The 2005–06 season was Port Vale's 94th season of football in the Football League, and second successive season in League One. They finished in mid-table, and exited the League Cup at the First Round and the League Trophy at the Second Round. In the FA Cup, Vale made it to the Fourth Round, where they were knocked out 3–1 by top-flight Aston Villa. Foyle's efforts to build a promotion-winning team were boosted when Vale gained striker Leon Constantine, but his efforts were hindered with the sales of both Sam Collins and Billy Paynter.
The pre-season saw Martin Foyle sign Micky Bell and Hector Sam on free transfers from Bristol City and Wrexham respectively. He also took in promising young striker Chris Cornes on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, who would impress in a Vale shirt.
The season started with fourteen points from seven games to launch the club's promotion bid. After three defeats the Vale then entered a long period of inconsistent form. In September, Darrell Clarke joined on loan from Hartlepool United, though he would play just the one game for the club. Gary Mulligan also arrived on loan from Sheffield United, and would find greater success in Burslem. The next month Foyle added to the squad by signing Michael Husbands from Walsall. In November, Sam Togwell joined on loan from Scunthorpe United, in an initial six week deal that was extended until the end of the season. Another long-term loan deal was struck with Leyton Orient for big defender Clayton Fortune, who would later turn down a permanent transfer to Vale Park after failing to agree on personal terms. Foyle also made possibly the best signing of his spell in charge at Vale, bringing striker Leon Constantine in from Torquay United for a £20,000 fee. However Foyle lost two big players, when key defender Sam Collins and promising striker Billy Paynter were sold to Hull City for £65,000 and £150,000 respectively, the pair leaving on loan deals until the January transfer window (when they would leave permanently). Four straight defeats followed this, emphasising the effect the sales had on the club's promotion bid. In January, Bell moved on to Cheltenham Town, and Hector Sam joined Walsall. In came Jason Talbot on loan from Mansfield Town, who joined the club permanently at the end of the season. Foyle also signed defender Mark McGregor from Blackpool, and midfielder Sean Doherty from ADO Den Haag. A sequence of two points in five games killed off the Vale's promotion hopes by April.
They finished in thirteenth place with sixty points, some distance from both promotion and relegation. Only the four relegated teams scored fewer goals than Vale, and Constantine was the club's top-scorer with twelve goals, closely followed by Cummins with eleven.
At the end of the season nine players departed the club: Lee Matthews (Crewe Alexandra); Hector Sam (Walsall); Steve Rowland (Southport); Tony Dinning (Stockport County); Micky Cummins (Darlington); Jonny Brain (Macclesfield Town); Mark Innes (Hyde United); Sean Doherty (Accrington Stanley); and Craig James (Darlington). Andy Porter retired to concentrate on his coaching. With Dinning's departure, George Pilkington was appointed club captain. World Cup international winger Chris Birchall was also sold to Coventry City for £325,000.
On the financial side, Bill Bratt's cost-cutting measures had reduced the club's operating losses from £500,000 to £50,000. Despite this, the club took out a £2.25 million loan from the local council, with monthly repayments of around £19,000. Bratt continued to try and woo elderly North American millionaires, but Steve Stavro did not follow up his initial interest with any investment. In October 2005, the club turned down an investment group that wished to appoint Paul Gascoigne as manager. Foyle said "We need a cup run, or an investor, to give us a kick-start because we aren't doing too badly". He got his wish with an expected income of £250,000 from the Villa game. In February, lifelong fan Robbie Williams bought £240,000 of the £250,000 worth of available shares in the club. In April, the club announced a new record-breaking shirt sponsorship deal with BGC Gas. The club also announced Bill Bratt would now be a paid chief executive.
In the FA Cup, Vale advanced past Wrexham to reach a Second Round encounter with Bristol Rovers. A late equalizer from Constantine earned Vale a replay, and a Chris Birchall strike gave the "Valiants" victory at the Memorial Stadium. They then made it to the Fourth Round after a 2–1 win over Doncaster Rovers thanks to a brace from loanee Sam Togwell. They faced a trip to Villa Park to face Premier League Aston Villa, where they were defeated 3–1 after a brace from Milan Baroš.
In the League Cup, Vale were knocked out 3–1 by Rotherham United at the Don Valley Stadium, with Hector Sam breaking his leg during the game.
In the League Trophy, Vale received a bye in the First Round, but in the Second Round were embarrassed to lose 2–1 to Conference club Hereford United at Edgar Street, after a Tamika Mkandawire header in extra-time.
Final league table
P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points
Port Vale's score comes first
|Result|| W|| D|| W|| L|| W|| D|| W|| L|| L|| L|| D|| W|| W|| L|| W|| L|| L|| D|| W|| L|| L|| L|| L|| W|| L|| D|| D|| W|| L|| W|| W|| D|| L|| W|| L|| D|| L|| D|| L|| W|| W|| D|| D|| L|| W|| D|
|Position|| 6|| 4|| 2|| 7|| 4|| 5|| 3|| 7|| 8|| 12|| 10|| 5|| 5|| 6|| 5|| 8|| 12|| 11|| 8|| 11|| 14|| 16|| 17|| 14|| 14|| 16|| 16|| 12|| 14|| 13|| 9|| 9|| 11|| 11|| 11|| 12|| 14|| 15|| 15|| 15|| 11|| 14|| 13|| 15|| 13|| 13|
Sourced from Statto.
Football League One
| 6 August 2005 ||Southend United||A||2–1||6,543||Lowndes (2)|
| 9 August 2005 ||Gillingham||H||0–0||4,931|
| 15 August 2005 ||Brentford||H||1–0||4,275||Cummins|
| 20 August 2005 ||Bristol City||A||2–4||11,120||Lowndes, Bell|
| 27 August 2005 ||Doncaster Rovers||H||2–0||4,993||Lowndes, Dinning|
| 29 August 2005 ||Milton Keynes Dons||A||0–0||4,592|
| 3 September 2005 ||Rotherham United||H||2–0||4,528||Lowndes, Paynter|
| 10 September 2005 ||Scunthorpe United||A||0–2||5,694|
| 17 September 2005 ||Colchester United||H||0–1||5,166|
| 24 September 2005 ||Yeovil Town||A||0–1||5,901|
| 28 September 2005 ||Oldham Athletic||H||2–2||3,796||Cornes (2)|
| 1 October 2005 ||Walsall||H||3–2||5,314||Birchall, Mulligan, Cornes|
| 8 October 2005 ||Swindon Town||A||2–1||4,531||Bell, Cornes|
| 15 October 2005 ||Bradford City||H||0–1||4,892|
| 22 October 2005 ||Bournemouth||A||2–1||6,320||Cummins, Paynter|
| 29 October 2005 ||Hartlepool United||H||1–2||4,550||Cummins|
| 12 November 2005 ||Chesterfield||A||0–2||4,714|
| 19 November 2005 ||Swindon Town||H||1–1||4,108||Husbands|
| 26 November 2005 ||Southend United||H||2–1||3,961||Constantine, Husbands|
| 6 December 2005 ||Nottingham Forest||A||0–1||17,696|
| 10 December 2005 ||Gillingham||A||0–3||6,210|
| 17 December 2005 ||Bristol City||H||0–1||4,214|
| 26 December 2005 ||Blackpool||H||1–2||5,666||Fortune|
| 28 December 2005 ||Huddersfield Town||A||3–0||10,824||Constantine (2), Dinning (pen)|
| 31 December 2005 ||Tranmere Rovers||H||0–2||4,489|
| 2 January 2006 ||Swansea City||A||0–0||14,747|
| 10 January 2006 ||Rotherham United||A||1–1||3,883||Husbands|
| 14 January 2006 ||Barnsley||H||3–2||4,468||Sonner, Constantine, Togwell|
| 21 January 2006 ||Colchester United||A||1–2||4,316||Husbands (pen)|
| 4 February 2006 ||Oldham Athletic||A||1–0||5,555||Constantine|
| 11 February 2006 ||Yeovil Town||H||1–0||4,732||Constantine|
| 14 February 2006 ||Barnsley||A||1–1||7,709||Cummins|
| 18 February 2006 ||Nottingham Forest||H||0–2||6,793|
| 25 February 2006 ||Brentford||A||1–0||7,542||Smith|
| 28 February 2006 ||Scunthorpe United||H||1–2||3,984||Cummins|
| 11 March 2006 ||Doncaster Rovers||A||1–1||5,511||Constantine|
| 18 March 2006 ||Blackpool||A||0–1||5,494|
| 25 March 2006 ||Huddersfield Town||H||1–1||5,664||Cummins|
| 31 March 2006 ||Tranmere Rovers||A||0–3||6,926|
| 4 April 2006 ||Milton Keynes Dons||H||3–1||3,452||Constantine (2 [1 pen]), Cummins|
| 8 April 2006 ||Swansea City||H||3–2||4,850||Togwell, Cummins, Constantine|
| 15 April 2006 ||Walsall||A||1–1||4,876||Fortune|
| 17 April 2006 ||Bournemouth||H||0–0||4,006|
| 22 April 2006 ||Bradford City||A||0–1||7,139|
| 29 April 2006 ||Chesterfield||H||3–1||4,478||Pilkington (2), Cummins|
| 6 May 2006 ||Hartlepool United||A||1–1||6,895||Cummins|