Port Vale FC is in Burslem near Stoke on Trent, one of the 5 towns of The Potteries. It is one of only 3 EFL clubs that aren’t named after a geographical location. The name is a reference to the valley of ports on the Trent & Mersey canal – The Great Pottery Throw Down and Peaky Blinders have both been filmed at nearby Middleport Pottery on the canal.
They are nicknamed ‘The Valiants’ – the club crest features 2 Portland Vases (representing the association with Wedgewood in the area), and a Staffordshire knot. The fierce traditional rivals have been Stoke City (4 miles away) but it has been some 20 years since they played a competitive league match. Crewe Alexandra filled this gap as a local rival but Crewe were promoted then Vale went up as Crewe came back down, so Vale are a little short of local rivals at the moment. Shrewsbury Town and Burton Albion would top the list this season.
Most of Vale’s history has seen them in either the 2nd or 3rd tier of the EFL. Over time, the club have been more regularly seen in the 3rd or 4th tier over the last 50 years (they’ve had 4 relegations to the 4th tier in their time). They were in administration in 2012 but have revived under new owners since 2017.
Overall, Vale have played 110 seasons in the football league without ever reaching the top tier (this is a record!). 41 of these seasons have been played in football’s 2nd tier.
Port Vale supporters produce 3 unofficial fanzines, The Memoirs of Seth Bottomley, the Vale Park Beano, and Derek I’m Gutted! Some of Vale’s more vociferous supporters are called the VLF. VLF stands for Vale Legendary Failures!
One of Vale’s fanzines.