What's Vale Park Like?
|What's Vale Park Like?|
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.
Adrian Gaffney informs me; 'With new owners in place the Club now hope to finally complete the Lorne Street Stand.'
|Looking Towards The Railway Stand|
|What Is It Like For Visiting Supporters?|
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 (£1.50).
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.
|Where To Drink?|
|Unfortunately the choice of pubs for
away 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 in the form of bottles of Greene King IPA (£2.70) & Carlsberg (£3.10).
|How To Get There And Where To Park|
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.
Map showing the
location of Vale Park (at the bottom
of this page).
Longport station is the closest to the ground, but is a good 30 minute walk away and is not well served by trains as Stoke On Trent station is. Therefore most fans end up at Stoke On Trent railway station, which is over four miles away and take a taxi up to the ground.
Bus information from Stoke station:
Parr informs me; 'Come out of the main station
doors at Stoke-on-Trent. Turn
left past a bus stop and the taxi rank. Walk to the
end of this road, which only takes a couple of
minutes. Then on your left is a railway bridge, but
cross over the road and turn right. Up towards a bus
stop opposite Signal Radio.
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.
Remember if travelling by train then
you can save on the cost of fares by booking in
advance. Visit the the trainline website to
see how much you can
normally save. Click on the trainline
Thanks to Tim Rigby for providing the photo above.
|Programme & Fanzines|
Programme £3 - Sold from
booths within the ground.
Vale Park Beano Fanzine £1
Derek I'm Gutted Fanzine £1
details of disabled facilities and club contact at the
ground please visit the relevant page on the
Level Playing Field website.
|Port Vale FC fixture list (takes you to the BBC Sports Website)|
|Record & Average Attendance|
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
2013-2014: 6,249 (League One)
2012-2013: 5,727 (League Two)
2011-2012: 4,820 (League Two)
|Fans Reviews Of Vale Park|
Mitchell (Grimsby Town) 12/11/11
Myles Munsey (Neutral) 26/3/11
Matt Harris (Gillingham) 16/10/10
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|Map showing the location of Vale Park, railway station and listed pubs|
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