1954–55 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
1954–55 season
Chairman Fred Burgess
Manager Freddie Steele
Stadium Vale Park
Football League Second Division 17th (35 Points)
FA Cup Fourth Round
Top goalscorer League: Cyril Done (13)
All: Cyril Done (13)
Highest home attendance 40,066 vs. Stoke City (25 April 1955)
Lowest home attendance 11,963 vs. West Ham United (10 January 1955)
Average home league attendance 20,869
Home colours

The 1954–55 season was Port Vale's 43rd season of football in the Football League, and their first season (thirtieth overall) back in the Second Division following their promotion from the Third Division North.[1] The club adapted well to their first second tier campaign since 1935–36, finishing in seventeenth place.

The season saw two club attendance records broken, with a highest average home attendance of 20,708 and the highest Football League attendance at Vale Park, when on 25 April 40,066 turned up for their encounter against Stoke City. It was the first season the two rival clubs met in the same league since 1932–33.

Overview[edit]

Second Division[edit]

The pre-season saw the players taken on a short outing to Ireland for their exploits the previous season.[1] No major signings took place, and no players of note departed in the summer. Chairman Fred Burgess boasted of his team's loyalty.[1]

The season opened with a 1–0 defeat at The Memorial Stadium to Bristol Rovers, though the team put in 'an encouraging display'.[1] Two days later Vale Park welcomed a crowd of 26,805 for a 1–1 draw with Notts County.[1] When they travelled to the Victoria Ground on 4 September, Stoke City had a 100% win record, but 46,777 locals witnessed a goalless draw between the Potteries clubs.[1] Twelve days later Vale travelled to Vetch Field, where they lost 7–1 to Swansea Town, a team they had beaten 1–0 just ten days earlier.[1] This occurred because Tommy Cheadle and Stan Turner had to leave the game before half-time with injuries.[1] The heavy defeat seemed to have destroyed the reputation of 'the Steele Curtain', as the team would have to wait another fourteen matches before holding a clean sheet.[1] During this time manager Freddie Steele switched tactics from a defensive set-up to 'a semi-continental style' in the hunt for goals.[1] Five straight losses followed, as the players struggled to adapt.[1] Also lost was their record of 42 home games without a loss when on 18 September 1954, Blackburn Rovers claimed a 3–0 victory.[1] Basil Hayward dropped from the first eleven, they failed to beat strugglers Ipswich Town as the club hovered above the relegation zone.[1] A win at the City Ground sustained them until two home wins came in late-December. In December Cyril Done, an experienced striker was signed from Tranmere Rovers for a four-figure fee.[1]

On 5 February, strugglers Derby County thrashed the Vale 6–1 at the Baseball Ground, though the Vale's poor away record failed to deter a strong contingent of Vale fans from following the club around the country dressed in fancy dress.[1] The following month aggressive young forward Len Stephenson was signed from Blackpool, and he impressed with his performances.[1] Three defeats left the Vale in a relegation dogfight, but seven points from the first five games in April proved very useful.[1] On 8 April, Done put four past his former club Liverpool in a 4–3 win.[1] Three days later he scored a penalty at Anfield to earn a 1–1 draw. On 25 April, more than 40,000 turned up to Vale Park to witness the "Potters" claim a 1–0 victory.[1] Vale won their final two games, including a 1–0 win over Rotherham United that denied the "Millers" a place in the top-flight.[1]

They finished in seventeenth place, seven points clear of relegation, but nineteen short of promotion. With 48 goals, only Hull City scored fewer goals. Cyril Done was the only consistent scorer, and was the top scorer for both Vale and Tranmere, having scored twice as many league goals as the next highest scorer at both clubs.[1]

Finances[edit]

On the financial side, a scant profit of £141 was recorded despite a club-record average home attendance of 20,708.[1] The £6,850 spent to bolster the forward line had swallowed up most of the profits. The Supporters' Club therefore announced it would raise £5,000 – £1,500 of which would go towards the terracing on the Bycars End.[1] Reserve players Mick Hulligan and Len Barber were allowed to leave for Northwich Victoria on free transfers.[1]

Cup competitions[edit]

In the FA Cup, the "Valiants" drew 2–2 with West Ham United at Upton Park after going two goals behind.[1] Vale won the replay 3–1 and were drawn against First Division Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane in the Fourth Round. A crowd of 50,684 saw an exciting game in which a Ken Griffiths brace was wiped out by four "Spurs" goals.[1]

Final league table[edit]

P W D L F A GA Pts
1 Birmingham City 42 22 10 10 92 47 1.957 54
2 Luton Town 42 23 8 11 88 53 1.660 54
3 Rotherham United 42 25 4 13 94 64 1.469 54
4 Leeds United 42 23 7 12 70 53 1.321 53
5 Stoke City 42 21 10 11 69 46 1.500 52
6 Blackburn Rovers 42 22 6 14 114 79 1.443 50
7 Notts County 42 21 6 15 74 71 1.042 48
8 West Ham United 42 18 10 14 74 70 1.057 46
9 Bristol Rovers 42 19 7 16 75 70 1.071 45
10 Swansea Town 42 17 9 16 86 83 1.036 43
11 Liverpool 42 16 10 16 92 96 0.958 42
12 Middlesbrough 42 18 6 18 73 82 0.890 42
13 Bury 42 15 11 16 77 72 1.069 41
14 Fulham 42 14 11 17 76 79 0.962 39
15 Nottingham Forest 42 16 7 19 58 62 0.935 39
16 Lincoln City 42 13 10 19 68 79 0.861 36
17 Port Vale 42 12 11 19 48 71 0.676 35
18 Doncaster Rovers 42 14 7 21 58 95 0.611 35
19 Hull City 42 12 10 20 44 69 0.638 34
20 Plymouth Argyle 42 12 7 23 57 82 0.695 31
21 Ipswich Town 42 11 6 25 57 92 0.620 28
22 Derby County 42 7 9 26 53 82 0.646 23

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 A H A A H H A H A H A H A H A H A H A H A H A H A H A H H A A H A H H A
Result L D W D D W L W L L L L L D W L D D L D L W L W D D L D L W L L L W W L D W L L W W
Position 20 15 10 10 12 6 14 13 16 16 18 18 18 17 17 17 18 17 19 19 19 19 19 18 18 18 18 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 17

Sourced from Statto.[2]

Football League Second Division[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
21 August 1954 Bristol Rovers A 0–1 32,367
23 August 1954 Notts County H 1–1 26,805 Sproson
28 August 1954 Plymouth Argyle H 1–0 25,038 Leake
2 September 1954 Notts County A 1–1 17,723 Cunliffe
4 September 1954 Stoke City A 0–0 46,777
6 September 1954 Swansea Town H 1–0 18,603 Hayward
16 September 1954 Swansea Town A 1–7 22,265 Leake
18 September 1954 Derby County H 3–0 22,777 Askey, Cunliffe, Griffiths
25 September 1954 West Ham United A 0–2 25,155
27 September 1954 Doncaster Rovers A 0–1 12,818
2 October 1954 Blackburn Rovers H 0–3 25,619
9 October 1954 Lincoln City H 1–3 19,724 Cunliffe
16 October 1954 Hull City A 1–2 23,892 Hayward
23 October 1954 Ipswich Town H 3–3 14,532 Leake, Hayward, Smith
30 October 1954 Nottingham Forest A 3–2 15,654 Leake, Hayward, Cunliffe
6 November 1954 Leeds United H 0–1 16,062
13 November 1954 Bury A 2–2 12,917 Smith, Hayward
20 November 1954 Middlesbrough H 1–1 16,753 Askey
27 November 1954 Birmingham City A 2–7 16,352 Hayward, Mullard (pen)
4 December 1954 Luton Town H 1–1 14,052 o.g.
11 December 1954 Rotherham United A 0–3 12,850
18 December 1954 Bristol Rovers H 1–0 16,434 Griffiths
25 December 1954 Fulham A 1–3 17,519 Askey
27 December 1954 Fulham H 4–0 29,415 Smith (2), Leake, Cunliffe
1 January 1955 Plymouth Argyle A 0–0 14,371
22 January 1955 Doncaster Rovers H 1–1 16,323 Done
5 February 1955 Derby County A 1–6 19,882 Done
12 February 1955 West Ham United H 1–1 12,621 Done
19 February 1955 Blackburn Rovers A 1–2 24,965 Done
5 March 1955 Hull City H 3–0 16,658 Done (2), Griffiths
12 March 1955 Ipswich Town A 0–1 12,970
19 March 1955 Nottingham Forest H 1–2 17,586 Stephenson
26 March 1955 Leeds United A 0–3 8,831
2 April 1955 Bury H 1–0 14,228 Griffiths
8 April 1955 Liverpool H 4–3 24,029 Done (4 [1 pen])
9 April 1955 Middlesbrough A 0–2 17,795
11 April 1955 Liverpool A 1–1 36,285 Done (pen)
16 April 1955 Birmingham City H 2–0 24,036 Askey, Done
23 April 1955 Luton Town A 2–4 16,704 Done, Griffiths
25 April 1955 Stoke City H 0–1 40,066
30 April 1955 Rotherham United H 1–0 25,271 Smith
4 May 1955 Lincoln City A 1–0 7,044 Smith

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 1954–55 FA Cup
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R3 8 January 1955 West Ham United A 2–2 20,364 Smith, Cunliffe
R3 Replay 10 January 1955 West Ham United H 3–1 11,963 Leake, Cunliffe, Smith
R4 29 January 1955 Tottenham Hotspur A 2–4 50,684 Griffiths (2)

Player statistics[edit]

Transfers[edit]

Transfers in[edit]

Date from Position Nationality Name From Fee Ref.
July 1954 DF England Fred Donaldson Free transfer [3]
December 1954 FW England Cyril Done Tranmere Rovers 'four figure fee' [3]
10 March 1955 FW England Len Stephenson Blackpool £5,000 [3]

Transfers out[edit]

Date from Position Nationality Name To Fee Ref.
July 1955 FW England Len Barber Northwich Victoria Free transfer [3]
July 1955 MF England Mick Hulligan Northwich Victoria Free transfer [3]
Summer 1955 DF England Roy Brien Released [3]
Summer 1955 DF England Jim Elsby Wereton Queen's Park Free transfer [3]
Summer 1955 FW England Derek Tomkinson Crewe Alexandra Free transfer [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 Kent, Jeff (1990). "Fame and Fortune (1950–1959)". The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. pp. 171–196. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7. 
  2. ^ Port Vale 1954–1955 : Results & Fixtures. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h 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.