On December 4th, 2018 Port Vale football club took on arch-rivals Stoke City in the second round of the Football League Trophy.
They came out four-nil winners and it’s safe to say, that night Port Vale fans were embracing each other in delight and screaming with joy at a result that would give them bragging rights in the Potteries, for a while at least.
And all this took part without a mask insight and not a mention of COVID-19.
If the two Staffordshire sides were to meet now, the only people in attendance would be the players themselves, and a hand full of other officials. COVID-19 has ripped through the heart of football and you have to ask yourself whether all those fans that attended before the pandemic will return in the same numbers when the cloud has lifted.
The closeness of fans in football stadiums may lead to some supporters choosing alternative sports to attend and those Port Vale fans could do a lot worse than visiting nearby Uttoxeter Racecourse. Built in 1907 the national hunt course offers families the opportunity to experience a great day of racing in the rolling hills of the Staffordshire countryside where they will have many opportunities to add to the excitement by betting on their fancied horses either on the course or via the many online bookmakers.
The Big Occasions
Just a little over twenty miles from the home of Port vale Football Club, Vale Park, Uttoxeter Racecourse has plenty of big occasions on offer to keep horse racing fans both gripped and entertained. The Staffordshire course is home to the second-longest national hunt race in the country. First run in 1969, the Midlands Grand National is a class one race ran over four miles and two furlongs, with only the famous Aintree race itself being longer.
The race that takes place annually in March has horses competing over twenty-four challenging fences and considering it’s been taking place for over fifty years; it seems rather unusual that no horse has ever won the event more than once. The Midlands Grand National is not the only big occasion that gets crowds flocking to the racecourse.
There are plenty of opportunities for a glamorous day out at the races with ladies’ day taking place in both the summer and winter months. Grab your best frock and enjoy a full day of racing with the girls and end the evening dancing the night away to live music and DJ acts. Not to be left out, the guys can begin their weekend in style by getting suited and booted at the Friday afternoons gentlemen’s day, where prizes are awarded for best dressed and best beard.
Family fun days are an ideal way to enjoy days racing while keeping the kids entertained at the same time. All activities during the day are free as is the entrance fee for all under eighteens, making it a cost-effective day out for all the family to enjoy.
It’s fun fun fun all the way at the Oktoberfest where racegoers can enjoy all the thrills of horse racing before washing down the Bratwurst with a few of the many varieties of beers available. One too many and before you know it, you’ll be dancing to the tunes of the Oompah band.
At the Okey For Song and Dance.
The racecourse offers exceptional race days as well as top quality entertainment from some of Britain’s top talent throughout the year. The course is home to the Acoustic Music Festival of Britain so is no stranger to hosting large outdoor events, which it often does, and very well too. The centre of the course is easily transformed into an arena to accommodate acts and other events which allow up to eight thousand people to attend.
The growing popularity of darts hasn’t gone unnoticed in this part of the world with Uttoxeter Darts Masters 2 returning in 2021 where world champions compete in a round-robin competition. The previous year’s winner, Andy Hamilton, ‘The Hammer’ will be joined at the hockey by fellow stars of the sport Peter ‘one dart’ Manley, Tony O’Shea ‘the silverback’ and the ‘Golden Girl’ Trina Gulliver.
From the screams of one hundred and eighty to the dulcet tones of Rick Astley. What better way to end days racing than listening to the eighties star of pop banging out hits such as ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ and ‘Whenever You Need Somebody’ in the splendour of the Staffordshire countryside.
Only twenty miles from the hustle and bustle of the football stadium that is Vale Park, there lies a racecourse that can not only boast some of the country’s finest national hunt racing but is also home to some real top-quality entertainment and fun days out for men women and children of all ages, and all set in one hundred and ten acres of splendid Staffordshire countryside.
Image: Uttoxeter racecourse – geograph.org.uk – 866686.jpg” by Dave Pickersgill is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0