Sunday marks the magic of the FA Cup returning to Vale Park as Sunderland make the trip to Burslem, and three men who are synonymous with Port Vale’s exploits in the competition are Harry Poole, Terry Miles and Ken Hancock.
The trio all featured as the Valiants came out on top against the Black Cats back in January 1962, with Poole scoring one of his side’s goals as they ran out 3-1 winners in the replay in front of over 28,000 supporters at Vale Park.
All three of the former Vale stars returned to the club last week to reminisce about their playing days, and they were brimming with pride when asked about the FA Cup run that season.
On the atmosphere created, Hancock said: “The overriding memory I’ve got is going onto the pitch and getting into it, where the roar from the crowd virtually knocked me on my back.
“There was a tremendous amount of noise. You’d come out of the tunnel which is quiet, but then you run onto the pitch and it goes ‘bang’, just like someone clapping against your ears.”
When they saw Port Vale and Sunderland drawn against each other in this season’s FA Cup campaign, the first thing they thought of was their own experiences playing against the same opposition.
Miles admits that he sensed a bit of déjà vu, but he hopes that the current crop of players to pull on the white shirt can get a repeat result which was recorded 56 years ago.
He said: “It felt the same as it did back then. For me, it took me back all those years and I was thinking about what a coincidence it was, but it’s a big draw and there will be a good crowd.
“Supporters always wanted us to progress through the rounds and they loved it, they really enjoyed cup matches.”
Hancock also believes that the FA Cup was ‘probably the most important thing’ for the players back in his era, and Poole insists that games against the likes of Liverpool and Aston Villa were ‘big occasions’ for everyone involved.
This weekend’s fixture falls on Remembrance Sunday and it will be broadcast to millions of viewers live on BT Sport, so this meeting between the two sides is another highly anticipated encounter.
With both Vale and Sunderland enjoying a positive run of form too, it should be an intriguing game of football. Poole, Miles and Hancock will all be keeping a close eye on things, hoping to witness Neil Aspin’s men progress into the second round.
Despite falling to a 3-0 defeat away at the Stadium of Light when the the two sides last faced off in the FA Cup, Vale have never lost on home soil against Sunderland in the competition, and they will be eager to ensure things stay that way.