Port Vale Football Club is a professional team that is based in Stoke-on-Trent. The team currently play their football in League 2, which is the 4th tier of English football. We have never been in the top-flight and actually hold the record for having the most English Football League seasons (109) without having reached the first tier. Below we are going to provide you with interesting information regarding the club’s grounds over the years, our supporters and rivalries, and records and stats.
When Port Vale became part of the English Football League in 1892, we were already playing at our 4th home ground. We first started out at Meadows in Limekiln Lane and then started playing our home games at Westport Meadows in 1981. We played here for three years, but the area was prone to flooding so the Burslem Football ground became our new home venue for two years. However, it was not adequate for us, so we moved to the Athletic Ground, were we stayed for the next 27 years.
From 1913 until 1950, Port Vale played our home games at the Old Recreation Ground. However, we took a financial hit during World War II so had to sell the stadium to the local council. Since 1950, Vale Park has been our home ground. This stadium has undergone a lot of renovation over the years and now has a capacity of just under 20,000.
Supporters and Rivalries
We have a huge rivalry with Stoke City as we are based in the same city. Stoke have a bigger fan base than us due to the fact that they have spent some time in the top division. However, due to the difference in divisions, we rarely get to play against Stoke. The only time it could happen is if we are drawn against them in the League Cup or FA Cup. Therefore, we now have more of a rivalry with Crewe Alexandra. We also have rivalries with Walsall and Shrewsbury Town, and less significant ones with Wolves, Burton Albion, and Macclesfield Town.
Our most famous supporter has got to be Robbie Williams, who was born in Stoke-on-Trent. There is a restaurant at Vale Park named after him as he was once a major shareholder in the club for 6 years. Jonathan Wilkes, a TV presenter, Phil Taylor, a darts player, and Simon Webbe, the singer, are also big fans of Port Vale.
Records and Statistics
Our highest ever finish in the Football League was 5th in the Second Division in 1931, while our best run in the FA Cup was to semi-finals in 1954. The biggest victory that we have ever achieved is a 9-1 win against Chesterfield back in 1932, while our biggest ever defeat was a 10-0 loss to Sheffield United in 1892.
Roy Sproson, with 842 matches to his name, holds the record for the most appearances for the club. The top goal scorer title goes to Wilf Kirkham as he scored 164 goals for the club - 11 in the FA Cup and 153 in the league. He also once scored 41 goals in a single season, which is another club record that he holds. Teddy Peers was the first Port Vale player to earn a call up to his national team, which was Wales. Chris Birchall played 27 times for Trinidad and Tobago, which means that he holds the record for being the most capped Port Vale player.
On the 20th February 1960, we took on Aston Villa in the FA Cup and 49,768 fans crowded into Vale Park, which is still the record attendance. The highest transfer fee that we have ever paid for a player is the £2 million that we paid to sign Gareth Ainsworth from Wimbledon in 1998.