1993 Football League Second Division play-off Final
|Date||30 May 1993|
|Venue||Wembley Stadium, London|
The 1993 Football League Second Division play-off Final was a football match played at Wembley Stadium on 30 May 1993, to determine the third and final team to gain promotion from the Third Division to the Second Division of the Football League in the 1992–93 season. Port Vale faced West Bromwich Albion.
West Brom had no experience of the play-offs before 1993, while Vale had gone through the Second Division play-offs 2–1 on aggregate four years previous and whilst they had lost Robbie Earle since then, new signing Martin Foyle gave the team strong hopes of coming home the victors. In the semi-finals, Vale defeated Stockport County and West Brom beat Swansea City.
The match finished with a comprehensive 3–0 victory for West Brom, all three goals coming in the second half. The pivotal point of the match was when Vale defender Peter Swan was sent off for bringing down Bob Taylor, who had been through on goal. Andy Hunt, Nicky Reid and Kevin Donovan went on to score for Albion, to take their team into the second tier of the Football League.
Route to the final
|4||West Bromwich Albion||46||25||10||11||88||54||+34||85|
|Pos=Position P=Matches played W=Wins D=Draws|
L=Defeats F=Goals for A=Goals against Pts=Points
Port Vale had finished the 1992–93 Football League season in third place in Division Three, one place ahead of West Bromwich Albion. Both therefore missed out on the two automatic promotion places and instead took part in the play-offs to determine the third promoted team. Vale had finished one point behind Bolton Wanderers in second and also had superior goal difference to Bolton. The misery for Vale was made worse by the fact that they had lost both Potteries derby matches to rivals Stoke City, who went up as champions four points ahead of Vale. West Bromwich Albion finished fourth, four points behind Port Vale, having scored 88 goals that season, more than any other team in the division; 30 of these goals came from the division's top scorer Bob Taylor. Swansea City and Stockport County finished 12 and 13 points behind Albion in fifth and sixth respectively.
In the semi-finals, Vale drew 1–1 at Stockport's Edgeley Park, Dean Glover the scorer, before returning to Vale Park to finish them off 1–0 with a Martin Foyle goal. Welsh team Swansea won 2–1 at their home ground before bowing out 2–0 at The Hawthorns.
|Port Vale||Round||West Bromwich Albion|
|Stockport County||2–1||1–1 away; 1–0 home||Swansea City||3–2||1–2 away; 2–0 home|
The first half finished goalless.
West Bromwich Albion striker Bob Taylor was through on goal when he was brought down by former Leeds teammate Peter Swan. Swan's subsequent dismissal proved to be the turning point in the match, with Hunt scoring the first goal in a 3–0 victory. Nicky Reid and Kevin Donovan made the last stages of the match comfortable for the Baggies.
|West Bromwich Albion||3–0||Port Vale|
Albion spent nine more seasons outside the top division but avoided a return to the third tier. Instead, after barely surviving the next season, they steadily improved until achieving promotion to the Premier League by finishing second in the 2001–02 season.
Vale won promotion as runners-up in the following season, and spent the next six seasons in the second tier. But after a high of eighth in 1996–97 they returned to the third tier for the opening season of the new millennium.
Osvaldo Ardiles left Albion to return to Spurs in 1993 before heading abroad in 1995. John Rudge was controversially sacked in 1999 and decided sixteen years as a manager was enough, instead choosing to become Director of Football at local rivals Stoke City – remaining in this post to see the Potters reach the Premier League for the first time in 2008. Bob Taylor had continued success at West Brom before spending 1998 to 2000 with Bolton Wanderers, only to return to The Hawthorns to help the club achieve Premiership status in 2002. He retired in 2007 at the age of 39.
Andy Hunt stayed with West Brom until 1998 when he signed for Charlton Athletic, retiring in 2000 at age 30. Nicky Reid left the club in 1997 to become player-manager of Sligo Rovers, but things did not go well for him and he returned to England to become a physiotherapist. Kevin Donovan also left in 1997 and moved to Grimsby Town, also scoring for them in the 1998 Second Division play-off Final. He retired in 2007. Red carded Peter Swan left Vale in 1994 to move to Plymouth Argyle for a fee of £300,000, and turned out for numerous other clubs before retiring in 2000.