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Port Vale 1954/55

Port Vale v Stoke City 15th January 1955

Preceded, and followed, by quite acceptably attractive cover designs, Port Vale issued a one season only look totally out of character. The cover shows naively drawn, colourful, views of Port Vale’s Limekiln Lane ground in 1876 and their Vale Park stadium in the current 1954/55 season. It really is a very unusual style for that period or any other and was first used as a Souvenir cover at the end of the previous season's winning of the division Championship.

I wonder how many of you reading this will remember Double Diamond. I can recall the large cans from supermarkets with affection (more so than the bottles sold in pubs) but not sure what the relevance of an Oliver Hardy lookalike is in this advert.

The match in question is for a fixture against local rivals Stoke City although the Club Notes, penned by ‘Boslem’, were, after the perfunctory welcoming of Stoke’s Directors, Officials, Players and Supporters, dominated by the club’s forthcoming Cup tie against the ‘Spurs’.

The Manager speaks is attributed to Freddie Steele, a revered name at the time after leading Port Vale to the 3rd Division North Title the previous season. To be honest the notes are a little rambling though his opinion that winning league games spills over into cup performances and vice versa is something that some clubs should take on board now.

‘Mornflake Oats’! - Apparently ‘Kiddies Love It’ though perhaps is the jolly cut-out nursery figures that had more attraction.

The centre was, during the 1950s the most likely place you’d find the team sheet. Here it’s very functional- No christian names given and surrounded, as was common, by adverts. Very unusual to see one from someone like The Staffordshire Public Works Co. Ltd. Worth noting Roy Sproson’s name at no.6 as he played 842 games for the club between 1950 & 1972 and is commemorated by a statue outside the ground.

I was going to mention here the result of the match and even a short match report but, as you’ll be able to see, the match was not played due to snow. Perhaps the chill had got to the writers fingers and he/she clearly had trouble with ‘postponed’. By the way, do you know when the ‘knickers’ were dropped and replaced with ’shorts’?

Now here is something that you won’t see in the modern match day magazine. The Half-Time Score Board. Few radios, certainly no mobile phones and with the internet something from the pages of Asimov, the way to keep up to date on the half time scores from around the country was by one the club’s staff carrying around lots of 0’s, 1’s, 2’s etc. to place next to A then B through to Z. Although not on this occasion, this score board often had a place for the club’s reserve fixture.


The rundown on the visitors, spilling overleaf, is straightforward but can’t resist the temptation to mention either Port Vale’s manager’s success as a player there or the fact that the great Stanley Matthews had begun his career at Stoke (though he had been gone for nearly 8 years by this time).

Personally I like the mention of ‘Animal=Shaped Trays for Ice Lollies’ in the Burton’s advert opposite. Have to say it made a diluted orange lolly taste a tad better for looking vaguely like a lion.

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