The season started well for Stoke as they won the short lived Watney Cup prior to the start of the new campaign. But their league form was poor and by January they were in the bottom six. But the signing of Alan Hudson from Chelsea sparked an upturn in results which accumulated in beating Leeds United 3–2 in February ending their 29 match un-beaten run. Stoke continued to climb the table and after remaining unbeaten in their final nine fixtures they took 5th position in the table and qualified for the UEFA Cup.
But there was method to the manager's apparent madness as he pulled off another major transfer swoop when he paid £240,000 for Chelsea's Alan Hudson. Hudson was an instant hit with the Stoke fans and in his debut against Liverpool he was named as man of the match, helping Stoke to a 1–1 draw. Stoke's next home match against Hudson's old team Chelsea was the first League match to be played on a Sunday, Stoke winning 1–0 in front of 31,985. Another big attendance, saw City's next home match against high-flying Leeds United who had gone 29 matches without defeat. At the time Don Revie's side were nine points clear at the top and they looked to be increasing their lead as they raced into a 2–0 lead, but Stoke rising to the challenge levelled before half time before Denis Smith grabbed the winner and Leeds' magnificent run was over, but they still took the First Division title. Stoke lost just twice in the final 23 matches and raised up the table to claim 5th place and so qualifying for next season's UEFA Cup.