Port Vale

Port Vale

Stadium Information

Stadium

Vale Park

Address

Hamill Road
Burslem
Stoke-on-Trent
ST6 1AW

Club / stadium contact for disabled supporters

Name

Janet Ellis

Telephone no.

0871 222 1950

Website address

Disabled Supporters Association

Contact Name

There is no DSA at present.

Telephone no.

E-mail address

Website address

 

 

Accessibility Information

For UK minimum access standards for new and existing stadia and for good practice guidance please click here.

 

Getting There & Parking

 

16 accessible parking spaces are available to home and away supporters at the car park adjacent to the stand, clubs advises pre booking spaces. They are located 50 metres away. Drop of facilities are available.

 

National Rail have published links to the nearest stations to sporting venues including Port Vale see here for more information.

 

Level Playing Field have not verified the information given and we suggest that you contact the station direct if you have any access requirements.

Getting a Ticket

 

For information on purchasing a ticket please visit the Port Vale Website

Spectator Viewing areas

 

Home supporters have 25 spaces for wheelchair users available to them, and these can be found at the disabled seating area. 3 spaces for wheelchair users can be found in the disabled seating area in the home section for away supporters. Supporters with ambulant disabilities can request ambulant seating in the home end.

 

NB: Under existing minimum standards for accessible stadia, the club should have 140 wheelchair spaces (119 home and up to 21 away). 75% of these should be elevated positions and the remaining 25% pitchside.

 

LPF's view is that many disabled supporters should be able to access general seating areas and only those with specific needs eg those who require extra legroom, or access via aisle seats or who need step free access etc should be allocated seats in the dedicated areas.

 

Based on the above, the club therefore only meets 20% of the guidance and has a shortfall of 117 wheelchair spaces. They should be working on a plan to rectify this deficit within a reasonable timeframe under the auspices of a full independent Access Audit.


 

Accessible amenities

 

Both home and away fans can use accessible toilets inside the stadium. The club shop is accessible for all fans and has a low level serving counter. Catering kiosks in both the home and away sections have low level serving counters and so are fully accessible.
 

Accessible services & information

 

The ticket office does not have a hearing loop installed. Match commentaries are available by pre booking with the club. Facilities for assistance dogs are not available. The concourses do not have rest areas included.

 

Updated October 2013.

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Comments

J&J

Match: 08.11.14 - FA Cup R1

Published: 9/11/2014

 

This was our second visit to Vale Park in successive seasons as away fans travelling in a wheelchair accessible minibus that is part of our Club’s official away travel.   Based on these two visits we have to disagree with the Port Vale website that states “we believe our facilities ensure all public (sic) receive an equal football experience at Vale Park”.    Equally, as I believe, Port Vale is the only Club in League 1 this year to continue with the discriminatory practice of seating away fans who are wheelchair users at the home end, I do not share the view of the Wolves fan who last year, in his review, concluded that Port Vale had outstanding disabled facilities.   

 

Access to the Ground

 

A less than straightforward route from the A500 to the ground.   I did not notice any road signs for the ground.   A possible source of confusion is that Port Vale does not exist as a place, the ground is at Burslem.   As we approached the ground I saw fans walking from the ground into the centre of Burslem which appeared to have a range of independent pubs and food outlets. 

 

I knew from last time that as a wheelchair user I needed to enter the ground via Gate D and not Gate A which is the away fans’ entrance.  (The gates are clearly signed with D being up the hill from A).   I remembered this so well as last season the stewards who met our coach, incorrectly directed us to the away fans car park and I was determined to avoid this happening again, not least as the away fans' car park is a long distance from where away fans who are wheelchair users enter the ground with the distance being compounded by a steep hill.   Not only were we met again by stewards who misdirected us, but the stewards were not prepared to listen to my explanation of why we did not park at the away end.   Due to their ignorance our driver was forced to park at the away end.   As it would have been stupid to go through the process of getting off where I knew we could not enter the ground, I insisted on speaking to a senior steward before I moved.   The Senior Steward confirmed that the stewards at the gate were wrong and our entrance was Gate D.   As we were leaving the away end car park, the same stewards told our driver to turn right, Gate D was left!  

 

Upon getting to Gate D the steward there told us we could not park outside the Disabled Stand unless we paid £16 or had a pass.   When we said we parked without either last season we were told we had not as he had been working on that gate last season.   This was clearly another steward at Port Vale talking nonsense.   Fortuitously one of our Club’s Directors arrived and took up our cause with the Stewards which led to the bus being able to park free of charge near to the disabled entrance.   Interestingly the stewards in the Disabled Stand informed me that I was not the first away fan to complain about the car parking stewards giving incorrect information.   I intend submitting a written complaint to Port Vale about their stewards, asking that they be given appropriate training and pointing out none of this would happen if away wheelchair fans could sit at the away end as they should.

 

The entrance to the disabled stand is at the far left hand corner of the car park after you have gone through Gate D.    It is the first set of brown metal doors on the end of the building which you need to knock on if they are closed.    Inevitably the closest steward who I asked was not certain where the doors were!

 

Facilities in the Ground for Away Wheelchair Fans

 

Viewing Areas – The Disabled Stand which Port Vale seem to be so proud of is a closed corner between two home stands at the opposite end of the ground to the away stand.    As most of the seats in there are taken by season ticket holders and are marked as such, away fans need to purchase their tickets by ringing the Port Vale box office.   They told me I could pick them up from the Club shop but when I asked could they not be left in the Disabled Stand as they had been last season, this was agreed to.  You enter from the car park at the bottom of the Stand and there are lengthy low-gradient ramps which take you to the viewing areas.    At the league game last season the Stand was full, for this cup game less so.   On both occasions we have been seated at one end of the higher level wheelchair areas where the carer seats are about 8 feet behind the wheelchair spaces.    You are all well under cover but the corner of the Stand particularly caught the wind.  Too cold to test the 3G signal.  What I was most shocked by was that the seats for the ambulant disabled were up a flight of stairs!   I remember last season watching with fear as a clearly very ill home fan struggled on crutches to climb these stairs.     

 

Refreshments - To the left as you enter the Disabled Stand is a traditional type tea bar with lowered counters.   As we take own refreshments I didn’t buy anything.   I did notice the prices are all displayed above the counter.   Coffee was £2.    As it is exclusively for the Disabled Stand, I guess there are no long queues.    I noticed it was shut after half time.   There are fixed tables and chairs to the left at this level with a TV screen, showing one of the sports channels.   Not sure how well used they are as you cannot see the pitch from them and I doubt they get any sun.

 

Accessible Toilets - 3 accessible toilets on the left as you enter the disabled stand.   The two furthest away are left hand transfers.   I am told the nearest one is a right-hand transfer.   The two I used had toilet paper, hot water, hand wash and paper towels.   They were easy to turn my power chair in.    I was the first into the stand and therefore disappointed to find that one of the toilets was dirty,  presumably not cleaned as it needed to be since the last match.

 

Headset Commentaries for Visually Impaired Fans - The Port Vale web site states the Club provides live commentaries for visually impaired fans which I requested for my husband and arranged to collect it at the Disabled Stand with our tickets.   It was waiting for us but the steward told us that she thought it might not work.   It didn’t.   We are almost sure it was the same story last season.    We will let the Club know.   If the system doesn’t work, why advertise it.

 

Attitude of Club Officials

 

Based on the evidence above, car parking stewards I would conclude are the worst we have come across in 4 years of regularly attending away games.   The officials in the away stand were suitably apologetic but if they know there is a problem should they not have got it sorted.

 

After the Match

 

Queues from the car park, out of the stadium and back through Burslem but no worse than at many other grounds.   

 

Will We Go Again?

 

As this was a cup game, we have the pleasure of looking forward to a second trip to Port Vale this season.    As I will point out in my complaint letter, this will let me see that they have sorted out their stewards as I am requesting they do.   I can then update this review. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lin

Match: Port Vale V Wolves

Published: 4/9/2013

 

As a group of ambulant disabled supporters we did not have such a good experience as our wheelchair using peers. We purchased ambulant disabled tickets with free helpers and as usual requested front row or as near to enable a reasonable view for those with limited mobility.

 

We had pre-booked a parking space at the cost of £10, although when I called the club to enquire about blue badge parking, I was assured I could pay on the day, it's a good job we did pre-book as we would have been turned away. We parked in the car park next to the away stand but separated from the away entrance by a police cordon.

 

On approaching the entrance I explained that it would be very difficult to get through a turn style with elbow crutches but was basically told 'tough' by the first steward who said that there was no alternative. As I approached another steward, he did take pity and agreed that we could go through an alternative gate. After he kicked on the gate several times it was eventually opened and we were let through but then 'told off' because our tickets had not been scanned. 

 

No assistance or direction was given to find our seats which turned out to be on the 4th row back. As is always the case the away fans stood throughout and my view was severely obstructed ( see photo).

 

We had pre-booked a parking space at the cost of £10, although when I called the club to enquire about blue badge parking, I was assured I could pay on the day, it's a good job we did pre-book as we would have been turned away. We parked in the car park next to the away stand but separated from the away entrance by a police cordon.

 

On approaching the entrance I explained that it would be very difficult to get through a turn style with elbow crutches but was basically told 'tough' by the first steward who said that there was no alternative. As I approached, another steward did take pity and agreed that we could go through an alternative gate. After he kicked on the gate several times it was eventually opened and we were let through but then 'told off' because our tickets had not been scanned. 

 

No assistance or direction was given to find our seats which turned out to be on the 4th row back. As is always the case the away fans stood throughout and my view was severely obstructed. 

 

Polite conversation and request to first the nearby steward and then a supervisor did not solve this issue. The stewards appeared to lack knowledge of the stadium and the supervisor we were directed to appeared far too busy to assist us.

 

Eventually two very kind Wolves fans agreed to swap seats so that two of our party could move to the front row, for which I am very grateful.

 

During the match many fans made their way down the aisles to stand at the front further obscuring our view. I also I felt making the area dangerous especially for venerable fans, and were not challenged at all by the stewards who remained outside of the stand. At all other grounds this issue is always stewarded well to keep the aisles clear. When trying to address this with stewards we were completely and repeatedly ignored.

 

Whilst I applauded the obvious good facilities for wheel chair users, it appears that those with other disabilities such as learning disability, or limited mobility not requiring the use of a wheelchairs, have been forgotten by Port Vale which amounts to further discrimination.

 

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Darren

Match: Port Vale v Wolves 31/08/2013

Published: 3/9/2013

 

Best to pre book parking in advance of the day, contact Port Vale ticket office.

 

Due to the large contingent of away fans we were given the whole of the away end plus the carpark behind but many who turned up were refused access so if you dont book you will need to take your chances around the ground.

 

I was a little concerned when I first booked my wheelchair tickets ,plus my son, as I was informed that the disabled area is in the corner of the home end, the otherside of the ground from the away fans.

 

We arrived early and parked up right by the entrance to the disabled stand.

 

On entering we were pleasantly surprised.The whole area is modern and has disabled toilets and refreshment areas ,as you enter the ground. We were met by a pleasant lady who took us up the ramps to the viewing platform which gave an amazing view of the pitch. The area was spacious and each wheelchair has its own bay with seats behind for carers/family. The area is mixed with home and away supporters but only disabled allowed in there. The lady then produced teamsheets for us and informed us that she would be there should we need anything.

 

All in all the best disabled facilities that I have been to and that includes grounds in the premier league and championship, so well done Port Vale FC.

 

The match ended  (won 3-1) and leaving the area is very easy.

 

There was a little trouble after the game around the ground, hence the reason to pre book parking. This was caused by a mindless minority of home fans, so the police stopped us leaving the carpark and when we did get away we had to go into town first to find our way home.

 

Port Vale are a nice family club and make you feel welcome, like I said a mindless few try to spoil it for them.

Definately go its well worth it.

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