Old Recreation Ground

The Old Recreation Ground was a football stadium, located in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent and home to Port Vale for almost 40 years. The Rec had been Vale's home between 1913 and 1950 and was the sixth ground the club used.[1]

Old Recreation Ground
The Rec
Full nameThe Old Recreation Ground
LocationHanley, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Coordinates53°01′38.16″N 2°10′32.88″W
Field size110 by 70 yards
Port Vale F.C. (1913–1950)

Structure and facilities

The stadium was in rather bad condition, especially following years of neglect during World War II. The dressing rooms were bare, there were no toilet facilities throughout the entire ground, and racing pigeons were kept by The Sentinel and a number of supporters so as to relay the scoreline to different parts of the city.[2]


Port Vale F.C. opened the ground in 1913, and six years later were admitted into the English Football League. The visit of Potteries derby rivals Stoke on 6 March 1920 saw a crowd of 22,697 turn up to see an away victory.[3] Other big matches for Port Vale went more favourably in later years though, as they drew 2–2 with Arsenal in the FA Cup on 29 January 1927 and beat Sunderland 2–0 on 13 January 1936, again in the FA Cup.[3]

Port Vale were forced to sell the land to the city council, under the chairmanship of Tom W.Flint after suffering a financial crisis, they received £13,500.[4] This came after the club's president Major William Huntbach died in 1943, leaving £3,000 of loans to be repaid to his estate.[5] The council initially refused to allow the club to play at their ground, but eventually relented for rent of £400 a year.[5] In 1950, the city council decided to construct a shopping centre on the site forcing the club to move to their current home of Vale Park. Ironically the club raised £50,000 to construct the new stadium, leading some to question why the directors did not simply attempt to raise a relatively much smaller sum of £3,000 in order to pay off the Huntbach family.[6] The final match at the Old Recreation Ground was described as an "uninspiring finale" as Vale lost 1–0 to Aldershot in front of a crowd of 9,645 on 22 April 1950.[3]


  1. "Port-Vale.co.uk: Vale Park". Port-Vale.co.uk. Retrieved 18 December 2008.
  2. Kent, Jeff (December 1991). Port Vale Tales: A Collection Of Stories, Anecdotes And Memories. Witan Books. p. 274. ISBN 0-9508981-6-3.
  3. Ault, Richard (12 September 2017). "Rec was 'den of old-style football without any frills'". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  4. Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 103. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.
  5. Sherwin, Phil (24 August 2010). "Port Vale: 60-years ago today, Vale came back home to play". The Sentinel. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  6. What If There Had Been No Port In The Vale?: Startling Port Vale Stories! (Witan Books, 2011, ISBN 978-0-9529152-8-7)
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