1993 Football League Second Division play-off Final

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1993 Football League Second Division play-off Final
Date 30 May 1993 (1993-05-30)
Venue Wembley Stadium, London
Referee Roger Milford
Attendance 53,471

The 1993 Football League Second Division play-off Final was a football match played at Wembley Stadium on 30 May 1993, to determine the third and final team to gain promotion from the Third Division to the Second Division of The Football League in the 1992–93 season. Port Vale faced West Bromwich Albion.

West Brom had no experience of the play-offs before 1993, while Vale had gone though the Second Division play-offs 2–1 on aggregate four years previous and whilst they had lost Robbie Earle since then, new signing Martin Foyle gave the team strong hopes of coming home the victors. In the semi-finals, Vale defeated Stockport County and West Brom beat Swansea City.

The game finished with a comprehensive 3–0 victory for West Brom, all three goals coming in the second half. The pivotal point of the game was when Vale defender Peter Swan was sent off for bringing down Bob Taylor, who had been through on goal. Andy Hunt, Nicky Reid and Kevin Donovan went on to score for Albion, to take their side into the second tier of the Football League.

Route to the final[edit]

For more details on this topic, see 1992–93 Port Vale F.C. season.
Football League Division Two final table, leading positions
Pos Team P W D L F A Pts
1 Stoke City 46 27 12 7 73 34 +39 93
2 Bolton Wanderers 46 27 9 10 80 41 +39 90
3 Port Vale 46 26 11 9 79 44 +37 89
4 West Bromwich Albion 46 25 10 11 88 54 +34 85
Pos=Position P=Games played W=Wins D=Draws
L=Defeats F=Goals for A=Goals against Pts=Points

Port Vale had finished the 1992–93 Football League season in third place in Division Three, one place ahead of West Bromwich Albion. Both therefore missed out on the two automatic promotion places and instead took part in the play-offs to determine the third promoted team. Vale had finished one point behind Bolton in second and also had superior goal difference to Bolton. The misery for Vale was made worse by the fact that they had lost both Potteries derby games to rivals Stoke, who went up as champions four points ahead of Vale. West Bromwich Albion finished fourth, four points behind Port Vale, having scored 88 goals that season, more than any other team in the division; 30 of these goals came from the division's top scorer Bob Taylor. Swansea City and Stockport County finished 12 and 13 points behind Albion in fifth and sixth respectively.

In the semi-finals, Vale drew 1–1 at Stockport's Edgeley Park, Glover the scorer, before returning to Vale Park to finish them off 1–0 with a Martin Foyle goal. Welsh side Swansea won 2–1 at their home ground before bowing out 2–0 at The Hawthorns.

Port Vale Round West Bromwich Albion
Opponent Result Legs Semi-finals Opponent Result Legs
Stockport County 2–1 1–1 away; 1–0 home Swansea City 3–2 1–2 away; 2–0 home

Match summary[edit]

First half[edit]

The first half finished goalless.

Second half[edit]

West Bromwich Albion striker Bob Taylor was through on goal when he was brought down by former Leeds team-mate Peter Swan. Swan's subsequent dismissal proved to be the turning point in the game, with Hunt scoring the first goal in a 3–0 victory.[1] Nicky Reid and Kevin Donovan made the last stages of the game comfortable for the Baggies.

Post match[edit]

Albion spent nine more seasons in the wilderness but avoided a return to the third tier. Instead, after barely surviving the next season, they steadily improved until achieving promotion to the Premier League by finishing second in the 2001-02 season.

Vale won promotion as runners-up in the following season, and spent the next six seasons in the second tier. But after a high of eighth in 1996–97 they returned to the third tier for the opening season of the new millennium.

Osvaldo Ardiles left Albion to return to Spurs in 1993 before heading abroad in 1995. John Rudge was controversially sacked in 1999 and decided sixteen years as a manager was enough, instead choosing to become Director of Football at local rivals Stoke City - remaining in this post to see the Potters reach the Premier League for the first time in 2008. Bob Taylor had continued success at West Brom before spending 1998 to 2000 with Bolton Wanderers, only to return to The Hawthorns to help the club achieve Premiership status in 2002. He retired in 2007 at the age of 39.

Andy Hunt stayed with West Brom until 1998 when he signed for Charlton Athletic, retiring in 2000 at age 30. Nicky Reid left the club in 1997 to become player-manager of Sligo Rovers, but things did not go well for him and he returned to England to become a physiotherapist. Kevin Donovan also left in 1997 and moved to Grimsby Town, also scoring for them in the 1998 Second Division play-off Final. He retired in 2007. Red carded Peter Swan left Vale in 1994 to move to Plymouth Argyle for a fee of £300,000, and turned out for numerous other clubs before retiring in 2000.

Match details[edit]

West Bromwich Albion:
GK 1 England Tony Lange
RB 2 England Nicky Reid
LB 3 England Steve Lilwall
CM 4 England Darren Bradley
CB 5 England Paul Raven
CB 6 England Gary Strodder
CF 7 England Andy Hunt Substituted off
CM 8 England Ian Hamilton
CF 9 England Bob Taylor
LM 10 Northern Ireland Bernard McNally
RM 11 England Kevin Donovan
FW England Simon Garner Substituted in
MF England Gary Robson
Argentina Osvaldo Ardiles
Port Vale:
GK 1 England Paul Musselwhite
RB 2 England Neil Aspin
LB 3 England Kevin Kent Substituted off
MF 4 England Andy Porter
DF 5 England Peter Swan Red card
DF 6 England Dean Glover
FW 7 Republic of Ireland Bernie Slaven
MF 8 Netherlands Robin van der Laan Substituted off
FW 9 England Martin Foyle
MF 10 England Paul Kerr
MF 11 England Ian Taylor
FW 12 England Nicky Cross Substituted in
DF 14 England Peter Billing Substituted in
England John Rudge


  1. ^ McOwan, Gavin (2002). The Essential History of West Bromwich Albion. Headline. pp. 158–159. ISBN 0-7553-1146-9.