We present a selection of press clippings from the 1988-89 Port Vale promotion season charting the success of John Rudge’s side.
Many thanks to Port Vale fan Ken Grocott for providing these.
About the 1988-89 season
The Valiants wisely invested their windfall from the previous season’s cup campaign by strengthening their squad in the summer. The addition of veteran forward Ron Futcher, in particular, proved a masterstroke. Ironically, Futcher was John Rudge’s SIXTH choice. Futcher scored 19 times and young strike partner Beckford 23 times that season. The Valiants overcame a mid-season injury crisis to reach the play-offs. Robbie Earle, who netted 19 times was the play-off hero scoring in three of the four games as John Rudge’s side deservedly earned promotion. It meant that Port Vale would play in the second flight for the first time in 35 years.
These first two cuttings are from an early promotion six pointer against rivals Sheffield United. It proved to be a thriller:
There was a cup tie against top-flight Norwich City:
Vale were rocked by injuries to central defenders Phil Sproson and Bob Hazell. It saw John Rudge make two spectacular signings ahead of the clash with promotion rivals Wolves. Rudge smashed the transfer record on Dean Glover and also brought back Andy Jones on loan:
The Valiants ended the season in the play-offs. Firstly, there was a two-legged tie with Preston North End to negotiate. This is the first leg report:
The second-leg was a comprehensive win for the Valiants:
It took Vale to a two-legged play-off final against Bristol Rovers and this is what happened:
Some related videos from that season: