1961–62 Port Vale F.C. season
|Football League Third Division||12th (45 Points)|
|FA Cup||Fifth Round|
(knocked out by Fulham)
|League Cup||First Round|
(knocked out by Blackpool)
|Top goalscorer||League: Arthur Longbottom (16)|
All: Bert Llewellyn / Arthur Longbottom (20)
|Highest home attendance||28,226 vs. Sunderland, 31 January 1961|
|Lowest home attendance||4,770 vs. Swindon Town, 14 April 1962|
|Average home league attendance||8,993|
|Biggest win||4–0 (twice)|
|Biggest defeat||1–4 vs. Southend United, 16 October 1961|
The 1961–62 season was Port Vale's 50th season of football in the English Football League, and their third season in the Third Division. The season was most notable for the win over Sunderland in the FA Cup, which followed a goalless draw at Roker Park in which the Vale defence prevented Brian Clough from even having a shot. The club also hosted a friendly against the Czechoslovakia national football team, and later took a tour of Poland. In the league they failed to gain promotion, and had to settle for mid-table obscurity.
The pre-season saw Norman Low spend some of the £10,000 in transfer funds he was allocated. He spent £2,000 acquiring inside-forward Arthur Longbottom from Queens Park Rangers. Low then repaid West Bromwich Albion the £10,000 for Stan Steele in order to bring him back to Vale Park. This meant a 'shock' for the fans, as Cliff Portwood was sold to Grimsby Town for £6,000 to balance the books. Another £2,000 was spent on bringing centre-half John Nicholson from Liverpool. Free signings included winger Stan Edwards (Everton), goalkeeper Peter Taylor (Middlesbrough), and Joe Maloney (Shrewsbury Town). Low declared that the logic behind the signings was to improve the defence and that his side was now 'capable of getting promotion'. To whip the new signings into shape trainer Lol Hamlett took them on a seven-mile run.
The defence began poorly, in an opening day 4–2 defeat to Shrewsbury Town at Gay Meadow. Maloney was subsequently dropped and sold to Crewe Alexandra for 'a small fee'. The first match at Burslem saw Vale ' casually steamroller' Hull City 4–0. On 2 September, John Nicholson made the first of his club record 208 consecutive appearances, that would end on 8 September 1965. On a four match sequence without a win, The Sentinel commented that "gloom has descended". The mood lifted with a 1–0 win over Bristol City at Ashton Gate on 9 September, in the first of five wins in six games.
On 2 October Czechoslovakia beat Vale 3–1 in front of 22,895 fans at Vale Park, repaying the club for their successful tour of the country at the end of the 1959–60 season. Later that month Dennis Fidler was sold to Grimsby Town for £2,000, and the "Valiants" struggled. Vale then signed Colin Grainger from Leeds United for £6,000, and the former England international scored on his debut. In December, Low further added to his firepower by signing Ralph Hunt from Swindon Town for £3,500. Hunt scored a hat-trick in his second game for the club, a 4–1 win over Shrewsbury Town. He also hit the back of the net in the following two victories. Vale then struggled in the league, losing four games on the bounce. Around this time rivals Stoke City faced an upsurge in support with the return of Stanley Matthews. Low attempted to tempt Tom Finney out of retirement, but was unsuccessful.
By the end of February Vale lay just four points clear of relegation and star player Grainger was out injured. Beating Barnsley 2–0, they picked up six points out of a possible ten. They then remained unbeaten throughout the opening six games of April to ensure survival. At this time Noel Kinsey's contract was cancelled, as he wished to go into the pottery business in Norwich. At Vale Park, an £8,000 social club was opened, as the club management stated their intention to turn the ground into 'a real family social centre'.
They finished the season in twelfth position with 45 points, closer to the drop than promotion. A strong defence was not supported by a weak attack. Llewellyn and Longbottom scored twenty goals each in all competitions, but received little support.
On the financial side, declining attendances failed to prevent a profit of £1,261. This profit came thanks to a hefty £16,250 donation from the Sportsmen's Association, as well as Vale's daily pools. Gate receipts stood at £44,388, whilst expenditures rose to £73,059 despite wages being kept at around £31,000. Peter Taylor was allowed to leave for Burton Albion as he failed to dislodge Ken Hancock, Taylor later became acquainted with Brian Clough at Burton. Low also sold three players for £2,000 each: Brian Jackson to Peterborough United, Ralph Hunt to Newport County, and David Raine to Doncaster Rovers.
In May the team took a tour of Poland, playing four friendlies, climbing the Tatra Mountains, and sailing on the Tatras river. When one boat capsized, 'the lads told the attendant in colourful Potteries language what they thought of him'. The final game of the tour was a goalless draw with Legia.
In the FA Cup, Vale brushed past Bradford Park Avenue with a 1–0 win at Horsfall Stadium. In the Second Round they faced Crewe Alex, who they beat 3–0 in a replay, following a 1–1 draw at Gresty Road. Vale then beat Northampton Town 3–1, all the goals coming from Bert Llewellyn. In the Fourth Round they travelled to Sunderland's Roker Park, holding the "Mackems" to a goalless draw in front of 49,468 noisy Sunderland fans - not even £50,000 star striker Brian Clough could master the Vale defence. For the return, 28,226 witnessed a 3–1 victory for the Vale over the Second Division side in 'a magical piece of soccer history'. The Vale had 'spat and hissed like angry alley cats' for their win, intimidating tricky winger Harry Hooper. In the Fifth Round they were beaten by First Division Fulham at Craven Cottage with a disputed late penalty. The referee also gave the "Cottagers" a goal kick when the ball had in fact crossed the line for a goal – to the fury of the Vale supporters.
|11||Bradford Park Avenue||46||20||7||19||80||78||1.026||47|
Port Vale's score comes first
Football League Third Division
Results by matchday
; = Away; = Home; = Win; = Draw = Loss
|19 August 1961||Shrewsbury Town||A||2–4||8,632||Fidler, Longbottom|
|21 August 1961||Hull City||H||4–0||11,480||Poole (2), Llewellyn, Jackson|
|26 August 1961||Peterborough United||H||0–1||18,797|
|31 August 1961||Hull City||A||1–3||8,095||Longbottom|
|2 September 1961||Northampton Town||A||1–1||9,573||Llewellyn|
|4 September 1961||Southend United||H||0–0||10,317|
|9 September 1961||Bristol City||A||1–0||10,670||Poole|
|16 September 1961||Bradford Park Avenue||H||3–2||9,279||Steele, Llewellyn, Longbottom|
|21 September 1961||Notts County||A||3–2||8,676||Jackson, Llewellyn, Poole|
|23 September 1961||Grimsby Town||A||1–1||8,910||Poole|
|25 September 1961||Notts County||H||1–0||11,707||Whalley|
|30 September 1961||Coventry City||H||2–0||9,821||Longbottom, Poole|
|4 October 1961||Reading||A||0–0||11,779|
|7 October 1961||Watford||H||1–3||10,120||Steele|
|9 October 1961||Reading||H||2–1||7,208||Steele, Longbottom|
|14 October 1961||Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic||A||0–1||13,675|
|16 October 1961||Southend United||A||1–4||8,090||Nicholson|
|21 October 1961||Torquay United||H||4–1||10,383||Jackson (2), Grainger, Llewellyn|
|28 October 1961||Lincoln City||A||1–1||4,708||Llewellyn|
|11 November 1961||Queens Park Rangers||A||1–2||7,087||Llewellyn|
|18 November 1961||Halifax Town||H||1–1||9,374||Longbottom|
|2 December 1961||Crystal Palace||H||0–1||9,761|
|9 December 1961||Portsmouth||A||0–1||11,925|
|16 December 1961||Shrewsbury Town||H||4–1||8,837||Hunt (3), Jackson|
|23 December 1961||Peterborough United||A||3–1||9,294||Hunt (2), Llewellyn|
|26 December 1961||Newport County||H||3–0||12,182||Llewellyn, Longbottom, Hunt|
|13 January 1962||Northampton Town||H||1–1||8,229||Llewellyn|
|20 January 1962||Bristol City||H||0–2||7,262|
|3 February 1962||Bradford Park Avenue||A||1–2||9,294||Sproson|
|10 February 1962||Grimsby Town||H||0–2||10,071|
|24 February 1962||Watford||A||0–2||7,778|
|5 March 1962||Barnsley||H||2–0||4,958||Longbottom, Steele|
|10 March 1962||Torquay United||A||0–2||4,565|
|12 March 1962||Newport County||A||1–1||2,524||Longbottom|
|17 March 1962||Lincoln City||H||4–0||6,239||Steele (2), Longbottom, Edwards|
|19 March 1962||Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic||H||1–0||8,993||Llewellyn|
|24 March 1962||Barnsley||A||1–2||4,670||Longbottom|
|31 March 1962||Queens Park Rangers||H||2–3||4,936||Longbottom (2)|
|7 April 1962||Halifax Town||A||3–3||2,938||Steele, Longbottom, Llewellyn|
|14 April 1962||Swindon Town||H||1–1||4,770||Longbottom|
|16 April 1962||Coventry City||A||1–0||5,907||Edwards|
|20 April 1962||Brentford||A||2–1||11,175||o.g., Llewellyn|
|21 April 1962||Crystal Palace||A||0–0||10,519|
|23 April 1962||Brentford||H||3–0||5,928||Longbottom, Edwards, Steele|
|28 April 1962||Portsmouth||H||2–3||6,186||Llewellyn (2)|
|30 April 1962||Swindon Town||A||0–1||7,331|
|R1||4 November 1961||Bradford Park Avenue||A||1–0||12,127||Jackson|
|R2||25 November 1961||Crewe Alexandra||A||1–1||13,081||Longbottom|
|R2 Replay||27 November 1961||Crewe Alexandra||H||3–0||19,029||Longbottom (2), Llewellyn|
|R3||6 January 1962||Northampton Town||H||3–1||19,444||Llewellyn (3)|
|R4||27 January 1962||Sunderland||A||0–0||49,468|
|R4 Replay||31 January 1962||Sunderland||H||3–1||28,226||Jackson, Poole, Llewellyn|
|R5||17 February 1962||Fulham||A||0–1||29,559|
|R1||13 September 1961||Blackpool||A||1–2||10,494||Llewellyn|
|Pos.||Name||Football League||FA Cup||League Cup||Total|
|Place||Position||Nation||Name||Third Division||FA Cup||League Cup||Total|
|May 1961||MF||Stan Edwards||Everton||Free transfer|
|May 1961||FW||Arthur Longbottom||Queens Park Rangers||£2,000|
|June 1961||MF||Joe Maloney||Shrewsbury Town||Free transfer|
|June 1961||GK||Peter Taylor||Middlesbrough||£750|
|July 1961||FW||Stan Steele||West Bromwich Albion||£10,000|
|July 1961||MF||Colin Grainger||Leeds United||£6,000|
|August 1961||DF||John Nicholson||Liverpool||£2,000|
|December 1961||FW||Ralph Hunt||Swindon Town||£3,500|
|June 1961||MF||Joe Maloney||Crewe Alexandra||'small'|
|October 1961||MF||Dennis Fidler||Grimsby Town||£2,000|
|April 1962||FW||Noel Kinsey||Mutual consent|
|May 1962||MF||Colin Corbishley||Chester||Released|
|May 1962||FW||Derek Edge||Crewe Alexandra||Free transfer|
|May 1962||GK||Peter Taylor||Burton Albion||Free transfer|
|June 1962||MF||Roy Gater||Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic||'small'|
|June 1962||MF||Brian Jackson||Peterborough United||£2,000|
|July 1962||FW||Ralph Hunt||Newport County||£2,000|
|July 1962||DF||David Raine||Doncaster Rovers||£2,000|
|Summer 1962||FW||Stan March||Macclesfield||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.
- Kent, Jeff (December 1991). Port Vale Tales: A Collection Of Stories, Anecdotes And Memories. Witan Books. p. 109. ISBN 0-9508981-6-3.
- Port Vale 1961–1962 : Results & Fixtures Archived 11 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.