Written on: 04/09/2011 by lilloulfc (1 review written)
Well Port Vale for me is like my second home I go there every other weekend and weekdays depending when our next fixture is. I first become interested and started my love for football right there at Vale Park where I become more and more of a Valiant( Port Vales nickname). At the age of 6 I was going to matches to support Vale but I didn't really think I would still be supporting them a number of years on. I didn't go to Vale Park for a number of years after this match due to a few personal reasons but still followed them as much as I could. I then started going again at the age of 11 where I could understand more about the game and become more passionate about football and Port Vale as a whole. As I am from Stoke on Trent I had the choice to support either Port Vale, Stoke City or maybe even Crewe Alexander. However I knew that Vale were the one for me as I always support an underdog in football because I like to prove that you don't have to have all the millions and billions of money to play a good quality football match. Port Vale for me is what a real football club is about we may only be in league two yet our supporters have die hard fans and not the type of people who are glory hunters.
This is currently my first season as a season ticket holder as I had to sell my season ticket in the season of 09/10. I decided to invest in the season ticket for £89 (as I applied for it early) as it worked out cheaper instead of paying £8 on the gate every other Saturday. I wanted the season ticket as I knew that the money for it would invest in the club and help them out financially and show and support the Valiants. Port Vale for me will always be my team as well a Liverpool and I will carry on supporting them know matter what. For me I have a few favourite players and you will learn about them further on in the review.
-That Team on Hamil Road-
This is just an insight on what a Saturday match day as a Valiant could include. You arrive at the match about half an hour- 15 minutes before the game. When you enter the ground you can buy a match day programme for £2.50. the programme include pictures from the previous match, and interview with the manager, upcoming away game and information about travel ad costs, a child's section for those children that don't like football that much. This usually includes a simple crossword or word-search and a spot the difference. Also in the programme there is a poster of a Port Vale player that you can get signed by them at the beginning or end of the match. On the back of the programme is a full list of the team, the opposition team and officials( referee, linesmen/women and 4th official). This is good as you can check for players names of those who you don't know just by looking at their number. Also while purchasing a programme you can also buy a golden goal ticket or shirt off the back.
The golden goal is where you have a ticket for £1 and on the ticket is a time with the minutes and seconds on. If the first goal of the match is scored then you win a nice cash prize. For me this isn't good as I have never won and can be seen as a waste of money. The shirt of the back competition has to be my favourite you have a ticket and with that ticket you have a number if your number gets announced at half time then you get to choose whose shirt you want out of the Port Vale team. My best friend has won this competition several times and its a good way too meet the players too. Also before the match they have pre match entertainment which usually involves the players warming up. This gives you the chance to see your team before the match and have an idea of the starting line up if you don't already know it.
Sometimes before the match and during half time they have dance/cheer-leading groups to get the atmosphere going and to liven things up. In my opinion there should be more pre match entertainment and different acts on often and not just a few times a season and entertainment that suits everybody not just a few people.
At half time there are many refreshment bars situated around the ground where they sell hot food cold snacks warm drinks and cold drinks. The hot food includes pies, sausage rolls, pasties hot dogs and burgers. It is a good quality of food and is worth the money even though it can be seen as a bit expensive but this is the same what ever football ground you go around the country. Hot Dogs are the rollover ones which are like a foot long and are in a baguette these cost around £2.20. A hot drink like tea/coffee/hot chocolate costs £1.50. In my opinion the hot chocolate is nice but make sure it is stirred otherwise it is just boiling water you are drinking. In the Lorne Street Stand ( I will talk about the stands in more detail later on) there is a bar which serves alcoholic drinks this doesn't happen anywhere else in the ground.
At Vale we have 3 stands for the home supporters and one for the away supporters. They have the Railway Stand which the bottom half of the terrace is known as the Railway Stand and the top is known as Railway Paddock. Paddock having white seats and the Railway having yellow. It is called the Railway and paddock stand as when it first opened in 1950 there was railway track outside. This stand is where the real atmosphere is created it's at the left side of the ground if you look at it from the front. This is where the die hard Port Vale fans stand to taunt the away fans as only a gap on the corner separates them. This stand has covered shelter meaning you won't get wet as it always seems to be raining in Stoke. In my opinion this stand is for people who really want to feel the atmosphere of a football game and want to see every angle of the game up close. I would recommend it for the adults but not so much for the children if you get offended by foul language but this sometimes is expected at sporting games. However, Port Vale have put in place a lifetime ban for anybody using racial or abusive language and isn't tolerated.
The Bycars stand is opposite from the away end and has the Railway Stand to the right of it. This is where I currently sit. It is called the Bycars Road End as it is named after the road it is on. However this road now doesn't exist and is Port Vales training ground. Long before I was even born this Stand was the main stand for home fans. Bycars had a new structure in 1992 as it was seen as an unsafe stand. I can confirm that the stand is extremely safe with a cover and concrete to keep the stand more secure. This has to be my favourite place to sit as it is behind the goal and is full of people who have a great passion for the game. The stand doesn't get too full and there is always a warm friendly atmosphere between the people. One warning always be alert for the flying balls as we are only a league two side we don't have that many shots on target! Overall a great stand ideal for families and the elderly.
Lorne Street is a stand that so many people seem to love but I have never understood why maybe it is because it has a bar in there. The stand is named after the street it is on. This stand is where the two dugouts are for the teams and the tunnel is to the players dressing rooms. Also in this stand you can find the Directors boxes and restaurant. It also has offices and other match day boxes. Lorne Street is another great stand which does get busy from time to time. However, when it is sunny the sun always seems to be low and in the direction of that stand so you do have to cover your eyes. I have also noticed for a season ticket in this stand it does cost more money. From the outside of Lorne Street looks a great place as it is the main entrance to the ground and is has a full glass panel it is a great welcome to anybody visiting Port Vale and makes the club look grand.
Hamil Road End
This is where the away fans sit it is behind the goal and never gets too full. The stand is fully covered to stop the fans to get wet. There isn't too much I can say about this stand apart from it is built securely for the away fans and contains a food stand. Above this stand is the electronic scoreboard. The away fans however can't see this. On the board they have the time,score and how long the match has been played for. The board also shows information of the upcoming games and any adverts of local businesses. At half time the board shows the scores from other leagues so you are up to date and aware of the other games.
Overall the ground hold a massive 18,947 this is a great number for such a small league 2 side with not much money. Half of the Lorne Street stand however is half finished due to finance problems that the club are facing.
Also at Vale we have a disabled stand which is for wheelchair access and has disabled toilets. This is great as it shows that the club cares about all the fans coming to support their team and that some sort of physical impairment won't stop them. This is at the left hand side of Bycars.
The ground also has a Family Stand which is at the right of Bycars this is a quiet area but you still get to feel the football atmosphere and so do the little ones. However this stand doesn't get used too much as there isn't any trouble from matches they sit in the normal stands but this is just an option.
-Parking/Getting there/Going Home-
Outside the Railway Stand there is a car-park which is used for match days this costs £4. The car park is safe and secure and is operated by stewards. If you really want to save money you can park on the back streets of Vale. This costs nothing but be aware that you may have to be a permit holder. On the way to Vale Park there isn't usually that much traffic you just have to be aware of any road works that are going on around the city. There maybe slight cues around the ground as you reach closer to the ground as everyone is trying to go to the same place. I get there by car using the A500 it isn't too far from my house and have easy road links to reach the top of Hamil Road where I get dropped off and I walk down Hamil Road ( this is a bank). If you are trying to get to the ground from outside of Stoke-on-Trent there a number of ways to do this.
-How to get to Vale Park-
From the north.
Exit the M6 at Junction 16 and enter onto the A500 (south) to Stoke-on-Trent. Exist when you see the sign for Tunstall. You will then reach a roundabout turn left and then the second exit ( signposted Tunstall). Then turn onto Newcastle Street at the roundabout. Then go across straight across the roundabout until you reach the crossroads and then go straight across. You will now be on Moorland road carrying on going until you see Hamil road and take the exit. Carry on going until you see the club.
From the South
Leave the M6 at Junction 15. Take the A500 (north) to Stoke-on-Trent. Continue until you see a sign for Tunstall. Take the forth exit at the roundabout. Go across the roundabout and then the crossroads. You will now be on Moorland Road go straight on this road until the second exit which is Hamil Road then Vale Park will be on your left.
We have Stoke-on-Trent train station. Then you can catch a bus to Burslem town centre. Once you have passed the Red Lion pub (where Robbie Williams used to live) then Hamil Road is the second left.
Adult Prices (over 18) - £19.50
Under 9's- FREE
Senior ( 60+) - £14.00
These prices do not apply to those who want to sit in the Lorne Street stand. Prices have always been higher to sit in the Lorne Street stand this maybe because the view is better but it is all the same to me.
Lorne Street Stand Prices.
Adult Prices (Over 18)- £20.50
Under 9's- FREE
Senior (60+) -£14.50
The prices aren't that much different compared to sitting in the other stands and it is nice to know that they have kept the child prices the same. This is to ensure the new generation get to see a game of football and make them want to try out new sports in the community to keep them fit and healthy.
Season Ticket Prices
Season ticket prices vary on the month of the sale. If you buy a season ticket as soon as the prices are announced this usually costs less than it would nearer the time of the start of the season. The prices change all the time so I can not exactly say the price as they are still discussing the prices for them. I purchased my season ticket when the prices were first announced for season 10/11 which cost £89. The price of a season ticket may rise this season to create more money for the club. You can also have a season ticket for just half a season which would be from the start of the January till the end of the season.
The season ticket includes all the tickets needed for home matches. A 5% card for any Thomas Cook holiday. This is great for if you want to save money on going abroad and you can use it as many times as you wish. Also the season ticket contains promotional vouchers this helps you to have money off away matches and also if you get through so many rounds of cup matches then you can use the for money off and to have your seat at the match. The season ticket also has a voucher in for a local garage. This includes £5 and £10 off an MOT and then 5% off parts that the car may need and 10% off any labour charges. This is for any make and model.
The ticket office is open weekdays 09:00 am and 05:00 pm. It is also open on match days between 9:30 am - 3:15 pm.
-History of the Club-
Vale were founded in 1876 and were playing their games in Westport which isn't too far from where they play now. They moved to Burslem in 1884 and were then known as Burslem Port Vale. They moved into their new home Atheletic ground a year later. In 1907 they became known as Port Vale as the Burslem part was dropped. After a bad spell financially they moved into the Old Recreational ground in 1912.
Port Vale never had much success in the early days and times for the club become more of a struggle. However in 1950 Port Vale moved to their current ground Vale Park. The size of the pitch is the same measurements as the old Wembley ground. Maybe they did this because they thought that's the closest we will ever get to Wembley. In the next few years to come we seemed to never reach further than the 5th or 4th round of the fa cup and got relegated to division 4.
In the season 92/93 we reached the play offs but Vale got beat by West Brom this just seemed to be our luck or lack of.
In 2001 a new chairman,Bill Bratt, became in charge of the club still to this day he is in charge yet many fans are against him for taking the club in the wrong direction.
Many managers left in the next few seasons as nothing could be created with the team we had. We had been relegated numerous amounts of times and had no luck in competitions.
Micky Adams then became in charge and after a not so good start he seemed to have found a team that could work together. In my opinion it was because he put every single player at Port Vale on the transfer list so this was the shock they needed to pull themselves together and work for it yet still no promotion.
Well I am sure any Port Vale fans would agree with me when we say it has been an unforgettable season. The first half of the season was magic and Vale fans actually believed promotion would be on the cards this season winning nearly every home game and drawing a lot away this would take us up into 2nd place.
Then in January the dreaded news that Micky Adams had left the club to go to Sheffield United shook the team right up and it was like our confidence was lost. A week after Jim Gannon took control of the lads and said he would keep the things the same. However he failed to do this he changed the team completely and the promotional hopes seemed to be over. Everybody lost faith at the club and it was like the team wasn't a team any longer. After a few protests and Vale falling out of the play off positions Jim Gannon left the club. In my opinion if he didn't do this then the attendance at Vale would decline dramatically as he didn't care about the fans or any staff/players at the club. His departure gave us the confidence again.
Mark Grew as caretaker be in charge of the boys. If anybody knows best about how Vale works it is him. Still now we are praying for the play off position. The fans are voicing their opinion about the board in charge and want a local millionaire to invest in the club. The campaign 'Black and Gold Until it's sold' is still a big hit and fans show their support with their scarves.
Hopefully after an unforgettable season Port Vale can do everybody proud because Port Vale is like a little family that just needs a push.
This is the team that are currently playing for Port Vale this could change at any time.
GK Chris Martin
MF Rob Taylor
MF Anthony Griffith
DF John McCombe
DF Gareth Owen
MF Doug Loft
FW Louis Dodds
FW Marc Richards (captain)
FW Justin Richards
GK Stuart Tomlinson
MF Kris Taylor
DF Lee Collins
MF Lewis Haldane
MF Sean Rigg
MF Sam Morsy
DF Exodus Geohaghon (on loan from Peterborough United)
DF Ritchie Sutton
MF Gary Roberts
FW Kristian Cox
GK Sam Johnson
DF Joe Davis
DF Scott McLaren
Famous Fans - Robbie Williams and Phil Taylor
For me Port Vale is a club where the passion for football is so strong it is something that money can't buy. As a club they have their ups and downs yet still pull together as a team and do it for the fans. The Criteria is based upon a League team side not world class.
Port Vale Football Club
Tel - 01782 655800
Ticket Office Number - 01782 655808