1959–60 Port Vale F.C. season
|Football League Third Division||14th (46 Points)|
|FA Cup||Fifth Round|
(knocked out by Aston Villa)
|Supporters' Clubs' Trophy||Runners–up|
(knocked out by Stoke City)
|Top goalscorer||League: Graham Barnett (14)|
All: Graham Barnett (17)
|Highest home attendance||49,768 vs. Aston Villa, 20 February 1960|
|Lowest home attendance||5,514 vs. Swindon Town, 30 April 1960|
|Average home league attendance||10,733|
|Biggest win||7–0 vs. Halifax Town, 28 December 1959|
|Biggest defeat||0–6 vs. Tranmere Rovers, 5 September 1959|
The 1958–59 season was Port Vale's 48th season of football in the English Football League, and their first season in the Third Division following their promotion from the Fourth Division. Progressing to the Fifth Round of the FA Cup, there they set a Vale Park and club-record attendance of 49,768, in a 2–1 defeat by Aston Villa on 20 February. In the first of a short-lived Supporters' Clubs' Trophy, they lost to rivals Stoke City 5–3 on aggregate; whilst in the league they finished a respectable fourteenth, thirteen points from both promotion and relegation.
The season began with a 3–2 win over Reading at Elm Park, Norman Low having selected a first eleven without any of the new signings. However, after a 1–0 win over Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic Vale began to struggle, picking up just a point in their next six games. Low tried to sign Stanley Matthews, still going strong aged 44 for Blackpool, but a deal could not be reached. On 5 September, Tranmere Rovers beat Vale 6–0 at Prenton Park after Roy Sproson left the field in the first half with a gashed leg. Low then traded John Cunliffe and £2,000 to Stoke City in exchange for winger Harry Oscroft and centre-half Peter Ford. An improvement took place, and despite trouble in front of goal, the team won seven successive games at Burslem. In October, Jack Wilkinson was sold to Exeter City for £2,500, having lost his place in the starting eleven. On 28 December, Vale recorded a 7–0 win over Halifax Town, causing The Sentinel's "T.G.F." to remark that "rarely have the opposition been so completely outplayed".
In March, Graham Barnett was sold to Tranmere Rovers for £5,000, having lost his form. The "Valiants" continued to perform well at home, but lose on their travels. The departure of top-scorer Barnett meant the club 'urgently needed a top-class inside-forward'. This was proven with a run of just four goals in seven matches, culminating in only two points and dashed hopes of promotion. In danger of relegation, the players rallied to win seven points from the final five games. The penultimate match was a 6–3 loss to Mansfield Town at Field Mill, whilst Vale then won against Swindon Town 6–1 in a game that was alleged to have been fixed by Jimmy Gauld.
They finished in fourteenth spot with 46 points, a good finish for a club just promoted. Stan Steele had put in his third successive ever-present season, whilst Barnett was the top-scorer despite leaving in March. The club toured Czechoslavakia at the end of the season, due to Stoke-on-Trent's close relationship with the town of Lidice that developed from local MP Barnett Stross's Lidice Shall Live campaign. The team defeated Cottwaldov, Přerov, Karlovy Vary; drew with FK Teplice; and were beaten by Jihlava.
On the financial side, a £1,454 loss was announced despite a £10,352 donation from the Sportsmen's Association. Gate receipts had risen by £1,680 due to the Aston Villa game, however average home attendance was down by around 2,000. Wages also increased by a more considerable £7,064, though there was a transfer credit of £3,500. There were 22 players retained, Roy Pritchard and Morgan Hunt were not amongst them, leaving for Wellington Town and Boston United respectively.
In May, the club took a five-match tour of Czechoslovakia. They experienced a culture shock, playing with a smaller, 'half-inflated' ball, and finding referees much more strict. However the tour was a success and much enjoyed by the players and their hosts.
In the FA Cup, Vale eased past Dorchester Town of the Western League 2–1 after Graham Barnett injured Dorchester's keeper. In the next round Vale beat Queens Park Rangers 2–1 in a replay, after a fifty-yard strike from David Raine helped them to a 3–3 draw in the original match. In the Third Round, they met Second Division high-flyers Cardiff City at Ninian Park, and were not concerned as Graham Barnett responded to Low's warning that the Wales captain faced them by saying "So fucking what? My mother could play for Wales". They beat Cardiff 2–0 with a solid performance. Drawn against Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park, 'the defence took the honours' in a 1–0 win. The Fifth Round draw saw Vale face a home tie with Aston Villa, another second tier club. A still-standing club-record attendance of 49,768 turned up for the game on 20 February, resulting in £8,500 worth of gate receipts for the Vale. Brian Jackson gave Vale a 36th-minute lead, but the "Villans" came back to win the match with six minutes to spare.
In the Supporters' Clubs' Trophy, Vale lost to Stoke 5–3 on aggregate.
Port Vale's score comes first
Football League Third Division
Results by matchday
; = Away; = Home; = Win; = Draw = Loss
|22 August 1959||Reading||A||3–2||14,917||Barnett (2), Poole|
|24 August 1959||Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic||H||1–0||18,037||Barnett|
|29 August 1959||Shrewsbury Town||H||0–3||18,607|
|2 September 1959||Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic||A||0–3||11,689|
|5 September 1959||Tranmere Rovers||A||0–6||11,635|
|7 September 1959||Southampton||H||1–1||13,906||Poole|
|12 September 1959||Norwich City||A||1–5||27,041||Poole|
|16 September 1959||Southampton||A||2–3||17,009||Barnett, Steele|
|19 September 1959||Brentford||H||3–1||12,817||Steele (2), Barnett|
|21 September 1959||Barnsley||H||1–0||10,886||Sproson|
|26 September 1959||Colchester United||A||1–3||7,822||Poole|
|30 September 1959||Barnsley||A||0–1||7,870|
|3 October 1959||Southend United||H||3–1||12,008||Leake, Steele, Jackson|
|10 October 1959||Accrington Stanley||H||2–0||10,712||Jackson (pen), Barnett|
|12 October 1959||Mansfield Town||H||4–1||9,230||Jackson, Oscroft, Barnett, Wilkinson|
|19 October 1959||Newport County||A||3–4||7,996||Whalley (2), Barnett|
|24 October 1959||Chesterfield||H||3–1||7,946||Oscroft, Barnett, Steele|
|31 October 1959||Wrexham||A||0–1||8,150|
|7 November 1959||York City||H||2–0||8,425||Oscroft, o.g.|
|21 November 1959||Bradford City||H||0–2||9,924|
|28 November 1959||Queens Park Rangers||A||2–2||8,775||Poole (2)|
|12 December 1959||Swindon Town||A||3–2||7,716||Barnett, Jackson, Portwood|
|19 December 1959||Reading||H||4–1||6,723||Poole (2), Jackson, Portwood|
|26 December 1959||Halifax Town||A||1–1||6,175||Steele|
|28 December 1959||Halifax Town||H||7–0||9,664||Barnett (4), Jackson (2), Poole|
|2 January 1960||Shrewsbury Town||A||1–2||9,754||Steele|
|16 January 1960||Tranmere Rovers||H||1–1||9,706||Poole|
|23 January 1960||Norwich City||H||2–1||11,040||Steele, Miles|
|6 February 1960||Brentford||A||0–2||10,141|
|10 February 1960||Grimsby Town||H||2–1||22,987||Portwood (2)|
|13 February 1960||Colchester United||H||1–1||10,248||Donaldson|
|22 February 1960||Southend United||A||1–2||6,534||Steele|
|27 February 1960||Accrington Stanley||A||3–1||3,109||Donaldson (2), Steele|
|5 March 1960||Newport County||H||2–1||9,073||Donaldson, Jackson|
|7 March 1960||Coventry City||A||1–1||15,549||Leake|
|12 March 1960||Chesterfield||A||1–4||6,152||o.g.|
|19 March 1960||Queens Park Rangers||H||0–0||7,049|
|26 March 1960||York City||A||0–2||6,415|
|2 April 1960||Coventry City||H||0–1||7,686|
|9 April 1960||Bradford City||A||1–3||5,986||Poole|
|15 April 1960||Bury||A||1–3||6,397||Hall|
|16 April 1960||Wrexham||H||3–1||6,798||Archer (2), Portwood|
|18 April 1960||Bury||H||3–0||7,875||Portwood (2), Poole|
|23 April 1960||Grimsby Town||A||1–1||8,413||Hall|
|25 April 1960||Mansfield Town||A||3–6||4,970||Portwood, Archer, Kinsey|
|30 April 1960||Swindon Town||H||6–1||5,514||Oscroft (4), o.g., Portwood|
|R1||14 November 1959||Dorchester Town||A||2–1||4,100||Poole, Barnett|
|R2||5 December 1959||Queens Park Rangers||A||3–3||11,143||Portwood, Leake, Raine|
|R2 Replay||7 December 1959||Queens Park Rangers||H||2–1||9,544||Barnett (2)|
|R3||9 January 1960||Cardiff City||A||2–0||25,588||Steele, Portwood|
|R4||30 January 1960||Scunthorpe United||A||1–0||14,043||Portwood|
|R5||20 February 1960||Aston Villa||H||1–2||49,768||Jackson (pen)|
Supporters' Clubs' Trophy
|Final 1st Leg||5 October 1959||Stoke City||A||1–3||9,045||Jackson|
|Final 2nd Leg||26 October 1959||Stoke City||H||2–2||7,506||Steele, Jackson|
|Pos.||Name||Football League||FA Cup||Supporters' Club's Trophy||Total|
|Place||Position||Nation||Name||Third Division||FA Cup||Other||Total|
|July 1959||MF||Morgan Hunt||Norwich City||'four figure fee'|
|August 1959||FW||Stan March||Altrincham||£250|
|August 1959||MF||Cliff Portwood||Preston North End||£750|
|September 1959||MF||Peter Ford||Stoke City||Exchange|
|September 1959||MF||Harry Oscroft||Stoke City||Exchange|
|September 1959||MF||John Cunliffe||Stoke City||Exchange|
|October 1959||FW||Jack Wilkinson||Exeter City||£2,500|
|March 1960||FW||Graham Barnett||Tranmere Rovers||£5,000|
|May 1960||MF||Jimmy Adams||Crewe Alexandra||Free transfer|
|May 1960||DF||Roy Pritchard||Wellington Town||Free transfer|
|August 1960||DF||Fred Donaldson||Exeter City||£2,000|
|Summer 1960||MF||Morgan Hunt||Boston United||Released|
|Summer 1960||FW||Jimmy McLean||Wellington Town||Released|
- Kent, Jeff (1990). "Flattering Only to Deceive (1960–1969)". The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. pp. 196–226. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7.
- "Swindon-Town-FC.co.uk - Jimmy GAULD - Player Profile". www.swindon-town-fc.co.uk. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
- "How Stoke-on-Trent helped Lidice". BBC. 8 March 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
- "Port Vale and Czechoslovakia - a special relationship". onevalefan.co.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
- Kent, Jeff (December 1991). Port Vale Tales: A Collection Of Stories, Anecdotes And Memories. Witan Books. p. 27. ISBN 0-9508981-6-3.
- Kent, Jeff (December 1991). Port Vale Tales: A Collection Of Stories, Anecdotes And Memories. Witan Books. p. 116. ISBN 0-9508981-6-3.
- Kent, Jeff (December 1991). Port Vale Tales: A Collection Of Stories, Anecdotes And Memories. Witan Books. p. 28. ISBN 0-9508981-6-3.
- Port Vale 1959–1960 : Results & Fixtures Archived 13 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.