Port Vale are officially the second-best team in Stoke-on-Trent. It’s an honour we’ve given them – and grateful they should be for it. We’re sure that, should anyone want independent verification, we can find it for you. So, to what did Boro’ owe the pleasure of their company? Well, it all started with a hard-fought battle in the 2009-10 FA Cup. But we since met Port Vale in both League One and League Two. Our first league encounter came during the 2010-1 League Two campaign; then League One offering a new battleground in 2013-4.
Vale ended up coming back down to League Two a short while after we lost our battle to stay in the third tier. And they stuck around a bit; promoted back to League One in 2022 – one year before Boro’ would follow ’em ourselves. In the time they were around with us in League Two between 2017 and 2022, we didn’t actually do too badly against them. There were just two defeats, one of which came during our mess of a 2019-20 effort. So, back once again with the renegade masters in 2023-4. Could make for an interesting duel or two.
Port Vale: The Facts
Hamil Road, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 1AW
The starting point for the Valiants’ tale is one to debate among yourselves. The club’s official website is of the view that things all started in 1876; their name taken from Port Vale House. A local historian, however, reckons otherwise; the club instead coming to life in 1879 as an offshoot of Porthill Victoria football club and taking its name from its location: the valley of canal ports. Either way, it’s a ruddy bloody long time ago – and gives them around 100 years’ head start on our humble Boro’. Now that’s done, here’s how they got where they are today.
In 1892, the club were a founder member of Football League Division Two. This occured during a 27-year epoch when they were known as Burslem Port Vale after relocating to, well, Burslem. That moniker was binned in ’07, the same year in which the Valiants quit the League due to financial strife. After the First World War One, they made their League return, taking over the fixtures of a Leeds City side who were in a bit of a fiscal pickle. Vale have remained in the League ever since, and with varying peaks and troughs recorded during that time.
For all their time in the League, Port Vale are yet to appear in the top flight. The closest they have come (that we could be arsed to count) are a number of eighth-placed finishes in the second tier. No digs there, however. It’s higher than we’ve yet to achieve. Yet. The last time the club were seen in the second tier was back in 2000; the Valiants sharing their time between Leagues One and Two in the period since. It’s probably more galling if you think how their city rivals, Stoke City, have spent the last decade in the Premier League.
How to get to Port Vale – Travel Information – Distance: 142 miles
Travelling to Stoke-on-Trent isn’t too hard in terms of navigation. You will, however, be at the mercy of the Saturday motorway traffic no matter which of the two routes you choose to take en-route to the Midlands. Both involve joining up with the M1 however you like to do that. But at the M6 interchange, it’s all up to you…
One option sees you keep going north on the M1 until you get to the junction for the A453 at Donington/East Midlands Airport/Nottingham. At this point, head off the motorway and onto the dual carriageway that runs parallel to hook up with the westbound A50 for Derby.
It’s essentially an M1/M6 link road that brings you to the outskirts of Stoke. Enter the city and head past the Britannia Stadium (remember that place?). Then, you must turn right onto the A500. Exit the A500 onto the A527 and take the fourth exit at the roundabout for Tunstall.
Shortly after, turn right onto the B5051 and continue straight over a couple of crossroads – and a roundabout; just after the A50 crossroads is when you need to become watchful. At this point, Hamil Road will appear on your left. Take this turn and you’re there.
If you fancy braving the weekend M6, head north to Junction 15 for the A500. Head into Stoke and once at the A527, it’s all a bit samey to what we said just above.
You can find a decent-sized car park outside the away end, which is Car Park C and will set you back a fiver. Otherwise, you can chance your arm on local streets.
Services to: STOKE (for LONDON EUSTON)
If you’re serious about getting the train and don’t mind the faff of getting a connection from Stoke to Longport, this could well be your best bet.
From Longport station, head up Station Street towards Brookside and continue onto the A5271 Newcastle Street for just over half a mile. You’ll pass The Pack Horse on the left. As you follow the road around to the right over a roundabout, you’ll see that Newcastle Street becomes the B5051. You’ll want to remain on this road as it snakes back around.
You should ultimately pass the Duke William on the right hand side as you continue onto Market Place. Cross the A50 and the second left turning will be Hamil Road.
If you prefer to go to Stoke, you’ll be five miles from the ground and need a bus or taxi.
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