1919–20 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
1919–20 season
Chairman Frank Huntbach
Manager Tom Holford
Joe Schofield (from March)
Stadium The Old Recreation Ground
Football League Second Division 13th (40 Points)
FA Cup First Round
Staffordshire Senior Cup Champions
North Staffordshire Infirmary Cup Champions (shared)
Top goalscorer League: Bobby Blood (24)
All: Bobby Blood (26)
Highest home attendance 22,697 vs Stoke (6 March 1920)
Lowest home attendance 3,000 vs Stockport County (8 April 1920)
Average home league attendance 11,247+

The 1919–20 season was Port Vale's first season of football back in the Football League (their 14th overall following their brief 1892–96 and 1898–1907 spells in the league).[1] It was their first Football League season at The Old Recreation Ground, and their first season in which they were in the same division as rivals Stoke. The club were also referred to as "the Valiants" for the first time, a nickname coined by chairman Frank Huntbach.

Their return to the Football League completed the success story of a local church team that rose to become a competitor in the second tier of English football. The club considers itself a continuation of the Burslem Port Vale that resigned from the league in 1907, and is recognized as such in an official capacity. The club rose from the North Staffordshire Federation League in 1907–08 to The Central League in 1911–12, and in October 1919 replaced Leeds City in the Football League Second Division.

Vale finished in mid-table, this was due in part to a tremendous season for top scorer Bobby Blood. As well as earning a return to the Football League, the club also enjoyed minor cup success, lifting the Staffordshire Senior Cup and sharing the North Staffordshire Infirmary Cup.

In March 1920, Joe Schofield was appointed manager-secretary, a position he would retain throughout the decade.

Chairman Frank Huntbach, who coined the Valiants' nickname.
Bobby Blood scored 24 Second Division goals against all the odds.
Joe Brough, 33, returned to the Football League after a seven year absence.
Young forward Billy Briscoe was prolific in The Central League.

Return to the Football League[edit]

Following Port Vale's resignation from the Football League in 1907, and Stoke's resignation the years after, Staffordshire had been without representation in the league for eleven years. Following the end of the Great War, the Football League was organized back into its national form.[1] In March 1919, Stoke, West Ham United, South Shields, Rotherham County, and Coventry City all gained re-election to the league – Port Vale were short by just one vote.[1]

In the Central League, Vale had won five of their eight games against the reserve sides of Football League First Division clubs Aston Villa, Manchester United, Manchester City, Everton, Blackburn Rovers, and the reserve side of Second Division Huddersfield Town.[1]

On 13 October 1919, Leeds City were expelled from the Football League over illegal payments to their players.[1] Port Vale were elected to fill their spot (ahead of a bid from Tranmere Rovers).[1] The club who had competed their 1906–07 season in the North Staffordshire Church League had taken the Port Vale name and played their way to the second tier of the national league within twelve years.[1]

Port Vale's reserve side fulfilled the remaining fixtures in the Central League. Leeds City had already played their games against Blackpool, Coventry City, Hull City, and Wolverhampton Wanderers; leaving Vale with a solid starting point of ten points from eight matches.[1]

Overview[edit]

The club built a strong side for the 1919–20 Central League campaign, signing skilful forward William Aitken and former Scotland international Peter Pursell from Rangers.[1]

Second Division[edit]

Back in the Second Division, the club faced a battle to register their players in time for the nine-hour trip to South Shields, where they lost 2–0.[1] Two defeats to eventual champions Tottenham Hotspur followed, before the club scored their first goal, and picked up their first win against South Shields on 10 November thanks to an Aaron Lockett strike.[1] The club signed Bobby Blood from Leek United for £50 in order to bolster their strike force, the player had one leg shorter than the other and was riddled with bullets from his valiant efforts in the First World War, and yet he would still prove the doctors wrong who said he would never play football again.[1] The win against South Shields initiated a run of three wins in five games. However this was followed by a streak of seven games without victory. Vale had settled in the league by January, and went into the derby with Stoke in March having lost just one of their previous eight games.[1] This included a 4–0 win over Rotherham County which saw Blood score all four, and a 4–1 win over Nottingham Forest in which Blood claimed a hat-trick.[1] Stoke dispatched the Vale 3–0 in front of the biggest home crowd of the season, the first ever encounter between the two clubs in the Football League. Seven days later, Vale went to Stoke to claim a point in front of 27,000 fans.[1]

At the end of the season Vale finished with forty points, thirty of which came from their own efforts, and ten from Leeds City.[1] This put them eleven points clear of the re-election zones, and fourteen points shy of promotion.

Easily the club's top scorer was Bobby Blood with 26 goals, 24 of which were in the league (Second Division).[1] Blood was playing in the Football League for the first time at the age of 25. Billy Briscoe scored eight goals in seven Central League games, but failed to transfer this success to the Football League.[1] Peter Pursell played 49 of 51 games, with fellow Scotsman William Aitken also rarely missing game.[1] Tom Lyons and Alfred Bourne missed just four Second Division games between them. Tom Holford was another crucial player, who also acted as manager for much of the season. In March 1920, Joe Schofield was appointed manager-secretary.[1]

Finances[edit]

Financially, the club were on much better terms than twelve years ago, with even practice matches well attended, and supporters groups busy raising cash to improve The Old Recreation Ground.[1] Seats were priced between one and two shillings.[1] The club had also made almost £700 on their 1918–19 Central League season.[1] In 1919–20, they recorded a profit of almost £650.[1]

Cup competitions[edit]

The club qualified for the FA Cup by easily dispatching Central Alliance side Loughborough Corinthians 4–0.[1] In the First Round the Vale put up a brave fight against Manchester United, going out 1–0 in front of almost 15,000 supporters – thanks in part due to a great performance from opposition keeper Jack Mew.[1] This was particularly remarkable considering that in their Central League game just four months earlier the Vale first team had lost 3–2 to the United Reserve outfit.[1]

The club lifted the Staffordshire Senior Cup for the first time in their history, dispatching Stoke Reserves 1–0 in the First Round, before an epic semi-final with West Bromwich Albion Reserves that was settled after three replays with a Bobby Blood penalty.[1] Billy Fitchford scored the only goal in the final against Birmingham Reserves at the Victoria Ground.[1]

The annual North Staffordshire Infirmary Cup game finished goalless, and so the trophy was shared with Stoke.[1] The match raised £309 for the local hospital.[2]

Final league table[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A F A GA GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 42 19 2 0 60 11 13 4 4 42 21 102 32 3.188 + 70 70
2 Huddersfield Town 42 16 4 1 58 13 12 4 5 39 25 97 38 2.553 + 59 64
3 Birmingham 42 14 3 4 54 16 10 5 6 31 18 85 34 2.500 + 51 56
4 Blackpool 42 13 4 4 40 18 8 6 7 25 29 65 47 1.383 + 18 52
5 Bury 42 14 4 3 35 15 6 4 11 25 29 60 44 1.364 + 16 48
6 Fulham 42 11 6 4 36 18 8 3 10 25 32 61 50 1.220 + 9 47
7 West Ham United 42 14 3 4 34 14 5 6 10 13 26 47 40 1.175 + 7 47
8 Bristol City 42 9 9 3 30 18 4 8 9 16 25 46 43 1.070 + 3 43
9 South Shields 42 13 5 3 47 18 2 7 12 11 30 58 48 1.208 + 10 42
10 Stoke 42 13 3 5 37 15 5 3 13 23 39 60 54 1.111 + 6 42
11 Hull City 42 13 4 4 53 23 5 2 14 25 49 78 72 1.083 + 2 42
12 Barnsley 42 9 5 7 41 28 6 5 10 20 27 61 55 1.109 + 6 40
13 Port Vale 42 11 3 7 35 27 5 5 11 24 35 59 62 0.952 – 3 40
14 Leicester City 42 8 6 7 26 29 7 4 10 15 32 41 61 0.672 – 20 40
15 Clapton Orient 42 14 3 4 34 17 2 3 16 17 42 51 59 0.864 – 8 38
16 Stockport County 42 11 4 6 34 24 3 5 13 18 37 52 61 0.852 – 9 37
17 Rotherham County 42 10 4 7 32 27 3 4 14 19 56 51 83 0.614 – 32 34
18 Nottingham Forest 42 9 4 8 23 22 2 5 14 20 51 43 73 .589 – 30 31
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 42 8 4 9 41 32 2 6 13 14 48 55 80 0.688 – 25 30
20 Coventry City 42 7 7 7 20 26 2 4 15 15 47 35 73 0.479 – 38 29
21 Lincoln City 42 8 6 7 27 30 1 3 17 17 71 44 101 0.436 – 57 27
22 Grimsby Town 42 8 4 9 23 24 2 1 18 11 51 34 75 0.453 – 41 25

Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against;
GA = Goal average; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

Results[edit]

Port Vale's score comes first

Legend[edit]

Win Draw Loss

Central League[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
30 August 1919 Aston Villa Reserves A 2–0 Aitken, Briscoe
1 September 1919 Huddersfield Town Reserves H 3–0 4,000 Aitken (2), Wootton
6 September 1919 Aston Villa Reserves H 2–2 magnificent Briscoe (2)
13 September 1919 Everton Reserves A 3–1 2,000 Briscoe (2), Aitken
20 September 1919 Everton Reserves H 4–0 very good Briscoe (2), Fitchford, Broadhouse
22 September 1919 Manchester City Reserves H 1–0 5,000 Briscoe
27 September 1919 Manchester United Reserves A 2–3 3,000 Holford (2)
11 October 1919 Blackburn Rovers Reserves A 1–2 Lockett

Football League Second Division[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
18 October 1919 South Shields A 0–2 14,000
27 October 1919 Tottenham Hotspur H 0–1 16,000
1 November 1919 Tottenham Hotspur A 0–2 35,000
10 November 1919 South Shields H 1–0 8,000 Lockett
15 November 1919 Clapton Orient A 1–2 8,000 Briscoe
22 November 1919 Lincoln City A 0–0 4,000
24 November 1919 Clapton Orient H 4–2 7,000 Blood (2), Brough, o.g.
29 November 1919 Lincoln City H 1–0 8,000 Brough
6 December 1919 Bury A 1–2 6,000 Brough
13 December 1919 Bury H 2–2 6,000 Blood (2)
25 December 1919 Barnsley H 0–2 12,000
26 December 1919 Barnsley A 0–1 16,000
1 January 1920 Fulham H 3–4 8,000 Hill, Blood, Perry
3 January 1920 Huddersfield Town A 1–4 8,500 Blood
24 January 1920 Bristol City A 1–1 12,000 Lockett
26 January 1920 Bristol City H 3–1 7,000 Blood (2), Lockett
31 January 1920 Nottingham Forest H 4–1 10,000 Blood (3), Fitchford
7 February 1920 West Ham United A 1–3 25,000 Blood
14 February 1920 West Ham United H 1–0 15,000 Aitken
18 February 1920 Nottingham Forest A 1–0 5,000 Blood
21 February 1920 Rotherham County A 2–2 10,000 Briscoe, Blood
28 February 1920 Rotherham County H 4–2 12,000 Blood (4)
6 March 1920 Stoke H 0–3 22,697
13 March 1920 Stoke A 0–0 27,000
20 March 1920 Grimsby Town H 2–1 13,500 Blood, Brough
27 March 1920 Grimsby Town A 0–2 7,000
29 March 1920 Huddersfield Town H 0–0 10,000
2 April 1920 Stockport County A 4–0 8,000 Aitken (2), Blood (2)
3 April 1920 Birmingham H 1–3 15,000 Fitchford
8 April 1920 Stockport County H 2–0 3,000 Blood (2)
10 April 1920 Birmingham A 0–3 30,000
17 April 1920 Leicester City H 1–2 14,000 Blood
24 April 1920 Leicester City A 1–0 20,000 Aitken
1 May 1920 Fulham A 0–4 14,000

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 1919–20 FA Cup
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
6Q 20 December 1919 Loughborough Corinthians H 4–0 5,000 Brough (2), Blood, Lyons (pen)
1R 10 January 1920 Manchester United H 0–1 14,549

Staffordshire Senior Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
1 20 October 1919 Stoke Reserves H 1–0 8,000+ Hill
SF 1 December 1919 West Bromwich Albion Reserves H 1–1 4,000+ Lockett
Replay 15 December 1919 West Bromwich Albion Reserves A 0–0 2,000 Fitchford
Replay 23 February 1920 West Bromwich Albion Reserves H 1–1 7,000+ Aitken
Replay 12 April 1920 West Bromwich Albion Reserves A 1–0 2,000 Blood
Final 15 May 1920 Birmingham Reserves N 1–0 4,000+

North Staffordshire Infirmary Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
Final 3 May 1920 Stoke A 0–0 4,500

Player statistics[edit]

Transfers[edit]

Transfers in[edit]

Date from Position Nationality Name From Fee Ref.
January 1920 MF John Davis Bredbury United Free transfer [3]
March 1920 MF England Harry Johnstone Free transfer [3]
April 1920 MF England Jack Mellor New Mills Free transfer [3]
Summer 1919 FW England William Aitken Scotland Rangers £500 [3]
Summer 1919 GK England Alfred Bourne Free transfer [3]
Summer 1919 DF England Percy Ellis Walsall Free transfer [3]
August 1919 MF England Archie Dyke Aston Villa Free transfer [3]
August 1919 MF England Ernest Perry Stoke Free transfer [3]
August 1919 DF Scotland Peter Pursell Scotland Rangers £2,500 [3]
August 1919 MF England James Wootton Leek Alexandra Free transfer [3]
September 1919 FW England Aaron Lockett Stafford Rangers Free transfer [3]
November 1919 FW England Bobby Blood Leek United £50 [3]
December 1919 FW England Harry Wainwright Highfields Free transfer [3]
January 1920 FW Alfred Manning Free transfer [3]

Transfers out[edit]

Date from Position Nationality Name To Fee Ref.
October 1919 MF England Archie Dyke Stafford Rangers Free transfer [3]
May 1920 FW England William Aitken Newcastle United £2,500 [3]
Summer 1920 DF England Edgar Bentley Released [3]
Summer 1920 MF Albert Broadhouse Released [3]
Summer 1920 FW England Aaron Lockett Audley Released [3]
Summer 1920 FW Alfred Manning Shildon Free transfer [3]
Summer 1920 MF England Andie Newton Southend United Released [3]
Summer 1920 FW England George Shelton Released [3]
Summer 1920 FW England Harry Wainwright Highfields Released [3]

References[edit]

Specific
  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 ad Kent, Jeff (1990). "Keeping in Good Company (1919-1929)". The Valiants' Years The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. pp. 98–123. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7. 
  2. ^ Kent, Jeff (November 1998). The Potteries Derbies. Witan Books. p. 118. ISBN 0-9529152-3-5. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0. 
General
  • Kent, Jeff (1993). The Port Vale Record 1879-1993. Witan Books. ISBN 0-9508981-9-8.