Vale's greatest season - 1954
Port Vale has a long, honourable history. But the greatest season, when they reached the semi-final of the FA Cup, was 50 years ago - 1954. We remember the great season, check the anniversary events this year - and ask for your memories.
Let me tell you a story of heroes of long ago...
This was the team of (would you believe it?), virtually all home-town boys.
50 years ago
On that date in 1954, Vale were cruelly denied a Cup Final place (did Lee dive???).
What's more, the club commissioned a Heroes of '54 booklet (see right) on sale at the club shop.
To commemorate the golden anniversary of Vale's FA Cup semi-final, '54 players Colin Askey and Ken Griffiths sifted through more than 50 rare photographs to share their memories.But, the big celebration was at season end 2004, when almost all the surviving members of that side re-assembled for a grand dinner.
All but a few of the 250 tickets for the dinner were snapped up .
So... who were the heroes?
Colin Askey - whose son Mark is now such a sought-after young manager.
The day itself
The Vale Park crowd singing, in that same match... "Stan Matthews came a-wandering along the mountain track...valderee, valderah, valderhahahahahahahaha...."
Lee, of opposition West Brom, stumbling and rolling into the penalty area after a foul - and claiming a penalty. Was it a dive?
There are no friends on the pitch - Ronnie Allen slotted the penalty for West Brom. Remember Ronnie had been a Vale player himself - and he'd been born in Fenton, Stoke on Trent!
The composition of the Vale team was astonishing - it was possibly one of the last successful professional teams ever to have two-thirds of the team come from home. A staggering EIGHT players from that great side were from Stoke on Trent.
The Vale team, dazed by the limelight, were the underdog darlings of the Spring of '54, and were dragged to one photo-opp after another.
That same year, Stoke City thumped Hartlepool 6-2 in the Cup, but went out in Round 4...
last updated: 25/04/2008 at 11:27
Port Vale Facts
1876-Port Vale Football Club was formed in 1876 and took it's name from the venue of the inaugural meeting at 'Port Vale House' situated in a suburb of Stoke-on-Trent.Upon moving to Burslem in 1884 the club changed it's name to Burslem Port Vale. Eventually the Burslem part was dropped and they moved to their current ground-Vale Park in 1950.