Port Vale Football Club PVFC Valiants FC
Port Vale History
12th in League One
League Cup: 4th round; Tottenham Hotspur a. 1-3 aet.
FA Cup: 2nd round; Hereford United a. 0-4
JP Trophy: 3rd round; Crewe Alexandra h. 2-3
5-1 win at Rotherham United, 10/3/07
4-0 defeat at Hereford in the FA Cup 2nd round, 2/12/06
One of the most consistent performers in the division. Very sound defensively and capable going forward. The best right back in League One for our money.
This rangy forward was particularly hot early on in the season and ended up with 22 goals to his credit.
Vale looked capable of challenging for promotion with a fine start to the league programmes and good progress in the League Cup which was only ended after extra time away at Tottenham.
After winning four games on the trot the Valiants were only one point adrift of the play off places going in to Christmas but a tough holiday programme took its toll and any lingering play off ambitions were dashed in April when the club lost 4 out of 5 games.
If Vale can keep their better players and bring a couple in to improve the squad then a promotion bid does not look too far away.
Port Vale Football Club was formed in 1876. The club became known as Burslem Port Vale in 1884 when it moved to a ground in that district. It reverted back to Port Vale in 1909 and did not settle at Vale Park until 1950. Originally the stadium was conceived on a grand scale and imagined to be a sort of Wembley of the north. Somehow the idea never quite came to fruition.
The club joined the Football League as original members of Division Two in 1892. In 1896, however, they failed in their bid for re-election and dropped out of the league. They quickly regained league status in 1898 but then resigned from the league in 1907.
Port Vale returned to the Football League in October 1919 when they took over the fixture list of Leeds City in the second division after that club was disbanded because of financial irregularities.
In 1929 the Valiants were relegated into Division Three North but responded by winning the title in that division immediately ahead of Stockport County. The club slipped out of the second division again in 1936 and then spent their time being shifted between the north and south sections before enjoying a remarkable season in 1953-54.
Vale won the Division Three North title finishing a massive eleven points clear of Barnsley, conceding a paltry 21 goals in the process.
They also made it through to the FA Cup semi finals. Queens Park Rangers, Cardiff City, Blackpool (the cup holders) and Leyton Orient were all knocked out before Vale lost 2-1 in the semi finals to West Bromwich Albion. It was a bitter defeat coming from a contentious penalty converted by Ronnie Allen, a player set out on the road to stardom by the Valiants.
This side was managed by Freddie Steele who had actually been a playing legend across the city with Stoke. It was captained by Tommy Cheadle and boasted an England "B" goalkeeper in Ray King behind the imposing Roy Sproson. Sproson would continue at Vale Park until 1972 and set a club record for league appearances with 761.
The club could only manage three seasons in Division Two, however. They dropped into Division Three South in 1957 and were placed in Division Four the following year when the north and south sections merged.
The Valiants immediately won the fourth division title ahead of Coventry City to climb into Division Three. Vale stayed in the third division for six seasons, finishing 3rd in 1963, before being relegated back to Division Four in 1965.
At the end of the 1967-68 season, having finished 18th, the club was expelled from the Football League for making unauthorised payments to their players. They were immediately re-elected, however.
Making the most of their reprieve Port Vale were promoted two seasons later in 1970. Vale then spent eight seasons in Division Three before being relegated in 1978.
The Valiants managed promotion in 1983 but were then instantly relegated back to Division Four. After another promotion in 1986, however, the club made great strides forward.
In 1988-89 the club only missed out on automatic promotion behind Sheffield United on goal difference but gained their place in the second division regardless after winning through in the play offs.
They defeated Preston North End in the semi finals, drawing 1-1 at Deepdale with a Robbie Earle goal before winning 3-1 at Vale Park with a Darren Beckford hat trick. Earle then grabbed both goals in the two legged final as Vale defeated Bristol Rovers 2-1 on aggregate.
In 1992 Vale collapsed after Christmas to suffer relegation back to the third tier but proved themselves a strong outfit at that level.
They reached the play offs in 1993 but lost out in the final to West Bromwich Albion. Vale had narrowly defeated Stockport County in the semi finals but lost 3-0 to the Baggies at Wembley.
The following year, however, they were promoted automatically as runners up behind Reading.
This time Vale lasted six seasons in the second tier, starting brightly but gradually sinking to another inevitable relegation. They finished one point above the drop zone in 1998 and only survived at Bury's expense in 1999 by virtue of having scored more goals. In 2000, however, there would be no escape.
The Valiants have spent the past five seasons in the third tier, missing out on a play off place in 2004 on goal difference.
The club has a woeful record in the League Cup having only made the 3rd round on two occasions in 1992 and 1997.
They have, however, enjoyed success in the minor cup competitions.
Vale won the Autoglass Trophy in 1993 when goals by Paul Kerr and Bernie Slaven gave them a 2-1 win over Stockport County at Wembley. They had already knocked out Stoke at the Victoria Ground in the southern semi finals.
They also enjoyed success in 2001 when the competition had become the LDV Vans Trophy. Vale again won at Stoke in the semi finals, this time in the northern section, before going on to beat Brentford 2-1 at the Millennium Stadium with goals from Marc Bridge-Wilkinson and Stephen Brooker.
The Valiants also reached the final of the Anglo Italian Cup in 1996 before losing 5-2 to Genoa at Wembley despite a couple of Martin Foyle goals.
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