2002–03 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
2002–03 season
Chairman England Bill Bell
(until December)
Administrators
(December until March)
England Bill Bratt
(March onwards)
Manager England Brian Horton
Stadium Vale Park
Football League Second Division 17th (53 Points)
FA Cup First Round
League Cup First Round
League Trophy Area Quarter-finalists
Player of the Year England Sam Collins
Top goalscorer League: Marc Bridge-Wilkinson (9)
All: Marc Bridge-Wilkinson (9)
Highest home attendance 6,395 vs. Wigan Athletic (26 December 2002)
Lowest home attendance 2,222 vs. Chesterfield (12 November 2002)
Average home league attendance 4,436
Home colours

The 2002–03 season was Port Vale's ninety-first season of football in the Football League, and third successive season (fortieth overall) in the Second Division. Another poor season, Brian Horton's side avoided relegation with a seventeenth place finish. Vale exited both the FA Cup and the League Cup at the First Round with defeats to Crewe Alexandra, and reached the Area Quarter-finals of the League Trophy. Financial issues were at the forefront in the minds of Vale fans, as the club entered administration in December. After a successful bid, Bill Bratt's Valiant 2001 group won control of the club, taking the club out of administration.

Robbie Williams decided against purchasing the club.
John Durnin left the club at the end of the season.

Overview[edit]

Second Division[edit]

The pre-season saw Brian Horton make several free signings: Jon McCarthy (Birmingham City); Brett Angell (Rushden & Diamonds); Ian Brightwell (Walsall);[1] Phil Charnock (Crewe Alexandra); Sam Collins (Bury);[2][3] and Mark Boyd (Newcastle United).[4] Midfielder Dean Keates had a trial at the club over the summer, but was not offered a contract.

The season started poorly with four straight defeats and only one goal scored from open play, causing fans to barrack Horton.[5] Their form changed with a 1–0 win over Wigan Athletic at the JJB Stadium – the first in a sequence of five consecutive victories. Following this run victories were sparse for the Vale, and they picked up just four league victories until the beginning of March. The club agreed to sell Stephen McPhee to Wigan Athletic for £300,000, though the deal fell through over personal terms.[6] In October, Lee Ashcroft arrived on loan from Wigan Athletic.[7] Meanwhile Jon McCarthy was released,[8] and signed with Doncaster Rovers.[9] The next month Brett Angell also departed after rejecting a new deal with the club,[10] and instead joined Queens Park Rangers. A mini-revival began in the new year, as Vale were unbeaten in their three January league games. In February, defender Peter Clarke arrived on a three month loan deal from Everton.[11][12] Adrian Littlejohn also joined the club on a monthly contract,[13] having left Lincoln City. There was a turnaround in form following a 1–0 win over Blackpool on 8 March, as eighteen points from the final twelve games of the season were enough to see off the fan's fears of relegation. Horton still remained unpopular with some sections of the Vale's supporters.[14]

They finished in seventeenth place with 53 points, just five points above Cheltenham Town in the relegation zone. They finished 33 points and 15 places behind Crewe, who were promoted as runners-up. The end of season table was unusual, in that 15 points separated 7th and 8th, whilst 17 points separated 8th and 21st. Marc Bridge-Wilkinson was the club's top-scorer with just nine goals in all competitions.

At the end of the season a number of players left the club on free transfers: Matt Carragher (Macclesfield Town);[15] Paul Byrne (Barry Town); Phil Charnock (Bury); Sean McClare (Rochdale); John Durnin (Accrington Stanley); and Rae Ingram (Bangor City).

Finances, administration & a change of ownership[edit]

Talks of Bell selling the club circulated at the start of the season,[16] as Staffordshire Police were forced to write off £100,000 worth of debt.[17] Meanwhile Marketing executive Terry Smith resigned after just six weeks in the job. Bell told the press that the Lorne Street stand would be open at the start of the season, though work never got going on the project. Director Jim Lloyd resigned in September, leaving the club with just Bell and two directors (only one of whom was allowed to vote; Bell had the casting vote in the event of a tie). The club's financial crisis came to a head in the season, the club £2.4 million in debt and posting £500,000 a year losses.[18] On 25 November, Bell put his shares up for sale at £10 each.[19]

The club entered administration on 16 December,[20] with £600,000 owed to Inland Revenue and the Customs & Excise;[21] Birmingham-based administration firm Poppleton & Appleby took control. Assistant manager Mark Grew and Ray Williams were both laid off in order to save money.[22] The club approached millionaire pop star and Vale fan Robbie Williams,[23] who rejected the opportunity to invest in the club.[24] Rumours circulated of a possible merger with rivals Stoke City and a ground-share at the Britannia Stadium,[25] fuelled by the belief that a 'mystery bidder' was in fact the Icelandic owners of Stoke City.[26] Stoke Holdings, the Icelandic company which owned Stoke City, offered Bill Bell £50,000 to buy his debt and thereby take control of the club by bypassing the administrators; however Bell rejected the offer. Valiant2001 eventually agreed to rent the club shop off Bell as an incitement for him to accept their offer (his vote was needed as he was the club's biggest creditor). The administrators received a number of bids for the club,[27] and received interest from Mo Chaudry (owner of WaterWorld), Summerbank Management (Tunstall based consultancy firm), and property developing duo Steve Ball and Iain McIntosh.[28] A late bid from Gianni Paladini seemed likely to succeed,[29] however Bill Bratt's 'Valiant 2001' fan-based consortium's bid was accepted in March,[30] and the group took control the following month.[31] The group had had a £1 million bid rejected by Bell the previous year.[32] The total cost of administration was £255,000, and Bratt said "It has been a ride of terror".[33]

In May, the club announced a new two year £200,000 shirt sponsorship deal with local mobile phone company Tricell, ending ten years of sponsorship from Tunstall Assurance.[34] The new board also appointed former player Andy Porter as youth coach,[35] and got the club's transfer embargo lifted in July.[36]

Cup competitions[edit]

In the FA Cup, Vale were knocked out by nearby Crewe Alexandra with a Dean Ashton goal.[37]

In the League Cup, Crewe made the first of their three visits to Vale Park (all of which they won), and advanced with a 2–0 victory, both goals scored by Rodney Jack.[38]

In the League Trophy, Vale advanced through the opening rounds with home wins over Hull City and Chesterfield (after a penalty shootout[39]). In the Northern Section Quarter-Finals they faced Shrewsbury Town at Gay Meadow, and lost 2–1.

Final league table[edit]

Pos Team Pl W D L F A GD Pts
1. Wigan Athletic 46 29 13 4 68 25  +43 100
2. Crewe Alexandra 46 25 11 10 76 40  +36 86
3. Bristol City 46 24 11 11 79 48  +31 83
4. Queens Park Rangers 46 24 11 11 69 45  +24 83
5. Oldham Athletic 46 22 16 8 68 38  +30 82
6. Cardiff City 46 23 12 11 68 43  +25 81
7. Tranmere Rovers 46 23 11 12 66 57  +9 80
8. Plymouth Argyle 46 17 14 15 63 52  +11 65
9. Luton Town 46 17 14 15 67 62  +5 65
10. Swindon Town 46 16 12 18 59 63  -4 60
11. Peterborough United 46 14 16 16 51 54  -3 58
12. Colchester United 46 14 16 16 52 56  -4 58
13. Blackpool 46 15 13 18 56 64  -8 58
14. Stockport County 46 15 10 21 65 70  -5 55
15. Notts County 46 13 16 17 62 70  -8 55
16. Brentford 46 14 12 20 47 56  -9 54
17. Port Vale 46 14 11 21 54 70  -16 53
18. Wycombe Wanderers 46 13 13 20 59 66  -7 52
19. Barnsley 46 13 13 20 51 64  -13 52
20. Chesterfield 46 14 8 24 43 73  -30 50
21. Cheltenham Town 46 10 18 18 53 68  -15 48
22. Huddersfield Town 46 11 12 23 39 61  -22 45
23. Mansfield Town 46 12 8 26 66 97  -31 44
24. Northampton Town 46 10 9 27 40 79  -39 39

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 H A A H A H A H H A H A H A H A H A A H A H H A A A H A H H A H H A A H A H H A A H A H H A
Result L L L L W W W W W L L D D D L W D D L W L L L L D W D L L W L D L L L W D W L D W W L D W L
Position 24 24 24 24 22 19 15 11 9 10 13 12 12 14 14 12 13 13 16 12 14 15 18 19 17 15 15 16 19 15 17 19 19 20 22 19 20 18 19 19 17 16 19 18 16 17

Sourced from Statto.[40]

Football League Second Division[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
10 August 2002 Tranmere Rovers H 1–4 5,629 Brooker
13 August 2002 Cardiff City A 1–3 13,296 Bridge-Wilkinson (pen)
17 August 2002 Chesterfield A 1–2 3,598 Angell (pen)
24 August 2002 Stockport County H 0–1 4,070
26 August 2002 Wigan Athletic A 1–0 6,532 Armstrong
31 August 2002 Peterborough United H 1–0 3,862 Angell
7 September 2002 Swindon Town A 2–1 5,029 Bridge-Wilkinson (2)
14 September 2002 Colchester United H 1–0 3,328 Collins
17 September 2002 Notts County H 3–2 3,505 Angell (2), Paynter
21 September 2002 Blackpool A 2–3 7,756 Collins, Bridge-Wilkinson
28 September 2002 Bristol City H 2–3 4,286 Paynter, Cummins
5 October 2002 Huddersfield Town A 2–2 9,091 Collins, Paynter
12 October 2002 Oldham Athletic H 1–1 5,563 McPhee
19 October 2002 Brentford A 1–1 5,177 Paynter
26 October 2002 Crewe Alexandra H 1–2 6,374 Angell
29 October 2002 Cheltenham Town A 1–0 3,852 Bridge-Wilkinson (pen)
2 November 2002 Queens Park Rangers H 0–0 4,394
9 November 2002 Luton Town A 0–0 6,112
23 November 2002 Northampton Town A 0–3 4,357
30 November 2002 Mansfield Town H 4–2 3,880 Cummins (2), Armstrong, Paynter
14 December 2002 Wycombe Wanderers A 1–3 5,229 Armstrong
21 December 2002 Plymouth Argyle H 1–2 4,892 Brooker
26 December 2002 Wigan Athletic H 0–1 6,395
28 December 2002 Barnsley A 1–2 9,291 Bridge-Wilkinson
1 January 2003 Stockport County A 1–1 4,390 Brooker
18 January 2003 Peterborough United A 2–1 4,770 Brooker, Bridge-Wilkinson
25 January 2003 Barnsley H 0–0 4,033
1 February 2003 Tranmere Rovers A 0–1 7,461
8 February 2003 Luton Town H 1–2 4,714 Boyd
11 February 2003 Chesterfield H 5–2 3,039 Boyd (2), McPhee, Armstrong, Brooker
15 February 2003 Queens Park Rangers A 0–4 13,703
22 February 2003 Swindon Town H 1–1 4,085 Armstrong
25 February 2003 Cardiff City H 0–2 3,831
1 March 2003 Colchester United A 1–4 3,581 Bridge-Wilkinson
4 March 2003 Notts County A 0–1 6,302
8 March 2003 Blackpool H 1–0 4,394 Bridge-Wilkinson (pen)
15 March 2003 Crewe Alexandra A 1–1 8,146 Brisco
18 March 2003 Brentford H 1–0 3,241 Collins
22 March 2003 Cheltenham Town H 1–2 4,800 McPhee
29 March 2003 Oldham Athletic A 1–1 7,209 Cummins
5 April 2003 Mansfield Town A 1–0 4,538 Durnin
12 April 2003 Northampton Town H 3–2 4,209 Walsh, Clarke, Littlejohn
19 April 2003 Plymouth Argyle A 0–3 12,587
21 April 2003 Wycombe Wanderers H 1–1 3,590 Littlejohn
26 April 2003 Huddersfield Town H 5–1 5,925 Armstrong (2), Littlejohn, Collins, Charnock
3 May 2003 Bristol City A 0–2 12,410

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 2002–03 FA Cup
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 16 November 2002 Crewe Alexandra H 0–1 5,507

League Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 10 September 2002 Crewe Alexandra H 0–2 3,765

League Trophy[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 22 October 2002 Hull City H 3–1 2,621 Angell (2), Carragher
R2 12 November 2002 Chesterfield H (4)1–1(3) 2,222 Armstrong
SQF 10 December 2002 Shrewsbury Town A 1–2 2,597 Boyd

Player statistics[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vale seal double deal". BBC Sport. 1 August 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "Collins reunites with Horton". BBC Sport. 26 June 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Horton moves for Collins". BBC Sport. 10 June 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  4. ^ "Boyd joins Vale". BBC Sport. 27 May 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Horton will battle on". BBC Sport. 19 August 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "McPhee deal hitch". BBC Sport. 9 September 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  7. ^ "Vale set for Ashcroft signing". BBC Sport. 9 October 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  8. ^ "Vale release McCarthy". BBC Sport. 1 October 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  9. ^ Oliver, Pete (9 October 2002). "McCarthy joins Doncaster". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  10. ^ "Angell rejects Vale deal". BBC Sport. 4 November 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  11. ^ "Vale take Clarke on loan". BBC Sport. 20 February 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  12. ^ "Clarke returns to Everton". BBC Sport. 29 April 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  13. ^ "Vale want pair for another month". BBC Sport. 25 March 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  14. ^ "Horton refuses to back down". BBC Sport. 13 April 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  15. ^ "Carragher exits Vale". BBC Sport. 9 May 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  16. ^ "Vale takeover moves closer". BBC Sport. 25 September 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  17. ^ "Police ask Vale for cash upfront". BBC News. 11 June 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  18. ^ "Vale fans group to bid". BBC Sport. 12 December 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  19. ^ "Bell to sell Vale shares". BBC Sport. 25 November 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  20. ^ "Vale go into administration". BBC Sport. 16 December 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  21. ^ "Vale near administration". BBC Sport. 5 December 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  22. ^ "Vale axe Grew". BBC Sport. 18 December 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  23. ^ "Vale in Robbie plea". BBC News. 19 December 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  24. ^ "Robbie says 'no' to Port Vale". BBC News. 22 January 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  25. ^ "Vale deny Potters merger". BBC Sport. 31 January 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  26. ^ "Vale Park fears rise". BBC Sport. 5 February 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  27. ^ "Vale bids flood in". BBC Sport. 6 January 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  28. ^ "Fans' group win control of Vale". BBC News. 19 February 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  29. ^ "Jackson wins control". clubsincrisis.com. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  30. ^ "Fans bid for Port Vale accepted". BBC Sport. 13 March 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  31. ^ "Vale fans to take control". BBC Sport. 7 April 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  32. ^ "Vale fans table new offer". BBC Sport. 20 November 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  33. ^ "Port Vale: Vale owed 200 creditors £2.4m the last time the administrator came calling". The Sentinel. 2 March 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  34. ^ "Vale ink sponsorship deal". BBC Sport. 29 May 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  35. ^ "Porter wins Vale role". BBC Sport. 13 June 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  36. ^ "Vale embargo lifted". BBC Sport. 18 July 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  37. ^ "Port Vale 0-1 Crewe". BBC Sport. 16 November 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  38. ^ "Port Vale 0-2 Crewe". BBC Sport. 10 September 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  39. ^ "Port Vale 1-1 Chesterfield (4-3 pens)". BBC Sport. 12 November 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  40. ^ Port Vale 2002–2003 : Results & Fixtures. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.