1925–26 Port Vale F.C. season

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Port Vale
1925–26 season
Chairman Sampson Walker
Manager Joe Schofield
Stadium The Old Recreation Ground
Football League Second Division 8th (44 Points)
FA Cup Third Round
Top goalscorer League: Wilf Kirkham (35)
All: Wilf Kirkham (35)
Highest home attendance 19,997 vs. Stoke City (31 August 1925)
Lowest home attendance 5,207 vs. Nottingham Forest (12 April 1926)
Average home league attendance 10,739
Home colours

The 1925–26 season was Port Vale's seventh consecutive season of football (20th overall) in the Football League.[1] They improved on their previous season's success by two points. They finished in a higher league position than rivals Stoke City for only the second time in their history, and with Stoke relegated in 21st place, they guaranteed playing in a higher league than Stoke for the first time in their history. With seven games left to play, April 1926 would be arguably the club's best ever chance at reaching the top flight, however they tallied just two points from their remaining games to finish in eighth place. Despite all of this, the Vale board proposed a merger with Stoke City, and were forced to resign en-masse when the scheme failed.

A tale of two teams, their home record was the fourth strongest in the division; however away from home they recorded just four victories. The key performer was Wilf Kirkham by quite some distance, who racked up a club record 35 Football League goal tally that only he himself would better.

Billy Briscoe was injured for some time after discovering he had played a whole match whilst suffering from appendicitis.[1]
Frank Huntbach returned as chairman after Sampson Walker led a failed bid to amalgamate with Stoke City.
Veteran Billy Tempest had his final season as a professional.
Right-back Jack Maddock put away five penalties in his thirty games.

Overview[edit]

Second Division[edit]

The pre-season was quiet, with all the club satisfied with the staff and players of the previous campaign.[1] The game itself was changed by the offside rule being modified so that two defenders, rather than three, had to be between the attackers and the goal in order to spring the offside trap – this would have significant beneficial consequences for young forward Wilf Kirkham.[1]

The season started with two wins, the second being a 3–0 home win over cross-town rivals Stoke.[1] This was followed by a demolition job by Chelsea, who adapted to the new offside rule with a new 'W formation' – to devastating effects.[1] The "Valiants" recovered quickly with another 3–0 win over Stoke – Kirkham scoring five of the six derby goals over the two matches.[1] Following a poor display against Hull City, the Vale changed their defensive formation to better combat the new tactics used to exploit the new offside rule.[1] They also dropped their short-passing attacking game in favour of a long ball system that utilized the wings, this resulted in a 6–1 rout of Darlington.[1] Offers came in for a number of Vale's talent, all of which were rejected.[1]

During the mid-season Vale suffered indifferent form, winning at home but losing away. The cold weather was blamed for the low crowds, and the selling of players was considered.[1] Kirkham's form also suffered, as Vale found difficulty in finding the net.[1] In January the club celebrated its Golden Jubilee,[1] this established 1876 as their founding date despite some doubts over the exact year of the club's founding. On the pitch, the club went down 4–0 at Darlington. This defeat was followed by a sequence of seven wins in eight games, including a 5–0 win over Blackpool thanks to four goals from Alfred Strange.[1] The team also picked up two rare away wins, including a 2–0 victory at eventual champions The Wednesday.[1] However in March, young right-back Tom Cooper was sold to eventual promotion-winners Derby County for £2,500.[1] Cooper would later play for Liverpool and England.[1]

In fourth position, four points from the promotion zone, on a tremendous run of form, hopes were high for the club's first ever promotion to the top-flight.[1] This hope was crushed with two points from their final seven games, their 1–0 defeat at home Fulham would have significant consequences for neighbours Stoke, who would have avoided relegation if the Vale had recorded a draw.[1]

All positive thoughts were totally extinguished on 16 April 1926, when the Port Vale directors announced that they had agreed in principle to an amalgamation with Stoke City.[1] Chairman Walker stated that low attendances and high wages meant Port Vale had probably reached their zenith,[1] and a merger with City would allow one Stoke-on-Trent club to perform better than Port Vale ever could. Vale fans did not share his view, and organized themselves in Hanley and Burslem to deliver a message that they would not support the proposed new club.[1] On 19 May the Stoke directors backed out of the discussions, leaving the Vale directors and chairman to resign in failure.[1]

Finances[edit]

New chairman Frank Huntbach took over in May 1926 at a time of relative financial stability.[1] He discovered a £1,950 profit had been made on the season, though may have been concerned that gate receipts had fallen £1,302 despite a campaign that took the club close to promotion.[1]

Cup competitions[edit]

In the FA Cup, Vale were handed a home tie in the Third Round against First Division Manchester United. A hard fought contest, Vale lost 3–2 in front of a disappointing crowd of 14,841, raising £1,150 in gate receipts.[1] United would go on to the semi-finals, where they would lose 3–0 to derby rivals, and eventual runners-up, Manchester City.

Final league table[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A F A GA GD Pts
1 The Wednesday 42 19 0 2 61 17 8 6 7 27 31 88 48 1.833 + 40 60
2 Derby County 42 17 2 2 57 17 8 5 8 20 25 77 42 1.833 + 35 57
3 Chelsea 42 10 7 4 42 22 9 7 5 34 27 76 49 1.551 + 27 52
4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 42 15 4 2 55 15 6 3 12 29 45 84 60 1.400 + 24 49
5 Swansea Town 42 13 6 2 50 16 6 5 10 27 41 77 57 1.351 + 20 49
6 Blackpool 42 12 6 3 41 16 5 5 11 35 53 76 69 1.101 + 7 45
7 Oldham Athletic 42 14 4 3 52 24 4 4 13 22 38 74 62 1.194 + 12 44
8 Port Vale 42 15 3 3 53 18 4 3 14 26 51 79 69 1.145 + 10 44
9 South Shields 42 11 6 4 50 29 7 2 12 24 36 74 65 1.138 + 9 44
10 Middlesbrough 42 14 1 6 56 28 7 1 13 21 40 77 68 1.132 + 9 44
11 Portsmouth 42 12 4 5 48 27 5 6 10 31 47 79 74 1.068 + 5 44
12 Preston North End 42 17 2 2 54 28 1 5 15 17 56 71 84 0.845 – 13 43
13 Hull City 42 11 4 6 40 19 5 5 11 23 42 63 61 1.033 + 2 41
14 Southampton 42 11 2 8 39 25 4 6 11 24 38 63 63 1.000 ± 0 38
15 Darlington 42 9 5 7 51 31 5 5 11 21 46 72 77 0.935 – 5 38
16 Bradford City 42 9 5 7 28 26 4 5 12 19 40 47 66 0.712 – 19 36
17 Nottingham Forest 42 11 4 6 38 25 3 4 14 13 48 51 73 0.699 – 22 36
18 Barnsley 42 10 7 4 38 22 2 5 14 20 62 58 84 0.690 – 26 36
19 Fulham 42 8 6 7 32 29 3 6 12 14 48 46 77 0.597 – 31 34
20 Clapton Orient 42 8 6 7 30 21 4 3 14 20 44 50 65 0.769 – 15 33
21 Stoke City 42 8 5 8 32 23 4 3 14 22 54 54 77 0.701 – 23 32
22 Stockport County 42 8 7 6 34 28 0 2 19 17 69 51 97 0.526 – 46 25

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 A H H A A H H A H A A H A H A H A H A H H A A H A H A H A H A H A H H A A H H A H A
Result W W L W L W W D D L L W L W L W L W D W L L L W L W L W W W D W W W W L L D D L L L
Position 6 3 7 5 6 5 3 5 5 7 10 7 9 9 10 6 8 7 8 6 7 9 9 9 10 9 9 8 7 8 8 5 5 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 7 8

Sourced from Statto.[2]

Football League Second Division[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
29 August 1925 Clapton Orient A 2–1 16,854 Kirkham (2)
31 August 1925 Stoke City H 3–0 19,997 Kirkham (2 [1 pen]), Strange
5 September 1925 Chelsea H 0–6 12,801
7 September 1925 Stoke City A 3–0 21,869 Kirkham (3)
12 September 1925 Hull City A 0–3 12,523
14 September 1925 Barnsley H 3–0 7,277 Strange, Kirkham (pen), Briscoe
19 September 1925 Darlington H 6–1 5,841 Kirkham (4), Strange, Briscoe
26 September 1925 Blackpool A 2–2 9,502 Briscoe, Maddock (pen)
3 October 1925 Southampton H 1–1 12,589 Kirkham
10 October 1925 Nottingham Forest A 0–2 10,642
17 October 1925 Oldham Athletic A 2–3 7,924 Page, Kirkham
24 October 1925 Stockport County H 2–0 9,954 Maddock (pen), Kirkham
31 October 1925 Swansea Town A 0–1 15,612
7 November 1925 The Wednesday H 4–3 6,862 Kirkham (2), Strange, Lowe
14 November 1925 Preston North End A 0–4 17,681
21 November 1925 Middlesbrough H 4–0 9,336 Kirkham (3), Strange
28 November 1925 Portsmouth A 2–3 12,198 Tempest (2)
5 December 1925 Wolverhampton Wanderers H 3–0 8,364 Kirkham (2), Page
12 December 1925 Fulham A 3–3 11,452 Connelly, Page, Strange
19 December 1925 South Shields H 2–0 8,794 Strange, Maddock (pen)
25 December 1925 Derby County H 0–1 15,355
26 December 1925 Derby County A 0–2 23,784
1 January 1926 Barnsley A 0–3 6,804
2 January 1926 Clapton Orient H 4–2 8,070 Strange (3), Maddock (pen)
16 January 1926 Chelsea A 1–3 15,568 Page
23 January 1926 Hull City H 3–1 7,579 Lowe, Connelly, Kirkham
30 January 1926 Darlington A 0–4 8,791
6 February 1926 Blackpool H 5–0 9,027 Strange (4), Page
13 February 1926 Southampton A 3–2 10,865 Page, Strange, Kirkham
27 February 1926 Oldham Athletic H 3–0 11,719 Kirkham (2), Page
6 March 1926 Stockport County A 2–2 7,889 Page, Kirkham
13 March 1926 Swansea Town H 3–0 19,030 Kirkham, Page, Strange
20 March 1926 The Wednesday A 2–0 24,965 Strange, Kirkham
27 March 1926 Preston North End H 3–0 13,531 Kirkham (3)
2 April 1926 Bradford City H 2–0 15,984 Kirkham, Lowe
3 April 1926 Middlesbrough A 1–3 10,231 Lowe
5 April 1926 Bradford City A 0–2 9,281
10 April 1926 Portsmouth H 1–1 8,932 Kirkham
12 April 1926 Nottingham Forest H 1–1 5,207 Lowe
17 April 1926 Wolverhampton Wanderers A 1–3 10,549 Briscoe
24 April 1926 Fulham H 0–1 9,262
1 May 1926 South Shields A 2–5 3,027 Kirkham, Oakes

FA Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R3 9 January 1926 Manchester United H 2–3 14,841 Maddock (pen), Page

Player statistics[edit]

Transfers[edit]

Transfers in[edit]

Date from Position Nationality Name From Fee Ref.
June 1925 DF England Billy Wootton Congleton Town Free transfer [3]
August 1925 MF England Herbert Smith Littleworth Free transfer [3]
December 1925 MF Harold Salt Ravensdale Free transfer [3]

Transfers out[edit]

Date from Position Nationality Name To Fee Ref.
March 1926 DF England Tom Cooper Derby County £2,500 [3]
Summer 1926 MF England Ernest Collinge Released [3]
Summer 1926 FW England Joe Pointon Luton Town Released [3]
Summer 1926 MF Harold Salt Released [3]
Summer 1926 MF England Billy Tempest Retired [3]
Summer 1926 GK England Robert Wallis Released [3]

References[edit]

Specific
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 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. ^ Port Vale 1925–1926 : Results & Fixtures. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i 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.