Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Club News

Q&A - Proposed Bycars and Hamil Road Stand Swap

6 March 2023

Club News

Q&A - Proposed Bycars and Hamil Road Stand Swap

6 March 2023

Following Sunday's Open Event at Vale Park, we have published the below Q&A for supporters who were unable to attend.

  • Q&A - Proposed Bycars and Hamil Road Stand Swap
  • Over 300 supporters attended Sunday's event, with the below Q&A a combination of questions asked on the day and also via email in advance of the event
  • Any questions not answered in the below Q&A should be emailed to and we will look to provide clarity where possible

The following email was sent to Bycars Stand Season Ticket Holders, who are opted in to receiving communications from Port Vale FC, this evening. Below the email, supporters can find the Q&A from questions we received on Sunday and via email last week.

Dear supporter,

As a Bycars Stand Season Ticket Holder, we are writing to you with regards to the proposed stand swap, which would see the Bycars Stand become a dedicated area for away supporters and the Hamil Road Stand exclusive to home fans from the start of the 2023/24 season.

Around 300 Season Ticket Holders from the Bycars Stand attended an open event at Vale Park on Sunday, where we looked to provide answers to questions from those in attendance and also those which had been sent in via email to

At Sunday’s meeting, chair Carol Shanahan OBE, chief operating officer Claire Halket, community & CSR director Matt Hancock and safety consultant Wayne Jones outlined the reasoning behind - and proposals for - the Hamil Road stand swap, which are currently subject to approval from local authorities.

The next stage of the process is to give priority access to current Bycars Season Ticket Holders to reserve a seat in the Hamil Road Stand or a vacant seat in the Lorne Street Stand, Railway Paddock or Railway Stand for the 2023/24 season, should the stand swap receive the relevant approvals.

A window for seat reservations for supporters in the Bycars Stand is now available until 4pm on Sunday 12th March as vacant seats will be available for general sale from Monday 13th March, when 2023/24 Season Tickets will go on sale.

To reserve a seat, please visit the Ticket Office in person between 9am and 5pm on weekdays, or visit on Saturday between 9am and 5pm or Sunday 10am-4pm, this week. Alternatively, please email and a member of our team will contact you to arrange a seat reservation.

For clarity, tickets do not have to be purchased within this period, this is simply an opportunity for Bycars Stand Season Ticket Holders to reserve a potential seat for next season, should the stand swap be approved. Season ticket prices and further details including purchase windows and payment plans will be communicated this weekend.

Plans for the Hamil Road Stand include:

A dedicated Singing Section

The singing section is proposed to be at the back of the Hamil Road Stand, in the central block and block to the right as you look at the Hamil Road Stand from the pitch, as demonstrated in the diagram below.

For clarification following Sunday’s meeting, there are no current plans to introduce rail seating/a safe standing area where supporters are permitted to stand at this stage. Vale Park will remain an all-seater stadium for the foreseeable future.

However, following feedback from supporters, we agree that a dedicated singing section would help to further enhance the atmosphere at Vale Park, creating a dedicated area for supporters who wish to sing, chant and get behind the team as is seen at stadia up and down the country.

Players – both current and former – have told us that they enjoy having singing supporters behind the goal and how they can spur the team on, especially when they are shooting in that direction.

Supporters who sit in the Railway Paddock, Railway Stand or Lorne Street Stand currently but wish to be part of the singing section are encouraged to purchase tickets in the singing section for next season. The club will be in communication with supporters in the singing section throughout the summer to discuss how we can work together to further improve the atmosphere with your fantastic support.

A specific Family Area

Boomer Small.jpg

While the long-term vision is to have a Family Area in the side of the Lorne Street Stand which is currently closed, the short to medium term solution is to have a dedicated Family Area within the Hamil Road Stand, which will be on the left of the Hamil Road Stand – as you would look at it from the pitch – towards the vacant area of the Lorne Street Stand, as demonstrated in the below diagram.

It was considered to have the Family Area on the opposite side of the Hamil Road Stand, though following the majority of supporter feedback on Sunday, it was determined that supporters would prefer the Family Area to be situated towards the Lorne Street Stand.

Having a Family Area in the Hamil Road Stand will create an ease of access to facilities in the Port Vale Foundation building, Tommy Cheadle’s and the Staffordshire University Fan Zone, which will be an enhanced offering for the 2023/24 season adjacent to the Hamil Road Stand, rather than its current position next to the Club Shop and Ticket Office.

Hamil Road Stand, Staffordshire University Fan Zone

Fan Zone - Small.jpg

Replacing the current Fan Zone next to the Club Shop and Ticket Office, the Staffordshire University Fan Zone on Hamil Road will be bigger and better than before, with more stalls and space for supporters than the current offering.

In addition to the increased space and flat surface that the move will provide, a Fan Zone situated on Hamil Road would also create ease of access for supporters to facilities such as Tommy Cheadle’s and the Port Vale Foundation buildings, with the latter hosting multiple activities for junior supporters and families on matchdays from the 2023/24 season. The additional benefits of these facilities is the indoor provision to protect against the elements in the winter months.

At high demand fixtures this season, Tommy Cheadle’s has also had to be an area exclusively for away supporters on safety grounds. Following the proposed move, this area would be exclusive to home supporters at all fixtures.

Hamil-Road-Seating-Plan-Updated copy.jpg

The below Q&A has been developed from questions we received on Sunday at the Open Event and also questions we received via email last week. Should you have any further questions or considerations, please email

Thank you for your continued support.

Q&A - Proposed Stand Swap of Bycars Stand to Hamil Road Stand

Q: Will season ticket holders who are displaced, in terms of the proposed change of the Bycars to away fans only, be given priority for choice of seat in the Hamil in advance of other fans wanting to move from other areas of the ground?

A: Yes, current season ticket holders in the Bycars Stand would be given a priority window (from 9am Tuesday 7th March until 4pm on Sunday 12th March) to reserve seats in the Hamil Road Stand or vacant seats in the Lorne Street, Railway Stand or Railway Paddock, before current vacant seats are released for general sale on Monday 13th March.

Q: When will prices for 2023/24 Season Tickets be announced?

A: 2023/24 Season Ticket prices and details including sales windows and payment plans will be announced this weekend, with a view to tickets going on sale from Monday 13th March.

Q: Will I have to purchase my season ticket in the window between Tuesday 7th March and Sunday 12th March?

A: No, this is simply an opportunity to reserve a seat until the end of the first window of sales, which fall in line with the end of the 2022/23 season.

Q: Roughly, how many seats are available in the Lorne St, Railway Paddock and Railway Stand?

A: Current numbers stand at Lorne Street – around 70. Over 250 in the Railway Stand and over 800 in the Railway Paddock.

Q: What if I end up not wanting to sit where I originally have chosen, following the proposed stand swap?

A: Any season ticket holder will have up until 1st September 2023 to select an alternative seat (subject to availability).

Q: Why was there such short notice for Sunday’s event and why not just say turn up with you Bycars season ticket instead of the faff of having to register/try to set up an account just to come to this event?

A: We apologise for the short notice of the event, we also accept that it could and should have been arranged sooner.

We realised not all Bycars Stand season ticket holders would attend, given we have received communications from many via social media, emails and through conversations to tell us they understand the decision and have no considerations to bring forward.

Asking supporters to register allowed us to plan for the scope of the event for staffing and stock in the kiosks after matchday.

Q: Does the club regret the way the stand swap has been communicated / would they do it differently if you could?

A: Clearly more formal consultation could have taken place earlier and we apologised to those in attendance on Sunday that we didn’t consult with supporters earlier. To those who couldn’t attend on Sunday, we also apologise sincerely.

We have spoken to many supporters informally about the stand swap and the general reaction has been positive, both from those who sit in the Bycars and in the other stands.

This is a decision taken genuinely in the best interests of the club and supporters, primarily on safety grounds in relation to disorder on Hamil Road but with, in our opinion, many additional benefits on a matchday in terms of quality of facilities, additional activities for junior supporters and more direct access to Tommy Cheadle’s, the Port Vale Foundation buildings and a larger Fan Zone area on Hamil Road.

Naturally, with the sentiment and attachment to the Bycars for some supporters, this wasn’t a proposal made lightly.

Q: If supporters in the Bycars Stand couldn’t attend Sunday’s event, could they come to Vale Park to look at different seats/views before purchasing a season ticket?

A: Yes, supporters will need to contact the Ticket Office via email ( before looking to do this. We don’t plan to hold another event like Sunday based on demand, though we will look to facilitate individual requests where possible.

Q: I have always parked in Federation Rd and then walked up behind the Bycars before the match and then back down behind the Bycars End straight after the final whistle. I don't really look forward to this if there are going to be away fans surrounding me in the narrow road that is there. Has this been considered?

A: Relevant segregation and stewarding will be put in place to mitigate this, with enhanced lighting and signage to direct away supporters towards Dolly’s Lane / Haywood Academy where the majority of away supporters will park following the proposed stand swap.

Q: Where would visiting coaches and cars be parked if they are to use the Bycars?

A: Haywood Academy is going to be the main location for most fixtures and the only location for coach parking. Away coaches will travel in via High Lane and Haywood Road, not through Hamil Road as is the case now.  This will minimise the number of away fans that need to go onto Hamil Road where most safety and disorder issues occur.

Q: What plans are in place to prevent disorder on Dolly’s Lane / on the route to Haywood Academy as away supporters make their way in that direction?

A:  Every ground in the country sees home and away supporters making their way to or from the ground together in areas around the stadiums so we should always expect to see this and it happens now at Vale Park routinely without issue. The Dolly’s Lane and Lorne Street area is covered by CCTV and will be stewarded. When necessary, Police Officers will also deploy into these locations. The fact that we will not have large numbers of home and away fans in and around Hamil Road prior to and at the close of each game will by itself, reduce the opportunities for disorder in and around the stadium. The natural route for a large number of Port Vale fans is towards Burslem and Tunstall. Away fan parking locations will naturally see most visiting supporters take the short walk in opposite direction up to Haywood Academy and this area will be stewarded and well lit.

Q: Currently, I am able to sit down and enjoy the game, with plenty of space around me in the Bycars. I don’t want to stand/have my view restricted. Can you ensure that this won’t happen?

A:  We do not know how popular the Hamil Stand will prove to be for home supporters so we cannot ensure that you will always have empty seats around you, we would of course like all seats be filled with supporters.

Current season ticket holders in the Bycars have priority in selecting their seating in an area that they would wish to sit and can then change before 1st September if they are not happy with the seat at the start of the 2023/24 season.

Q: Generally speaking, we feel the Bycars Stand is a good area for families to watch the games. We are worried that there will now not be a designated Family Area?

A: We do plan to have a Family Area in the Hamil Road Stand, as shown in the diagram above. We are mindful and aware that this will be near the ‘singing section’ but believe that can also be a positive experience for junior supporters. The longer-term plan is to have a Family Area in the Lorne Street Stand area, which is not currently able to host supporters on matchdays without significant investment into the facilities within the stand.

We also plan to offer far more junior supporter activities on matchday in the Port Vale Foundation building, within a larger Fan Zone area on Hamil Road. Ultimately providing a better matchday experience for more junior supporters and families.

Q: What is happening with the current scoreboard?

A: The current scoreboard will be removed at the end of this season, current options for replacements and its location are being considered. This will have no impact on views across the stadium bowl.

Q: How does this decision make commercial sense if you are reducing the number of away supporters – we have had a sold out away end on a few occasions this season. Surely this loses money?

A: This is about providing a better experience for home supporters, not a commercial decision, as the stand swap will initially cost the club money in terms of some of the works that will need to be undertaken ahead of the stand swap.

Yes, it’s a fair point that the club will lose some ticket sales from away supporters, though 16 of the 23 fixtures at Vale Park this season (including Cup) have seen fewer than 1,000 away supporters visit Vale Park. So this is a decision taken with longer-term growth in mind, rather than the short-term immediate loss of revenue on a handful of fixtures.

Q: You’ve spoken about the ‘atmosphere’ at the Swindon game. However, the atmosphere would have been good at that game regardless of the stand swap because it was such a big match. How can you be confident that the stand swap will see that atmosphere replicated at regular matches?

A: We don’t expect to recreate the Swindon atmosphere immediately, of course. However, by providing a better supporter matchday experience and a dedicated singing section, we can influence the atmosphere together. We all want to play our part to help the team and by having a vocal support behind the goal, we feel that can play a part in helping the team on the pitch, as we see up and down the country at clubs who have a dedicated singing section behind their goal.

Q: Can you comment on the short/medium term future of the Railway Paddock/Stand given the rumours (you may wish to say they are not true) that there is a potential for a partial or full closure because of the condition of the infrastructure, as this may be a deciding factor for anyone who does not want to relocate to the Hamil.

A: As per our safety certificate, we currently operate at a reduced capacity in these stands. There are no immediate short/medium term plans to close the Railway Paddock or Stand.

Q: Will Bycars Lane be tarmacked to minimise stone throwing incidents? The streets and back alleys will be harder to police.

A:  This area is owned by the Local Authority and as things stand, we are not allowed to make any improvements to it without their permission. Bycars Lane is used by pedestrians, dog walkers etc. on every day of the week so we would hope that the Local Authority would pay for any improvements that are deemed necessary. We will continue to work with them to try to find a solution that makes that area better for everyone but we cannot do anything without their say so.

Q: What procedures / measures will be in place to tackle persistent standing?

A: Fans stand at every ground in the country and we understand that this can be frustrating to some people whose views become obscured.  We have a Persistent Standing Management Plan and will use our steward teams to ask those who are standing to sit down when standing becomes a safety issue.

It is very difficult to stop people from standing, but we will continue to ask supporters to sit and respect those around them to ensure that everyone gets to see the game.

We will not be introducing a dedicated safe standing / rail seating area at Vale Park at this stage.

Q: Has there been a consideration to open the other side of the Lorne Street?

A: To be able to utilise these seats, there needs to be significant investment into the facilities within the stand. This is a long-term ambition of the club to open the full Lorne Street Stand.

Q: Will there be an opportunity for any accessible seating in the Hamil Road Stand?

A: While not confirmed at this stage, we are exploring the potential of additional accessible seating at the front of the Hamil Road Stand, which will increase options for home supporters with accessibility requirements.

Q: Why are certain areas of the Hamil Road Stand sectioned off and not available to purchase for season tickets?

A: At this stage, we don’t know how many supporters will migrate to the Hamil Road Stand from the Bycars Stand or other areas of the Stadium.

Of course, with demand we would open the full area of the Hamil Road Stand. However, the decision has been taken to allow the club to monitor demand and control matchday staffing requirements should only a smaller number of seats be required for certain fixtures.

For example, for many fixtures this season we have allocated matchday staff to areas of the Bycars Stand which are at under 10% of capacity.

Advertisement block

iFollow Next Match Tickets Account