1946–47 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
1946–47 season
Chairman William Holdcroft
Manager Billy Frith
(until October)
Gordon Hodgson
(from October)
Stadium The Old Recreation Ground
Football League Third Division South 10th (43 Points)
FA Cup Fourth Round
Top goalscorer League: Morris Jones (23)
All: Morris Jones (26)
Highest home attendance 14,490 vs. Exeter City (7 September 1946)
Lowest home attendance 4,928 vs. Bournemouth (10 March 1947)
Average home league attendance 10,582

The 1946–47 season was Port Vale's 35th season of football in the Football League, and their second full season in the Third Division South.[1] It was their first full season following the outbreak of war in Europe, they thus continued where they left off in 1938–39, albeit after seven seasons of wartime football. Starting its post-war period modestly on the pitch with a tenth-place finish, the club still handed débuts to future legends Tommy Cheadle and Ronnie Allen, whilst work continued to complete 'The Wembley of the North'.

A club record was started on 19 October 1946, that would be completed on 13 March 1948, with a 33 long run of home games in which Vale's opposition failed to keep a clean sheet.

Manager Gordon Hodgson during his playing days.

WWII Football[edit]

Two games into a standard 1939–40 season, Vale were bottom of the Third Division South, and when war was initiated on 1 September all sports gatherings were prohibited and the season was cancelled.[1] A week later and Stoke-on-Trent was one of many places to be permitted to host football matches.[1] However almost all of the club's players volunteered or were conscripted to fight Nazi Germany.[1] Vale played numerous friendlies, as well as taking part in the regional war leagues.[1] They finished eighth in the West League in 1939–40.[1] Unable to raise sufficient finances from 1940 onwards, they only put forward an amateur side filled with young players in the North Staffordshire League, also entering cup competitions such as The Sentinel Cup.[1] They recorded some very one-sided victories over local amateur teams such as Shelton Labour, Hanley Deep Pit, and Northwood Mission.[1] Some of Vale's top professionals signed to sides such as Stoke City, Crewe Alexandra, and Manchester United.[1] Players that guested for the club included names such as Peter Doherty, Micky Fenton, Frank Soo and Dennis Wilshaw.[1] Guest players often made up half of the first eleven, filling the gaps left by Vale's players on active service.[1]

The club came close to folding in summer 1943 when club president Mayor W.M.Huntbach died, leaving the club liable for £3,000 worth of debt, in addition to the £1,000 a year debit they were recording during the war.[1] Appeals to The Football Association fell on deaf ears.[1] The directors therefore agreed a £13,500 sale of The Old Recreation Ground to Stoke-on-Trent Corporation (the local council).[1] Their application to the council to rent the stadium back was rejected.[1] The sale was agreed without the support of shareholders, though the directors justified the sale by arguing that the stadium was a financial burden, especially as local vandals, hooligans and yobs regularly stole and trashed areas of the stadium.[1] Nevertheless, Port Vale were then a club without any professional players and without a stadium.[1] In October 1943 the council relented and allowed rent to be paid until April 1944.[1] Then the council agreed to rent the stadium at a longer term for £400 a year.[1]

The search for a new ground took them to Hamil Road, Burslem; opposite a site the club occupied between 1884 and 1886.[1] The rough land used for fly-tipping was valued at £30,000, and the Brownhills Estates Company and the Supporters' Club launched a New Ground Appeal.[1] In September 1944 the land was acquired, and work began on a 70,000 capacity 'Wembley of the North'.[1] These were ambitious plans for a club that had in the past recorded attendances as low as 3,000 from fair-weather fans.[1] In the meantime the club took part in the 1944–45 Football League North league.[1] Club director and former Northern Ireland international Jack Diffin took the position of manager.[1] He was replaced by David Pratt in December 1944.[1] For the 1945–46 season they were placed in the Third Division South (North Region), with new manager Billy Frith.[1] The Council agreed to allow the Vale to rent The Old Recreation Ground until 24 June 1950.[1] Plans for the new stadium now were expanded to a massive 80,000 capacity.[1]

Three former Port Vale players known to have been killed in the war were Tom Cooper, Haydn Dackins, and Sam Jennings. Meanwhile, Jack Roberts became a hero without losing his life, rising to the rank of Sergeant, he was captured in Tunisia, however managed to escape from a prisoner-of-war camp to return home.[2]

Overview[edit]

Third Division South[edit]

Of the 1938–39 squad there were six who returned for the 1946–47 campaign: goalkeepers George Heppell and Arthur Jepson; defender Harry Griffiths; and midfielders Alf Bellis, Wilf Smith, and Don Triner. The rest had been recruited between 1939 and 1946. Three players specifically recruited in summer 1946 to help win promotion were experienced forward Colin Lyman (signed from Tottenham Hotspur for 'fairly substantial fee'); 'the assassin' Garth Butler (Derby County); and half-back Norman Hallam (Chelsea).[1] Also £1,000 was spent on "The Rec", with 23 new barriers and six new turnstiles installed.[1] Tickets were priced at £5 for a season, or one shilling on the day.[1]

The season started with a goalless draw at the Withdean Stadium, before a 2–1 defeat by Exeter City in front of 14,490 home fans.[1] This attendance was excellent, though would not be bettered all season. With Heppell in fine form in goal, Jepson was sold to Stoke City for £3,750.[1] With Vale in poor form at the bottom of the league, manager Billy Frith resigned on 11 October, detailing a list of complaints against the directors, generally accusing them of undermining him and failing to support him sufficiently.[1] Soon Cardiff City won at "the Rec" by four goals to nil, after which Lyman put in a transfer request.[1] On 17 October, the club bought Jimmy Todd from Blackpool for then-club record fee, on the recommendation of Stanley Matthews.[1] Lyman was then sold to Nottingham Forest for a higher fee than was paid for him earlier in the year.[1] Gordon Hodgson was then appointed manager ahead of forty other applicants.[1] Finding his team's unconvincing away from home he soon began to search for new players.[1]

Results soon turned around, and Hodgson's coaching and planning were credited with the success.[1] However many games were put on hold until May, due to the exceptionally disruptive winter weather.[1] Hodgson also helped to set up a youth program, arranging visits to schools, trials, and the running of two junior sides.[1] In March 1947 he signed centre-half Eric Eastwood from Manchester City for a four figure fee.[1] Experimenting with the first eleven, from 10 March to 19 April the team went on a run of one victory in eight games. Promotion hopeless and re-election unlikely, the experiments proceeded into the postponed games in May, when three consecutive away 1–0 defeats were followed by high-scoring victories at home to Crystal Palace and Southend United.[1] Also the experienced Jack Smith was brought in from Manchester United.[1]

They finished in tenth place with 43 points from 42 games.[1] Top scorer Morris Jones hit a very respectable tally of 26 goals, with double figure hauls from Bill Pointon and Alf Bellis.[1]

Finances[edit]

On the financial side, a profit of £4,133 was recorded, then a club-record.[1] League football had brought £20,872 in gross gate receipts, with the wage bill at £8,927.[1] Twenty-one players were retained, and Harry Griffiths retirement was the only departure of note.[1]

Cup competitions[edit]

In the FA Cup, Vale beat amateur side Finchley, league rivals Watford, and Second Division Millwall to reach the Fourth Round. There they came unstuck with a 2–0 defeat at Ewood Park to Second Division Blackburn Rovers in front of 32,900 spectators.[1]

Final league table[edit]

P W D L F A GA Pts
1 Cardiff City 42 30 6 6 93 30 3.100 66
2 Queens Park Rangers 42 23 11 8 74 40 1.850 57
3 Bristol City 42 20 11 11 94 56 1.679 51
4 Swindon Town 42 19 11 12 84 73 1.151 49
5 Walsall 42 17 12 13 74 59 1.254 46
6 Ipswich Town 42 16 14 12 61 53 1.151 46
7 Bournemouth 42 18 8 16 72 54 1.333 44
8 Southend United 42 17 10 15 71 60 1.183 44
9 Reading 42 16 11 15 83 74 1.122 43
10 Port Vale 42 17 9 16 68 63 1.079 43
11 Torquay United 42 15 12 15 52 61 0.852 42
12 Notts County 42 15 10 17 63 63 1.000 40
13 Northampton Town 42 15 10 17 72 75 0.960 40
14 Bristol Rovers 42 16 8 18 59 69 0.855 40
15 Exeter City 42 15 9 18 60 69 0.870 39
16 Watford 42 17 5 20 61 76 0.803 39
17 Brighton & Hove Albion 42 13 12 17 54 72 0.750 38
18 Crystal Palace 42 13 11 18 49 62 0.790 37
19 Leyton Orient 42 12 8 22 54 75 0.720 32
20 Aldershot 42 10 12 20 48 78 0.615 32
21 Norwich City 42 10 8 24 64 100 0.640 28
22 Mansfield Town 42 9 10 23 48 96 0.500 28

P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GA = Goal average; 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 A H H A A H H A H A H A A A A H H A H H A H A H H A H H A A H A H A A A H H
Result D L D W L W D L L L W W W L W L L D D W W D W W L W W W D L W L L L D D W L L L W W
Position 8 21 17 12 19 13 11 11 17 19 18 16 11 14 11 14 16 17 17 14 12 11 10 8 11 10 9 7 7 7 7 8 9 10 12 10 8 9 11 12 11 10

Sourced from Statto.[3]

Football League Third Division South[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
31 August 1946 Brighton & Hove Albion A 0–0 11,412
7 September 1946 Exeter City H 1–2 14,490 M.Jones
9 September 1946 Northampton Town H 1–1 8,709 Lyman
14 September 1946 Mansfield Town A 3–0 11,207 Byrne, Bellis, M.Jones
21 September 1946 Bristol City A 0–3 21,284
23 September 1946 Notts County H 4–1 8,574 Bellis (2), Byrne, M.Jones
28 September 1946 Swindon Town H 1–1 12,900 M.Jones
3 October 1946 Notts County A 2–3 9,542 Pointon (2)
5 October 1946 Bournemouth A 0–3 11,642
12 October 1946 Cardiff City H 0–4 10,724
19 October 1946 Torquay United H 2–1 10,618 Bellis, M.Jones
26 October 1946 Crystal Palace A 2–1 14,492 Bellis, Wootton
2 November 1946 Reading H 5–1 10,891 Triner, Bellis, M.Jones, Pointon, Cheadle
9 November 1946 Walsall A 1–4 12,171 Hallam
16 November 1946 Watford H 3–0 9,539 M.Jones (3)
23 November 1946 Ipswich Town A 1–2 13,001 Bellis
7 December 1946 Queens Park Rangers A 0–2 14,251
21 December 1946 Bristol Rovers A 0–0 5,750
25 December 1946 Aldershot A 0–0 3,449
26 December 1946 Aldershot H 4–2 14,076 Pointon (2), Prince, Triner
28 December 1946 Brighton & Hove Albion H 4–1 12,061 Prince, M.Jones, Triner, Pointon
4 January 1947 Exeter City A 1–1 8,694 M.Jones
16 January 1947 Leyton Orient H 2–1 6,753 Cheadle, M.Jones
18 January 1947 Mansfield Town H 4–1 14,390 Pointon (2), M.Jones, Triner
1 February 1947 Swindon Town A 1–2 9,935 M.Jones
17 February 1947 Bristol City H 2–1 8,264 Pointon, Triner
8 March 1947 Reading A 2–0 7,863 Pointon, Triner
10 March 1947 Bournemouth H 1–0 4,928 M.Jones
15 March 1947 Walsall H 2–2 10,787 M.Jones (2)
22 March 1947 Watford A 0–2 6,370
29 March 1947 Ipswich Town H 1–0 10,426 M.Jones
4 April 1947 Norwich City H 1–3 13,978 Cheadle
5 April 1947 Leyton Orient A 3–5 12,371 F.Jones, Bellis, Allen
7 April 1947 Norwich City A 0–3 29,985
12 April 1947 Queens Park Rangers H 2–2 12,500 Bellis, M.Jones
19 April 1947 Southend United A 1–1 8,762 M.Jones
26 April 1947 Bristol Rovers H 2–1 8,323 M.Jones, Eastwood
3 May 1947 Northampton Town A 0–1 6,258
10 May 1947 Cardiff City A 0–1 36,732
24 May 1947 Torquay United A 0–1 5,943
26 May 1947 Crystal Palace H 4–2 10,414 Allen (2), Pointon, Smith
31 May 1947 Southend United H 5–1 8,879 M.Jones (2), Allen (2), Bellis

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 1946–47 FA Cup
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 30 November 1946 Finchley H 5–1 8,756 Bellis (2), Pointon, M.Jones, Wootton
R2 14 December 1946 Watford A 1–1 8,498 M.Jones
R2 Replay 16 December 1946 Watford H 2–1 7,342 M.Jones, Wootton
R3 11 January 1947 Millwall A 3–0 24,779 Pointon (2), Triner
R4 25 January 1947 Blackburn Rovers A 0–2 32,900

Player statistics[edit]

Transfers[edit]

Transfers in[edit]

Date from Position Nationality Name From Fee Ref.
May 1946 MF England Norman Hallam Chelsea Free transfer [4]
May 1946 DF England Basil Hayward Northwood Mission Free transfer [4]
May 1946 MF England Colin Lyman Tottenham Hotspur 'fairly substantial' [4]
June 1946 DF England Garth Butler Derby County Free transfer [4]
June 1946 DF England Fred Jones South Liverpool Free transfer [4]
October 1946 FW England Joe Dixon Northampton Town Free transfer [4]
October 1946 MF Northern Ireland Jimmy Todd Blackpool 'club record four-figure fee' [4]
March 1947 DF England Eric Eastwood Manchester City 'four-figure fee' [4]
March 1947 FW England Jack Smith Blackburn Rovers 'four-figure fee' [4]

Transfers out[edit]

Date from Position Nationality Name To Fee Ref.
October 1946 MF England Colin Lyman Nottingham Forest 'substantial profit' [4]
November 1946 FW England Eddie Davies Witton Albion Free transfer [4]
January 1947 FW England Len Wootton Scotland Queen of the South Free transfer [4]
March 1947 FW England Joe Dixon Witton Albion Free transfer [4]
March 1947 MF England Ernie Willett Witton Albion Free transfer [4]
April 1947 MF England Arthur Cooper Released [4]
July 1947 FW England Billy Byrne Crewe Alexandra Free transfer [4]
Summer 1947 DF England Jack Chew Released [4]
Summer 1947 DF England Harry Griffiths Released [4]
Summer 1947 DF England Fred Jones Released [4]
Summer 1947 MF England Ted Oldfield Released [4]

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 aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az Kent, Jeff (1990). "Creating Sunshine from the Shadows (1939–1950)". The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. pp. 151–171. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7. 
  2. ^ Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 252. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0. 
  3. ^ Port Vale 1946–1947 : Results & Fixtures. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t 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.