The season opened with a 1–1 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion in front of just 4,384 fans, causing Lee to warn that such low attendances would require him to sell off the club's best players. By the end of September Vale were performing well on the pitch, and off it had sold the main car park to The Co-operative Group for £30,000. Goals were at a premium despite a 4–3 win over York City and 4–4 draw with Aston Villa at Vale Park. Sporadic violence continued to break out at many matches, as local businesses had their windows smashed, local residents were menaced and fights broke out. In November, Clint Boulton was sold to Torquay United for £10,000. The next month Lee brought Ray Harford from Mansfield Town for a £5,000 fee, as well as Keith Lindsey from Southend United for 'a small fee'. Vale comfortable in the league, Chairman Graham Bourne resigned in January, along with colleague and fellow director George Sanders. This left the Board of Directors with just two members, one of which, previous chairman Mark Singer, was re-elected as Chairman.The Sentinel's Chris Harper stated that "Vale will never make progress while they are plagued by trouble at the top". The team continued with good home form, but invariably lost away from Vale Park. On 16 February, Sammy Morgan scored on his debut for Northern Ireland, and picked up six further caps whilst at the club. On 4 March, only 2,809 bothered to turn out for a 1–0 home win over Mansfield Town in strong wind and snow, whilst rivalsStoke City won the 1972 League Cup Final in front of a crowd of nearly 100,000 at Wembley Stadium. Vale went on to go ten games without a win, also scoring just one goal in a run of seven games, to the frustration of their supporters. Despite this, the now annual 'Meet the Manager' evening 'warmed the heart' of Lee. A 1–0 win over Barnsley at the end of April ensured the club's safety from the drop. On 8 May, Sproson made his farewell competitive appearance for the club in front of only 2,743 supporters, in a 2–1 defeat to Rotherham United. Lee angrily declared that "the attendance was nothing short of a disgrace to mark the end of a legend". Four days later there was an even smaller turnout for a final day 1–1 draw with Rochdale.
They finished in fifteenth place with 41 points, 30 of which were won at home. With just 43 goals scored, they had the lowest goal tally outside of the bottom four.
On the financial side, a drop in average home attendance of over a thousand failed to prevent a profit of £596. This profit was due to a £10,000 transfer credit and £13,967 worth of donations from the Sportsmen's Association and the Development Fund. The club's total debt stood at £100,130. Four players were let go at the end of the campaign: Mick Morris (Stafford Rangers), Keith Ball (Stourport), Stuart Sharratt (retired), and John Flowers (Eastwood). Sproson also retired as a player, but stayed on as a scout and coach.