Port Vale Club Profile
Port Vale : Quick Links
Click on the links below to go directly to the relevant parts of the guide :

Club Background; We've Met Before; Photo Galleries; Club News; Club Statistics; Club Information; Directions To The Ground; Web Resources; Food And Drink; Local Amenities
Port Vale : Club Background
The vast majority of clubs carry the name of a city, district, town or village in which they are located. Not so Port Vale. The Valiants allegedly take theirs from the venue of the inaugural meeting at 'Port Vale House' in a suburb of Stoke-on-Trent where they were formed in 1876. Upon moving to Burslem in 1884 the Club changed its name to Burslem Port Vale. They were playing in the Midland League when invited to become founder members of the Football League Division Two in 1892.

The early years were somewhat inglorious. In 1896 the club failed to gain re-election and returned to the Midland League. Following an F.A Cup victory in 1898 over Sheffield United from Division One the club was elected back to Division Two, replacing Darwen. Their problems were not over, and in 1907 the club resigned from the Football League just before the season started because of financial difficulties. Oldham Athletic was invited to take over their fixture list. Vale went off to the Central League.

They moved ground again in 1913, and the 'Burslem' part of their name was dropped as the new venue acquired was in Hanley. It wouldn't be until 1950 that they returned to Burslem, when they moved to their current home of Vale Park. After the end of the First World War football restarted in 1919. Port Vale missed election to Division Two by a single vote, but by October they were back in the Football League. Leeds City were expelled for bribery and corruption after eight matches and the Valiants were invited to take over their remaining fixtures.

The main front exterior to Port Vale's Vale Park stadium
The main front exterior to Port Vale's Vale Park stadium
Photo 2008 Ciderspace

They survived in Division Two, in the middle and lower reaches, until 1928-29 when they were relegated for the first time. They also survived one of those lunatic schemes directors come up with now and again. In 1926 the board had announced a merger with bitter rivals Stoke City. Vale fans were incensed, and vowed to set up a new 'Port Vale' if any such amalgamation took place. The plan was abandoned. Vale bounced back from Third Division North at the first time of asking as Champions, and in the following season recorded what remains their best ever finish in the Football League: 5th in Division Two. They were again relegated in 1936 this time stayed in the third tier until 1954, switching between Division Three North and South on several occasions depending on the promotion and relegation of others.

Years of bickering with the council, from whom Vale leased the Recreation Ground, finally saw the club decide they would build their own stadium. The initial project was just about to get under way when the small matter of a Second World War intervened. Although they won't like us for saying so, but Port Vale have almost always been the smaller club in Stoke-on-Trent - think Rovers to City in Bristol. One suspects it was an inferiority complex which saw the plans for the new development grow and grow out of all proportion. Even in the post-War football boom the 70,000 capacity stadium, with what was reputed to be the largest pitch in the country, that finally came off the drawing board was madness. With costs spiralling out of control they would eventually move into a cut down 40,000 Vale Park for the 1950-51 season.

In 1953-54, having been runners-up the previous season, they stormed to promotion under manager Freddie Steele, an ex-England International, by a massive (particularly in the days of two points for a win) eleven points. That campaign also saw them reach the Semi-Final of the F.A. Cup, eventually going out 2-1 to West Bromwich Albion at Villa Park, with a hotly disputed penalty late on deciding the tie. Steele's success was built on a mean defence - they conceded a miserly 21 goals in 46 games as they won the title. However the future Yeovil connection was up front. Basil Hayward, at Port Vale from 1946 to 1958, who would build a Southern League Premier Division title winning side at Huish in the early Sixties, was the centre-forward. Sadly Hayward left shortly before the Glovers secured that title, when a penny-wise-pound-foolish board would only offer him a 1.00 a week pay rise. Much more sadly Basil died at the desperately early age of 61 in 1990. Three seasons after their title Steele resigned and Vale were relegated back into Division Three South. A mediocre season there saw them finish thirteenth and placed into Division Four when the lower reaches of the Football League were deregionalised in 1958.

Port Vale were the first Champions of the new Fourth Division. Hopes were high when Freddie Steele returned in 1962 and got them a third place finish, just missing promotion to the Second Division. He returned the club to their white and black strip of his first era, but as so often the second spell didn't work out well, and he resigned again as the Valiants headed towards relegation in 1964-65.

If you can't compete with your rivals on the pitch - Stoke City were then in Division One - try something off the pitch. When (Sir) Stanley Matthews finished his playing career at Stoke Port Vale appointed him as their new manager. Unfortunately great players do not always make great managers, though he could do little about the fact Vale were close to bankruptcy and had to sell their best players to stay afloat. But far worse was around the corner. In 1967 Port Vale became the only club to be formally expelled from the Football League since, ironically, Leeds City, whose place they had taken back in 1919. Fortunately for them the F.A., deliberately or otherwise, moved slowly to find them guilty of the long list of illegal payments and malpractices they had been charged with, so they completed their fixtures. This presented their fellow Football League chairman the opportunity in the summer AGM to vote them back in, which they duly did.

Gordon Lee took over from Matthews as manager, the legend being moved upstairs, and in his second season got Vale promoted to Division Three. In 1974 Lee left to manage Blackburn Rovers and managers came and went on a regularly basis as Vale were relegated again and bobbed about just above the re-election zone. In 1980 they made one of the most important appointments in their history, though they didn't know it at the time. John Rudge was initially brought in as assistant manager. Vale were promoted in 1982-83 but struggled badly at the new level. When eventually moved up to the No.1 spot in 1984 Rudge would then remain in charge until 1999. However his first task was to complete a season that had always looked relegation bound. It was. He got them back into the Third in 1986, but by 1987-88, on a twelve match winless run, he was staring at the sack. In the F.A. Cup Third Round Vale turned in a desperately bad performance against Non-league Macclesfield Town, but fluked a 1-0 victory right at the death. The reward for the club in the basement of the Third Division was a home tie against Tottenham Hotspur. On TV ex-Spurs player Jimmy Greaves stated: "The only problem Spurs will have is finding the place". Oh dear. Port Vale won 2-1. It was a turning point for Rudge; and the money from the cup run, which included a replay away at Watford, then in the top tier, in the Fifth Round when they at last went out, came in handy too.

The Hamil Road End - featuring the Yeovil Town away following from our 2005-06 visit
The Hamil Road End - featuring the Yeovil Town away following from our 2005-06 visit
Photo 2006 Ciderspace

The season was turned around from that point, with the Valiants eventually finishing a comfortable 11th. The next season Vale kicked on and after finishing third on goal difference went up through the play-offs, defeating Preston North End and Bristol Rovers in the process, all the stages played over two legs at that time. They were back in Division Two after more than thirty years. The cherry on top would be meeting Stoke City again on equal terms after the same length of time.

It got better. That first season at the new level Vale finished a healthy 11th whilst the Potters were relegated in last place. It didn't last. Vale were themselves relegated two seasons later. Stoke had missed out through the play-offs so there was another season of direct rivalry in 1992-93, with Stoke going up as Champions and Port Vale taking their turn to miss out in the play-offs after finishing third. The Valiants knocking the Potters out of both the F.A. Cup and the Autoglass Trophy that campaign was probably scant consolation, but the latter competition did bring them a trip to Wembley, their first ever visit to the Twin Towers. They won 2-1, defeating Stockport County. Having got the taste thay were back for the Play-off Final a few weeks later, but lost out 3-0 to West Bromwich Albion.

In 1993-94 there was no need for play-offs as Port Vale went up automatically from second place, finishing one point behind Champions Reading. They spent six seasons in Division One. In 1997-98 they had only stayed up with a win on the last day of the season, and with 1998-99 looking like another struggle Rudge was sacked in November after nineteen years at, and fifteen and a bit seasons in charge of, the club. The board did not even thank him for his services, and it was the fans who organised a march and a tribute dinner in his honour. John Rudge is now Director of Football at Stoke City.

Under the board's replacement, Brian Horton, they again stayed up on the last day but went down the following season. Since then they have been pretty much a lower mid-table Division Two / League One side, with just one close call for a play-off spot in 2003-04. The highlight of Horton's tenure was the LDV Vans Trophy Final victory 2-1 over Brentford at the Millennium Stadium in 2001. The low point in this period was December 2002 when the club had to seek administration. Horton was replaced in February 2004 by Martin Foyle, an ex-player and fans favourite from the Rudge era.

Foyle did OK, but just OK. After three seasons worth of lower-midtable finishes, he was sacked in September 2007, temporarily replaced by Dean Glover (excellent name!) in a caretaker capacity. Glover (love that name!) gave way in November for Lee Sinnott to come in, and then the wheels fell off. Vale ended up relinquishing their League One position - finishing in 23rd place in the table and propped up only by a Luton Town side that had been collecting points deductions.

At that point, we lost contact with Port Vale. They stayed in League Two for five years, whilst Yeovil lay in the division above them. The Valiants fell into financial dissarray and in 2012 they went into administration. The financial collapse occurred when attempted to get new investment from an American company called Blue Sky International - an artificial pitch provider who the Glovers also went into partnership with, although later pulled out of before it could damage the club. No such luck for Vale, given that when the Blue Sky deal turned out to be a bit of a sham, their Chairman resigned in embarrassment, and a large financial black hole appeared. It wasn't until November 2012 that Paul Wildes and Norman Smurthwaite bought out the club for 1.25 million.

In the middle of the takeover, manager Micky Adams was building a useful squad, and he took advantage of the new mood at Vale Park by giving them automatic promotion from League Two, finishing third at the end of the 2012-13 season. Smurthwaite took over as Chairman and owner from Wildes at the end of that season, and all seemed to be well again. But after an impressive 2013-14 season that saw them finish 9th, Port Vale's slide gradually reappeared, and they were to only last four seasons at third tier level, before League Two beckoned again.

Having been relegated a second time in relatively short succession, the love for Smurthwaite has rapidly diminished. The 2017-18 season came close to being a double relegation, with a 21st place finish and only a point above the drop zone. A fairly unimpressive 15 month spell by manager Neil Aspin saw him resign in January 2019, and on February 4th 2019 former Macclesfield Town boss John Askey was appointed to try to keep them out of trouble. So far, progress has been slow, and attention from the supporters has now turned towards Smurthwaite, who had in theory resigned as Chairman in May 2017, and put the club up for sale, but appeared to be still acting as Chairman, and is reported to have rejected around four attempts by external parties to buy him out. With him clinging on to the boat, the Port Vale Supporters' Club delivered a unanimous vote of no confidence in Smurthwaite and so for much of 2019 have been engaging in openly organised protests against their owner. The atmosphere at Vale Park could be lively as a result.

The Lorne Street Stand - theoretically this houses up to 5,000 spectators but the far end has never been completed
The Lorne Street Stand - theoretically this houses up to 5,000 spectators but the far end has never been completed
Photo 2008 Ciderspace

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Port Vale : We've Met Before
Previous Results for Yeovil Town First Team vs Port Vale

24/09/2005HomeCCL1W1-05901Harrold 85
26/08/2006HomeCCL1W1-04827Terry 5
03/03/2007AwayCCL1L2-44202Gray 37, Stewart 38
18/08/2007HomeCCL1W1-05071Cochrane 17
29/01/2008AwayCCL1D2-22869Dempsey 6, Kirk 52
11/10/2014AwayFL1L1-44798Martin 86
25/04/2015HomeFL1L1-24127Ugwu 80
23/09/2017HomeEFL2D1-12614Khan 66
02/12/2017AwayFAC2D1-13316Green 89
12/12/2017HomeFAC2RW3-21588Khan 45, 95, Zoko 109
13/01/2018AwayEFL2D1-14120Zoko 11

Results Summary For Yeovil Town First Team vs Port Vale


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Port Vale : Photo Galleries
Photo Galleries for Yeovil vs Port Vale

Date Event Match Report Photo Gallery Total

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Port Vale : Club Statistics




Highest League Attendance: Not Applicable
Lowest League Attendance: Not Applicable
Average League Attendance: Not Applicable


Games Without A Win: 0 Games Without A Home Win: 0
Games Without An Away Win: 0 Games Without Defeat: 0
Games Without A Home Defeat: 0 Games Without An Away Defeat: 0
Games Without A Draw: 0 Games Without A Score Draw: 0
Games Without A No-Score Draw: 0 Games Without Scoring: 0
Games Without Conceding: 0 Home Results Sequence:
Away Results Sequence: Overall Results Sequence:

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Port Vale : Club Information
Vale Park
Hamil Road

(Click for map)

Telephone Number : 01782 655800
Fax : 01782 834981
Email: enquiries@port-vale.co.uk
Chairman : Norman Smurthwaite (also owner)
Press Officer : Dave Johnson
Fixtures Secretary : Bill Lodey
Manager : John Askey

Capacity : 19,052
Seated : All seated
Covered Terrace : N/A

Record Attendance : 49,768 v Aston Villa, FA Cup R5, 20/02/1960

Nickname : Valiants
Colours : Shirt - white, shorts - black, socks - black

Ticket Prices : Yeovil Town supporters will be housed in the Hamil Road Stand which holds up to 4,500 spectators. Tickets for our 2018-19 League Two are on sale from the Huish Park Ticket Office at the following prices:

Adults: 20.00; Aged 62 and Over, Aged 18-21: 15.00; Under-18s: 8.00; Under-12s: FREE.

Tickets go up 2.00 if purchased on the day of the game and will be on sale from the away sales kiosk outside the away stand. If you purchase on the day, you'll have to go to the away sales kiosk situated outside the away stand, which will be open around two hours before kick-off. This is a CASH ONLY sales point. All entry is by barcoded tickets on cash-free turnstiles.

Disabled Info: Disabled supporters pay the above prices, according to their age. However, they can admit an assistant free of charge if they are on the Medium or Higher level of Disability Living Allowance. Vale Park has a dedicated 'Disabled Stand' which is situated to one side of the Big Stand - note there are no designated disabled facilities in the away end, meaning that if you can't use ordinary facilities, you'll need to book a ticket in this stand. If you need this, then you must phone Port Vale on 01782-655821 to make arrangements. Inside the stadium there are three adapted toilets, of which one is in the main concourse, and the catering facility closest to the wheelchair area has a low level counter. Car parking can be booked in advance for this stand if needed at 10.00 when booking your ticket.

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Port Vale : Directions To The Ground

The Railway Stand - a side facing stand situated to the left as you look out from the away end
The Railway Stand - a side facing stand situated to the left as you look out from the away end
Photo 2008 Ciderspace


There's no such place as Port Vale, so don't go looking for it on a road map. What you are looking for is Burslem, one of the collection of places that make up the rather sprawling conurbation that is Stoke-on-Trent. Burslem is on the northern side.

By Road

This is the ever er, popular M5/M6 trip Yeovil fans have to suffer whenever we're playing anyone on the North-West side of the country. This time you need to go up as far as Junction 15, signed Stoke South. Follow the A500 dual carriageway around Newcastle-under-Lyme. Don't be fooled by the first stadium you'll see, off the junction of the A500 and A50. This is Stoke City's new Britannia Stadium. Very nice it is too, but well worth avoiding on matchdays. Stoke have a particularly unpleasant element amongst their support. Stay on the A500 through Hanley until you reach the roundabout that is the junction of the A500 and the A527. Take the A527 exit (signed Tunstall), then at the next roundabout take the last exit (B5051) for Burslem. Carry on up to the next roundabout and go straight over. Go straight across the cross-roads into Moorland Road and then take the second left on to Hamil Road. Vale Park is on the left.

For those coming from the eastern side of the country : the A50 (M1/M6 link road) is the best route across country. As you appraoch Stoke go through Meir and the new Meir Tunnel. Continue on the road until you pass Stoke City's Britannia Stadium. Get in the middle or the right hand lane and turn right at the roundabout on to the A500. After that it's as above.


Car parking is available around the ground and the Hamil Road car park is recommended for away supporters - it's situated just outside the away end. Prices are as follows: Cars: 5.00, Minibus: 16.00, Coach: 25.00. These are all pay on the day with no advance booking. There is additional parking approximately three minutes walk away from the ground. Otherwise you are looking for local street parking.

By Rail

Don't be fooled by the fact Vale Park has a Railway Stand. This line disappeared in the Sixties. The nearest station is Longport which is 1.2 miles from the ground. It's on a little branch line that runs up to Macclesfield and Cheadle Hulme, with one train an hour, departing at eighteen minutes past from Stoke-on-Trent railway station. The journey takes six minutes.

The journey from Yeovil to Stoke-on-Trent and back can be done in the day. The easiest route is from Yeovil Junction to Basingstoke by South West Trains, then by Virgin Trains to Stoke-on-Trent. Journey times are between 4 hours 46 minutes and 5 hours 49 minutes depending on connections.

For those travelling from or via London the Euston line is the one you need. There are two direct Virgin Trains an hour. Journey time is between 1 hour 31 minutes and 1 hour 43 minutes depending on the number of stops.

Stoke-on-Trent station is around four miles from the stadium.

By Bus

Bus No. 98/98A : Run regularly from Newcastle Bus Station to Burslem town centre.
Bus No. 20/20A/29/21/21A : Run regularly from Hanley Bus Station to Burslem town centre.
Bus No. 7/7A/7B/7C : Run regularly from Stoke-on-Trent Bus Station through to Hanley Bus Station and then to Burslem town centre.

By Taxi

A selection of taxi companies in the Stoke area can be found here.

The Bycars End - situated at the opposite end to the away section of the ground
The Bycars End - situated at the opposite end to the away section of the ground
Photo 2008 Ciderspace

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Port Vale : Web Resources
Web Sites

One Vale Fan
Quality independent fan site with all the features one could want or expect - it's been going for over ten years and still maintains a good standard. Sadly the proliferation of advert-heavy chain sites has swamped the proper fans websites that used to exist. This is a reminder of how things should be done.

Port Vale Mad
The Mad franchise offering. Full of anonymous cut'n'pasted stuff that is derived from press association articles, and is easily available elsewhere. As with 99% of Mad franchise sites, don't bother.

Port Vale Official
PTV, registration, sigh.

Port Vale Online
More a forum than anything else, but includes some wallpapers, photos, stats and the like.

Web Message Boards

One Vale Fan Forum
The most used forum by Vale fans.

Port Vale Mad
Mad board. Not much used.

Port Vale Online
Another popular forum.

E-Mail Mailing Lists and Newsletters

Local Press

Staffordshire Sentinel
Dedicated section of the Stoke Sentinel for Port Vale fans.

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Port Vale : Food & Drink
At The Club :

Port Vale's Tommy Cheadles - a pub-style social club
Port Vale's Tommy Cheadles - a pub-style social club
Photo 2008 Ciderspace

Port Vale have bar facilities available to away supporters. The Vale Social Club (formerly Tommy Cheadles) is a pub-style social club situated outside the ground where both sets of fans mix, except for matches with bigger away followings. On the Hamil Road car park there is a burger van, and there's the usual kiosk inside the away end. Reports suggest the food is a little above average in quality and a little below average in price for a football stadium - though of course that isn't saying a lot in either case.

Local Pubs :

As Port Vale are still at their home since the Fifties no out-of-town retail park or industrial estate this. The town centre of Burslem in no more than ten minutes walk away so there's a wide range of pubs and food outlets close to the stadium.

Stoke has a bad reputation, both as a particularly depressing and unfriendly place, and because its club is one of the thankfully dwindling number with a significant unpleasant element in its supporter base. Thankfully, apart from one incident involving our supporters coach during 2018 when leaving a game, as far as we are aware Port Vale shouldn't be tarred with the same brush, having the usual generally pretty affable fans one finds at most clubs these days. Not that this stops the local police turning out in numbers, possibly because the nice overtime payments are more easily earned than when Stoke City are at home. As to Burslem itself: you are unlikely to think 'My, I'd love to live here', but we assure you that compared to some other areas of Stoke-on-Trent it's a veritable paradise. You will find a number of the closer pubs around the ground have a 'Home fans only' policy on the doors.

Burslem has its own brewery : Titanic. Founded in 1985, we can assert from plenty of personal research that it produces an excellent range of beers. There are eight regular ales produced, including a mild, a stout and a wheat beer. I particularly like White Star, light, refreshing and hoppy, but with a bit of punch at 4.8%. The brewery also turns out a special every month. Titanic only have one tied house, the Bull's Head (see below), but supply between 250 and 300 other outlets in the area and across the country.

Bull's Head: The outlet tied to the Titanic Brewery (above). As such you'll find most of their beers on tap at any one time. Also usually has two guests from other breweries and a 'farmhouse' style cider. Two rooms, one with a juke box and bar billiards, the other a quieter lounge. It's a smallish pub, only ten minutes walk from the ground and serves quality beer, though no food. Understandably it can thus get busy on matchdays. Opening is 3.00 p.m. - 11 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, 12.00 noon - 11.00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 12.00 noon - 10.30 p.m. Sunday.
Bull's Head, 14, St John's Square, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST6 3AJ. Tel: 01782 834153. Map: Click Here.

New Inn: Town centre pub around ten minutes walk from the ground.
New Inn, 50, Market Place, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST6 4AR. Tel: 01782 838654. Map: Click Here.

Red Lion Inn: Virtually on the junction of Moorland Road and Hamil Road, and a hundred yards or so further from the stadium than The Vine (below). Fair sized pub. Reputedly has some real ale and does bar snacks.
Red Lion Inn, 3, Moorland Road, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST6 1DJ. Tel: 01782 837667. Map: Click Here.

The Barrel: More a back street local to the east of the ground away from the town centre. Good range of real ales. Around 15 minutes walk to the stadium.
The Barrel, 37, Ford Green Road, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST6 1NT. Tel: 01782 838074. Map: Click Here.

The Vine: Small pub in the same road as the stadium and less than five minutes walk away. Popular with away fans as well as home ones, and tends to get absolutely packed pre-match. Reported to do a good range of beers including some unspecified real ales.
The Vine, Hamil Road, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST6 1AE. Tel: 01782 250294. Map: Click Here.

Likelihood the Natives Will Understand You :

Staffordshire? Is it the North? The Midlands? Well it certainly ain't the South. You can probably find someone to talk about pots in The Potteries - if you like talking about pots.

Top-Tip :

If her-indoors fancies a piece of Wedgwood, Spode, Portmeirion or Moorcroft this is the place to buy it. You might think 200 for a Spode cup and saucer and 900 for the coffee jug is on the pricey side, but you can pick seconds up at 75-80% off, and let's be fair, is the coffee going to taste any different? Or just don't mention your cheapskate nature eye for a bargain : 'Nothing is too expensive for you, my love'.

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Port Vale : Local Amenities
Local Guesthouses and Hotels

Go to A1 Tourism's Online Guide to find Guest Houses/Hotels in the town and surrounding areas.

Other Points Of Interest

Arnold Bennett set his novels in Stoke - well 'The Five Towns', and particularly Burslem, which I seem to recall he cunningly disguised as 'Bursley'. Amazing people worked it out. Unfortunately I've never got past about page ten in any of his works.
As this is The Potteries there are more pottery museums, pottery visitor centres, pottery factory tours, pottery craft demonstrations and pottery shops around than anyone could want in a lifetime.
Robbie Williams and Nick Hancock bang on a lot about coming from the area. So did Edward Smith, captain of the Titanic, hence the name of the brewery - come from the area - no idea if he banged on about it. Presumably not given the trouble he took never to return.

[No responsibilty is taken for any inaccuracies. This page is entirely the product of bias and prejudice.]

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