Research originally published on GiveMeSport showed charts of the top 30 rivalries in English football, rated by the mutual dislike that teams have for each other.
Port Vale have a place on the list for not one, but two of their rivalries: Stoke City and Crewe Alexandra. What strikes some fans as unusual is the order in which these rivalries have been placed, with Vale vs Crewe Alexandra coming much higher up the list.
The top rivalry on the list is Southampton vs Portsmouth. Second place is Exeter vs Plymouth, followed by Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur. Arsenal who made the Europa League final against Chelsea last year, really can’t stand their city rivals and to be honest we thought they’d be the top rivalry.
Port Vale vs Crewe Alexander comes in at 14th on the list, while the Potteries Derby against Stoke City is way down at joint 28th, sharing this spot with the classic Manchester derby between United and City.
Vale’s first game against Stoke was an FA Cup first round match way back in 1887. Since then, the pair have met a total of 185 times, including 51 competitive matches, the rest consisting of (equally gritty) friendlies and local cup matches.
Of the 51 competitive clashes, Stoke City have won 19, while Vale have won a respectable 16 matches. The other 17 resulted in a draw between the teams.
The last Potteries derby to take place was in 2002, in which Michael Cummings scored the single winning goal for Vale. Now the teams are separated by two divisions, so a lot needs to happen if the teams are ever to face off again.
The rivalry against Crewe Alexandra is the closest fans can get, though debate rages on about whether this is actually a true derby. Regardless, Port Vale have played Crewe in 73 games since the first match in 1892, resulting in 33 wins for Vale and only 19 for Crewe.
The most recent battle between the two sides was early November. Fans rejoiced that it was Vale’s tight defence that helped them to secure the win, though it was a strike from midfielder Jake Taylor that settled the score. Vale vs Crewe, at least, is a derby that fans can anticipate and enjoy.
This may be the key point to why Vale’s rivalry with Crewe was considered hotter than the traditional Potteries derby with Stoke. For now, the Stoke rivalry lies dormant in history, whereas the battles with Crewe Alexandra are alive and kicking.