Port Vale

Vale Park

Capacity: 18,947 (all seated)
Address: Hamil Rd, Burslem, ST6 1AW
Telephone: 01782 655821
Pitch Size: 114 x 77 yards
Club Nickname: The Valiants
Year Ground Opened: 1950
Shirt Sponsors: GMB
Kit Manufacturer: Errea
Home Kit: White, Black and Amber
Away Kit: Amber with Black Pinstripes
Third Kit: Maroon and Sky Blue

Railway Stand
Railway Stand
Hamil Road End
Hamil Road End
Bycars Lane End
Bycars Lane End
Lorne Street Stand
Lorne Street Stand
Roy Sproson Statue
Roy Sproson Statue

The ground has a good mixture of the old and the new, it is just let down overall by the fact that the Lorne Street Stand, which was partly opened in 1999, is still yet to be fully completed. This stand which is two-tiered has a row of executive boxes situated between its large lower tier and much smaller upper tier. With a planned capacity of 5,000 it is of a good size and I’m sure it would look quite smart when finished. However the outstanding works include half the lower tier towards the Hamil Road End. This area is currently empty of seating and is largely just a concrete base. On a positive note the original clock that was seen on the old stand has been incorporated into the new construction, above the players tunnel and Directors area in the centre of the stand. 

On the opposite side is the Railway Stand which was opened in 1954. It is a fair sized stand that is covered to the rear. It has a number of supporting pillars that run across the middle of the stand. Originally it had a large paddock terrace in front, but this was subsequently filled with seating in the 1990’s. At one end is the Hamil Road End, which is a good sized single tiered stand. It also has an electric scoreboard situated just below its roof. Again it has a number of supporting pillars (although fewer in number than the Railway Stand), plus it has windshields to either side. Opposite is the Bycars Road End, which although old looking was built in 1992. It also is partly covered to the rear and has some supporting pillars to either side. Situated in one corner, in-between the Bycars & Railway Stand is an odd looking two-tiered structure that looks if it has been ‘wedged’ into the stadium. In fact this area is the only portion of the old ground that still remains from when the ground was originally built in 1950. Rob from the One Vale Fan website adds; 'Incidentally, the steelwork and roof of this structure were brought from the club's previous stadium in Hanley, where it formed part of the "Swan Passage" stand. So the roof on that little corner of the ground is very old indeed!' Filled with seating it is currently used as a Family Stand. On one side of the Hamil Road Stand there is a Police Control Box, which keeps a watchful eye over the crowd. The pitch is also one of the widest in the League. Outside the Lorne Street Stand is a statue of former player and manager Roy Sproson.

Although an additional small block of seats was added to the Lorne Street Stand in September 2016, around half of the lower tier is still bare concrete. Considering that this is still the case after the stand was opened 16 years ago, then this is a bit of an embarrassment. I am sure at some point the Club will do it, but your guess as to when this eventually might happen is as good as mine. If I win the Euromillions jackpot I'll pay to have it finished!

Up to 4,500 away supporters can be accommodated in the Signal One Stand, where the view and facilities located on the concourse behind the stand are good. Even a relatively small number of away fans can really make some noise from this stand, as the acoustics are excellent. However, the slope is quite shallow, which might affect your view should a tall person be seated in front. Normally though, you could still move to another seat if necessary.

I've been to Port Vale on a number of occasions and always found it be a good day out. However the experience has sometimes been a little intimidating, not due to the Port Vale supporters but more because of the huge Police presence in and around the ground. One Police Officer said to me as we left the ground five minutes early, as my team were losing 4-0. "Leaving already? there's still five minutes to go!". Now who said that Police Officers don't have a sense of humour? The P.A within the ground is quite deafening at times and there is no escape, even in the toilets, as it is piped through! The food available on the concourse is the usual fayre of Rollover Hot Dogs (£2.50), Steak Pies (£2.50), Meat & Potato Pies (£2.50), Cheese & Onion Pasties (£2.10) and Sausage Rolls (£2). 

If you wonder at half time why the Port Vale fans seem transfixed with staring at the away end, it is not intimidation, but the electric scoreboard perched on the roof of this stand! (which the away fans can't see). Also at half time the Vale fans in the Railway Stand tend to transfer from one side to another so that can be nearer the goalmouth that Port Vale are attacking. Vince Smith a visiting Northampton Town fan adds; 'I must say it was an enjoyable day out at Vale Park, with very friendly stewards, turnstile operators and very good food served by friendly staff. All in all a very pleasant experience and far more enjoyable than a visit to their near neighbours.'

And for a bit of trivia, Dave Seddon, a visiting Brentford supporter informs me; 'the roof of the Caudwell Stand was originally that of the Main Stand at Chester City's old Sealand Road ground'. Stephen Wood adds; 'The roof of the away end was indeed bought by Bill Bell back in 1991-92 for £300,000 as Chester were moving grounds. It was installed during the 1992-93 season and the first team we played when the roof was fully constructed was, you guessed it, Chester!' 

Please note that cash is not accepted at the away turnstiles, you have to buy a ticket from the portacabin in the car park by the away end. This portakabin is 'cash only'. If you wish to pay by credit or debit card you will need to purchase tickets from the Main ticket office.

Just outside the away turnstiles is a Club Bar called the 'Vale Social'. Normally it does admit away fans but at a cost of £2 per person, although Over 60's and Under 18's are admitted free. Otherwise the choice of pubs for visiting supporters to drink in near to the ground or in the town centre is very limited as Nick Williams a visiting Plymouth Argyle fan informs me; 'Apart from the Bulls Head, which was very welcoming, every other pub in the town that we found had signs up saying "Home fans only". This also included the closest pub to the ground, the Vine'.

Luckily the Bull's Head which is located in St John's Square, is a cracking pub. It is the local outlet for the nearby Titanic Brewery and is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. It is friendly for away fans. It has a BBQ on matchdays, has up to nine real ales on offer as well as up to 10 traditional ciders and perries. To find this pub: From the outside of the away end, turn right and go down to the bottom of Hamil Road (passing the Vine Pub on your left). Turn right at the t-junction and then go straight across the traffic lights at the crossroads. Proceed past KFC, Wades and the New Inn on the right and then if you look over to your left, you will see a square with the Bulls Head, which is located on the right of this square. 

Pete Gardner a visiting Oxford United fan informs me; ‘Both the Leopard and Post Office Vaults, which are both near to the Bulls Head were welcoming to us.’ It is about a ten minute walk from the ground. Otherwise inside the stadium alcohol is available, albeit in plastic bottles of Carling (£3.50) and Cider (£3.50).

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The ground is located in the town of Burslem, one of the six towns comprising Stoke On Trent. Leave the M6 at junction 15 or 16 and take the A500 towards Stoke on Trent. Follow A500 until the A527 Tunstall/Burslem exit, where you take the A527 towards Tunstall/Burslem. At the next island just past the Price Kensington factory turn right for Burslem town centre. Continue on this road up the hill, crossing another island and into Burslem town centre. Continue straight on over the traffic lights at the cross roads and then take the first road on the left which takes you down to the ground. There is a large car park located outside a superstore next to the ground which costs £5, otherwise street parking.

Post Code for SAT NAV: ST6 1AW

Longport Railway Station is the closest to the ground, but is a good 30 minute walk away and is not well served by trains, unlike Stoke On Trent station which is. Therefore most fans end up at Stoke On Trent railway station, which is over four miles away from Vale Park and then take a taxi up to the ground.

Football Special Buses From Stoke On Trent

For more high profile games, a Football Special bus service is laid on as Russ Moore a visiting Coventry City fan explains; 'Coventry City fans were met at the Stoke Railway Station exit by waiting Police officers. They recommended that rather than travelling onto Burslem to have a drink before the game, that instead we used a pub around a five minute walk away from Stoke station called The Terrace. The Police said that they would arrange transport to the Port Vale ground from the pub. We took their advice and arrived at the Terrace pub, to find a very pleasant little boozer, with plenty of real ales and Carling lager at £3.10 a pint.  The Police kept popping in every 10 minutes or so as more city fans were directed to the pub. At around 2pm the Police asked us to get ready as our transport, a couple of double decker buses, had arrived. We were charged a reasonable £3 return to use the bus, which enjoyed a Police escort to the ground and then back to Stoke railway station after the game'.

Bus information from Stoke station:

S Parlett informs me; 'You can first get a number 9, 21A or 25 bus to Hanley Bus Station and from there a number 3 First Potteries bus up to Burslem. The No.3 is a frequent service that takes about half an hour. If buying a PlusBus ticket with your train ticket, then it costs £3 for unlimited bus journeys in the Stoke area for that day. On leaving Stoke railway station, turn left out of the entrance and proceed up to Bus Stop F, located in front of the taxi rank, to get the 9, 21A or 25 to Hanley Bus Station. After catching the Number 3 bus from Hanley, then on reaching Burslem, look out for The Swan Hotel in Swan Square on your left and get off immediately after the crossroads, in Wedgwood Street. After alighting the bus cross over the road and turn left, then an immediate right into Jenkins Street, leading into Hamil Road, which goes past the away turnstiles'. 

Directions & information for Longport station:

John Midgley a visiting Huddersfield Town fan informs me; 'Services run hourly from Crewe, Stoke & Derby to Longport. We managed to walk to the ground in around 25 minutes without too much trouble.

Cross over the line (if travelling from Stoke/Derby) and walk along Station Street. At the mini-roundabout follow the main road round to the left going up the hill. After a couple of minutes take the first major left onto Newcastle Street (B5051). Enter Burslem. Pass the Bull's Head pub at St. John's Square. Bear left onto Market Place. Shortly after cross main road onto Jenkins Street which becomes Hamil Road. The ground will soon be visible on the left. Turn left into Lorne Street'.

Find train times, prices and book tickets with trainline. Booking tickets in advance will normally save you money!

Remember if travelling by train then you can normally save on the cost of fares by booking in advance.

Visit the the trainline website to see how much you can save on the price of train tickets.

Click on the trainline logo below:

Home Fans: 

Lorne Street Stand: Adults £23, Aged 62 & over £18, Under 18's £12, Under 9's Free
All Other Areas Of The Ground: Adults £22, Aged 62 & over £17, Under 18's £10, Under 9's Free

Away Fans: 

Adults £22, Aged 62 & over £17, Under 18's £10, Under 9's Free.

Official Programme £3 - Sold from booths within the ground. 

Port Vale Beano Fanzine £1 (issued five times a season).

Port Vale FC fixture list (takes you to the BBC Sports Website)

Stoke City

For details of disabled facilities and club contact at the ground please visit the relevant page on the 
Level Playing Field website.

Record Attendance

49,768 v Aston Villa, FA Cup 5th Round, February 20th, 1960.

Modern All Seated Attendance Record

12,601 v Wolverhampton Wanderers League One, August 31st 2013

Average Attendance
2015-2016: 4,993 (League One)
2014-2015: 5,313 (League One)
2013-2014: 6,249 (League One)

Outside the Lorne Street Stand is a statue of former player and manager Roy Sproson.

The statue was unveiled on 17 November 2012. This was after nearly a decade of fund raising by fans that amounted to the £96,000 required.

Roy Sproson Statue

Roy Sproson was a left sided defender (mainly centre half) who spent his entire professional career at Port Vale amassing a club record 837 appearances between 1950 & 1972. He also managed the Club between 1974 and 1977. Roy Sproson passed away in 1997, aged 66.

The Plinth reads: 'Through three decades as a player and captain, he made a record 837 appearances for Port Vale and scored 35 goals. He was a true legend who combined style and steel with loyalty. The very spirit of Port Vale ran through this unique man, who also went on to manage the Club'.

The plinth also acknowledges Roy's older brother Jess and nephew Phil, who also both played for Port Vale.

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at: duncan@footballgrounds.net and I'll update the guide.

Special thanks to Tim Rigby for providing a photo of the Lorne Street Stand.

Port Vale v Oxford United
Football League One
Saturday 22nd October 2016, 3pm
Rob Pickett (Oxford United fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting Vale Park?

I'd never been to Port Vale, despite its relative proximity to Sheffield (I'm an exile). So on a pleasant autumn day I was looking forward to the visit.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I had to cross the Peak District and whilst it is only 46 miles door-to-ground, it took 1 hour 50 mins. Ground is easy to find if you know the Stoke area and I availed myself of parking at Vale Park itself at a cost of £5, which was convenient and safe.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

As with other reviewers, I headed into the nearby town centre and met friends at the Bulls Head pub. This pub which is owned by the Titanic Brewery is a great pub with great real ale and a good atmosphere. They were also cooking burgers on a grill outside. It is only around a ten minute walk away from Vale Park and highly recommended.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of Vale Park?

I was quite impressed with Vale Park. Good views and well laid out. Part of the ground's seating needs completing, but all in all a well laid out stadium. There was a social club outside the ground and away fans could enter for £2 if you didn't want to walk into town.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc.

An excellent game. Oxford dominated the first half going 2-0 up. Second half belonged to Vale, mostly and 2-2 was the final score. But the result could have gone either way. I'll take the draw.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Slight delay in exiting the stadium car park, but that was only 10 minutes and I was then homeward bound. No problems really.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

I really enjoyed my visit to Port Vale and would suggest going to any away fan whose team is playing them this season.

Port Vale v Rochdale
Football League One
Saturday 23rd April 2016, 3pm
Andy Turner (Doing the 92)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting Vale Park? 

I was staying with my family in Rochdale and managed to get a lift to Vale Park £5 with my cousin so it was a no brainer to get it ticked off my list.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

The journey from Rochdale to Port Vale took just over a hour with a bit of traffic on the M6. We got to the ground at 1:30pm and parked in the club car park for £5 which was great!

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

I went into the Port Vale Club Shop and purchased a club pin badge for £2.50 which is lower than average in price! Although I wasn't too impressed that they were charging £2 to gain entry to their social club! I instead made my way into the ground at 2pm.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of Vale Park?

I was sat in the away end where I enjoyed a fantastic view of the ground. There were no obstructions in the way at all. It was interesting to note that the seats in the stand on the opposite side to us, were faded and discoloured. But I liked it as it showed the character and age of the stadium.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

The game was a fantastic game with two penalties to Port Vale and a screamer from Rochdale. I did get to hear the song "Glad all over" four times from the home fan which is quite catchy!

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting away from the ground was no problem. We made our way back to the car in a matter of minutes. Although joining back on the M6 was a bit slow with the narrow roads out of Burslem.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A great day out and entertaining game. Vale Park is one of my favourite groundhops that I've done so far!

Port Vale v Millwall
League One
Tuesday 15th September 2015, 7.45pm
Andy (Millwall fan)

Why were you looking forward to visiting Vale Park?

Vale Park is relatively local to me and after a good away win a few days earlier it seemed we had finally turned our poor early form around.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I drove and had no problem finding the ground using sat nav but be warned, Port Vale must be the only ground I have ever been to where there are no signposts anywhere to assist. I parked in the supermarket car park (£5) which is only a short walk away from the stadium.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

Bought a ticket at the ticket office next to the away end. Locals seemed friendly enough although the crowd was very low.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the stadium?

I had last been to Port Vale about 16 years ago and it hasn't changed. Its an old style ground which is still yet to be completed. The away section is large enough for around 4000 fans and some views will be obstructed by the pillars that run towards the front. I would advise sitting towards the back for a decent view and if you're going to a night game you will have to put up with the useless floodlights!

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

There was very little atmosphere generated from the home fans except for a small section to the left of the away end. The game ended 2-0 to Millwall and could have been six as we put on easily our best performance of the season. The away end enables the visitors to generate a decent noise even if there is a low number in attendance. The meat and potato pie was one of the best I have sampled (£2.50) and the stewards were very friendly and up for a laugh.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting away from the ground was easy enough. There was a bit of traffic but once on the main roads it was clear.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall Port Vale is an okay away day. The ground is old but is much better than many of the new stadiums that all look the same. Tickets are available on the day (£22).

Port Vale v Fleetwood Town
Bet League One
Sunday 3rd May 2015, 12.15pm
Matthew Bowling (Fleetwood Town fan)

Why you were looking forward to going to Vale Park?
It was the final game of the season and a new ground for me to visit.
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?    
Because I was on the supporters coach it was quite easy finding Vale Park. The coach parked on the car park just outside the ground.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?    
We arrived at Vale Park at around 10am so we went into the club bar on the car park which was good despite having to pay to get in. Both home and away fans were in the bar with no problems at all.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the stadium?
I didn't think much when I first saw the ground, as you can't see much of it from outside. As I entered the concourse, I felt that it had an older feeling about it. 

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..    
The game was great for us because we won the game 2-1, we scored twice is six minutes early in the first half which gave us a comfortable cushion which we kept until half time. It was a very 50-50 half with minimal chances, Vale answered with a goal in stoppage time but overall we deserved all three points.  The stewards are friendly and helpful.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
We got on to the coach no problem, and were given a Police escort onto the dual carriageway, so it felt safe and got us away quickly. 

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
I was impressed with the day out, the friendliness of the staff was impressive. Overall, I was very happy with the performance from Fleetwood and just the general day out.

Port Vale v Grimsby Town
Saturday November 12th, 2011, 3pm
FA Cup 1st Round
Duanne Mitchell (Grimsby Town fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):  

I was looking forward to going to Vale Park as it is one of a few grounds that I hadn't visited yet, plus the reviews that I read on the website, were good.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

As we came on the supporters coach then it was fairly straight forward. However on nearing Vale Park, the clutch on the coach broke as we were struggling to get up a nearby hill. So our coach was replaced whilst we were watching the match.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

We arrived a couple of hours prior to kick off, so we first bought our tickets from the very friendly staff in the ticket booth. As we didn't feel like looking further afield for a pub we made our way into a bar called Tommys which was situated in the away end car park.  This place was very friendly. We got our drinks and made our way over to a family of Port Vale fans, with whom we shared some banter and had a game of table football.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

My first thoughts on seeing the ground were okay from the outside, although there is not a lot that you can see. From inside the away end I thought it was pleasing. We were in easily the best stand although the size of it made it seem an age to get from top to bottom.  The other stands looked okay, although one stand to our right looked half finished as a number of seating blocks were missing.  On the whole a good  looking ground even though is was a bit of a mish mash.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc.. 

The game was actually quite open and an end to end game. We nearly scored in the first minute and really should have been in the lead by half time. The atmosphere from the Vale fans was almost non existant as we out sang them the entire match. Second half started much as the first half ended. Then in the final 15 minutes Port Vale finally put on the pressure and bombarded our defence, but we stood firm and held out for a 0-0 draw. This was more like a win to us, as with the difference in divisions most expected Port Vale to win the match.
The stewards at the turnstiles did refuse to let in the supporters drum, which didn't go down too well. There were a couple of stewards that looked like they didn't want to be there otherwise they were okay. As I did not decide to buy any food, I cannot comment but did notice that the prices were a bit steep. I did however buy a couple of 500ml bottles of lager which cost 3.10 each, which was to be expected. Toilets were not very clean but were big. Just bog standard toilets (pardon the pun) for a football ground.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

There was about a half hour slow journey getting away from the ground but once about a mile clear is was plain sailing all the way home.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall a good day out and would definitely visit again. The only draw back was that the drum was not permitted. Just one more thing that may be of interest to some fans you may want to take a camera, as you literally pass the Britannia Stadium on the way in although this may not apply to fans coming from down from the North.

Port Vale v Bury
Saturday March 26th, 2011, 1pm
League Two
Myles Munsey (Neutral supporter)

Reasons for visit:

Having visited pretty much all of the grounds in the South, I was targeting the Midlands and Potteries to add to my list. The 1pm kick-off  due to the Wales v England  World Cup qualifier suited me well as it meant a sociable hour arriving home.  I live in Berkshire! The two participating teams were in or around the play-off positions so this looked like being a good encounter.
Getting there:

The ground was easy to find, more so having studied this website and Google maps. It is an easy walk from Longport station and whilst there is a hill this hardly constitutes a slog.
Before the game:

There wasn't a great deal of time so I had a snack in a local cafe and then strolled up to Vale Park to take some pictures and have a quick look at the club shop. This I have to say was superb. Well laid out, spacious and well-stocked and equipped with a couple of comfy leatherette armchairs. Not encountered that before!
First impressions:

I have to say the ground looks odd, both inside and out. Perhaps I had formed a wrong impression, but others who have been before, implied that was an historic ground with character. Unfortunately it does seem that a lot of that character has been lost. The ticket booths and stairways are indeed from a bygone age but these rather jarr with the modern aspects of the stadium. The arrangements were fine and the seats were comfortable enough with a very good view of the action. The pitch was narrowed by Mickey Adams to be as narrow as regulations allow, so I am told, meaning that you can see the full length of the lines (good). However, I just could not come to terms with Vale Park. Development here has obviously been phased and to that end I am sympathetic, as cash flow is always a problem. But here I feel the blend of old and new simply does not work. For example:-
As the ground layout diagram suggests the Big AM end of the ground has angular portions that are at 45 degrees to everything else.
Another oddity I observed is that the seats are coloured to replicate the colours on the club badge -i.e Yellow ochre, black and blue (blue in the corners only) rather than the colours of the playing strip which would be black and white. I'm not sure if this is unique. It is certainly unusual.
The game:

The game itself was entertaining with Port Vale dominating yet unable to find the net. It finished 0-0. Recent managerial changes were no doubt a factor and though they huffed and puffed with no little skill, hitting the frame of the goal three times, it was evidently a very frustrating afternoon for them as it was for the crowd who were quite demonstrative at times. Bury were pretty subdued as was Ryan Lowe. Port Vale definitely bossed the game so Bury wouuld have been happy to have come away with a point. I have seen far worse goalless draws shall we say. Interruptions to play were kept lively by the Port Vale mascot 'Boomer the dog who kept us much amused with his daft antics.
Getting from the ground:

Getting away was easy. I simply retraced my steps. I left the ground at 14.55 and was back at  Longport Station at 15.15. It is an easy 20 minute walk. Those who take 30 minutes must have visited some establishments en route!

I  have no wish to denigrate Vale Park ,and a vist is well recommended,  but it steers a halfway house between the traditional ground and the modern stadium. A good day out and easy to get to and from. A well organised ground with good facilities but lacking that certain something. 'Wembley of the North?'  Not really I'm afraid.

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Updated 24th October 2016