.729 41
16 Wrexham 46 16 8 22 59 63 0.937 40
17 Halifax Town 46 13 12 21 48 61 0.787 38
18 Rochdale 46 12 13 21 57 83 0.687 37
19 York City 46 12 12 22 57 66 0.864 36
20 Tranmere Rovers 46 10 16 20 50 71 0.704 36
21 Mansfield Town 46 8 20 18 41 63 0.651 36
22 Barnsley 46 9 18 19 32 64 0.500 36
23 Torquay United 46 10 12 24 41 69 0.594 32
24 Bradford City 46 11 10 25 45 77 0.584 32

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 H H A H A H H A H A A H A H A A H H A H A A H H A H A H A A H A A H H A A H A A A H H H
Result D W L L W D D W D L D D L W L D W L W W L W L L D W L W L W L L W D D D D L D D L L L W L D
Position 13 4 15 15 13 13 14 10 8 15 15 15 16 13 17 17 14 14 14 10 11 11 12 14 12 13 13 10 12 12 14 15 13 13 13 14 13 14 15 14 15 15 15 15 16 15

Sourced from Statto.[2]

Football League Third Division[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
14 August 1971 Brighton & Hove Albion H 1–1 4,384 Horton (pen)
21 August 1971 Swansea City A 1–0 6,457 Morris
28 August 1971 Chesterfield H 0–2 4,416
30 August 1971 Notts County H 0–3 5,298
4 September 1971 Wrexham A 2–1 7,407 Brodie, Horton
11 September 1971 Plymouth Argyle H 0–0 3,707
18 September 1971 Shrewsbury Town A 0–0 5,443
25 September 1971 Halifax Town H 1–0 3,724 Gough
27 September 1971 Blackburn Rovers H 0–0 4,963
2 October 1971 Walsall A 0–2 4,642
9 October 1971 Bolton Wanderers H 1–1 6,394 Horton (pen)
16 October 1971 Brighton & Hove Albion A 1–1 9,007 Mountford
19 October 1971 Bournemouth A 2–3 10,404 Morgan, Gough
23 October 1971 York City H 4–3 4,484 McLaren (2), Gough, Morgan
30 October 1971 Oldham Athletic A 0–1 8,140
6 November 1971 Aston Villa H 4–4 11,118 McLaren, Mountford, Morgan, Loska
13 November 1971 Mansfield Town A 1–0 5,996 Mountford
27 November 1971 Torquay United A 0–3 3,710
4 December 1971 Tranmere Rovers H 2–1 3,701 Morgan, McLaren
18 December 1971 Wrexham H 1–0 4,310 Summerscales
27 December 1971 Bristol Rovers A 1–2 12,073 McLaren
1 January 1972 Shrewsbury Town H 2–1 5,056 Gough, Horton
8 January 1972 Chesterfield A 1–2 6,532 Gough
22 January 1972 Blackburn Rovers A 1–3 8,495 Loska
29 January 1972 Bournemouth H 1–1 4,937 Gough
5 February 1972 Bradford City H 1–0 3,715 Lacey
12 February 1972 York City A 1–2 4,319 Gough
19 February 1972 Oldham Athletic H 1–0 4,506 Morgan
26 February 1972 Aston Villa A 0–2 32,806
4 March 1972 Mansfield Town H 1–0 2,809 Morgan
11 March 1972 Bolton Wanderers A 0–3 6,240
13 March 1972 Rochdale A 2–3 3,157 James, o.g.
18 March 1972 Swansea City H 3–0 3,257 Gough (2), Harford
21 March 1972 Barnsley A 0–0 4,048
25 March 1972 Plymouth Argyle A 0–0 8,801
1 April 1972 Bristol Rovers H 0–0 3,823
3 April 1972 Walsall H 1–1 5,250 Gough
4 April 1972 Halifax Town A 0–2 3,319
8 April 1972 Bradford City A 0–0 2,969
15 April 1972 Torquay United H 0–0 2,737
18 April 1972 Rotherham United A 0–3 4,161
21 April 1972 Tranmere Rovers A 2–3 3,544 McLaren, o.g.
26 April 1972 Notts County A 1–2 9,033 Morgan
29 April 1972 Barnsley H 1–0 2,614 Morris
8 May 1972 Rotherham United H 1–2 2,743 Morris
12 May 1972 Rochdale H 1–1 2,475 Horton (pen)

FA Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 20 November 1971 Blackburn Rovers A 1–1 6,947 Horton
R1 Replay 22 November 1971 Blackburn Rovers H 3–1 5,717 Horton (2 [1 pen]), Morgan
R2 11 December 1971 Darlington H 1–0 5,402 Morgan
R3 15 January 1972 Birmingham City A 0–3 32,937

League Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 18 August 1971 Shrewsbury Town H 0–2 4,638

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 Kent, Jeff (1990). "Surviving on a Shoestring (1969–1979)". The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. pp. 227–257. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7. 
  2. ^ Port Vale 1971–1972 : Results & Fixtures. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  • Kent, Jeff (1993). The Port Vale Record 1879-1993. Witan Books. ISBN 0-9508981-9-8.