1998–99 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
1998–99 season
Chairman England Bill Bell
Manager England John Rudge
(until January)
England Brian Horton
(January onwards)
Stadium Vale Park
Football League First Division 21st (47 Points)
FA Cup Third Round
League Cup First Round
Player of the Year England Martin Foyle
Top goalscorer League: Martin Foyle (9)
All: Martin Foyle (9)
Highest home attendance 16,557 vs. Liverpool (3 January 1999)
Lowest home attendance 3,478 vs. Chester City (11 August 1998)
Average home league attendance 6,991
Home colours

The 1998–99 season was Port Vale's eighty-seventh season of football in the Football League, and fifth successive season in the First Division. It was the end of an era for the club, as manager of sixteen years John Rudge was sacked in January, and was replaced by Brian Horton. As a testament to the upheaval at the club, a massive 43 players turned out for the Vale in the league over the course of the season. The Vale just avoided relegation on goals scored, despite suffering a final day defeat to Bury, who were relegated having scored ten fewer goals. Liverpool knocked them out of the FA Cup at the Third Round, and Vale were also knocked out of the League Cup by fourth tier Chester City in the First Round. The sacking of Rudge spoiled what was supposed to be a happy season for Vale fans, as Vale competed in a division above rivals Stoke City for only the fourth time.

Overview[edit]

First Division[edit]

The pre-season saw John Rudge splash out £300,000 on Bristol Rovers forward Peter Beadle and £100,000 on Scunthorpe United defender Michael Walsh. He also signed Dave Barnett (Dunfermline Athletic); Brian McGlinchey and Paul Beesley (Manchester City); and John McQuade (Hamilton Academical) on free transfers. Stéphane Pounewatchy also became the first French player to play for the club when he was signed on a monthly contract from Dundee. Scott Mean was loaned to the club by West Ham United, though he went on to sustain a knee injury during his spell that would damage his career. Also Andy Clarke was signed on loan from Wimbledon.

The season started poorly with three defeats, Lee Hughes scoring a hat-trick for West Bromwich Albion to finish this run off. Two wins opened the month of September, though the month ended with former-Valiant Lee Mills scoring a brace for Bradford City in a 4–0 win over Vale at Valley Parade. In October, Derek McGill signed from Queens Park Rangers, though he would move on to Hamilton Academical later in the year. On 29 October, Gareth Ainsworth became Vale's biggest ever transfer as he was sold to Wimbledon for £2 million. In November, Robin Berntsen became the first Norwegian to play for the Vale when he arrived on loan from Tromsø IL. In addition to this French forward Christophe Horlaville joined on loan from Le Havre, and Des Lyttle also arrived on loan from Nottingham Forest. After winning the first four games in October, Vale then went on a streak of twelve defeats in fifteen games, though the sole victory of this run, a 1–0 win over Bury on 19 December, would prove to be crucial at the end of the season. The win was not enough for Rudge, who would get the sack in January after he made his final two signings: Trinidadian midfielder Tony Rougier from Hibernian for £175,000, and young striker Marcus Bent from Crystal Palace for a £375,000 fee. After Rudge was sacked by Chairman Bill Bell, highly distressed fans formed a "flat cap protest" (Rudge's headwear of choice) against the decision. Offered the role of Director of Football at the club, he instead took up the same position at rivals Stoke City. To replace him, Bell appointed experienced manager and former Vale player Brian Horton.

In February, Peter Beadle was sold on to Notts County for £250,000, representing a £50,000 loss. The month of March saw Horton make his first signings as manager, bringing in five new faces: Dave Brammer (£300,000 from Wrexham); Tony Butler (£115,000 from Blackpool); Carl Griffiths (£100,000 from Leyton Orient); Alex Smith (£75,000 from Chester City); and Chris Allen (free from Nottingham Forest). This cost the club a total of £590,000. He also took in striker Alan Lee on loan from Aston Villa, and Craig Russell on loan from Manchester City. His changes finally paid off in April, as Vale went on a five game unbeaten run. Their penultimate game was a 2–0 victory over QPR, meaning that a final day 1–0 defeat at fellow relegation candidates Bury was inconsequential.

They finished in 21st position with 47 points, ahead of Bury on goals scored, but behind both Portsmouth and Queens Park Rangers on goals scored. Had the goals difference rule been in effect then Vale would have been relegated instead of Bury. Crewe Alexandra finished three places and one position higher than the Vale. Vale suffered 25 defeats, more than any other club in the league, and only Grimsby and Bury had scored fewer goals. Player of the Year Martin Foyle was the club's top-scorer with nine goals, representing the lowest total tally for the club's top-scorer since 1964–65. Only Paul Musselwhite and Allen Tankard managed to hit forty appearances, as 43 players managed to turn out for the club throughout the season.

At the end of the season there was a complete clear-out, with ten players leaving: ten-year club veteran Neil Aspin (Darlington); Dave Barnett (Lincoln City); Brian McGlinchey (Gillingham); John McQuade (Raith Rovers); Chris Allen (Stockport County); Rogier Koordes (TOP Oss); Jan Jansson (IFK Norrköping); Paul Mahorn (Stevenage Borough); Stéphane Pounewatchy (Colchester United); and Paul Beesley (Blackpool).

Finances[edit]

The club's shirt sponsors were Tunstall Assurance.

Cup competitions[edit]

In the FA Cup, Vale hosted Premier League side Liverpool. The "Reds" left Burslem with a 3–0 victory, the goals scored by Michael Owen, Paul Ince, and Robbie Fowler.

In the League Cup, Third Division Chester City dispatched the Vale 2–1 at Vale Park, and held on to a 2–2 draw at the Deva Stadium to embarrass Vale fans with a minor giant-killing act.

Final league table[edit]

Pos Team P W D L F A Pts
1. Sunderland 46 31 12 3 91 28 105
2. Bradford City 46 26 9 11 82 47 87
3. Ipswich Town 46 26 8 12 69 32 86
4. Birmingham City 46 23 12 11 66 37 81
5. Watford 46 21 14 11 65 56 77
6. Bolton Wanderers 46 20 16 10 78 59 76
8. Sheffield United 46 18 13 15 71 66 67
9. Norwich City 46 15 17 14 62 61 62
10. Huddersfield Town 46 15 16 15 62 71 61
11. Grimsby Town 46 17 10 19 40 52 61
12. West Bromwich Albion 46 16 11 19 69 76 59
13. Barnsley 46 14 17 15 59 56 59
14. Crystal Palace 46 14 16 16 58 71 58
15. Tranmere Rovers 46 12 20 14 63 61 56
16. Stockport County 46 12 17 17 49 60 53
17. Swindon Town 46 13 11 22 59 81 50
18. Crewe Alexandra 46 12 12 22 54 78 48
19. Portsmouth 46 11 14 21 57 73 47
20. Queens Park Rangers 46 12 11 23 52 61 47
21. Port Vale 46 13 8 25 45 75 47
22. Bury 46 10 17 19 35 60 47
23. Oxford United 46 10 14 22 48 71 44
24. Bristol City 46 9 15 22 57 80 42

P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; 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 A H H A H A A H A H H A H A A H A H A A H A H A H A H A H A A H A H A H A H H A H H A
Result L L L D L W W L D L W W W W D L L L L L D L L W L L L L L W L W L W D L L L W D D W D L W L
Position 23 24 24 24 24 22 19 19 21 23 20 18 15 12 13 13 13 15 16 20 19 22 22 20 20 21 22 23 23 22 22 21 21 20 20 21 21 22 21 22 21 20 20 21 20 21

Sourced from Statto.[1]

Football League First Division[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
8 August 1998 Birmingham City H 0–2 10,465
15 August 1998 Huddersfield Town A 1–2 10,030 Ainsworth
22 August 1998 West Bromwich Albion H 0–3 8,146
29 August 1998 Swindon Town A 1–1 7,800 Ainsworth
31 August 1998 Ipswich Town H 0–3 5,485
8 September 1998 Wolverhampton Wanderers H 2–1 8,087 Beadle, Naylor
12 September 1998 Crystal Palace A 1–0 15,983 Beadle
19 September 1998 Portsmouth H 0–2 5,992
26 September 1998 Grimsby Town A 2–2 5,747 Naylor, Beesley
29 September 1998 Bradford City A 0–4 13,245
3 October 1998 Norwich City H 1–0 5,580 Ainsworth
11 October 1998 Barnsley A 2–0 16,195 Foyle, Beadle
17 October 1998 Bristol City H 3–2 6,691 Ainsworth (2), Beesley
20 October 1998 Crewe Alexandra H 1–0 8,205 Beesley
24 October 1998 Watford A 2–2 8,750 Foyle, Tankard
31 October 1998 Sheffield United H 2–3 6,737 Foyle, Beadle
4 November 1998 Bolton Wanderers A 1–3 13,324 Beadle
8 November 1998 Stockport County A 2–4 7,612 Beadle, Own goal
14 November 1998 Sunderland H 0–2 8,839
21 November 1998 Oxford United A 1–2 5,964 McGlinchey
28 November 1998 Tranmere Rovers H 2–2 5,216 Foyle (2)
5 December 1998 Queens Park Rangers A 2–3 10,498 Foyle, Barker
12 December 1998 Sunderland A 0–2 37,583
19 December 1998 Bury H 1–0 6,425 Barker (pen)
26 December 1998 West Bromwich Albion A 2–3 14,929 Naylor (2)
28 December 1998 Bolton Wanderers H 0–2 8,201
9 January 1999 Birmingham City A 0–1 18,632
16 January 1999 Swindon Town H 0–1 5,405
30 January 1999 Ipswich Town A 0–1 16,328
6 February 1999 Huddersfield Town H 2–0 6,499 Foyle (2)
13 February 1999 Wolverhampton Wanderers A 1–3 20,952 Bogie
20 February 1999 Crystal Palace H 1–0 6,051 Tankard
27 February 1999 Portsmouth A 0–4 12,838
9 March 1999 Norwich City A 4–3 12,960 Tankard, Russell, Walsh, Bogie
13 March 1999 Stockport County H 1–1 6,456 Allen
20 March 1999 Sheffield United A 0–3 15,515
23 March 1999 Grimsby Town H 0–1 4,980
3 April 1999 Bristol City A 0–2 11,039
5 April 1999 Barnsley H 1–0 5,968 Foyle
10 April 1999 Crewe Alexandra A 0–0 5,606
13 April 1999 Bradford City H 1–1 6,998 Lee
17 April 1999 Oxford United H 1–0 7,393 Tankard
24 April 1999 Tranmere Rovers A 1–1 7,770 Lee
27 April 1999 Watford H 1–2 7,126 Widdrington
1 May 1999 Queens Park Rangers H 2–0 9,851 Gardner, Griffiths
9 May 1999 Bury A 0–1 7,567

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 1998–99 FA Cup
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R3 3 January 1999 Liverpool H 0–3 16,557

League Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 1st Leg 11 August 1998 Chester City H 1–2 3,478 Ainsworth
R1 2nd Leg 18 August 1998 Chester City A 2–2 2,461 Naylor (2)

Player statistics[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Port Vale 1998–1999 : Results & Fixtures. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.