Season 4 1983-84
Although we had invited Year 5 players to join the squad for the Easter Tour (David Humphreys and Stephen Woodley in 1981 and Paul Hogg in 1982) we hadn’t selected an Under 10 for the squad at the start of the season until this one. Both Jamie Smith and Andrew Wallbridge impressed with their ability and attitude which made their selection a formality.
There was a great togetherness in the squad despite results not going our way at the start of the season and even after a 6-1 League defeat at the hands Oxford City (Vale’s goal coming from Cemil Altin) the changing room remained upbeat with James Hawthorne declaring, “Right, our winning run starts next week!” However, James was proved wrong as we lost again the following week 1-2 at Wokingham in the League with Stuart Fisher scoring. The winning run did in fact start the next week with a 1-0 League defeat of Newbury, Jeremy Smith scoring. The ‘run’ did not last long as we lost the following week in the League match at Beaconsfield & Chiltern, Jeremy Smith again scoring, but the 12-1 defeat remains the greatest margin of defeat in the 30 years. One player moved out of the area (not as a result of the defeat) and was replaced by another Year 5, Mark Blackmore.
The squad did achieve consectutive victories against South Oxon 2-1 (goals from Marc Smith and Jeremy Smith) and Mid Oxon 4-1 (Simon Burge, Jeremy Smith and a brace from Spencer Hickson) and towards the end of the season recorded an 8-0 victory at home to Banbury (goals from Stewart Morris, Simon Burge, David Weeks, Mark Blackmore and four from Jeremy Smith). When we toured the north-east at Easter we included five Year 5 players and although we lost the first three matches we managed an excellent 2-2 draw at Shrewsbury, Cemil Altin and Stewart Morris scoring. Despite finishing at the bottom of the League, we did achieve success during the season, we won the County League Six-a-side Competition for the first time. The Vale ‘B’ team beat the ‘A’ team in the semi-final before going on to defeat Newbury ‘A’ in the final.
The members of the squad were, Justin Allen, Cemil Altin, Mark Blackmore (Year 5), Patrick Briggs, Simon Burge, Stuart Fisher, James Hawthorne, Spencer Hickson, Stewart Morris, Jamie Smith (Y5), Jeremy Smith, Marc Smith, Andrew Wallbridge (Y5) and David Weeks.
Stewart Morris was the captain, Jeremy Smith top scorer with 11 goals and the President’s Trophy was awarded jointly to Stewart Morris and Andrew Wallbridge.