1977–78 Port Vale F.C. season

The 1977–78 season was Port Vale's 66th season of football in the Football League, and their eighth successive season (14th overall) in the Third Division.[1] Finishing in 21st place, they were relegated to the Fourth Division. Roy Sproson was sacked in October after a poor start to the season, though things did not improve under his replacement Bobby Smith, despite Smith spending big money to bring in new players. Smith also left the club at the end of the season.

Port Vale
1977–78 season
ChairmanArthur McPherson
ManagerRoy Sproson
(until 31 October)
Colin Harper
(caretaker 31 October – 17 November)
Bobby Smith
(from 17 November)
StadiumVale Park
Football League Third Division21st (36 Points)
FA CupSecond Round
(knocked out by Walsall)
League CupFirst Round
(knocked out by Preston North End)
Player of the YearKen Beamish
Top goalscorerLeague: Ken Beamish (13)
All: Ken Beamish (16)
Highest home attendance7,051 vs. Walsall, 19 December 1977
Lowest home attendance3,220 vs. Hereford United, 22 March 1978
Average home league attendance3,947
Biggest win4–0 vs. Exeter City, 8 February 1978
Biggest defeat0–3 (four games) and 1–4

OverviewEdit

Third DivisionEdit

The pre-season saw manager Roy Sproson attempt to re-sign Sammy Morgan for £12,000, however Morgan refused personal terms.[1] Former Player of the Year David Harris also refused terms and demanded a transfer, so Terry Alcock re-joined on a month's trial to take his place.[1] Three players arrived on free transfers: Jeff Hemmerman and Grahame McGifford from Hull City, and Bill Bentley from Blackpool.[1] On a 28 June meeting, Sproson was severely criticized for his poor judgement of players and his seeming to place greater priority on his newsagent business than the club.[1] Sproson did not attend the meeting, but was informed the board would review his position after fifteen games.[1] The Football Association also hit the club with a £500 fine for their continuing problem with player indiscipline, despite Sproson's argument that no Vale players had been sent off in the last two years.[1]

The season began poorly, though Harris returned to the first eleven and Alcock thus departed.[1] Keeper John Connaughton picked up a knee injury, whilst a reporter from The Sentinel was allegedly told "I'll kill you" by a club official after he criticized the team in the paper.[1] The reporter noted that "there is disenchantment in the air".[1] The situated was calmed on 27 September, when Vale beat high-flying Colchester United 3–2 at Layer Road, reserve keeper Trevor Dance making a double penalty save.[1] This was only a reprieve for Sproson however, as Vale would go the next fourteen league games without a victory, and the Vale Park faithful turned against the team.[1] This run was not too damaging however, as eleven of the games were draws.[1] Included in this was a club record streak of six home draws, lasting from 10 October to 27 December. Sproson complained of Mick Cullerton's attitude, and had to endure speculation of former Stoke City manager Tony Waddington taking his job.[1] Sproson was sacked in October, and he rejected the offer of an executive position at the club.[1] Colin Harper was made caretaker-manager.[1] The board tried and failed to attract Bill McGarry to the vacant managerial position, and so advertised the position with a significant salary increase to attract applicants.[1] On 17 November, Bobby Smith was sacked as Bury manager, and the next day walked into the Vale job.[1] He appointed Dennis Butler as his assistant, as Harper left the club.[1] Sproson also returned to Vale with an offer 'to help in any capacity'.[1] Victory finally came on New Year's Eve with a 3–0 win over Rotherham United.[1] Soon after this the 'Vale Lottery' was introduced, which proved to be a real money-spinner, and a five-a-side pitch was built for training.[1]

In January, veteran defender Graham Hawkins was signed as a player-coach from Blackburn Rovers for £6,000.[1] Forward Neville Chamberlain also joined the club as a professional, becoming the club's first black pro.[1] John Froggatt also joined the club, signing from Colchester United for £10,000.[1] Chairman Arthur McPherson celebrated this abandonment of frugality by declaring "we are going places".[1] Chris Harper slated the board for their decisions, calling them 'berserk'. Froggatt scored fifteen seconds into his debut in a 4–0 win over Exeter City.[1] However this would be as good as it got for both Froggatt and Vale that season. In February, Vale beat Fort Lauderdale Strikers in a friendly, but also started a five games sequence without a win.[1] Ged Stenson arrived the next month from Everton for a 'bargain' £3,000, and John Lumsdon joined on loan from Stoke City.[1] Vale improved, and were unbeaten in six of their seven March games, with Chamberlain scoring on his debut.[1] Yet on 28 March they started a club-record streak of twelve home games without a win that would continue into the following season. Encouragement came from the youth side, who reached the Quarter Finals of the FA Youth Cup.[1] With four games to go, Vale were point clear of the drop, however by losing all of their remaining games they doomed themselves to the Fourth Division.[1]

They finished in 21st place with 36 points, three short of Rotherham United and safety.[1] Their tally of 46 goals scored was the third-lowest in the division.[1] They had failed to keep a clean sheet on their travels all season, achieving just one away win.[1] Player of the Year Ken Beamish hit sixteen goals, far outscoring his rivals.[1]

FinancesEdit

On the financial side, a loss of £1,575 was made.[1] The massive transfer outlay was paid for by huge donations of £51,428 from the Sportsmen's Association and the Development Fund.[1] The lottery also brought in £600 a week.[1] Gate receipts had brought in £78,965, a downturn in attendance being outweighed by an increase in ticket prices.[1] Seven players were handed free transfers, five of which were: Mick Cullerton and Grahame McGifford (Northwich Victoria); Derek Brownbill (Cleveland Cobras); Alan Lamb (Dundee); and Kevin Kennerley (Stafford Rangers).[1] Manager Bobby Smith also departed, having taken the vacant position at Swindon Town – Vale received £10,500 in compensation.[1] Dennis Butler rejected the opportunity to leave with him, and instead was appointed as Smith's replacement at Vale.[1] Graham Hawkins became Butler's assistant.[1]

Cup competitionsEdit

In the FA Cup, Smith's first game in charge was a goalless draw at Midland Counties League side Arnold.[1] The replay in Burslem was won 5–2, the club's biggest win since January 1969.[1] In the Second Round, Vale drew 1–1 with Walsall at Fellows Park, before losing the replay 3–1 after Connaughton allowed a speculative shot from 25 yards out to trickle through his hands.[1] He later admitted "I deserve to be strung up!".[1]

In the League Cup, Vale beat Preston North End 2–1 in the home leg, though the fixture was unsettled by crowd violence.[1] Preston won the return leg at Deepdale, and also the replay at Edgeley Park, Stockport.[1]

League tableEdit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Promotion or relegation
19 Plymouth Argyle 46 11 17 18 61 68 −7 39
20 Rotherham United 46 13 13 20 51 68 −17 39
21 Port Vale 46 8 20 18 46 67 −21 36 Relegated
22 Bradford City 46 12 10 24 56 86 −30 34
23 Hereford United 46 9 14 23 34 60 −26 32
Source: rsssf.com

ResultsEdit

Port Vale's score comes first

Football League Third DivisionEdit

Results by matchdayEdit

Round12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031323334353637383940414243444546
GroundHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHHAHAAHAAHHAHAHAHAAHHAHHA
ResultLDWLWDLWLLDDDDDLDDDDLDWLWLLWLLDLDWDWDDLDDDLLLL
Position20191720121520172123222221212122212121202121181817182018191919191919181819191919191919202021
Source: Statto[2]
A = Away; H = Home; W = Win; D = Draw; L = Loss

MatchesEdit

Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
20 August 1977 Chesterfield H 1–3 4,091 Hemmerman (pen)
27 August 1977 Wrexham A 1–1 5,797 Brownbill
3 September 1977 Lincoln City H 2–1 3,520 Hemmerman (2 [1 pen])
10 September 1977 Exeter City A 1–4 5,026 Cullerton
12 September 1977 Bradford City H 1–0 3,814 Lamb
17 September 1977 Sheffield Wednesday H 0–0 5,136
24 September 1977 Walsall A 0–2 4,897
27 September 1977 Colchester United A 3–2 4,820 Beamish (2), Beech
1 October 1977 Bury H 1–2 3,672 Cullerton
8 October 1977 Shrewsbury Town A 0–3 3,553
10 October 1977 Gillingham H 2–2 3,418 Bailey, Brownbill
15 October 1977 Swindon Town A 1–1 6,327 Sutcliffe
22 October 1977 Peterborough United H 0–0 3,502
29 October 1977 Hereford United A 1–1 5,393 Sutcliffe
5 November 1977 Preston North End H 0–0 4,208
12 November 1977 Chester A 1–2 3,321 Brownbill
15 November 1977 Portsmouth A 1–1 7,071 Hemmerman
19 November 1977 Tranmere Rovers H 1–1 3,576 Hemmerman (pen)
3 December 1977 Carlisle United A 1–1 4,323 Bailey (pen)
9 December 1977 Plymouth Argyle H 3–3 3,650 Beamish, Harris, Lamb
26 December 1977 Cambridge United A 0–2 6,124
27 December 1977 Oxford United H 1–1 3,997 Harris
31 December 1977 Rotherham United H 3–0 3,861 Beamish (2), Sutcliffe
2 January 1978 Preston North End A 0–2 10,940
7 January 1978 Portsmouth H 2–0 3,481 Beamish (2)
14 January 1978 Chesterfield A 0–2 4,619
28 January 1978 Lincoln City A 0–3 3,205
8 February 1978 Exeter City H 4–0 3,333 Froggatt, Sutcliffe, Beamish, (pen)
11 February 1978 Sheffield Wednesday A 1–3 9,659 Griffiths (pen)
25 February 1978 Bury A 0–3 4,475
28 February 1978 Walsall H 2–2 4,682 Beamish, Lamb
4 March 1978 Shrewsbury Town H 1–2 3,499 Griffiths (pen)
8 March 1978 Bradford City A 1–1 6,205 Bailey
11 March 1978 Swindon Town H 1–0 3,723 Chamberlain
17 March 1978 Peterborough United A 1–1 4,277 Chamberlain
22 March 1978 Hereford United H 1–0 3,220 Froggatt
25 March 1978 Oxford United A 1–1 4,120 Beamish
28 March 1978 Cambridge United H 1–1 4,240 Griffiths (pen)
1 April 1978 Rotherham United A 0–2 3,707
4 April 1978 Gillingham A 1–1 7,627 Beamish
8 April 1978 Chester H 0–0 3,615
11 April 1978 Wrexham H 1–1 6,912 Hawkins
14 April 1978 Tranmere Rovers A 1–2 2,460 Beamish
22 April 1978 Carlisle United H 0–1 3,942
24 April 1978 Colchester United H 0–3 3,684
29 April 1978 Plymouth Argyle A 2–3 9,474 Beamish, Froggatt

FA CupEdit

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 26 November 1977 Arnold A 0–0 3,600
R1 Replay 28 November 1977 Arnold H 5–2 5,205 Sutcliffe (2), Bailey, Beamish, Ridley
R2 17 December 1977 Walsall A 1–1 5,978 Beamish
R2 Replay 19 December 1977 Walsall H 1–3 7,051 Beamish

League CupEdit

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers
R1 1st Leg 13 August 1977 Preston North End H 2–1 4,630 Beech, Alcock
R1 2nd Leg 16 August 1977 Preston North End A 1–2 5,816 Hemmerman (pen)
R1 Replay 23 August 1977 Preston North End N 1–2 2,201 Alcock

Player statisticsEdit

AppearancesEdit

Pos. Name Football League FA Cup League Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
GK   John Connaughton 38 0 4 0 3 0 45 0
GK   Trevor Dance 8 0 0 0 0 0 8 0
DF   Neil Griffiths 33 4 4 0 3 0 40 4
DF   David Harris 41 2 4 0 0 0 45 2
DF   Garry Dulson 20 0 2 0 0 0 22 0
DF   Terry Alcock 3 0 0 0 3 2 6 2
DF   Phil Sproson 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
DF   Colin Harper 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
DF   Graham Hawkins 16 1 0 0 0 0 16 1
DF   John Lumsdon 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
DF   Grahame McGifford 20 0 4 0 3 0 27 0
DF   Bill Bentley 32 0 2 0 3 0 37 0
DF   Brian Bithell 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
MF   John Ridley 40 0 4 1 3 0 47 1
MF   Terry Bailey 39 3 4 1 1 0 44 4
MF   Kenny Beech 26 1 1 0 3 1 30 2
MF   Alan Lamb 40 3 4 0 3 0 47 3
MF   Peter Sutcliffe 30 4 4 2 0 0 34 6
MF   Kevin Kennerley 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
MF   Mick Moore 13 0 0 0 0 0 13 0
MF   Russell Bromage 6 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
MF   John Lowey 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
FW   Derek Brownbill 21 3 4 0 3 0 28 3
FW   Mick Cullerton 17 2 0 0 0 0 17 2
FW   Ken Beamish 42 13 4 3 3 0 49 16
FW   John Froggatt 12 3 0 0 0 0 12 3
FW   Jeff Hemmerman 15 5 2 0 3 1 20 6
FW   Neville Chamberlain 10 2 0 0 0 0 10 2

Top scorersEdit

Place Position Nation Name Third Division FA Cup League Cup Total
1 FW   England Ken Beamish 13 3 0 16
2 FW   England Jeff Hemmerman 5 0 1 6
MF   England Peter Sutcliffe 4 2 0 6
4 DF   England Neil Griffiths 4 0 0 4
MF   England Terry Bailey 3 1 0 4
6 MF   Scotland Alan Lamb 3 0 0 3
FW   England Derek Brownbill 3 0 0 3
FW   England John Froggatt 3 0 0 3
9 FW   England Neville Chamberlain 2 0 0 2
FW   Scotland Mick Cullerton 2 0 0 2
MF   England Kenny Beech 1 0 1 2
DF   England David Harris 2 0 0 2
DF   England Terry Alcock 0 0 2 2
14 DF   England Graham Hawkins 1 0 0 1
MF   England John Ridley 0 1 0 1
TOTALS 46 7 4 57

TransfersEdit

Transfers inEdit

Date from Position Nationality Name From Fee Ref.
June 1977 FW   Jeff Hemmerman Hull City Free transfer [3]
June 1977 DF   Grahame McGifford Hull City Free transfer [3]
July 1977 DF   Bill Bentley Blackpool Undisclosed [3]
July 1977 DF   Colin Harper Ipswich Town Free transfer [3]
January 1978 DF   Graham Hawkins Blackburn Rovers £6,000 [3]
February 1978 FW   John Froggatt Colchester United £10,000 [3]
March 1978 MF   Mick Moore Wigan Athletic £3,000 [3]
March 1978 MF   Ged Stenson Everton £3,000 [3]

Transfers outEdit

Date from Position Nationality Name To Fee Ref.
1978 DF   Terry Alcock Halifax Town Free transfer [3]
January 1978 DF   Colin Harper   Waterford Sacked [3]
April 1978 DF   John Brodie Retired [3]
May 1978 FW   Derek Brownbill   Cleveland Cobras Free transfer [3]
May 1978 FW   Mick Cullerton Northwich Victoria Free transfer [3]
May 1978 FW   Jeff Hemmerman Portsmouth Free transfer [3]
May 1978 MF   Kevin Kennerley Stafford Rangers Free transfer [3]
May 1978 MF   Alan Lamb Dundee Free transfer [3]
May 1978 DF   Grahame McGifford Northwich Victoria Free transfer [3]

Loans inEdit

Date from Position Nationality Name From Date to Ref.
September 1977 DF   Brian Bithell Stoke City October 1977 [3]
March 1978 DF   John Lumsdon Stoke City Summer 1978 [3]

Loans outEdit

Date from Position Nationality Name To Date to Ref.
February 1978 MF   Kevin Kennerley Swansea City February 1978 [3]

ReferencesEdit

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 aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax Kent, Jeff (1990). "Surviving on a Shoestring (1969–1979)". The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. pp. 227–257. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7.
  2. ^ Port Vale 1977–1978 : Results & Fixtures Archived 6 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Statto Organisation. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.
General