Do you know when the club first adopted the “Valiants” nickname? Was it 1876, when the club was founded, perhaps? Well, somewhat surprisingly, the nickname did not come into use until some 43 years after the club was founded.
In fact, the “Valiants” nickname may actually have never have come about if the efforts of the local newspaper – The Sentinel (now the Staffordshire Sentinel) had not been in vain.
In 1917, “The Wanderer” – the pen-name of the sports correspondent of the Sentinel started a campaign to name the club “The Colliers”. During World War One club nicknames had taken off and were mostly connected with the occupations of the club’s players. As many of Vale’s team worked at Shelton Colliery, the Wanderer tried in vain to get the club to use that nickname.
For instance, ahead of the 1918/1919 season The Wanderer wrote in the Sentinel: “The Colliers are a much better team than last season…”
This reference to the “Colliers” continued until 1919 when Port Vale president William Huntbach decided to launch his own nickname campaign with far greater success.
At this point, Vale had taken over the fixtures of Leeds City in the Football League. Against a backdrop of club money being used to find urgent stadium improvements, key players leaving and the sudden switch from non-league to league opposition, Vale did well to hold their own and record their first League win in November.
Days after the victory, club president Huntbach told a supporters’ meeting that the club should have a nickname and that it should be the “Valiants” as “the club have already lived up to the name.”
This time, the nickname stuck, fans adopted it and the “Valiants” nickname has remained with Port Vale FC from 1919 onwards…