19,052 (all seated)
Address: Hamil Rd, Burslem, ST6 1AW
Telephone: 01782 655800
Ticket Office: 01782 655821
Pitch Size: 114 x 77 yards
Pitch Type: Grass
Club Nickname: The Valiants
Year Ground Opened: 1950
Undersoil Heating: No
Shirt Sponsors: Synectics Solutions
Home Kit: White, Black and Amber
Away Kit: Amber and Black
The ground has a good mixture of older and more modern stands. The overall look has been improved recently with the installation of 1,500 seats in a previously unfinished part of the Lorne Street Stand. This stand is of a good size having a capacity of around 5,000. It is two-tiered with a row of executive boxes situated between its large lower tier and much smaller upper tier. Above the players tunnel and Director’s area in the centre of the stand is a clock that was taken from the old stand that this new one replaced.
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 on 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 seating has been installed onto the unfinished part of the lower tier, of the Lorne Street Stand, it is still unlikely that this area will be used for football matches, as it lacks any spectator facilities, such as turnstiles, a concourse, food/drink outlets, and toilets. The Port Vale Supporters Club have begun fundraising to raise £100,000 to have these works undertaken. If successful then the Club intends to use this area as a Family Section.
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 includes Rollover Hot Dogs (£2.50) and a selection of Wrights Pies; Steak (£2.50), Meat & Potato (£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 Hamil Road End 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 ticket booth in the car park by the away end. This booth is ‘cash only’. If you wish to pay by credit or debit card you will need to purchase tickets from the Main ticket office.
Port Vale have called many places home over the years. They started off on Limekiln Lane and then moved to Westport Meadows. A few years later they were on the move again; the next stop on the Port Vale stadium tour was Burslem Athletic Ground. Waterloo Road was their first long term home as they stayed there for over a decade but then an even longer spell came at The Old Rex ground. They moved in during 1913 and stayed there until their move to Vale Park in 1950.
Vale Park had been in the works for six years. In the late eighties some improvements were made to aid disabled fans and, a decade later, more changes came in to convert the stadium to a fully seated arena.
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. Open from 11am on Saturdays it has a BBQ on matchdays, sells Staffordshire Oatcakes and 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 Hognoggins and the New Inn (both home fans only) 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.
Also in St John’s Square is the Duke William and around the corner on the main Wedgwood Street is the Bursley Ale House. Both of these pubs are listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide, but I am unsure if they are suitable for away fans on matchdays. Perhaps someone could email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and confirm?
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).
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 crossroads and then take the first road on the left which takes you down to the ground. There is a fair sized car park located outside the away end (Car Park C) which costs £5, otherwise street parking.
Post Code for SAT NAV: ST6 1AW
Longport Railway Station is the closest to the Vale Park 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 (around £7).
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’.
Booking train tickets in advance will normally save you money! Find train times, prices and book tickets with Trainline. Visit the website below to see how much you can save on the price of your tickets:
Lorne Street Stand:
Adults £23, Aged 62 & over £18, Under 22’s £18, Under 18’s £10, Under 12’s Free
All Other Areas Of The Ground:
Adults £22, Aged 62 & over £17, Under 22’s £17, Under 18’s £10, Under 12’s Free
Aged 62 & over £17
Under 22’s £17
Under 18’s £10
Under 12’s Free.
Official Programme £3 – Sold from booths within the ground.
Port Vale Beano Fanzine £1 (issued five times a season).
For details of disabled facilities and club contact at the ground please visit the relevant page on the
Level Playing Field website.
Port Vale vs Stoke rivalry: Stoke and Port Vale are both located in the city of Stoke-on-Trent and, as such, games are spicy. Had Stoke not pulled clear in the pyramid, things would be much more tense. Even so, clashes are hardly dull nowadays.
Port Vale vs Crewe rivalry: In a world where everything was even, Stoke is the bigger derby game for Port Vale. The fact Port Vale and Crewe have met more often over the years – particularly recently – means this game has taken on more importance for both sets of fans. After all, there are plenty of bragging rights at stake with just 30 minutes between the two.
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 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.
49,768 v Aston Villa
FA Cup 5th Round, 20th February 1960.
Modern All Seated Attendance Record
12,601 v Wolverhampton Wanderers
League One, 31st August 2013
2019-2020: 4,862 (League Two)
2018-2019: 4,431 (League Two)
2017-2018: 4,583 (League Two)
If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at: email@example.com and I’ll update the guide.
Special thanks to Tim Rigby for providing a photo of the Lorne Street Stand.