The stadium is situated just 1½ miles from the centre of Stoke-on-Trent, close to where the old ground stood.
Having officially opened the stadium back in ‘97, club legend and footballing all-time hero Sir Stanley Matthews was buried beneath the centre-circle here after his death in 2000.
The bet365 would simply be known as the Stoke Stadium should the club reach a European competition again, owing to restrictions on certain sponsors.
History of Stoke’s Latest Home Stadium
Like many clubs in the ’90s Stoke City found themselves needing a new home after the Taylor Report and so after 115 years, they were to leave the Victoria Ground, their new home being built between 1996 and 1997 at a cost of £15million.
Ready quickly to open in August 1997, the then-named Britannia Stadium began hosting games although Stoke’s first season at their new ground was a disaster which ended in the team being relegated.
Regular home supporters bedded into their new surroundings quickly and the team recovered too, though supporters did begin protesting against chairman Peter Coates, part of the founding family of bet365, who then resigned his post.
The club and the stadium were sold to Gunnar Gislason in 1999, though without much success he sold his shares back to Peter Coates in 2006. The deal was formed not just with Coates, but also with the city council and Stoke-on-Trend Regeneration Ltd and ultimately, the ground was renamed the bet365 Stadium in 2016.
The bet365 Stadium appears to have proven a bargain at £15million, with the following stats making it what it is:
- Capacity: 30,089
- Record Attendance: 30,022 for Stoke City v Everton in 2018
- Pitch: 105m x 68m, made up of a Desso GrassMaster surface
- Stands: The Tile Mountain Stand, The South Stand and the horseshoe-like Boothen End sweep beautifully to form the north, south and east sides of the ground. The Franklyn Stand to the west is the main structure, housing media and executive suites as well as fans.
Memorable Games at the bet365 Stadium
Stoke’s first season at the then-named Britannia Stadium was a disaster, the club being relegated down to the third tier. Among the most memorable games here for negative reasons was their last of the 1997/98 season, when they went down 5-2 to Manchester City who was also relegated that day. How times change.
After bouncing back from the Second Division as it was then, Stoke had to consolidate in the second tier and eventually finished 11th in 2004. In a decent season, the outstanding home performance was their 4-1 win over West Brom in May, a game that was arguably to prove a catalyst for them.
A 5-0 win against Norwich in late 2006 was another highlight as the club edged closer to promotion to the top flight, their 4-2 win at home to Leicester later the same season also ranking highly.
Promotion indeed did follow a season later, Stoke’s 3-1 win here against West Brom featuring a hat-trick for Ricardo Fuller and hugely entertaining 3-2 wins in a row against Southampton and Scunthorpe were particular highlights as the side went up.
Stoke’s first home game in the Premier League was another 3-2 win, this time against Aston Villa in August 2008, while in 2010 it was all about the FA Cup here. 3-1 wins against both Arsenal and Manchester City topped off an enjoyable season.
A famous 2-0 win against Liverpool followed that winter, while a 2-1 win against West Ham in the FA Cup 5th Round was the springboard to them team reaching the final at Wembley, though they went on to lose to Man City.
Another win followed against Liverpool in 2011 and while the result wasn’t what the crowd wanted, their narrow 1-0 defeat to Valencia in the knockout stages of the Europa League was still a great night in the stadium’s history.
Once more Liverpool was beaten here in 2012 (3-1) while Chelsea was taken care of a year later (3-2). Arsenal was beaten by the same score in late 2014 and Liverpool’s miserable run continued with a last-day defeat on this ground in 2015, by 6 goals to 1 no less.
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