1923–24 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
1923–24 season
Chairman Sampson Walker
Manager Joe Schofield
Stadium The Old Recreation Ground
Football League Second Division 16th (38 Points)
FA Cup Fifth Qualification Round
North Staffordshire Infirmary Cup Runners-up
Top goalscorer League: Billy Briscoe (10)
All: Billy Briscoe & Tom Page (10)
Highest home attendance 16,800 vs Stoke (13 October 1923)
Lowest home attendance 3,000 vs South Shields (21 January 1924)
Average home league attendance 8,489
Home colours

The 1923–24 season was Port Vale's fifth consecutive season of football (18th overall) in the Football League.[1] Another season of slow and steady progress saw the club finish one point, and one place higher than the previous campaign. The club still lacked a regular goalscorer since selling Bobby Blood, however Wilf Kirkham made his debut, and goals came from all across the team. A still-standing club record was set on 5 April 1924, when Tom Holford played against Derby County at the age of 46.

The most notable incident in the campaign was the death of Tom Butler on 11 November 1923; he died from complications of a broken arm that he picked up whilst playing for the club.

Tom Holford retired at the end of the season, at the age of 43.
Billy Briscoe spent six months at Congleton Town, before returning to Vale in January to become the club's top scorer.
New-signing Jack Maddock played 22 games.
Sunderland legend Arthur Bridgett ended his professional career with Vale in 1924.

Overview[edit]

Second Division[edit]

To strengthen the side, pre-season signings included: Stalybridge Celtic goalkeeper Tommy Lonsdale; Macclesfield Town 'penalty king' right-back Jack Maddock; Leeds United tough-tackling half-back Alf Dark; Bolton Wanderers winger Jack Lowe; Clyde's reliable forward Fred Howard; and Exeter City goal machine Harold Crockford.[1] The kit for the season was picked – red jerseys with white shorts.[1]

The season started positively, with two wins recorded, as well as a 14,000 home crowd. However a run of one point won in five games saw the club slump down the table.[1] The arrival of Ireland international Louis Bookman for £250 from Luton Town couldn't reverse the side's fortunes.[1] Their stats by the end of October were: played twelve, lost eight, failed to score in six.[1] This miserable run included two defeats inflicted by rivals Stoke – the first time they had done the double over Vale in the league.[1] Crockford agreed to have his contract cancelled, and talks began to try to re-sign Billy Briscoe.[1] A young Wilf Kirkham made his debut against Leeds United, but failed to make much of an impact.[1]

Their rotten form seemed to have been turned around when the "Valiants" earned a 1–1 draw with Clapton Orient on 3 November 1923.[1] Tom Butler scored the goal, yet paid the ultimate price for his efforts.[1] Near the end of the match he suffered a compound fracture in his left arm, and complications set in whilst he was at Hackney Hospital, causing septic poisoning; he died of lockjaw on 11 November.[1] The club paid his widow the rest of his wages, and Stoke and numerous other clubs donated generously to provide the widow with a £700 benefit fund.[1]

Back to football, and the club signed 41-year-old former England international Arthur Bridgett, despite the fact that he had spent several years in retirement.[1] The winger impressed, and scored within ninety seconds of his debut.[1] Later in the year Peter Pursell returned to the field for the first time in the season following an injury, and was like a new signing.[1] Despite all this, Vale still suffered, and a heavy defeat at Old Trafford saw them stuck at the foot of the table.[1] Turning to 1924, the Vale managed a run of six games unbeaten, and Briscoe was finally given his pay rise and so was re-signed from Congleton Town.[1]

Despite Blackpool putting twelve past the Vale defence, the latter half of the season saw a massive improvement, as they lost just 6 of the 22 games. Briscoe and Kirkham provided the goals necessary to lift the club out of the relegation zone. On 5 April 1924, Tom Holford played against Derby County at the age of 46 – still a club record.[1]

At the end of season, Vale finished in sixteenth place with 38 points, making it two seasons in a row in which the club bettered their previous season tally by one point and one place. Performing poorly at home, only bottom place Bristol City lost more home games, and only second-bottom Nelson conceded more at home. Vale were five points clear of relegation, but thirteen points off a promotion place.

Briscoe, Page, Kirkham, and Bridgett were the major goalscorers. Full-back Len Birks was an ever-present, and Tommy Lonsdale, Jack Hampson, and Jack Lowe were also key first team players. As well as the debut of Kirkham, Roger Jones also made his debut, starting his fourteen-year association with the club. At the end of the season the club let Peter Pursell leave for Wigan Borough, whereas Lonsdale and Hampson both retired due to injury.[1]

Finances[edit]

Finances were once again worrying for the club and its supporters.[1] A greatly reduced wage bill of £7,900 still necessitated fund raising activities from fans to keep the club alive.[1] Arthur Prince was also sold to Sheffield Wednesday to raise cash.[1] Season ticket prices ranged from £2 6s. 6d. to £3, 6s. 6d.[1]

Cup competitions[edit]

In the FA Cup, Vale drew Third Division North Wrexham at the Fifth Round of Qualifying for the second successive season, and another disappointing defeat followed, this time at the Racecourse Ground, with the Welsh club running out 5–1 winners. The North Staffordshire Infirmary Cup went to Stoke, who beat Vale 1–0 at The Old Recreation Ground.

Final league table[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A F A GA GD Pts
1 Leeds United 42 14 5 2 41 10 7 7 7 20 25 61 35 1.743 + 26 54
2 Bury 42 15 5 1 42 7 6 4 11 21 28 63 35 1.800 + 28 51
3 Derby County 42 15 4 2 52 15 6 5 10 23 27 75 42 1.786 + 33 51
4 Blackpool 42 13 7 1 43 12 5 6 10 29 35 72 47 1.532 + 25 49
5 Southampton 42 13 5 3 36 9 4 9 8 16 22 52 31 1.677 + 21 48
6 Stoke 42 9 11 1 27 10 5 7 9 17 32 44 42 1.048 + 2 46
7 Oldham Athletic 42 10 10 1 24 12 4 7 10 21 40 45 52 0.865 – 7 45
8 The Wednesday 42 15 5 1 42 9 1 7 13 12 42 54 51 1.059 + 3 44
9 South Shields 42 13 5 3 34 16 4 5 12 15 34 49 50 0.980 – 1 44
10 Clapton Orient 42 11 7 3 27 10 3 8 10 13 26 40 36 1.111 + 4 43
11 Barnsley 42 12 7 2 34 16 4 4 13 23 45 57 61 0.934 – 4 43
12 Leicester City 42 13 4 4 43 16 4 4 13 21 38 64 54 1.185 + 10 42
13 Stockport County 42 10 7 4 32 21 3 9 9 12 31 44 52 0.846 – 8 42
14 Manchester United 42 10 7 4 37 15 3 7 11 15 29 52 44 1.182 + 8 40
15 Crystal Palace 42 11 7 3 37 19 2 6 13 16 46 53 65 0.815 – 12 39
16 Port Vale 42 9 5 7 33 29 4 7 10 17 37 50 66 0.758 – 16 38
17 Hull City 42 8 7 6 32 23 2 10 9 14 28 46 51 0.902 – 5 37
18 Bradford City 42 8 7 6 24 21 3 8 10 11 27 35 48 0.729 – 13 37
19 Coventry City 42 9 6 6 34 23 2 7 12 18 45 52 68 0.765 – 16 35
20 Fulham 42 9 8 4 30 20 1 6 14 15 36 45 56 0.804 – 11 34
21 Nelson 42 8 8 5 32 31 2 5 14 8 43 40 74 0.541 – 34 33
22 Bristol City 42 5 8 8 19 26 2 7 12 13 39 32 65 0.492 – 33 29

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
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
Ground A H H A H A H A H H A A H A H H H A H A A A H H A H A A A H H H A H A A A H H H A
Result W W L L D L L W L L L L D W L D W L L W D D W D D L L D D D W L W L W L W L D W D W
Position 3 1 9 11 12 14 18 14 16 17 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 22 22 22 21 21 21 21 20 20 20 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 18 19 19 18 18 16

Sourced from Statto.[2]

Football League Second Division[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
25 August 1923 Crystal Palace A 2–1 10,000 Crockford, Dark
27 August 1923 The Wednesday H 2–0 14,000 Collinge, Crockford
1 September 1923 Crystal Palace H 3–4 12,900 Howard (2 [1 pen]), Page
3 September 1923 The Wednesday A 1–2 12,000 Lowe
8 September 1923 Stockport County A 0–0 12,000
15 September 1923 Stockport County H 0–1 11,000
22 September 1923 Leicester City A 0–2 19,000
29 September 1923 Leicester City H 2–1 6,400 Page, Connelly
6 October 1923 Stoke A 0–1 21,685
13 October 1923 Stoke H 2–4 16,800 Page, Butler
20 October 1923 Leeds United H 0–1 9,300
27 October 1923 Leeds United A 0–3 12,000
3 November 1923 Clapton Orient A 1–1 15,000 Butler
10 November 1923 Clapton Orient H 1–0 7,540 Bridgett
17 November 1923 Bradford City A 0–2 7,500
24 November 1923 Bradford City H 2–2 6,000 Connelly, Bridgett
8 December 1923 Barnsley H 4–1 6,083 Page (2), Hampson, Bridgett
15 December 1923 Manchester United H 0–1 7,500
22 December 1923 Manchester United A 0–5 11,750
29 December 1923 Bury H 2–1 8,348 Reid, Bridgett
1 January 1924 South Shields A 3–3 10,000 Page, Bridgett, Reid
5 January 1924 Bury A 0–0 10,000
19 January 1924 Coventry City A 3–1 8,000 Bridgett (2), Kirkham
21 January 1924 South Shields H 1–1 3,000 Hampson
26 January 1924 Coventry City H 1–1 10,000 Lowe
2 February 1924 Barnsley A 0–3 7,000
9 February 1924 Bristol City H 0–2 6,000
13 February 1924 Bristol City A 0–0 7,000
16 February 1924 Southampton A 1–1 10,000 Briscoe
1 March 1924 Fulham A 0–0 12,000
8 March 1924 Fulham H 3–1 9,000 Kirkham (2), Briscoe
15 March 1924 Blackpool H 2–6 11,700 Briscoe (2 [1 pen])
17 March 1924 Southampton H 1–0 5,000 Kirkham
22 March 1924 Blackpool A 1–6 10,000 Page
29 March 1924 Derby County H 2–0 8,000 Maddock (pen), Briscoe
5 April 1924 Derby County A 0–2 10,000
12 April 1924 Nelson A 3–1 6,000 Page, Briscoe, Kirkham
18 April 1924 Oldham Athletic A 0–2 11,000
19 April 1924 Nelson H 0–0 8,000
21 April 1924 Oldham Athletic H 3–0 6,000 Kirkham, Page, Briscoe
26 April 1924 Hull City H 2–2 5,689 Briscoe, Kirkham
3 May 1924 Hull City A 2–1 6,000 Briscoe (2)

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 1923–24 FA Cup
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
5Q 1 December 1923 Wrexham A 1–5 8,390 Page

North Staffordshire Infirmary Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
Final 28 April 1924 Stoke H 0–1

Player statistics[edit]

Transfers[edit]

Transfers in[edit]

Date from Position Nationality Name From Fee Ref.
1923 MF England Arthur Bridgett Sunderland Free transfer [3]
1923 FW England Wilf Kirkham Congleton Town Free transfer [3]
April 1923 FW England Joe Pointon Stoke City Free transfer [3]
May 1923 MF England Harold Crockford Exeter City Free transfer [3]
May 1923 MF England Jack Lowe Bolton Wanderers Free transfer [3]
June 1923 MF England Alf Dark Leeds United Free transfer [3]
June 1923 GK England Tommy Lonsdale Stalybridge Celtic Free transfer [3]
June 1923 DF England William Newton Red Street P.S.A. Free transfer [3]
July 1923 FW England Fred Howard Scotland Clyde Free transfer [3]
July 1923 MF England Roger Jones Ravensdale Free transfer [3]
July 1923 MF England Jack Mellor New Mills Free transfer [3]
July 1923 GK England Robert Radford Brereton Social Free transfer [3]
August 1923 MF England Tom Davis Free transfer [3]
August 1923 DF England Jack Maddock Macclesfield Town Free transfer [3]
August 1923 DF England Jimmy Oakes Milton Albion Free transfer [3]
September 1923 MF Republic of Ireland Louis Bookman Luton Town £250 [3]
November 1923 GK England Sidney Brown Free transfer [3]
November 1923 FW England Albert Spencer Wolverhampton Wanderers Free transfer [3]
January 1924 FW England Billy Briscoe Congleton Town Free transfer [3]
February 1924 MF England George Benson Queens Park Rangers Trial [3]

Transfers out[edit]

Date from Position Nationality Name To Fee Ref.
September 1923 MF England Harold Crockford Chesterfield Mutual consent [3]
November 1923 FW England Tom Butler His death [3]
November 1923 FW England Fred Howard New Brighton Free transfer [3]
February 1924 MF England George Benson Chorley Trial ended [3]
February 1924 DF England William Newton Congleton Town Free transfer [3]
May 1924 MF England Arthur Prince Sheffield Wednesday £750 [3]
Summer 1924 MF Republic of Ireland Louis Bookman Republic of Ireland Shelbourne Released [3]
Summer 1924 MF England Arthur Bridgett Sandbach Ramblers Released [3]
Summer 1924 MF England Alf Dark Halifax Town Released [3]
Summer 1924 MF England Jack Hampson Released [3]
Summer 1924 MF England Tom Holford Retired [3]
Summer 1924 GK England Tommy Lonsdale Released [3]
Summer 1924 MF England Jack Mellor New Mills Released [3]
Summer 1924 DF Scotland Peter Pursell Wigan Borough Free transfer [3]
Summer 1924 GK England Robert Radford Brereton Social Released [3]
Summer 1924 FW England Albert Spencer Willenhall 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 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. ^ Port Vale 1923–1924 : Results & Fixtures. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  3. ^ 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 ae af ag ah ai aj 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.