1975–76 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
1975–76 season
Chairman England Mark Singer
Manager England Roy Sproson
Stadium Vale Park
Football League Third Division 12th (46 Points)
FA Cup Second Round
League Cup First Round
Player of the Year England John Ridley
Top goalscorer League: Mick Cullerton (17)
All: Mick Cullerton (21)
Highest home attendance 6,121 vs. Crystal Palace (4 October 1975)
Lowest home attendance 2,789 vs. Grimsby Town (20 December 1975)
Average home league attendance 4,133
Home colours

The 1975–76 season was Port Vale's sixty-fourth season of football in the Football League, and their sixth successive season (twelfth overall) in the Third Division.[1] Manager Roy Sproson brought Mick Cullerton back to Vale Park, and Cullerton was to become the top-scorer for the season with 21 goals. However the ongoing success of rivals Stoke City in winning the League Cup, playing in Europe, and competing at the top of the First Division caused Vale's support to suffer. The loyal support of a few thousand fans was not enough to balance the books, and so Brian Horton was controversially sold to Brighton & Hove Albion for £30,000.

Overview[edit]

Third Division[edit]

The pre-season saw failed attempts by Roy Sproson to sign Wales internationals Mike England and Wyn Davies.[1] Instead he bought back Mick Cullerton from Stafford Rangers for £4,000, who had scored over seventy goals for Rangers in his two seasons away from Burslem.[1] Another former player, Ken Hancock, re-signed as a player-coach, however he soon found himself unable to play as he had received a pay-out upon his retirement in 1973.[1] Just two days before the opening game Sproson quickly signed Terry Lees from Stoke City for £3,000 and Geoff Morris from Bangor City for £200.[1]

The season opened with five draws, followed by two victories which took the Vale up to second.[1] Six games without a win soon brought the "Valiants" tumbling down the table though, as Cullerton lost his scoring touch.[1] At the end of October arrived Steve Taylor on loan from Bolton Wanderers, who put more 'bite' into the Vale attack.[1] Home fans turned against the players, and coach Reg Berks was 'appalled by some of the abuse hurled at the players'.[1] Taylor scored a brace past Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on 8 November, only to return immediately back to Bolton.[1] The team's poor disciplinary record continued from the previous campaigns, and The Football Association put the club 'under constant review' after Sproson arrived 45 minutes late to a disciplinary hearing in London after missing his train.[1] Cullerton was back in scoring form as the Vale picked up victories and rose up the table.[1] A season-low crowd of 2,789 on 20 December saw Vale come from 3–0 down to Grimsby Town to win the match 4–3.[1] To motivate the players coach Reg Berks had told them at half-time that he was facing the sack if the team lost the game.[2] The promotion-chasers pulled away from Vale in the New Year however.[1] A rare event occurred on 17 January, when the Vale directors permitted rivals Stoke to play a home game to Middlesbrough at Vale Park.[1] This happened because a severe gale severely damaged the Victoria Ground, whilst the gale also caused £2,000 worth of damage to Vale Park, the damage to Stoke's ground was much more severe.[1] A crowd of 21,009 saw Stoke win 1–0, the highest crowd at Vale Park in over a decade. Vale's campaign carried on, though injuries built up Ray Williams managed to break a 21 game goal drought to earn a credible point at Cardiff City's Ninian Park on 25 February.[1] Eight more points in the next four games took the club to within three points of the promotion zone.[1] Yet in March the club sold Brian Horton to Brighton & Hove Albion for £30,000, a sum the club needed to balance the books.[1] The club's form suffered immediately, and mid-table was the result.[1] On 10 April, Brighton beat Vale 3–0 at the Withdean Stadium, and John Brodie broke his leg.[1]

They finished in twelfth place with 46 points.[1] Mick Cullerton hit 21 goals in all competitions to become the club's top scorer.[1] To celebrate the club's centenary, a friendly was played with Stoke City, which finished 1–1 in front of 9,825 spectators.[1] Stoke generously allowed the Vale to pocket the entire £6,500 worth of takings from the match.[3]

Finances[edit]

On the financial side, the Horton transfer and donations of £19,965 from the Development Fund ensured a profit of £24,819.[1] An increase in ticket prices offset the cost of a reduced average gate.[1] An income of £2,775 was gained from renting out space to market traders, however Stoke-on-Trent Council soon put a stop to this.[1] Geoff Morris left on a free transfer in the summer, signing with Kidderminster Harriers.[1]

Cup competitions[edit]

In the FA Cup, Vale progressed past Southern League Grantham 4–1 in Burslem following a 2–2 draw away. This proved a lucky escape for Vale as Brownbill's equalizing goal at Grantham was allowed to stand despite an obvious handball.[4] In the Second Round they faced Fourth Division Huddersfield Town at Leeds Road, and were eliminated 2–1.

In the League Cup, the new two-legged format only resulted in a 4–4 aggregate draw, and so a replay was held at Gay Meadow, Shrewsbury, which Hereford won 1–0. Cullerton scored a hat-trick in the first leg, thereby making 'a fairytale come true' by hitting three in his first game back at Vale Park.[1]

Final league table[edit]

P W D L F A GA Pts
1 Hereford United 46 26 11 9 86 55 1.564 63
2 Cardiff City 46 22 13 11 69 48 1.438 57
3 Millwall 46 20 16 10 54 43 1.256 56
4 Brighton & Hove Albion 46 22 9 15 78 53 1.472 53
5 Crystal Palace 46 18 17 11 61 46 1.326 53
6 Wrexham 46 20 12 14 66 55 1.200 52
7 Walsall 46 18 14 14 74 61 1.213 50
8 Preston North End 46 19 10 17 62 57 1.088 48
9 Shrewsbury Town 46 19 10 17 61 59 1.034 48
10 Peterborough United 46 15 18 13 63 63 1.000 48
11 Mansfield Town 46 16 15 15 58 52 1.115 47
12 Port Vale 46 15 16 15 55 54 1.019 46
13 Bury 46 14 16 16 51 46 1.109 44
14 Chesterfield 46 17 9 20 69 69 1.000 43
15 Gillingham 46 12 19 15 58 68 0.853 43
16 Rotherham United 46 15 12 19 54 65 0.831 42
17 Chester 46 15 12 19 43 62 0.694 42
18 Grimsby Town 46 15 10 21 62 74 0.838 40
19 Swindon Town 46 16 8 22 62 75 0.827 40
20 Sheffield Wednesday 46 12 16 18 48 59 0.814 40
21 Aldershot 46 13 13 20 59 75 0.787 39
22 Colchester United 46 12 14 20 41 65 0.631 38
23 Southend United 46 12 13 21 65 75 0.867 37
24 Halifax Town 46 11 13 22 41 61 0.672 35

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 A H A A H H A H H A H A H A H A A H A H H A A H A A H A H A H H A H A H A
Result D D D D D W W L D L D L L W L W L W L W W W L W L W D L D W L D W W D D L L D D W L D W D L
Position 11 11 13 13 13 7 4 8 9 11 10 13 18 13 13 12 17 13 16 14 10 8 8 8 11 7 9 10 8 8 9 10 10 9 8 8 10 12 11 12 10 11 11 11 10 12

Sourced from Statto.[5]

Football League Third Division[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
16 August 1975 Hereford United A 0–0 6,219
23 August 1975 Preston North End H 1–1 4,282 Cullerton
30 August 1975 Peterborough United A 0–0 6,065
6 September 1975 Brighton & Hove Albion H 1–1 3,289 Morris
13 September 1975 Southend United A 3–3 4,569 Dulson, Cullerton (pen), Tartt
20 September 1975 Swindon Town H 3–0 3,720 Bailey (2), Cullerton
22 September 1975 Cardiff City H 2–1 5,143 Cullerton, Lees
27 September 1975 Wrexham A 0–1 3,863
4 October 1975 Crystal Palace H 0–0 6,121
11 October 1975 Gillingham A 1–2 5,041 Chadwick
18 October 1975 Chesterfield H 1–1 3,892 Cullerton
21 October 1975 Shrewsbury Town A 0–1 4,673
25 October 1975 Colchester United A 0–1 3,053
1 November 1975 Rotherham United H 1–0 3,921 Ridley
3 November 1975 Aldershot H 0–1 3,917
8 November 1975 Sheffield Wednesday A 3–0 11,035 Taylor (2), Chadwick
15 November 1975 Chester H 0–1 3,908
29 November 1975 Millwall H 2–0 3,580 Horton (2)
6 December 1975 Walsall A 1–3 4,526 Horton
20 December 1975 Grimsby Town H 4–3 2,789 Cullerton (2), Harris, Lees
26 December 1975 Halifax Town A 3–1 2,959 Cullerton (2), Brownbill
27 December 1975 Bury H 2–1 5,957 Cullerton, Bailey
3 January 1976 Mansfield Town A 1–3 5,417 Cullerton
10 January 1976 Peterborough United H 2–0 4,013 Cullerton, Horton
17 January 1976 Swindon Town A 1–2 5,730 Brownbill
24 January 1976 Chesterfield A 1–0 4,058 Cullerton
31 January 1976 Shrewsbury Town H 0–0 3,835
7 February 1976 Aldershot A 0–2 3,446
9 February 1976 Southend United H 1–1 3,494 Harris
16 February 1976 Sheffield Wednesday H 1–0 5,569 Brownbill
21 February 1976 Chester A 0–1 5,914
25 February 1976 Cardiff City A 1–1 9,109 Williams
28 February 1976 Colchester United H 3–2 3,803 Cullerton, Brownbill, Bailey
6 March 1976 Rotherham United A 2–1 4,338 Dulson, Williams
9 March 1976 Crystal Palace A 2–2 23,032 Cullerton, Tartt
13 March 1976 Gillingham H 1–1 3,517 Williams
20 March 1976 Millwall A 0–1 7,116
27 March 1976 Walsall H 1–2 4,870 Bailey
30 March 1976 Grimsby Town A 1–1 4,533 Cullerton (pen)
3 April 1976 Hereford United H 1–1 4,430 Griffiths
5 April 1976 Wrexham H 3–1 3,604 Bailey (2), Tartt
10 April 1976 Brighton & Hove Albion A 0–3 19,194
17 April 1976 Halifax Town H 1–1 3,169 Beech
19 April 1976 Bury A 2–1 4,609 Cullerton, McLaren
20 April 1976 Mansfield Town H 2–2 4,239 Bailey, Tartt
24 April 1976 Preston North End A 0–3 5,783

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 1975–76 FA Cup
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 20 November 1975 Grantham A 2–2 2,853 Brownbill (2)
R1 Replay 24 November 1975 Grantham H 4–1 4,851 Brownbill (2), Cullerton, Tartt
R2 13 December 1975 Huddersfield Town A 1–2 6,218 Brownbill

League Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 1st Leg 20 August 1975 Hereford United H 4–2 3,787 Cullerton (3 [1 pen]), Bailey
R1 2nd Leg 20 August 1975 Hereford United A 0–2 4,107
R1 Replay 1 September 1975 Hereford United N 0–1 3,676

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). "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. ^ Kent, Jeff (December 1991). Port Vale Tales: A Collection Of Stories, Anecdotes And Memories. Witan Books. p. 52. ISBN 0-9508981-6-3. 
  3. ^ Kent, Jeff (November 1998). The Potteries Derbies. Witan Books. p. 169. ISBN 0-9529152-3-5. 
  4. ^ Kent, Jeff (December 1991). Port Vale Tales: A Collection Of Stories, Anecdotes And Memories. Witan Books. p. 254. ISBN 0-9508981-6-3. 
  5. ^ Port Vale 1975–1976 : Results & Fixtures. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  • Kent, Jeff (1993). The Port Vale Record 1879-1993. Witan Books. ISBN 0-9508981-9-8.