Vale Park was built in 1950 and is now the home of Port Vale FC, a League Two club. The ground is located in the North-West city of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire and was once dubbed The Wembley of the North.
Its current capacity stands at 18,947 and it has a pitch that measures 104m by 70m. The surface is covered with grass and it has no running track surrounding it.
The record attendance at Vale Park was set on 20 February 1960 with 49,768 fans watching Port Vale’s match against Aston Villa.
Before they moved to Vale Park, Port Vale have been playing their football at the Old Recreation Ground. However, as soon as they found out they would be evicted from their home, the ideas of building an entirely new stadium emerged. In 1944, they chose Hamil Road as the site for building their new safe haven.
Interestingly enough, the location was just opposite of Burslem Park, a ground where the club had played its football back in the day. With the size and ambition of the project – seeing how the proposed ground was supposed to have an 80,000 capacity with room for 1,000 parked cars – it was dubbed The Wembley of the North.
Even though some of the initial features were remarkable, such as the most expensive pitch ever laid in the country at that time, the real capacity stood at 40,000, only 360 of which were seated, and it had only two stands. The first game ever played at Vale Park was a 1–0 victory over Newport County on a rainy 24 August 1950, watched by 30,196 supporters.
In the early 1950s, Vale Park was redeveloped with the Railway Terrace getting new seats and the erection of the Railway Stand, both boosting the capacity of the ground. In 1958, the first floodlights were added and two years later, in 1960, the club finally installed new drainage which was a problem for many years, even to the point games had to be postponed multiple times over time.
Sometime later, in the 1980s, the capacity had to be reduced due to safety reasons following the Bradford City Fire but by the end of the decade, Vale Park would see big refurbishments and modernisation with upgraded floodlights, electronic scoreboard and an overall £250,000 improvements to the ground. In 1989, they even added a disabled stand – the country’s first purpose-built facility of its kind.
The ‘90s saw more work being done with the demolition of the all-standing Lorne Street, which was to be replaced by a new, modern facility, although this is yet to be fully finalised. In fact, it took them until 2020 to finally add seats to the new stand but the new owners still managed to further improve the stadium after taking the club out of administration in 2012.
Interestingly, that was also when Vale Park was separated from the club, the ownership returning to Port Vale only in May 2019. Five months later it was declared as an “asset of community value status” by Stoke-on-Trent city council.
All tickets to watch Port Vale play at Vale Park can be found on the club’s official website. The cost of an adult ticket is either £21 or £20, depending whether you choose the Lorne Street – the more expensive one – or any other area.
Of course, Port Vale also offer season tickets to their fans and more information can be found on the aforementioned website.
https://www.port-vale.co.uk/ – Official website of Port Vale