Cans & Megabus – Your essential guide to Port Vale (A)

Tom Walsh is back to take you on a meandering tour through yet another season in League One. Next up, the first round of the EFL Cup and a trip to Stoke on Trent!

We’ve all been waiting a very long time for this. It’s the massive void left in any football supporter’s life and as purveyors of the fine meats Sunderland AFC produce, it’s been a very, very long 516 days. However, in the eighth month of the Lord’s 2021 finally, yes, finally the wait is over.

Ladies and gentleman, the original and beloved Cans & Megabus column is back in all its condescending, barely researched glory! You are truly, truly welcome Sunderland and planet Earth.

Oh and there’s an away game we can attend for the first time in however long or summat. What do you want? Fawning praise? An acknowledgement of how long you’ve waited to embrace your loved ones at the match? Is that what you really came here for? No, you came here to be told about pubs that have either closed down or where you’ll have your face broken by someone from Lichfield.

It is also extremely funny that our first away trip in post- (even though it’s absolutely raging through the country) Covid era, is at one of the worst places on earth – Stoke-on-Trent! Oh yeh, baby! And it’s not even the ‘good’ Stoke-on-Trent, we’re going to Port Vale (not its real name) and get glared at by its beautiful inhabitants.

However, if there is one thing that we can all agree upon being delighted about being back is, of course, mouthing off. Nothing warms the cockles of the soul more than mouthing off to some fellow lower league football supporter in some backwater town.

How Do I Get There?

So let’s get down to this backwater town! If you’re driving then it’s that triple header of A1(M), M62 and M6 to junction 16 then take the A500 until you find the A527 which will take you into sexy Burslem and to the ground. There’s a git big car park outside the away end which is £5 a car.

If you’re a loser and use a sat nav, then put ST6 1AW into it.

Those of you on the train, you’re going to end up at Stoke-on-Trent station where you’ll have to take a bus from outside that god awful Terrace Pub, around the corner from the station. If that’s not on, then I’m fresh out of ideas, buddy!

What’s the Ground Like?

For someone as hilariously bad as Port Vale, Vale Park is absolutely massive. It’s one of those grounds you used to see on the Football League Show at 1.30am where Vale are getting pumped by someone like Colchester in front of thousands of empty faded yellow seats.

Sunderland fans are in the Signal One Stand behind the goal and will enjoy the lovely glare of the Vale faithful to your left hand side.

Yer Thirsty?

Trying to find a good pub in Stoke-on-Trent is like a walrus trying to find the perfect boat to rest its weary walrus head – it’s really difficult. We at Cans & Megabus have enjoyed a few uncomfortable beverages in this cosmopolitan oasis but we can actually recommend Bod at Stoke station which, conveniently, re-opens on the 9th August.

Alternatively, you can hit up The Bull’s Head and Johnny’s Micro Pub in St John’s Square, a short walk from Vale Park. There’s also a social club next to the away end where you can be an utter disgrace.

What’s This Place Like?

Mate, it’s Stoke-on-Trent. It’s famous for pots and Jonathan Wilkes, what do you think?

Tom Walsh