1952–53 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
1952–53 season
ChairmanFred Burgess
ManagerFreddie Steele
StadiumVale Park
Football League Third Division North2nd (58 Points)
FA CupSecond Round
(knocked out by Oldham Athletic)
Coronation CupRunners-up
(knocked out by Stoke City)
Top goalscorerLeague: Basil Hayward (22)
All: Basil Hayward (22)
Highest home attendance25,398 vs. Oldham Athletic, 6 December 1952
Lowest home attendance6,000 vs. Bradford City, 20 December 1952
Average home league attendance14,504
Biggest win4–0 (twice)
Biggest defeat0–3 vs. Oldham Athletic, 6 December 1952

The 1952–53 season was Port Vale's 41st season of football in the English Football League, and their first season (fourth overall) back in the Third Division North, following their switch from the Third Division South. Using an incredibly settled squad (only nineteen players were used all season), manager Freddie Steele led the Vale to a second-place finish, just a single point from the promotion spot. Built upon an 'iron curtain defence', just 35 goals were conceded in 46 league games. All this was achieved with pretty much the same bottom-placed team that Steele inherited in December 1951.

Following from 9 February the previous season until 8 September the club racked up a club record streak of twelve consecutive home wins.

Overview[]

Third Division North[]

The pre-season saw the club switched from the Third Division South to the Third Division North, very much against the wishes of the directors, who believed a loss of income would follow. Manager Freddie Steele decided against making any new signings, and instead kept faith with the young team he had inherited the previous season. Offers were made for some of the young prospects, but none were accepted.

The season began with a 1–0 defeat at Valley Parade with a goal from Ray King's brother George, managed by Steele's predecessor Ivor Powell. This did not affect the team's spirits, as they went straight on to a seven match unbeaten run, conceding just three goals. Steele picked up an injury and so selected the versatile Basil Hayward to replace him. A shrewd move, Hayward would go on to become the club's top scorer. It took awhile to pay off however, as Vale went five games scoring just one goal. Steele attempted to sign a new forward, but to no avail. A 1–0 home defeat to wooden spoon contenders Accrington Stanley exemplified the club's trouble in front of goal, and also ended their record-breaking run of twelve consecutive home wins. Steele and trainer Ken Fish put the squad to work on the special fitness regime they devised, as the "Valiants" marched onwards.

Travelling to Boundary Park on 15 November, they beat Oldham Athletic 1–0, taking themselves up into third place. They dropped points during the Christmas period, though picked up a useful 4–1 win at Gresty Road on Boxing day. Three points out of a possible eight in February allowed leaders Oldham to pull away from the chasing Vale. In March Oldham and Grimsby Town struggled, and so Vale took advantage with six points from ten, conceding just three goals. With six of the final nine games at home, and all of the chasing pack yet to visit Burslem, the omens seemed good for promotion. Vale duly remained unbeaten until the season's end, however drawing five of these games proved not enough. The 4 April encounter with Oldham proved to be the title decider, Vale had dominated the game but conceded a fatal equalizing goal on 86 minutes. Two draws against strugglers Chester were also costly. Nevertheless, they finished strongly, hammering Grimsby Town 4–0, Reg Potts scoring with a lob from 35 yards out.

They finished second, a single point away from top spot. Steele's emphasis on teamwork had turned the team around, and earned the club its best finish since their relegation from the second tier in 1935–36. Their defensive record of 35 goals conceded was bettered only by Second Division Huddersfield Town. Their tally of 58 points was second only to the club's extraordinary 1929–30 campaign. Their main weakness was an average offence, though Hayward proved to be a revelation with 22 goals.

On 4 May, Vale played Potteries derby rivals Stoke City, who had just been relegated from the First Division. This Coronation Cup match ended in a 2–0 win for Stoke, with £1,053 raised for charity.

Finances[]

On the financial side, a £1,676 profit was recorded. This was due to a club record average attendance of 14,504 – which took gate receipts to £39,929 – and a £5,000 slash in the wage bill to £18,246. For once the club did not sell its best players, and yet it also made a profit. Steele was rewarded with a three-year contract. He again kept on almost all of the squad, with two exceptions being Jimmy Todd (Wellington Town) and Norman Hallam (Halifax Town).

Cup competitions[]

In the FA Cup, Third Division South Exeter City were beaten 2–1. However, in the Second Round league leaders Oldham Athletic won 3–0 in front of a season best 25,398 crowd at Vale Park – 8,000 of them Oldham supporters.

League table[]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GAv Pts Promotion or relegation
1 Oldham Athletic (C, P) 46 22 15 9 77 45 1.711 59 Promoted to the second division
2 Port Vale 46 20 18 8 67 35 1.914 58
3 Wrexham 46 24 8 14 86 66 1.303 56
4 York City 46 20 13 13 60 45 1.333 53
5 Grimsby Town 46 21 10 15 75 59 1.271 52
Source: rsssf.com
(C) Division Champions; (P) Promoted.

Results[]

Port Vale's score comes first

Football League Third Division North[]

Results by matchday[]

Round12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031323334353637383940414243444546
GroundAHHAAHHAAHHAAHAHAHAAAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHHAHHAAHHHAH
ResultLWWDWWDWLWDLWDWLWDWLDDWWDWDWWLDLWDWDLDDDDWDDDD
Position20735323243355335443555555443333333224432222222
Source: Statto
A = Away; H = Home; W = Win; D = Draw; L = Loss

Matches[]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
23 August 1952 Bradford City A 0–1 16,326
25 August 1952 Tranmere Rovers H 2–0 17,138 Mullard, Griffiths
30 August 1952 Rochdale H 5–2 15,448 Griffiths (2), Steele, Mullard, Bennett
2 September 1952 Tranmere Rovers A 1–1 10,194 Hayward
6 September 1952 Darlington A 2–0 8,600 Mullard, Hayward
8 September 1952 Stockport County H 2–0 15,185 Steele, Mullard
13 September 1952 Gateshead H 1–1 17,803 Steele
15 September 1952 Stockport County A 2–0 10,142 Bennett, Hayward
20 September 1952 Hartlepools United A 0–2 9,945
22 September 1952 Bradford Park Avenue H 1–0 12,553 Hulligan
27 September 1952 Carlisle United H 0–0 10,803
29 September 1952 York City A 0–1 7,289
4 October 1952 Southport A 0–0 7,616
11 October 1952 Chesterfield H 3–0 14,352 Steele (2), Sproson
18 October 1952 Workington A 1–1 6,705 Hayward
25 October 1952 Accrington Stanley H 0–1 12,202
1 November 1952 Halifax Town A 2–1 11,693 Griffiths (2)
8 November 1952 Mansfield Town H 1–1 14,103 Hayward
15 November 1952 Oldham Athletic A 1–0 21,407 o.g.
29 November 1952 Wrexham A 1–3 11,082 Griffiths
13 December 1952 Grimsby Town A 1–1 13,801 o.g.
20 December 1952 Bradford City H 0–0 6,000
26 December 1952 Crewe Alexandra A 4–1 13,962 Griffiths (2), Hayward (2)
27 December 1952 Crewe Alexandra H 3–1 22,478 Hayward (2), Griffiths
3 January 1953 Rochdale A 1–1 6,899 Hayward
17 January 1953 Darlington H 2–1 11,417 Hulligan, Hayward
24 January 1953 Gateshead A 1–1 7,785 Hayward
31 January 1953 Scunthorpe & Lindsey United A 2–1 6,984 Cunliffe, Hayward
7 February 1953 Hartlepools United H 3–0 13,919 Hayward (2), Griffiths
14 February 1953 Carlisle United A 0–2 10,419
21 February 1953 Southport H 0–0 13,919
28 February 1953 Chesterfield A 0–1 9,772
7 March 1953 Workington H 2–0 12,093 Bennett, Hayward
14 March 1953 Accrington Stanley A 1–1 5,499 Griffiths
16 March 1953 Scunthorpe & Lindsey United H 4–0 11,371 Cunliffe (2), Hayward, Leake
21 March 1953 Halifax Town H 1–1 17,945 Hayward
28 March 1953 Mansfield Town A 0–1 6,083
3 April 1953 Chester H 1–1 19,413 Griffiths
4 April 1953 Oldham Athletic H 1–1 24,499 Sproson
6 April 1953 Chester A 2–2 10,553 Cunliffe, Askey
11 April 1953 Bradford Park Avenue A 2–2 11,790 Griffiths, Hayward
13 April 1953 Barrow H 3–0 10,010 Hayward, Hulligan, Mullard
18 April 1953 Wrexham H 0–0 21,585
20 April 1953 York City H 2–0 11,379 Leake, Hayward
25 April 1953 Barrow A 2–1 5,080 Hayward, Leake
30 April 1953 Grimsby Town H 4–0 7,964 Potts, Leake, Mullard, Hulligan

FA Cup[]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 22 November 1952 Exeter City H 2–1 14,394 Mullard, Griffiths
R2 6 December 1952 Oldham Athletic H 0–3 25,398

Coronation Cup[]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
Final 4 May 1953 Stoke City A 0–2 9,981

Player statistics[]

Appearances[]

Pos. Name Football League FA Cup Coronation Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
GK England Ray King 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
GK England Ray Hancock 43 0 2 0 1 0 46 0
DF England Tommy Cheadle 46 0 2 0 1 0 49 0
DF England Reg Potts 46 1 2 0 1 0 49 1
DF England Stan Turner 43 0 2 0 1 0 46 0
DF England Roy Sproson 45 2 2 0 1 0 48 2
DF England Jim Elsby 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
MF Northern Ireland Jimmy Todd 11 0 1 0 0 0 12 0
MF England Mick Hulligan 42 4 2 0 1 0 45 4
MF England Alan Bennett 27 3 2 0 0 0 29 3
MF England Albert Leake 24 4 1 0 1 0 26 4
MF England John Cunliffe 19 4 0 0 0 0 19 4
MF England Albert Mullard 40 6 2 1 1 0 43 7
MF England Norman Hallam 8 0 0 0 0 0 8 0
MF England Colin Askey 9 1 0 0 1 0 10 1
FW England Basil Hayward 37 22 2 0 1 0 40 22
FW England Ken Griffiths 44 13 2 1 1 0 47 14
FW England Freddie Steele 11 5 0 0 0 0 11 5
FW England Derek Tomkinson 6 0 0 0 0 0 6 0

Top scorers[]

Place Position Nation Name Third Division North FA Cup Coronation Cup Total
1 FW  England Basil Hayward 22 0 0 22
2 FW  England Ken Griffiths 13 1 0 14
3 MF  England Albert Mullard 6 1 0 7
4 FW  England Freddie Steele 5 0 0 5
5 MF  England Albert Leake 4 0 0 4
MF  England Mick Hulligan 4 0 0 4
MF  England John Cunliffe 4 0 0 4
8 MF  England Alan Bennett 3 0 0 3
9 DF  England Roy Sproson 2 0 0 2
10 MF  England Colin Askey 1 0 0 1
DF  England Reg Potts 1 0 0 1
Own goals 2 0 0 2
TOTALS 67 2 0 69

Transfers[]

Transfers in[]

Date from Position Nationality Name From Fee Ref.
December 1952 FW England Derek Tomkinson Burton Albion Free transfer

Transfers out[]

Date from Position Nationality Name To Fee Ref.
May 1953 DF England John Abbotts Released
May 1953 MF England Norman Hallam Halifax Town Free transfer
May 1953 MF Northern Ireland Jimmy Todd Wellington Town Free transfer
Summer 1953 FW England Freddie Steele Retired

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 1952–1953 : Results & Fixtures Archived 5 November 2013 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