1938–39 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
1938–39 season
Chairman Frank Huntbach
Manager Tom Morgan (until March)
Stadium The Old Recreation Ground
Football League Third Division South 18th (37 Points)
FA Cup Second Round
Football League Third Division South Cup Semi-finals
Top goalscorer League: Tom Nolan (17)
All: Tom Nolan (17)
Highest home attendance 12,521 vs. Cardiff City (5 November 1938)
Lowest home attendance 3,482 vs. Clapton Orient (6 May 1939)
Average home league attendance 7,587

The 1938–39 season was Port Vale's 33rd season of football in the Football League, and their first ever season in the Third Division South, having switched from the Third Division North in summer 1938.[1] It was the club's last full season of football before the breakout of war in Europe. It was thus the last season of competitive football for many of the players, including Tom Nolan, who became the club's top scorer for the fourth and final time with seventeen goals. Progressing to the semi-final stage of the Football League Third Division South Cup, they could progress no further as the tournament was cancelled before its conclusion. Manager Tom Morgan shocked the club by leaving for another position in March.

Frank Huntbach was chairman for the last peacetime season of his career. The club's longest serving chairman, he had been in charge from 1913 to 1921 and 1926 to 1940.

Overview[edit]

Third Division South[edit]

The pre-season saw another reconstruction of the first eleven, as eleven new signings arrived at The Old Recreation Ground, most notably: highly rated goalkeeper Arthur Jepson (Grantham Town); veteran left-back George Collin (Sunderland); right-half George Hannah (Derby County); left-half Sid Wileman (signed from Derby for 'a substantial fee'); and goalscoring winger John Callender (Lincoln City).[1] Work at the stadium took place, as ground outside the stadium was prepared for car parking.[1] The eclectic training schedule of the previous season was expanded, with bowls and cricket supplemented by games of tennis and baseball.[1] Also on 20 August, a Football League Jubilee Fund match was played against nearby Crewe Alexandra, with the Vale picking up a 3–2 win, raising £243 in the process.[1]

The season began with George Heppell in goal, as Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club at first refused to allow Jepson to play.[1] With three defeats in the first four games, most of the new men were dropped, as Morgan struggled to find consistency in his picks.[1] It took until the end of October for the team to get into their stride, as their 5–1 win over Walsall was their fifth consecutive home win.[1] They also travelled to St James Park to record a 3–1 win over Exeter City – their first away win since September 1937.[1] Nottinghamshire CCC seemed justified in initially refusing Jepson permission to play, as he played seventy minutes of the game with his right hand strapped up, having dislocated his fingers.[1] Ken Fish was then sold to BSC Young Boys of Switzerland, having fallen out of favour; yet the directors refused to hear offers for the rest of the team, determined as they were to strengthen the team.[1] Despite stylish play, especially from Alf Bellis, the club then went from Guy Fawkes Night to New Year's Eve without a victory, their five defeats taking them to just two points clear of the re-election zone.[1] Ending their run with a 4–0 win over Bristol City, they lost Jack Roberts to a dislocated shoulder.[1]

Trying out new, young players in 1939, the club re-signed veteran forward Tommy Ward from Stoke City.[1] A 4–0 hammering at Fellows Park from bottom-placed Walsall left Vale third-from-bottom by March.[1] Disgruntled supporters turned against the team, as regular barracking was directed at the players.[1] Roberts and Jepson struggled with injuries, but by March the newcomers had finally gelled as a group, and results soon picked up.[1] Yet manager Tom Morgan shocked the club by leaving for the vacant position at Wrexham,[1] leaving the club somewhat rudderless. Despite receiving a 4–0 beating from Notts County at Meadow Lane, the players rallied to produce four points from their last three games.[1] Two of these points came from a 2–0 win over champions Newport County at Somerton Park, making Vale the only team to have recorded the double over "Ironsides" that season.[1]

They finished in eighteenth place with 37 points, then a club record low position.[1] They were four points clear of having to petition for re-election, and eighteen points short of promotion. Their 52 goals scored was a poor record, though a total of 58 goals conceded was much improved on the previous campaign.[1] Nolan's seventeen goals were the only major contribution in front of goal.[1]

Finances[edit]

On the financial side, gate receipts had increased by £659, however an overall loss was made of £1,723.[1] The move to the southern division had cost a considerable amount in transfer fees, though home game income had improved by £676 to £6,403.[1] Further financial worries were lessened by a transfer credit of £1,455.[1] Despite the poor season, seventeen players were kept on, though promising teenage midfielder John Smith was sold to Chelsea.[1] Other departures included Harry Davies (retired); Leonard Smart; Tommy Ward (Mansfield Town); Arthur Caldwell; Arthur Masters; George Collin (Burton Town); Sid Wileman (Hinckley United); and John Callender (Gateshead).[1]

Cup competitions[edit]

In the FA Cup, Vale overcame Wrexham of the Third Division North 2–1 at the Racecourse Ground.[1] However they crashed out at the Second Round, losing 1–0 at home to league rivals Southend United.[1] For both matches the players had relaxed beforehand with activities such as golf, country walks, and games of snooker.[1]

In the short-lived Football League Third Division South Cup, the "Valiants" progressed to the semi-finals at the expense of Walsall (4–0), Mansfield Town (3–1), and Ipswich Town (2–0).[1] In the semis they came to a goalless stalemate with Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road – the tournament was cancelled at this stage, and so no club would win it.[1] The club had actually lost money in the much-maligned tournament, as atrocious attendances were not enough to even pay player bonuses.[1] Port Vale and Queens Park Rangers actually protested in favour of cancelling the tournament due to the financial failure of the cup, and the Football League agreed with them to 'wash out' the competition.[1]

Final league table[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A F A GA GD Pts
1 Newport County 42 15 4 2 37 16 7 7 7 21 29 58 45 1.289 + 13 55
2 Crystal Palace 42 15 4 2 49 18 5 8 8 22 34 71 52 1.365 + 19 52
3 Brighton & Hove Albion 42 14 5 2 43 14 5 6 10 25 35 68 49 1.388 + 19 49
4 Watford 42 14 6 1 44 15 3 6 12 18 36 62 51 1.216 + 11 46
5 Reading 42 12 6 3 46 23 4 8 9 23 36 69 59 1.169 + 10 46
6 Queens Park Rangers 42 10 8 3 44 15 5 6 10 24 34 68 49 1.388 + 19 44
7 Ipswich Town 42 14 3 4 46 21 2 9 10 16 31 62 52 1.192 + 10 44
8 Bristol City 42 14 5 2 42 19 2 7 12 19 44 61 63 0.968 – 2 44
9 Swindon Town 42 15 4 2 53 25 3 4 14 19 52 72 77 0.935 – 5 44
10 Aldershot 42 13 6 2 31 15 3 6 12 22 51 53 66 0.803 – 13 44
11 Notts County 42 12 6 3 36 16 5 3 13 23 38 59 54 1.093 + 4 43
12 Southend United 42 14 5 2 38 13 2 4 15 23 51 61 64 0.953 – 3 41
13 Cardiff City 42 12 1 8 40 28 3 10 8 21 37 61 65 0.938 – 4 41
14 Exeter City 42 9 9 3 40 32 4 5 12 25 50 65 82 0.793 – 17 40
15 Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic 42 10 8 3 38 22 3 5 13 14 36 52 58 0.897 – 6 39
16 Mansfield Town 42 10 8 3 33 19 2 7 12 11 43 44 62 0.710 – 18 39
17 Northampton Town 42 13 5 3 41 20 2 3 16 10 38 51 58 0.879 – 7 38
18 Port Vale 42 10 5 6 36 23 4 4 13 16 35 52 58 0.897 – 6 37
19 Torquay United 42 7 5 9 27 28 7 4 10 27 42 54 70 0.771 – 16 37
20 Clapton Orient 42 10 9 2 40 16 1 4 16 13 39 53 55 0.964 – 2 35
21 Walsall 42 9 6 6 47 23 2 5 14 21 46 68 69 0.986 – 1 33
22 Bristol Rovers 42 8 8 5 30 17 2 5 14 25 44 55 61 0.902 – 6 33

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 H H A A H A H H A A H A H A H H H A H H A A H A A H H A H A A H A H H A A H A A A H
Result L W L L W L W W L D W W D L L D D L L W W L L L D L L L W W D D L W W L L W L D W D
Position 18 10 16 18 16 20 14 14 16 15 11 9 8 9 10 13 14 16 16 14 12 14 15 18 18 18 19 21 19 19 19 19 19 19 17 19 19 19 19 19 19 18

Sourced from Statto.[2]

Football League Third Division South[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
27 August 1938 Aldershot H 1–3 10,036 Callender
29 August 1938 Newport County H 2–1 6,240 O'Brien, Roberts
3 September 1938 Bristol City A 1–5 16,975 Nolan
8 September 1938 Clapton Orient A 0–1 4,399
10 September 1938 Crystal Palace H 2–0 10,478 Nolan (2)
17 September 1938 Watford A 0–2 9,503
24 September 1938 Mansfield Town H 3–0 8,100 Masters (2), Bellis
1 October 1938 Swindon Town H 2–0 10,082 Griffiths, Roberts
8 October 1938 Torquay United A 0–1 3,382
15 October 1938 Queens Park Rangers A 2–2 13,853 Nolan, Roberts
22 October 1938 Walsall H 5–1 8,593 Davies (2), Nolan, Roberts, Masters
29 October 1938 Exeter City A 3–1 6,885 Roberts (2), Bellis
5 November 1938 Cardiff City H 1–1 12,521 Nolan
12 November 1938 Ipswich Town A 0–2 13,637
19 November 1938 Reading H 0–2 9,633
3 December 1938 Brighton & Hove Albion H 1–1 8,015 Nolan
17 December 1938 Southend United H 2–2 4,209 Masters, Roberts
26 December 1938 Northampton Town A 0–2 4,734
27 December 1938 Northampton Town H 0–2 10,717
31 December 1938 Bristol City H 4–0 4,597 Nolan (2), Griffiths, Roberts
7 January 1939 Bristol Rovers A 1–0 3,962 Nolan
14 January 1939 Crystal Palace A 0–1 13,773
21 January 1939 Watford H 1–2 5,204 Nolan
28 January 1939 Mansfield Town A 0–2 3,742
4 February 1939 Swindon Town A 1–1 8,823 Ward
11 February 1939 Torquay United H 0–1 8,064
18 February 1939 Queens Park Rangers H 1–2 7,210 Ward
25 February 1939 Walsall A 0–4 5,749
4 March 1939 Exeter City H 3–2 6,240 Nolan, Moreland, Masters
11 March 1939 Cardiff City A 4–2 9,145 Smart (2), Ward, Nolan
15 March 1939 Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic A 1–1 3,243 Ward
18 March 1939 Ipswich Town H 0–0 6,361
25 March 1939 Reading A 1–2 5,079 Moreland
1 April 1939 Bristol Rovers H 2–1 5,634 Nolan, Smart
7 April 1939 Notts County H 3–1 9,658 Smart, o.g., Nolan
8 April 1939 Brighton & Hove Albion A 0–1 7,807
10 April 1939 Notts County A 0–4 10,401
15 April 1939 Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic H 2–0 3,902 Nolan, Moreland
19 April 1939 Aldershot A 0–1 3,518
22 April 1939 Southend United A 0–0 4,239
29 April 1939 Newport County A 2–0 7,260 Smart, Bellis
6 May 1939 Clapton Orient H 1–1 3,482 Nolan

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 1938–39 FA Cup
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 26 November 1938 Wrexham A 2–1 5,000 Roberts (2)
R2 10 December 1938 Southend United H 0–1 7,993

Third Division South Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
1 26 September 1938 Walsall H 4–0 Smith, Masters, Griffiths, Davies
2 13 February 1939 Mansfield Town H 3–1 Ward (2), Smith
3 27 February 1939 Ipswich Town H 2–0 Ward , Masters
SF 4 May 1939 Queens Park Rangers A 0–0 300

Player statistics[edit]

Transfers[edit]

Transfers in[edit]

Date from Position Nationality Name From Fee Ref.
May 1938 MF England John Callender Lincoln City Free transfer [3]
May 1938 FW England Richard Fuller Stockport County Free transfer [3]
May 1938 DF Scotland William O'Brien Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic Free transfer [3]
May 1938 DF England Roger Whittle Free transfer [3]
June 1938 DF England George Collin Sunderland Free transfer [3]
June 1938 DF England Roy Felton Everton Free transfer [3]
June 1938 MF England George Hannah Derby County Free transfer [3]
June 1938 GK England Arthur Jepson Grantham Town Free transfer [3]
June 1938 FW England John Sanderson Newcastle United Free transfer [3]
June 1938 MF England Sid Wileman Derby County 'Substantial' [3]
September 1938 MF England John Smith Free transfer [3]
November 1938 FW England Geoffrey Moreland Birmingham Free transfer [3]
December 1938 MF England Don Triner Downing's Tileries Free transfer [3]
February 1939 DF England Bill Booth Wolverhampton Wanderers Free transfer [3]
February 1939 MF England Tommy Ward Stoke City Free transfer [3]
March 1939 MF Leonard Smart Wolverhampton Wanderers Free transfer [3]

Transfers out[edit]

Date from Position Nationality Name To Fee Ref.
October 1938 FW South Africa Ken Fish Switzerland Young Boys Free transfer [3]
April 1939 MF England John Callender Gateshead Free transfer [3]
April 1939 DF England George Collin Burton Town Free transfer [3]
April 1939 FW England Harry Davies Retired [3]
April 1939 FW England Richard Fuller Darlington Free transfer [3]
April 1939 DF Scotland William O'Brien Watford Free transfer [3]
May 1939 MF England John Smith Chelsea Free transfer [3]
June 1939 MF England Tommy Ward Mansfield Town Free transfer [3]
August 1938 MF England Sid Wileman Hinckley United Free transfer [3]
Summer 1939 DF England Bill Booth Cardiff City Free transfer [3]
Summer 1939 FW England Arthur Masters 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 ae af ag ah ai Kent, Jeff (1990). "From Glory to Despair (1929–1939)". The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. pp. 124–150. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7. 
  2. ^ Port Vale 1938–1939 : 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 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.