2008–09 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
2008–09 season
Chairman Bill Bratt
Manager Lee Sinnott
(until September)
Dean Glover
(October onwards)
Stadium Vale Park
Football League Two 18th (48 Points)
FA Cup Second Round
League Cup First Round
League Trophy First Round
Player of the Year Joe Anyon
Top goalscorer League: Marc Richards (10)
All: Marc Richards (11)
Highest home attendance 7,273 vs. Bradford City (6 September 2008)
Lowest home attendance 4,090 vs. Dagenham & Redbridge (10 March 2009)
Average home league attendance 5,522
Home colours
Away colours

The 2008–09 season was Port Vale's ninety-seventh season of football in the Football League, and first season in League Two, following their relegation from League One. After a poor start to the season manager Lee Sinnott was sacked in September, and was replaced by Dean Glover. Despite a brief period of improvement, Vale then slipped back down the table to finish in eighteenth place. The team were also poor in the cup competitions, exiting the FA Cup at the Second Round, and both the League Cup and the League Trophy at the First Round. Marc Richards was the club's top scorer with eleven goals, and goalkeeper Joe Anyon was Player of the Year despite breaking his leg towards the end of the season.

Top-scorer Marc Richards.
Louis Dodds hit ten goals.
Captain Sam Stockley.
John McCombe in action against Bury in April.
New signing Lee Collins.
Anthony Griffith quickly established himself in the first team.

Overview[edit]

League Two[edit]

The pre-season saw manager Lee Sinnott sign non-league midfielder Rob Taylor,[1] former Hereford United defender John McCombe,[2] and former Middlesbrough midfielder Steve Thompson.[3] Both players cited Sinnott as their reason for joining the club.[4][5] He also added experienced defender Sam Stockley (Wycombe Wanderers);[6] midfielder Anthony Griffith (Doncaster Rovers);[7] and attacking midfielder Louis Dodds (Leicester City) to the squad.[8] Lee Collins also joined on an extended loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers,[9] and would sign a permanent contract with the club in January.[10] Stockley was appointed captain,[11] and most of these players would become key for the club over the next few seasons. Just before the season's start, teenage Tom Taiwo also arrived on a month loan from Chelsea,[12] as did Plymouth Argyle youngster Damien McCrory.[13] The club was aiming for an immediate return to League One,[14] and fans got behind the club with record high season ticket sales of over 6,000.[15][16]

The season started well in August, but all four league games in September ended in defeat. However Sinnott refused to compromise his managerial philosophy in order to pick up results.[17] A 4–1 home defeat to Macclesfield Town on 20 September would prove to be Sinnott's last game in charge. Sinnott was sacked on 22 September, with the Valiants in 16th place, Dean Glover taking over as caretaker manager for the second time in twelve months.[18] The players were against the decision to axe Sinnott.[19] Sinnott would later take court action against the club for a breach of contract,[20][21] and settle out of court.[22] Glover was appointed as manager on a permanent basis on 6 October.[23] A win at Shrewsbury Town instigated a run of four away wins out of five. However Vale soon returned to their poor form, and slid back down the table. At the end of October, former Vale star Dave Brammer joined on loan from Millwall,[24] and would join permanently in the January transfer window.[25] The next month Scott Brown also arrived on loan from Cheltenham Town,[26] and would also join on a permanent transfer two months later.[27] This is also what happened with defender Gareth Owen,[28] who arrived after leaving Stockport County following a bust-up with Jim Gannon.[29] Notts County player Neil MacKenzie also joined on loan,[30] but would not enjoy his short stay in Stoke-on-Trent.[31] Attempts to bring back Chris Birchall on loan failed.[32] Leaving Burslem was Chris Slater, who returned to former club Chasetown.[33] In December, Andy Porter left the club's backroom staff after seventeen years at the club,[34] highlighting the unrest in the camp. Both Porter and Mark Grew had turned down offers to become Glover's assistant.[35]

In January, striker Luke Rodgers was released from his contract after a bust-up with manager Dean Glover,[36] and immediately signed with Yeovil Town.[37] Shane Tudor retired due to injury on 21 January.[38] As well as the permanent signings of a number of loan players, Glover also brought in Pakistan international Adnan Ahmed on loan from Tranmere Rovers.[39] Glover stated the club's revised aim was a top-half finish.[40] In February, Glover signed Carlisle United striker Kevin Gall on loan.[41] He failed to score in seven games with the club, and returned to Carlisle after picking up a calf injury.[42] In March, Kyle Perry was allowed to join local non-league side Northwich Victoria,[43] after being told he had no future at Vale.[44] In his place came loanee winger Paul Marshall from Manchester City.[45] On 23 March, Anyon broke his leg at Saltergate in a defeat to Chesterfield.[46] With Vale going eight games without a win, Glover admitted he was 'a dead man walking',[47] and implored the fan's not to boo his son.[48] Fans protested against both the board and the manager.[49] The final game was a 2–1 win over Barnet at the Underhill Stadium.

They finished in eighteenth place with 48 points, 21 points short of the play-offs, and eleven points clear of relegation. Only Accrington Stanley and Chester City scored fewer than Vale's tally of 44 goals. With fourteen defeats only Macclesfield Town and Chester lost more games than Vale. Had Bournemouth and Luton Town not faced point deductions then Vale would have finished in twentieth place. Marc Richards was the club's top scorer with eleven goals in all competitions, whilst Louis Dodds also contributed ten goals.

At the end of the season most of the playing staff were retained, though Scott Brown returned to Cheltenham Town, Kyle Perry was released and signed with Mansfield Town,[50] and Dave Brammer had to retire after Chairman Bill Bratt informed him via voicemail that he would not be offered a new contract.[51] Youth team graduate Paul Dixon was not offered a new contract. Dean Glover, unpopular with the fans, was also informed that he would not be retained as manager for the following season,[52] and left the club permanently after he rejected the opportunity to remain as a youth coach.[53] A slow uptake of season ticket sales was one major factor in Glover's sacking.[54] Following Glover's departure the club withdrew their contract offer to Paul Edwards,[55] who went on to play for Barrow. However Player of the Year Joe Anyon stayed at the club, despite claiming other clubs were interested in his signature.[56]

Finances[edit]

On the financial side, poor results encouraged Vale fans to organize protests against manager Glover and the board, including Chairman Bill Bratt.[57] With talks of fresh investment from shirt sponsors Harlequin Property came rumours on the internet that the company were planning to demolish Vale Park and build a supermarket, paying off Bratt to ensure his compliance.[58] Bratt passionately denied these accusations, seemingly angered by the suggestion and claimed that if he were to comply with the protesters demands and remove himself and the rest of the V-2001 directors from the Board, then the club would fold as banks and creditors would seek their money. He also reiterated his prior statements by stating that he would be prepared to leave his position if the right offer were to be made.[59] The club had to make monthly repayments of around £19,000 for a £2.25 million loan taken out from the local council in 2005.[60] The club's shirt sponsorship came from Harlequin Property.

Cup competitions[edit]

In the FA Cup, Vale advanced past Huddersfield Town with a 4–3 win at the Galpharm Stadium, Dodds hitting a brace.[61] They then were knocked out by Macclesfield Town at the Second Round stage with a 3–1 home defeat.[62] This meant the Vale missed out on a lucrative home tie with Premier League side Everton. Keeper Anyon slammed his defenders for their part in the defeat.[63]

In the League Cup, Vale were defeated 3–1 by Championship outfit Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.[64]

In the League Trophy, Vale exited at the First Round with a 1–0 defeat to Stockport County at Edgeley Park.[65]

Final league table[edit]

P W D L F A GD Pts
C 1 Brentford 46 23 16 7 65 36 +29 85
P 2 Exeter City 46 22 13 11 65 50 +15 79 AB1
P 3 Wycombe Wanderers 46 20 18 8 54 33 +21 78
  4 Bury 46 21 15 10 63 43 +20 78
P 5 Gillingham 46 21 12 13 58 55 +3 75
  6 Rochdale 46 19 13 14 70 59 +11 70
  7 Shrewsbury Town 46 17 18 11 61 44 +17 69
  8 Dagenham & Redbridge 46 19 11 16 77 53 +24 68
  9 Bradford City 46 18 13 15 66 55 +11 67
  10 Chesterfield 46 16 15 15 62 57 +5 63
  11 Morecambe 46 15 18 13 53 56 -3 63
  12 Darlington 46 20 12 14 61 44 +17 62 A
  13 Lincoln City 46 14 17 15 53 52 +1 59
  14 Rotherham United 46 21 12 13 60 46 +14 58 F
  15 Aldershot Town 46 14 12 20 59 80 -21 54
  16 Accrington Stanley 46 13 11 22 42 59 -17 50
  17 Barnet 46 11 15 20 56 74 -18 48
  18 Port Vale 46 13 9 24 44 66 -22 48
  19 Notts County 46 11 14 21 49 69 -20 47
  20 Macclesfield Town 46 13 8 25 45 77 -32 47
  21 Bournemouth 46 17 12 17 59 51 +8 46 F
  22 Grimsby Town 46 9 14 23 51 69 -18 41
R 23 Chester City 46 8 13 25 43 81 -38 37
R 24 Luton Town 46 13 17 16 58 65 -7 26 X

AB1 - Exeter City completed their second successive promotion despite having one match abandoned without kicking off.

A - Darlington deducted 10 points for administration entrance.

F - Rotherham United and Bournemouth both deducted 17 points a piece for failing to comply with the rules insolvency.

X - Luton Town deducted 30 points; 20 for administration exit without a Company Voluntary Arrangement, and 10 for making illegal payments to agents.

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 H A H A H A A H H A A H A H H A H A H H H A H A A H A H A H H A A A A H H A H A H A
Result W L D W L L L L L W W L W L W L L D W L L L W D L L W D L L W L D L W L W L L D D L D L D W
Position 3 11 9 7 10 12 16 18 19 16 14 15 13 14 13 14 15 14 14 15 15 18 15 16 16 17 16 16 17 17 16 17 17 18 18 18 17 18 18 18 19 19 19 19 19 18

Sourced from Statto.[66]

Football League Two[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
9 August 2008 Luton Town A 3–1 7,149 Dodds, Taylor, Richards
16 August 2008 Accrington Stanley H 0–2 6,643
23 August 2008 Dagenham & Redbridge A 1–1 1,843 Richards
30 August 2008 Bournemouth H 3–1 6,048 Richards, Richman, McCombe
6 September 2008 Bradford City H 0–2 7,273
13 September 2008 Darlington A 1–2 3,040 Rodgers
20 September 2008 Macclesfield Town H 1–4 6,645 Dodds
27 September 2008 Gillingham A 0–1 4,986
4 October 2008 Notts County H 1–2 6,247 Rodgers
11 October 2008 Shrewsbury Town A 2–1 7,162 Dodds, Richards
19 October 2008 Chester City A 2–1 3,102 Richards, Richman
21 October 2008 Exeter City H 1–3 5,493 Rodgers
25 October 2008 Morecambe H 2–1 5,629 Rodgers, Richards
28 October 2008 Aldershot Town A 0–1 3,039
1 November 2008 Lincoln City A 1–0 4,793 Howland
15 November 2008 Brentford H 0–3 6,058
22 November 2008 Wycombe Wanderers A 2–4 4,521 Richards (pen), Brown
25 November 2008 Barnet H 0–0 4,617
6 December 2008 Grimsby Town H 2–1 5,058 Richards, Richman
13 December 2008 Bury A 0–3 2,651
20 December 2008 Chesterfield H 0–1 5,011
26 December 2008 Rotherham United A 0–1 4,350
28 December 2008 Rochdale H 2–1 5,720 Glover, Thompson
17 January 2009 Shrewsbury Town H 1–1 7,068 Thompson
20 January 2009 Gillingham H 1–3 4,539 Richards
24 January 2009 Notts County A 2–4 4,447 Richman, Dodds
27 January 2009 Chester City H 3–0 4,448 Glover, Taylor, Lawrie
31 January 2009 Morecambe A 1–1 1,823 Richman
14 February 2009 Brentford A 0–2 4,702
20 February 2009 Lincoln City H 0–1 5,097
25 February 2009 Macclesfield Town A 2–0 2,267 Ahmed, Dodds
28 February 2009 Luton Town H 1–3 5,689 McCombe
7 March 2009 Bournemouth A 0–0 5,924
10 March 2009 Dagenham & Redbridge H 0–1 4,090
14 March 2009 Darlington H 3–1 4,860 Dodds, Taylor, Richards
17 March 2009 Accrington Stanley A 0–2 1,144
21 March 2009 Bradford City A 1–0 12,436 Howland
28 March 2009 Chesterfield A 1–2 3,511 Marshall
31 March 2009 Exeter City A 0–1 4,235
4 April 2009 Bury H 1–1 5,763 Lawrie
7 April 2009 Aldershot Town H 0–0 4,140
11 April 2009 Rochdale A 0–1 3,100
13 April 2009 Rotherham United H 0–0 4,814
18 April 2009 Grimsby Town A 0–3 6,511
25 April 2009 Wycombe Wanderers H 1–1 6,047 Collins
2 May 2009 Barnet A 2–1 2,305 Dodds, Glover

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 2008–09 FA Cup
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 8 November 2009 Huddersfield Town A 4–3 6,942 Dodds (2), Howland, Richards
R2 28 November 2009 Macclesfield Town H 1–3 4,684 Dodds

League Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 13 August 2009 Sheffield United A 1–3 7,694 Rodgers

League Trophy[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 2 September 2009 Stockport County A 0–1 2,290

Player statistics[edit]

References[edit]

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