1951–52 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
1951–52 season
ChairmanWilliam Holdcroft
ManagerIvor Powell
(until November)
Freddie Steele
(from 24 December)
StadiumVale Park
Football League Third Division South13th (43 Points)
FA CupFirst Round
(knocked out by Colchester United)
Top goalscorerLeague: Albert Mullard (13)
All: Albert Mullard (13)
Highest home attendance17,860 vs. Brighton & Hove Albion, 12 January 1952
Lowest home attendance4,136 vs. Aldershot, 8 December 1951
Average home league attendance11,225
Biggest win3–0 and 4–1
Biggest defeat1–5 vs. Reading, 20 February 1952

The 1951–52 season was Port Vale's 40th season of football in the English Football League, and their seventh full season in the Third Division South. Manager Ivor Powell did not last long, and was replaced by Freddie Steele in December. Steele would later prove to be one of the club's greatest and longest serving managers. He started early, taking a club bottom of the league at Christmas to a thirteenth-place finish. He achieved this without making any major signings, rather he managed the players he had in a better way than Powell.

From 9 February until 8 September the following season the club racked up a club record streak of twelve consecutive home wins.

Overview[]

Third Division South[]

The pre-season saw 578 seats installed on the Railway Terrace, bringing the seated capacity of Vale Park to 1,010. No signings of note were made, however transfer-listed Cliff Pinchbeck failed to turn up for pre-season training, citing illness.

Thirty seconds into their opening game with Reading and they were behind, the Vale went on to lose 2–0. A six-game unbeaten streak followed, with just three goals conceded, though only five goals were scored. On his return to Burslem, Pinchbeck scored a brace to salvage a point against Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic. Vale then sold Alan Martin to rivals Stoke City for £10,000 and Albert Mullard, the money going towards fixing the drainage problem at Vale Park. The sale was criticized by supporters, though they soon warmed to Mullard, who went on to become the club's top-scorer. The club failed to sign transfer target Dennis Wilshaw from Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Garth Butler was forced to retire with a knee injury. Results turned against the team, as they went on a run of thirteen games without a win, though all five of the home games on the 'wide open' Vale Park pitch were draws (all eight away matches were losses). Manager Ivor Powell attempted to sign players, but was deterred by the high transfer prices, and so instead continually reshuffled the first eleven. Powell's contract was terminated on 22 November, his team bottom of the table. Trainer Ken Fish took temporary charge of first team affairs. Roy Sproson and Ray King would later say the sacking came as no surprise, saying Powell 'ruled by fear', 'used to treat the players like kids' and it was a 'complete relief' to find him dismissed. Pinchbeck was also offloaded, sold to Northampton Town for 'an undisclosed sum'.

On 8 December, Vale recorded a surprise 4–1 win over Aldershot. Yet the side then went another eight games without a win. Freddie Steele was appointed player-manager on Christmas Eve, signing the former England international meant Vale had to pay Mansfield Town a four-figure fee. The former Stoke City forward was still very much a goalscorer, having described his record of 44 goals in 66 games for the "Stags" as "not bad for an old man!". In January, half-back Norman Hallam returned to the club. On 12 January, 17,860 turned up to witness a 1–1 draw in Steele's debut against second-placed Brighton & Hove Albion, the first of a five match unbeaten run that took Vale off the foot of the table. A fortnight later Vale travelled to Plainmoor, where Steele took the ball from his own half to score the winner past Torquay United. On 9 February, Vale beat Gillingham 1–0, in what was the first of a club record thirteen game winning run at home.

A 5–1 hammering at Elm Park from Reading failed to prevent the Vale from going on to another eight game unbeaten run. Steele accomplished this without any new signings, in fact he sold Walter Aveyard to Accrington Stanley for a four-figure fee in April. Their run ended with a 3–0 defeat at Fellows Park to bottom-placed Walsall. Vale finished their final five games with three wins.

They finished thirteenth with 43 points, with a strong defence but the lowest goals scored tally in the division. They had lost just the one game at Vale Park, back on the opening day.

Finances[]

On the financial side, a profit of £4,403 was announced by the club, due to a profit on transfers of £16,750. Gross receipts had fallen to £27,133, whilst wages had risen by £3,500 to £23,511. Steele seemed to be happy with the players he inherited, as he retained 31 professionals, the only departures being George Heppell to Witton Albion, Stan Palk to Worcester City, and Lol Hamlett to Congleton Town.

Cup competitions[]

In the FA Cup, Vale fell at the first hurdle to Colchester United at Layer Road, losing 3–1.

League table[]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts
11 Torquay United 46 17 10 19 86 98 0.878 44
12 Aldershot 46 18 8 20 78 89 0.876 44
13 Port Vale 46 14 15 17 50 66 0.758 43
14 Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic 46 16 10 20 69 75 0.920 42
15 Bristol City 46 15 12 19 58 69 0.841 42

Results[]

Port Vale's score comes first

Football League Third Division South[]

Results by matchday[]

Round12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031323334353637383940414243444546
GroundHAHHAHHAHAAAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHHAHHAAAHAHHHAAHHAAH
ResultLDDDWWDLDLLLDLDLDLLWLDLDLLDDWWWLDWWDWWWDLWWLLW
Position2119222117109161617192022232324232424232323232424242423232423232220192018131413151513161712
Source: Statto
A = Away; H = Home; W = Win; D = Draw; L = Loss

Matches[]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
18 August 1951 Reading H 0–2 16,663
21 August 1951 Southend United A 0–0 9,371
27 August 1951 Southend United H 0–0 10,550
1 September 1951 Watford H 1–1 11,790 Leake
5 September 1951 Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic A 1–0 11,455 Martin
8 September 1951 Bristol City H 1–0 14,472 Martin
10 September 1951 Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic H 2–2 12,601 Pinchbeck (2)
15 September 1951 Ipswich Town A 0–2 9,287
22 September 1951 Torquay United H 2–2 14,201 Mullard, Sproson
27 September 1951 Northampton Town A 1–3 8,082 Mullard
29 September 1951 Gillingham A 2–4 14,354 Mullard (pen), Pinchbeck
6 October 1951 Plymouth Argyle A 0–3 19,161
13 October 1951 Norwich City H 0–0 10,576
20 October 1951 Exeter City A 0–2 7,834
27 October 1951 Colchester United H 1–1 9,488 Bennett
3 November 1951 Crystal Palace A 1–3 16,401 Pinchbeck
10 November 1951 Swindon Town H 2–2 9,142 Barber, Mullard
17 November 1951 Leyton Orient A 0–2 7,674
1 December 1951 Shrewsbury Town A 0–2 8,690
8 December 1951 Aldershot H 4–1 4,136 Mullard (2), Hulligan, Cunliffe
15 December 1951 Brighton & Hove Albion A 1–2 14,218 Mullard
22 December 1951 Northampton Town H 0–0 8,973
25 December 1951 Bristol Rovers A 1–4 16,691 o.g.
26 December 1951 Bristol Rovers H 1–1 16,734 Barber
29 December 1951 Watford A 0–2 9,023
5 January 1952 Bristol City A 0–1 17,598
12 January 1952 Brighton & Hove Albion H 1–1 17,860 Mullard (pen)
19 January 1952 Ipswich Town H 0–0 10,592
26 January 1952 Torquay United A 3–2 5,588 Griffiths, Mullard (pen), Steele
9 February 1952 Gillingham H 1–0 12,768 Cunliffe
16 February 1952 Plymouth Argyle H 1–0 10,572 Mullard
20 February 1952 Reading A 1–5 10,174 Palk
23 February 1952 Newport County A 1–1 11,543 Griffiths
1 March 1952 Norwich City A 3–2 17,642 Steele, Hulligan, Mullard (pen)
8 March 1952 Exeter City H 3–0 12,021 Steele, Griffiths, Hulligan
15 March 1952 Colchester United A 0–0 7,551
22 March 1952 Crystal Palace H 2–0 11,686 Bennett, Griffiths
24 March 1952 Newport County H 4–2 5,908 Steele (2), Griffiths, Mullard
5 April 1952 Leyton Orient H 3–0 7,257 Steele, Hulligan, Mullard
11 April 1952 Millwall A 1–1 24,375 Griffiths
12 April 1952 Walsall A 0–3 7,518
19 April 1952 Shrewsbury Town H 1–0 14,469 Steele
21 April 1952 Walsall H 1–0 8,401 Griffiths
26 April 1952 Aldershot A 1–4 6,676 Bennett
28 April 1952 Swindon Town A 0–2 4,835
3 May 1952 Millwall H 2–1 7,316 Leake, Griffiths

FA Cup[]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 24 November 1951 Colchester United A 1–3 10,119 Pinchbeck

Player statistics[]

Appearances[]

Pos. Name Football League FA Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
GK England George Heppell 27 0 1 0 28 0
GK England Ray King 19 0 0 0 19 0
DF England Basil Hayward 27 0 1 0 28 0
DF England Tommy Cheadle 39 0 1 0 40 0
DF England Reg Potts 21 0 0 0 21 0
DF England Lol Hamlett 24 0 1 0 25 0
DF England Stan Turner 40 0 0 0 40 0
DF England Roy Sproson 28 1 0 0 28 1
MF Northern Ireland Jimmy Todd 24 0 1 0 25 0
MF England Alan Martin 5 2 0 0 5 2
MF England Mick Hulligan 37 4 1 0 38 4
MF England Alan Bennett 39 3 1 0 40 3
MF England Albert Leake 8 2 0 0 8 2
MF England John Cunliffe 11 2 0 0 11 2
MF England Albert Mullard 34 13 1 0 35 13
MF Wales Ivor Powell 6 0 0 0 6 0
MF England Norman Hallam 3 0 0 0 3 0
MF England Colin Askey 7 0 0 0 7 0
FW England Stan Palk 30 1 1 0 31 1
FW England Walter Aveyard 13 0 0 0 13 0
FW England Cliff Pinchbeck 12 4 1 1 13 5
FW England Ken Griffiths 20 8 1 0 21 8
FW England Len Barber 18 2 0 0 18 2
FW England Freddie Steele 14 7 0 0 14 7

Top scorers[]

Place Position Nation Name Third Division South FA Cup Total
1 MF  England Albert Mullard 13 0 13
2 FW  England Ken Griffiths 8 0 8
3 FW  England Freddie Steele 7 0 7
4 MF  England Mick Hulligan 4 0 5
FW  England Cliff Pinchbeck 4 1 5
6 MF  England Alan Bennett 3 0 3
7 MF  England Albert Leake 2 0 2
MF  England John Cunliffe 2 0 2
MF  England Alan Martin 2 0 2
FW  England Len Barber 2 0 2
11 FW  England Stan Palk 1 0 1
DF  England Roy Sproson 1 0 1
Own goals 1 0 1
TOTALS 50 1 51

Transfers[]

Transfers in[]

Date from Position Nationality Name From Fee Ref.
July 1951 MF Wales Ivor Powell Aston Villa Free transfer
September 1951 MF England Albert Mullard Stoke City Exchange
December 1951 FW England Freddie Steele Mansfield Town 'four-figure fee'

Transfers out[]

Date from Position Nationality Name To Fee Ref.
September 1951 MF England Alan Martin Stoke City Exchange + £10,000
October 1951 DF England Garth Butler Retired
November 1951 FW England Cliff Pinchbeck Northampton Town Undisclosed
November 1951 MF Wales Ivor Powell Wales Barry Town Released
March 1952 FW England Walter Aveyard Accrington Stanley 'four figure fee'
May 1952 DF England Lol Hamlett Congleton Town Released
May 1952 GK England George Heppell Witton Albion Free transfer
Summer 1952 FW England Stan Palk Released

References[]

Specific
  1. ^ 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 1951–1952 : Results & Fixtures Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  3. ^ Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.
General