1924–25 Port Vale F.C. season
|Stadium||The Old Recreation Ground|
|Football League Second Division||8th (42 Points)|
|FA Cup||First Round|
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+|
The 1924–25 season was Port Vale's sixth consecutive season of football (19th overall) in the Football League. 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.
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. 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. 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. They duly signed Alfred Strange from Portsmouth.
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. 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. Johnny Duncan scored six of the "Foxes" seven goals (a Leicester record).
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. 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, HMS Victory, the Newbury races, and music hall star Gertie Gitana performing at the theatre. Following this, manager Joe Schofield took advantage of a comfortable league position by experimenting with his starting eleven. 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. However Kirkham did bag his third hat-trick of the season against Stockport County.
At the end of season, Vale picked up a club record 42 Football League points, with Kirkham scoring a club record 26 league goals. 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. 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.
The club finally found themselves on a sound financial footing, making a record £4,469 profit on the campaign. 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.
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. 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. The nine goals scored amounted to a club record aggregate score in the competition.
Final league table
|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|
|6||Wolverhampton Wanderers||42||14||1||6||29||19||6||5||10||26||32||55||51||1.078||+ 4||46|
|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|
|14||The Wednesday||42||12||3||6||36||23||3||5||13||14||33||50||56||0.893||– 6||38|
|16||Bradford City||42||11||6||4||26||13||2||6||13||11||37||37||50||0.740||– 13||38|
|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|
|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
Port Vale's score comes first
; = Away; = Home; = Win; = Draw = Loss
Football League Second Division
|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|
|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)|
|1924||MF||Alfred Strange||Portsmouth||Free transfer|||
|June 1924||GK||Tom Fern||Everton||Free transfer|||
|June 1924||MF||Billy Tempest||Stoke||£1,000|||
|July 1924||DF||Harry Lomas||Congleton||Free transfer|||
|July 1924||GK||Robert Wallis||Trentham||Free transfer|||
|August 1924||DF||Tom Cooper||Trentham||£20|||
|August 1924||MF||Jack Wareham||Stoke||Free transfer|||
|October 1924||DF||Arden Maddison||Stoke||Free transfer|||
|November 1924||MF||Arthur Ecclestone||Stone Lotus||Free transfer|||
|October 1924||DF||Len Birks||Sheffield United||'substantial'|||
|Summer 1925||MF||Tom Davis||Stafford Rangers||Released|||
|Summer 1925||MF||Jack Hyde||Released|||
|Summer 1925||DF||Harry Lomas||Released|||
|Summer 1925||MF||Jack Wareham||Crewe Alexandra||Released|||
- 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.
- Twydell, Dave (1997). Rejected F.C. of Scotland Volume 3:The Rest. p. 180. ISBN 1-874427-17-8.
- Port Vale 1924–1925 : Results & Fixtures. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.