1985–86 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
1985–86 season
Chairman England Jim Lloyd
Manager England John Rudge
Stadium Vale Park
Football League Fourth Division 4th (79 Points)
FA Cup Second Round
League Cup Second Round
League Trophy Northern Section Semi-Finalists
Player of the Year England Jim Arnold
Top goalscorer League: Robbie Earle (15)
All: Andy Jones (18)
Highest home attendance 11,736 vs. Walsall (8 December 1985)
Lowest home attendance 1,584 vs. Blackpool (10 February 1986)
Average home league attendance 3,581
Home colours

The 1985–86 season was Port Vale's seventy-fourth season of football in the Football League, and second successive (thirteenth overall) season in the Fourth Division.[1] John Rudge achieved his first success as manager, leading Vale to promotion into the Third Division with a fourth place finish. The club also reached the Second Round in both the FA Cup and League Cup, as well as the Northern Section Semi-Finals of the League Trophy. Rudge signing Andy Jones excelled to become the club's top-scorer, whilst Robbie Earle had another impressive season. However the promotion campaign was built on the strength of the Vale defence, and goalkeeper Jim Arnold was made Player of the Year.

Overview[edit]

Fourth Division[edit]

The pre-season saw John Rudge sign big defender John Williams from Tranmere Rovers for £12,000, and powerful Welsh striker Andy Jones from Northern Premier League side Rhyl for £3,000.[1] He also signed goalkeeper Jim Arnold (Everton); Paul Maguire (Tacoma Stars); Jeff Johnson (Gillingham); and Wayne Ebanks (West Bromwich Albion).[1] Meanwhile new safety regulations reduced Vale Park's capacity down to 16,800, and later again to 16,300.[1] The club set a £10 bonus for clean sheets and also set bonuses for promotion. Another late addition was Jon Bowden from Oldham Athletic for £5,000.[1]

The season opened with a 1–0 defeat to Exeter City at St James Park.[1] Vale continued on indifferent form, and on 17 September played out a goalless draw with Aldershot at the Recreation Ground's lowest recorded Football League attendance of 1,027.[1] At the end of the month Vale went nine league games without a loss to fire the club into the promotion race, their run including three 4–0 wins in Burslem as they went clear at the top of the table.[1] With John Williams sidelined with an ankle injury, Vale's form suffered with just two wins in the following eleven games, and Vale fell to fifth place.[1] From 11 January to 26 April the "Valiants" hit a run of eighteen league games unbeaten (eight draws and ten wins), thus ensuring promotion.[1] This run was built on the striking partnership of Robbie Earle and Andy Jones, as well as a solid defence and consistent displays from keeper Arnold.[1] During this spell Rudge failed to re-sign Bob Newton from Chesterfield, though was cheered by completing the double over Dario Gradi's Crewe Alexandra at Gresty Road.[1] One low point was an attack by a Stockport gang on Russell Bromage following a 2–1 win over Stockport County at Edgeley Park.[1] Promotion was ensured with a 1–0 win over bottom club Torquay United at Plainmoor, in which the majority of the crowd were Vale fans.[1] However with two defeats and a draw in their final three games, Rudge accused his players of lacking professionalism as they lost the chance to head into the Third Division as runners-up.[1]

They finished in fourth place with 79 points, seven points clear of Orient.[1] Preston North End were the only team to beat Vale on their own ground in the league all season.[1] Their 37 goals conceded was the lowest total in the division and a record excelled only by Manchester United in the First Division.[1] Their 67 goals scored tally was not particularly impressive, though Earle and Jones' partnership provided almost half of these goals.[1] Phil Sproson was selected for the PFA Fourth Division Team of the Year.[1]

Finances[edit]

On the financial side, the season lost a disastrous sum of £79,474.[1] The promotion bonuses meant the wage bill totalled at £413,471.[1] Vale's average home attendance of 3,581 was the third-highest in the division.[1] The club's shirt sponsors were ECI. Three players transferred at the end of the season were Peter Griffiths (Salisbury United), Chris Pearce (Wrexham), and Jeff Johnson (Barrow).[1] Player of the Year Jim Arnold and Ally Brown retired, whilst Oshor Williams was sold to Preston North End for 'a small fee'.[1]

Cup competitions[edit]

In the FA Cup, Vale beat Mansfield Town 1–0 in a replay following a 1–1 draw at Field Mill. Vale Park saw a crowd of 11,736 for the Second Round goalless tie with Walsall, and were then eliminated following a 2–1 defeat at the Bescot Stadium.

In the League Cup, Vale advanced past Third Division Wigan Athletic 3–2 on aggregate following at 2–0 win at Springfield Park. They were then knocked out by First Division West Bromwich Albion, losing 1–0 at The Hawthorns, before giving an excellent account of themselves by battling back from 2–0 down at Vale Park to draw 2–2.

In the League Trophy, Vale advanced through the group stage with a 1–1 draw with Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground and a 2–0 home win over Blackpool. The next stage saw Vale triumph over Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park with a 4–3 win on penalties following a 1–1 draw. In the Area Semi-Finals they were then defeated by holders Wigan Athletic, though still earned £1,250 in prize money.

Final league table[edit]

P W D L F A GA Pts
1 Swindon Town 46 32 6 8 82 43 +39 102
2 Chester City 46 23 15 8 83 50 +33 84
3 Mansfield Town 46 23 12 11 74 47 +27 81
4 Port Vale 46 21 16 9 67 37 +30 79
5 Orient 46 20 12 14 79 64 +15 72
6 Colchester United 46 19 13 14 88 63 +25 70
7 Hartlepool United 46 20 10 16 68 67 +1 70
8 Northampton Town 46 18 10 18 79 58 +21 64
9 Southend United 46 18 10 18 69 67 +2 64
10 Hereford United 46 18 10 18 74 73 +1 64
11 Stockport County 46 17 13 16 63 71 -8 64
12 Crewe Alexandra 46 18 9 19 54 61 -7 63
13 Wrexham 46 17 9 20 68 80 -12 60
14 Burnley 46 16 11 19 60 65 -5 59
15 Scunthorpe United 46 15 14 17 50 55 -5 59
16 Aldershot 46 17 7 22 66 74 -8 58
17 Peterborough United 46 13 17 16 52 64 -12 56
18 Rochdale 46 14 13 19 57 77 -20 55
19 Tranmere Rovers 46 15 9 22 74 73 +1 54
20 Halifax Town 46 14 12 20 60 71 -11 54
21 Exeter City 46 13 15 18 47 59 -12 54
22 Cambridge United 46 15 9 22 65 80 -15 54
23 Preston North End 46 11 10 25 54 89 -35 43
24 Torquay United 46 9 10 27 43 88 -45 37

P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; 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 A H A H H A H A H A A H A A H A H A H A H A H H H H A A H H A H A H A H A A H A
Result L D W D L W D W L W W W W D W W D D L D W L W L L D D W W W D D D W D W D D W W W W W L D L
Position 16 18 10 12 17 13 14 11 11 8 6 5 4 3 3 1 1 3 5 8 4 6 4 5 5 5 6 5 5 5 5 6 6 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 4

Sourced from Statto.[2]

Football League Fourth Division[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
17 August 1985 Exeter City A 0–1 2,868
24 August 1985 Mansfield Town H 0–0 2,930
26 August 1985 Burnley A 2–1 3,995 Sproson, Griffiths
31 August 1985 Rochdale H 1–1 3,043 Jones
7 September 1985 Orient A 0–1 2,455
14 September 1985 Cambridge United H 4–1 2,674 Maguire (2 [2 pens]), Earle, Brown
17 September 1985 Aldershot A 0–0 1,027
21 September 1985 Halifax Town H 3–2 2,754 Hunter (2), Maguire
27 September 1985 Colchester United A 0–1 3,110
30 September 1985 Hartlepool United H 4–0 3,015 O.Williams, J.Williams, Jones, Maguire
5 October 1985 Wrexham H 4–0 3,351 Maguire (2 [1 pen]), Johnson, o.g.
12 October 1985 Tranmere Rovers A 2–1 2,338 Earle, Maguire
19 October 1985 Southend United H 4–0 4,736 Jones (2), Webb, Earle
22 October 1985 Scunthorpe United A 0–0 1,888
26 October 1985 Swindon Town H 3–0 5,073 O.Williams, Earle, Brown
2 November 1985 Preston North End A 1–0 4,536 Maguire (pen)
6 November 1985 Hereford United A 1–1 3,308 Sproson
9 November 1985 Stockport County H 1–1 5,248 Bowden
23 November 1985 Peterborough United A 0–1 2,852
14 December 1985 Northampton Town A 2–2 3,259 Sproson, Earle
17 December 1985 Torquay United H 1–0 3,421 Hunter
22 December 1985 Mansfield Town A 1–2 3,730 O.Williams
26 December 1985 Crewe Alexandra H 3–0 5,976 Maguire, Brown, Earle
1 January 1986 Chester City A 1–4 5,323 Earle
4 January 1986 Preston North End H 0–1 3,592
11 January 1986 Rochdale A 3–3 2,445 Jones (2), Brown
17 January 1986 Exeter City H 0–0 3,385
25 January 1986 Cambridge United A 3–1 2,437 J.Williams, Hunter, Earle
1 February 1986 Orient H 2–0 3,074 Earle (2)
3 February 1986 Scunthorpe United H 3–1 2,977 J.Williams, Jones (pen), Bromage
24 February 1986 Burnley H 1–1 3,030 Banks
1 March 1986 Colchester United H 1–1 2,726 Jones
5 March 1986 Hartlepool United A 1–1 2,550 Bowden
8 March 1986 Wrexham A 3–1 2,614 Shankland, Earle, Jones (pen)
15 March 1986 Tranmere Rovers H 0–0 3,527
18 March 1986 Aldershot H 3–1 2,461 Bowden, Hunter, Earle
23 March 1986 Swindon Town A 0–0 10,147
29 March 1986 Chester City H 1–1 4,490 Sproson
31 March 1986 Crewe Alexandra A 1–0 4,986 Earle
5 April 1986 Hereford United H 1–0 3,344 Jones (pen)
11 April 1986 Stockport County A 2–1 4,691 Maguire, Brown
19 April 1986 Peterborough United H 2–0 3,765 Jones (2 [1 pen])
26 April 1986 Torquay United A 1–0 1,898 Earle
29 April 1986 Halifax Town A 0–2 1,389
3 May 1986 Northampton Town H 0–0 3,873
5 May 1986 Southend United A 1–2 1,687 Earle

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 1985–86 FA Cup
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 16 November 1985 Mansfield Town A 1–1 5,207 Earle
R1 Replay 18 November 1985 Mansfield Town H 1–0 6,749 Maguire (pen)
R2 8 December 1985 Walsall H 0–0 11,736
R2 Replay 10 December 1985 Walsall A 1–2 5,671 Brown

League Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 1st Leg 20 August 1985 Wigan Athletic H 1–2 2,620 Sproson
R1 2nd Leg 2 September 1985 Wigan Athletic A 2–0 2,772 Jones, Earle
R2 1st Leg 24 September 1985 West Bromwich Albion A 0–1 6,218
R2 2nd Leg 7 October 1985 West Bromwich Albion H 2–2 7,985 Jones, Maguire

League Trophy[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 21 January 1986 Wrexham A 1–1 992 Jones (pen)
R1 10 February 1986 Blackpool H 3–1 1,584 Maguire, Hunter, Jones
NSQF 10 March 1986 Scunthorpe United A 1–1 (4-3 pens) 1,415 Jones (pen)
NSSF 26 March 1986 Wigan Athletic H 1–2 4,832 Jones (pen)

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 Kent, Jeff (1990). "From Rags to Riches (1979–1990)". The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. pp. 258–290. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7. 
  2. ^ Port Vale 1985–1986 : Results & Fixtures. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  • Kent, Jeff (1993). The Port Vale Record 1879-1993. Witan Books. ISBN 0-9508981-9-8.