Vale Park is a football stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, England. It has been the home ground of Port Vale F.C. since 1950. The ground has seen its capacity go up and down, its peak being 42,000 in February 1954 against Blackpool, although a club record 49,768 managed to squeeze in for a 1960 FA Cup fifth round fixture against Aston Villa.
It now has a notional capacity of just over 19,000, though has rarely seen more than 10,000 spectators since major restructuring to make the stadium an all-seater venue in the 1990s.
Vale Park is all seated with a decent view from all areas and with the capacity being set at 17,900 it is never a problem to get in on the day. It has only ever been 100% sold out for a league game once, v Stoke City in 1990, the first meeting at the ground for 33 years. There is a small track which separates the pitch from the stands and runs all the way round the ground. With the exception of the Lorne Street Stand, all are single-tier with supporting pillars which can obstruct your view somewhat, though this is only rarely a problem due to the average attendances at Vale Park over recent seasons.
Vale Park is an interesting mix of a typical ‘English Style’ stadium of four stands on each side of the pitch, with a slight nod to the more ‘Bowl Style’ design that modern stadiums use. This is because of the corners of The Bycars Stand, which are filled. Here’s some information on each of the four stands at the ground:
The Bycars Stand - This is a single-tiered structure that is fully covered and tends to house the most vocal of Port Vale’s supporters. There is only one tier, but it is split into two different sections for added confusion.
The Railway Stand - This section of the ground runs along the side of the pitch and contains a paddock section at the front.
The Hamil Road Stand - Taking its name from the street that it runs along, this goal-end stand is single-tiered and typically houses the away supporters. Views can be restricted by the support pillars that keep the roof up and the stand also features the club’s electronic scoreboard.
The Lorne Street Stand - This is the main stand at Vale Park, housing two layers of hospitality boxes, the dressing rooms and the players’ tunnel. It’s a single-tier structure that can house around 5000 supporters.
Visiting supporters are situated in the Signal One Stand behind one of the goals, and this is the first stand you come to on Hamil Road. The view is very good generally although there are 4 supporting pillars that can get in the way if you sit more than half way back. It caters for more than 4,500
The nearest pub is on the away fans car park, called Tommy Cheadle's and everyone is welcome apart from large groups of away fans for obvious reasons. The licensee of this place used to be Pete Conway, Robbie Williams' father. The walk into the centre of Burslem is no more than 10 minutes. Half way into town, you'll come across the Vine at the bottom of Hamil Road which welcomes both sets of fans and gets absolutely crowded pre-match.
Outside there are usually a couple of burger vans, but further up Hamil Road there is a cafe just past the church. Further on still, the second street on the right, May Street has a chip shop 100 yards from Hamil Road. Down into the town you fill find restaurants and a Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Car parking is available opposite the stadium in a large car park. However, street parking is also available in the roads surrounding the stadium if you arrive early enough to take advantage.
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