Port Vale F.C.
Port Vale Football Club is a professional association football club based in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England. The team compete in League One, the tier of the English football league system. Port Vale is one of the few English league clubs not to be named after a location, their name being a reference to the valley of ports on the Trent. They were founder members of the Second Division in 1892 and of the Fourth Division in 1958 and they have never played top-flight football, and hold the record for the most seasons in the English Football League without reaching the top tier. After playing at the Athletic Ground in Cobridge and The Old Recreation Ground in Hanley, outside the ground is a statue to Roy Sproson, who played 842 competitive games for the club. John Rudge was manager from 1983 to 1999, under his leadership the club lifted the Football League Trophy in 1993, since his reign the club have declined, slipping into the fourth tier whilst entering twice administration in 2003 and 2012. The decline was arrested when Norman Smurthwaite brought the club out of administration in 2012, the clubs traditional rivals are Stoke City, and games between the two are known as the Potteries derby. However, the story given on the club website is that Port Vale F. C. was formed in 1876, following a meeting at Port Vale House. They played their football at Limekiln Lane, Longport and from 1880 at Westport, the club moved to Burslem in 1884, changing its name to Burslem Port Vale in the process, they played at Moorland Road before moving into the Athletic Ground in 1885. In 1892 the club were members of the Football League Second Division. The club dropped Burslem from their name in 1907 – a dark time of financial difficulties where the club were forced to resign from the league, the club were relegated for the first time during the 1928–29 season, going from the Second Division to the Third Division North. They came up the season as champions. In the 1930–31 season they placed fifth in the tier of English football. After this peak, the club were again relegated in the 1935–36 season. In 1950, Vale Park was completed, the fifth ground. Steele quickly established himself at the club, masterminding the celebrated Iron Curtain defence, three years later, the club were once again relegated, and once again became founder members of a league – this time the Football League Fourth Division. In their first season in new division the club took the title with a club record 110 goals. During the 1960s, the Vale fans witnessed numerous good cup runs, in 1967, Stanley Matthews took over, his reign ended in tears in 1968 as Vale were expelled from the Football League over seemingly illegal payments made to players
William Amos Bratt MBE is the former chairman of Port Vale Football Club, who served the club in this post from 2003 to 2011. After decades working in the industry, Bratt turned his attention to his hometown club Port Vale. Leading the Valiant 2001 supporters trust, he gained control from the administrators and he then faced a constant battle to steady the clubs finances whilst also advancing through the leagues. He left the club after fan protests against his chairmanship, Bratts stepfather was a World War II veteran who was taken by the Japanese as a prisoner of war. After the war his father appeared to be scarred from his time in POW camps and regularly beat him. He died in the 1960s of cancer and he lived in numerous childrens homes in the Penkhull area, before becoming a miner at Chatterley Whitfield pit. The charity he received members of the church helped to instil Christian beliefs that he holds to this day. From an early age he was a Port Vale supporter, something which would have a significant impact upon his life in the future. Bratt worked in several coal-mines, but was forced to retire after a motorcycle accident severely damaged his left hand and he then tried several jobs, including selling encyclopaedias. However, Bratt built up his business acumen and earned an income as an insurance broker over a 30-year period. During this time he started a family - a son. The club went into administration under Bell in December 2002, Valiant 2001 eventually secured control of the club after a long and drawn-out process as the 2002–03 season neared its close. Their takeover bid beat that of a mystery bidder, Bratt had been a lifelong supporter of the club when he took the chairman position in 2003. The Valiant2001 Charter, drafted by Charles Machin, listed ten points, One, Robbie Williams bought £240,000 worth of the £250,000 worth of available shares in the club. Castle Comfort Stairlifts, the sponsors, at the same time bought the remainder for £10,000. Three months later Bratt also took up the role of Chief executive officer, under Bratts chairmanship, the club were relegated to the bottom tier of English league football after a dismal 2007–08 season. He also reiterated his prior statements by stating that he would be prepared to leave his position if the offer were to be made. As Chairman he was criticized for the perceived unprofessional practices of the board
Martin John Foyle is an English former professional footballer and manager, who is now Head of Recruitment at Northampton Town. In his 20-year playing career he played 533 League games, scoring 155 goals, as a manager he took charge of Port Vale and York City, Northwich Victoria, Hereford United and Southport. He started his career with Southampton as a trainee and after spending four years at the club, an £140,000 move to Oxford United followed in March 1987, and he became Port Vales record signing when they paid £375,000 for him in June 1991. He spent nine seasons at the club, where he scored 107 goals and he was twice voted the clubs Player of the Year and helped the Vale to win the Football League Trophy in 1993. After retiring as a player, he managed Port Vales youth team and in February 2004 took charge of first-team affairs, a spell as caretaker manager at Wrexham preceded his appointment as manager of York City in November 2008. Foyle took York to an FA Trophy Final and Conference Premier play-off Final and he was put in charge of Northwich Victoria for a three-month spell in February 2012 before being appointed manager at Hereford United in May 2012. He stayed with Hereford until departing in March 2014 and he was appointed as Southport manager in May 2014 but resigned five months later. Foyle was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, where he made his name in football, before Football League referee Tony Glasson recommended him to Lawrie McMenemy. He joined Southampton as a trainee in 1980, signing as a professional on 13 August of that year, shortly after his return to Southampton he made his first team debut on 15 January 1983 in a 1–1 draw at home to Coventry City. On 25 October 1983, he came on as a substitute for Ian Baird in a League Cup match at home to Carlisle United. His 86th-minute goal brought the tie level on aggregate and was followed by the winner in extra-time. He spent a few weeks on loan with Blackburn Rovers in March 1984, without making any first-team appearances and he made 98 appearances and scored 35 goals in the league for Aldershot, as the Shots posted mid-table finishes in the Fourth Division in 1984–85 under Ron Harris. Harris was replaced by Len Walker for the 1985–86 campaign, the club won promotion in 1986–87 after beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 3–0 in the play-off Final. However Foyle missed out on the celebrations, as he was transferred to Oxford United on 26 March 1987 for a fee of £140,000 and he featured for Oxford in the First Division during two seasons and scored 44 goals in 151 appearances for the club. The club avoided a relegation play-off in 1986–87 by two points, before a last place finish in 1987–88, after which manager Maurice Evans was replaced by Mark Lawrenson. Lawrenson resigned in October 1988, and was replaced by Brian Horton, Oxford then posted mid-table finishes in the Second Division in 1988–89, 1989–90 and he signed for Port Vale on 25 June 1991 for a club record fee of £375,000. His first game was against former club Oxford at Vale Park, although he finished as leading scorer in the 1991–92 campaign with 16 goals, the club finished bottom of the Second Division that season and were relegated. The 1993–94 season, with 18 goals, Foyle was again the leading scorer as the club finally achieved promotion in 1994
Vale Park is a football stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, England. It is the ground of Port Vale F. C. who have played at the ground since 1950. At 520 feet above sea level it is the eleventh highest ground in the country, the pitch is clay underneath the grass, rather than sand. These two factors make the pitch vulnerable to freezing temperatures, there is also a coal seam under the pitch, and numerous mine shafts dotted around the local area, including many under the park opposite the ground. The Vale Park pitch is one of the widest in the Football League, the head groundsman since September 1992 is Steve Speed. He was one of three nominated for the League Two Groundsmen of the Year award in 2009. Denis Dawson was head groundsman from 1966 to 1975, he succeeded Len Parton and was followed by Graham Mainwaring. Following the club being informed that they would be evicted from The Old Recreation Ground by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, plans for a new stadium in a new area began to be made. In 1944 Hamil Road – the site of a clay pit – was chosen, a site opposite Burslem Park. The development became known as The Wembley of the North due to the size of the stadium. The clubs leadership had not allowed the third tier status or their lack of money to curb their ambition. Life-time seats were sold for £100 but fewer than 100 fans bought them, also costing £100, the pitch was the most expensive ever laid in the country at the time. The ground opened in 1950 having eventually cost £50,000, the original ground consisted of just two stands with banks of terracing at the Bycars and Hamil ends of the ground. The first match was a 1–0 victory over Newport County on 24 August 1950 in front of 30,196 rain-soaked spectators, walter Aveyard took the honour of being the first to score at the ground. On the same day the name was revealed for the first time – Vale Park. Vale Park initially had problems with drainage, leaving many games of the 1950–51 to be postponed, the problem was finally resolved in summer 1960, when new drains were installed to help ease the winter mud spots. In summer 1951,578 seats were installed on the Railway Terrace, in 1954 the Railway Stand was built, as capacity gradually increased to 50,000 by the end of the decade. On 24 September 1958, Vale Park saw its first match under the new £17,000 floodlights, in summer 1973, the club erected a 2.5 feet high steel fence around the Bycars End to help combat hooliganism
Port Vale F.C. Player of the Year
The Port Vale Player of the Year award is voted for annually by Port Vales supporters in recognition of the best overall performance by an individual player throughout the football season. Towards the end of season, fans are invited to cast their votes for this award. The inaugural award was made to Roy Sproson in 1967, david Harris, Ray Walker, Mark Grew, Neil Aspin, and Martin Foyle have all won two awards during their time at Vale Park. Foyle also went on to manage the club, no player has won the award more than twice. Eamonn OKeefe and Anthony Griffith represented Ireland and Montserrat respectively at international level, tom Pope, winner in 2013, stated that To be voted for by the fans like this is a massive honour for me. It means such a lot, more than the other awards Ive been lucky enough to win, specific General Kent, Jeff, Port Vale Personalities, Witan Books, ISBN 0-9529152-0-0
William Paul Paynter is an English professional footballer who plays as a striker for EFL League Two club Hartlepool United. Born in Liverpool, he started his career with Port Vale in 2000 and he was sold to Hull City in January 2006, before moving on to Southend United eight months later. His career stalled, and following a spell with Bradford City. Averaging more than a goal three games with the club, he transferred to Leeds United in June 2010. He joined Brighton & Hove Albion on loan in October 2011 and he helped Rovers to win the League One title in 2012–13. He was loaned out to Sheffield United in January 2014 and he signed with Carlisle United in June 2014, moving on to Hartlepool United twelve months later He started his career at Port Vale after being scouted in his native Liverpool at the age of ten. He signed professional forms in 2000, and manager Brian Horton gave Paynter his debut against Walsall at Vale Park on 3 May 2001, at only 16 years and 294 days old, this made him the youngest Vale player for twenty years. Horton went on to give the young striker seven further Second Division games in the 2001–02 season and he scored his first senior goal past Notts County on 17 September 2002, making him the clubs youngest goalscorer for 24 years. By the end of the season he had scored five goals in 34 appearances and he was rewarded with a long-term contract at the seasons end. He finished the 2004–05 campaign as the clubs top-scorer with thirteen goals in fifty games, in March, manager Martin Foyle dismissed rumours of Paynter moving to nearby Crewe Alexandra. At the end of the season, fans voted Paynter as the clubs Player of the Year and he started the 2005–06 season with just two goals in sixteen League One games, but had still done enough in his Port Vale career to justify a move into Championship football. The club reported Tony Pulis Plymouth Argyle to The Football Association for an illegal approach for the player. In November 2005, Hull City manager Peter Taylor signed Paynter on loan, teammate Sam Collins also moved to Hull at the same time. Again, Paynter mainly played as a striker, but also made appearances as a right midfielder. He scored three times in his 23 appearances, before moving on again at the end of the season. Paynter scored his first and what turned out to be only Southend goal in a 3–2 League Cup victory over Brighton, Paynter made his debut for Bradford City against Nottingham Forest on 3 February 2007, scoring a last minute equaliser to earn the Bantams a 2–2 draw. He played fifteen times for Bradford, scoring four goals, after his loan was extended to the end of the season, in August 2007, Paynter signed for Swindon Town on transfer deadline day on a three-year contract. He made his debut on 9 September, coming on as a substitute in a defeat against Yeovil