1924–25 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
1924–25 season
Chairman Sampson Walker
Manager Joe Schofield
Stadium The Old Recreation Ground
Football League Second Division 8th (42 Points)
FA Cup First Round
Top goalscorer League: Wilf Kirkham (26)
All: Wilf Kirkham (33)
Highest home attendance 17,936 vs. Stoke (24 January 1925)
Lowest home attendance 5,000 vs. Southampton (13 October 1924)
Average home league attendance 10,769+
Home colours

The 1924–25 season was Port Vale's sixth consecutive season of football (19th overall) in the Football League.[1] A highly successful season, for the first time in their history they finished above rivals Stoke. Vale's eighth-place finish in the second tier was their best finish since 1893–94. Throughout the 20th century, this finish would be bettered only in 1930–31 (they would finish third in the Second Division in 1992–93, however by then the Second Division was actually the third tier in the Football League behind the Premier League).

Their success was down primarily to the goalscoring efforts of young Wilf Kirkham, who netted 33 goals in 44 games, this was combined with a settled team, which saw just fifteen regular players supplemented by seven reserve players.

Billy Briscoe missed just the one match.
Billy Tempest was a new signing from Stoke.
Right-back Jack Maddock played in 23 games.

Overview[edit]

Second Division[edit]

The pre-season saw the arrival of three new players: veteran Everton goalkeeper Tom Fern, young half-back Sidney Blunt, and winger Billy Tempest made the leap from Stoke to Vale.[1]

The season started with a lose-one-win-one sequence of six games; significantly, the final game of this sequence was a 1–0 win over Stoke at the Victoria Ground, Bob Connelly scoring the goal.[1] The "Valiants" followed this with five games without a win, and "a certain section of the crowd" became "prone to gibe and jeer at mistakes", which had a noticeable effect on the side's confidence.[1] Goals were a problem, and so the directors took the decision to sell full-back Len Birks to Sheffield United for 'a substantial sum', promising to spend the money on forwards,[1] they duly signed Alfred Strange from Portsmouth.[1]

The team bobbed along at mid-table, and on 20 December were expected to be turned over by promotion-chasing Manchester United; however Vale managed to record a 2–1 win.[1] The difficult games continued, as two games in as many days came against eventual champions Leicester City; they were thumped 7–0 at Filbert Street on Christmas Day.[1] Johnny Duncan scored six of the "Foxes" seven goals (a Leicester record).[2]

The second half of the season would prove to be a brilliant one for the club, they won ten of their first thirteen league games of 1925, including a 2–0 win over Stoke at The Old Recreation Ground – former "Potter" Tempest getting a goal against his former employers.[1] The defence were absolutely solid, keeping clean sheets in nine of these thirteen games.

Whilst on the South Coast of England the players were rewarded for their hard work with a relaxing holiday, seeing sights such as the Isle of Wight, the Southampton docks, the HMS Victory, the Newbury races, and music hall star Gertie Gitana performing at the theatre.[1] Following this, manager Joe Schofield took advantage of a comfortable league position by experimenting with his starting eleven.[1] Just four points were picked up from their last nine games, this included a 1–0 defeat at Stamford Bridge in front of 30,000 and a 4–0 defeat at Old Trafford in front of 40,000,[1] however Kirkham did bag his third hat-trick of the season against Stockport County.[1]

At the end of season, Vale picked up a club record 42 Football League points, with Kirkham scoring a club record 26 league goals,[1] outside of Kirkham however, the club were finding difficulties in front of goal, and had to be much more prolific in order to challenge for promotion.[1] They were fifteen points off the top two, and eight points clear of the bottom two.

Jack Lowe was an ever-present in both league and cup, whereas Kirkham and Briscoe each missed just the one game. Fern, Connelly, and Blunt also were highly consistent, at the end of the campaign all of the first team performers were retained.[1]

Finances[edit]

The club finally found themselves on a sound financial footing, making a record £4,469 profit on the campaign,[1] the club debt went down to £134, and the club decided to purchase The Old Recreation Ground outright, putting down a deposit of £2,250.[1]

Cup competitions[edit]

In the FA Cup, the Vale managed to qualify for the First Round Proper for the first time since 1921–22. Kirkham and Briscoe scored a combined total of ten goals in the games against Midland League Boston and Central Alliance League Alfreton, with Strange contributing three,[1] this set up a difficult encounter with First Division Aston Villa at Villa Park, and Vale were easily outclassed in the second-half, despite leading 1–0 at the break, they finished the game with a 7–2 defeat.[1] The nine goals scored amounted to a club record aggregate score in the competition.

Final league table[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A F A GA GD Pts
1 Leicester City 42 15 4 2 58 9 9 7 5 32 23 90 32 2.813 + 58 59
2 Manchester United 42 17 3 1 40 6 6 8 7 17 17 57 23 2.478 + 24 57
3 Derby County 42 15 3 3 49 15 7 8 6 22 21 71 36 1.972 + 35 55
4 Portsmouth 42 7 13 1 28 14 8 5 8 30 36 58 50 1.160 + 8 48
5 Chelsea 42 11 8 2 31 12 5 7 9 20 25 51 37 1.378 + 14 47
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 42 14 1 6 29 19 6 5 10 26 32 55 51 1.078 + 4 46
7 Southampton 42 12 8 1 29 10 1 10 10 11 26 40 36 1.111 + 4 44
8 Port Vale 42 12 4 5 34 19 5 4 12 14 37 48 56 0.857 – 8 42
9 South Shields 42 9 6 6 33 21 3 11 7 9 17 42 38 1.105 + 4 41
10 Hull City 42 12 6 3 40 14 3 5 13 10 35 50 49 1.020 + 1 41
11 Clapton Orient 42 8 7 6 22 13 6 5 10 20 29 42 42 1.000 ± 0 40
12 Fulham 42 11 6 4 26 15 4 4 13 15 41 41 56 0.732 – 15 40
13 Middlesbrough 42 6 10 5 22 21 4 9 8 14 23 36 44 0.818 – 8 39
14 The Wednesday 42 12 3 6 36 23 3 5 13 14 33 50 56 0.893 – 6 38
15 Barnsley 42 8 8 5 30 23 5 4 12 16 36 46 59 0.780 – 13 38
16 Bradford City 42 11 6 4 26 13 2 6 13 11 37 37 50 0.740 – 13 38
17 Blackpool 42 8 5 8 37 26 6 4 11 28 35 65 61 1.066 + 4 37
18 Oldham Athletic 42 9 5 7 24 21 4 6 11 11 30 35 51 0.686 – 16 37
19 Stockport County 42 10 6 5 26 15 3 5 13 11 42 37 57 0.649 – 20 37
20 Stoke 42 7 8 6 22 17 5 3 13 12 29 34 46 0.739 – 12 35
21 Crystal Palace 42 8 4 9 23 19 4 6 11 15 35 38 54 0.704 – 16 34
22 Coventry City 42 10 6 5 32 26 1 3 17 13 58 45 84 0.536 – 39 31

Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against;
GA = Goal average; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

Results[edit]

Port Vale's score comes first

Legend[edit]

Win Draw Loss
Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42
Ground H A H H H A A H A H H H A H A H H H A H A H A H H A H A A H A H A A A H A A H A A A
Result L W L W L W D D L D L W L W L W D W L L L W W W W L W W D W W W D L L D L L W L L D
Position 14 13 17 14 16 10 14 13 16 15 15 11 14 12 12 11 15 16 17 17 18 15 16 13 9 10 10 8 7 6 5 5 5 5 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 8

Sourced from Statto.[3]

Football League Second Division[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
30 August 1924 Wolverhampton Wanderers H 1–3 15,000 Page
6 September 1924 Barnsley A 3–1 8,000 Kirkham (2), Briscoe
8 September 1924 Fulham H 0–1 10,000
13 September 1924 Middlesbrough H 2–1 6,000 Kirkham, Briscoe
15 September 1924 Portsmouth H 0–2 9,000
20 September 1924 Stoke A 1–0 22,747 Connelly
27 September 1924 Bradford City A 1–1 10,000 Briscoe
4 October 1924 South Shields H 0–0 10,180
11 October 1924 Derby County A 1–4 18,000 Kirkham
13 October 1924 Southampton H 1–1 5,000 Kirkham
18 October 1924 Blackpool H 1–2 10,000 Kirkham
25 October 1924 Coventry City H 4–0 7,965 Kirkham (2), Maddock (pen), Connelly
1 November 1924 Oldham Athletic A 0–2 3,000
8 November 1924 The Wednesday H 1–0 9,018 Kirkham
15 November 1924 Clapton Orient A 1–3 10,000 Briscoe
22 November 1924 Crystal Palace H 3–0 8,147 Kirkham (2), Strange
6 December 1924 Chelsea H 1–1 11,975 Briscoe
20 December 1924 Manchester United H 2–1 14,000 Lowe, Kirkham
25 December 1924 Leicester City A 0–7 22,000
26 December 1924 Leicester City H 1–2 17,000 Kirkham
27 December 1924 Wolverhampton Wanderers A 0–3 8,000
3 January 1925 Barnsley H 2–0 7,654 Kirkham, Page
17 January 1925 Middlesbrough A 1–0 6,000 Page
24 January 1925 Stoke H 2–0 17,936 Kirkham, Tempest
2 February 1925 Bradford City H 1–0 6,000 o.g.
7 February 1925 South Shields A 0–3 10,000
14 February 1925 Derby County H 2–1 16,000 Kirkham (2 [1 pen])
25 February 1925 Stockport County A 2–0 3,000 Kirkham (2)
28 February 1925 Coventry City A 0–0 9,000
7 March 1925 Oldham Athletic H 1–0 11,005 Page
14 March 1925 The Wednesday A 1–0 12,000 Kirkham
21 March 1925 Clapton Orient H 4–2 10,000 Kirkham (3), Blunt
28 March 1925 Crystal Palace A 0–0 8,000
30 March 1925 Portsmouth A 0–2
4 April 1925 Southampton A 0–1 8,000
10 April 1925 Hull City H 1–1 14,500 Briscoe
11 April 1925 Chelsea A 0–1 30,000
13 April 1925 Hull City A 1–2 4,000 Strange
18 April 1925 Stockport County H 4–1 9,760 Kirkham (3 [1 pen]), Strange
22 April 1925 Blackpool A 1–4 8,000 Strange
25 April 1925 Manchester United A 0–4 40,000
2 May 1925 Fulham A 1–1 10,000 Page

FA Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
5Q 29 November 1924 Boston H 6–1 7,101 Strange (2), Kirkham (2), Briscoe (2)
6Q 13 December 1924 Alfreton A 8–2 6,000 Briscoe (4), Kirkham (3), Strange
R1 10 January 1925 Aston Villa A 2–7 35,800 Kirkham (2)

Player statistics[edit]

Transfers[edit]

Transfers in[edit]

Date from Position Nationality Name From Fee Ref.
1924 MF England Alfred Strange Portsmouth Free transfer [4]
June 1924 GK England Tom Fern Everton Free transfer [4]
June 1924 MF England Billy Tempest Stoke £1,000 [4]
July 1924 DF England Harry Lomas Congleton Free transfer [4]
July 1924 GK England Robert Wallis Trentham Free transfer [4]
August 1924 DF England Tom Cooper Trentham £20 [4]
August 1924 MF England Jack Wareham Stoke Free transfer [4]
October 1924 DF England Arden Maddison Stoke Free transfer [4]
November 1924 MF England Arthur Ecclestone Stone Lotus Free transfer [4]

Transfers out[edit]

Date from Position Nationality Name To Fee Ref.
October 1924 DF England Len Birks Sheffield United 'substantial' [4]
Summer 1925 MF England Tom Davis Stafford Rangers Released [4]
Summer 1925 MF England Jack Hyde Released [4]
Summer 1925 DF England Harry Lomas Released [4]
Summer 1925 MF England Jack Wareham Crewe Alexandra Released [4]

References[edit]

Specific
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Kent, Jeff (1990). "Keeping in Good Company (1919-1929)". The Valiants' Years The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. pp. 98–123. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7. 
  2. ^ Twydell, Dave (1997). Rejected F.C. of Scotland Volume 3:The Rest. p. 180. ISBN 1-874427-17-8. 
  3. ^ Port Vale 1924–1925 : Results & Fixtures. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0. 
General
  • Kent, Jeff (1993). The Port Vale Record 1879-1993. Witan Books. ISBN 0-9508981-9-8.