Known to many as The Potters, Stoke City FC has been regulars in England’s top two divisions for some time now. The team may yet be set for a return to the promised land that is the Premier League very soon.
History of Stoke City FC
There is some disagreement on when this club was actually founded, with many thinking 1863. However, Stoke Ramblers as they were known then is definitely recorded as having been inaugurated by Henry Almond in 1868.
Having improved steadily, the club took ownership of the Victoria Ground back in 1919 and then redeveloped it to increase capacity. When Stoke-on-Trent was finally given city status in 1925, the club reflected this by changing its own title to Stoke City Football Club.
In the 1930s the great Stanley Matthews made his debut for the club. The ’40s saw disaster when 33 fans sadly died at Bolton’s Burnden Park. Eventually, the good times came on the pitch in 1946-47. A title challenge was mounted, though they just missed out to Liverpool. By 1953 they were relegated to Division Two.
The Tony Waddington era is important at Stoke City FC. As new manager from 1960, he guided the team to the League Cup final in 1964. The team eventually won it at Wembley in 1972.
The club moved to their new stadium in 1997 and enjoyed a good Premier League run under Tony Pulis. However, relegation from the top flight meant more investment was needed to attract the players to get back up into the big time.
Stoke City’s current home is known for sponsorship reasons as the bet365 Stadium. However, the purpose-built facility has only hosted the team for the last 23 years of the club’s 150-year plus history.
Shortly after the club’s inauguration, they moved to the Victoria Ground which in its hay day had a capacity of well over 50,000. It remained the club’s home right up to 1997. Then, Stoke moved to what was known originally as the Britannia Stadium.
All-seater stadiums were needed by top-level English clubs following the Taylor Report. At a cost of £15million, Stoke City authorised the construction of the new ground which began during the 1996-97 season.
Due to its first sponsorship agreement, the ground was known as the Britannia Stadium and opened in August 1997.
Naming rights switched to bet365 in 2016, the betting company owned by the same family as the club itself, though due to restrictions should the club play in Europe the stadium would simply be known as the Stoke Ground.
The current capacity is 30,089 with the record attendance being 30,027 and is formed of the Boothen End, the Franklyn Stand, the Tile Mountain Stand and the OBI Stand.
Stoke’s Most Famous Players
Spanning the decades, some players to have been handed legendary status by Stoke City FC's fans include the likes of Frank Bowyer, John Ritchie, Eric Skeels, Alan Hudson, Jimmy Greenhoff, Neil Franklin, Freddie Steele, Denis Smith and the great Stanley Matthews.
In the modern era, most people will remember fondly some of the players to have played under Tony Pulis between 2006 and 2013, including:
- Glenn Whelan,
- Ryan Shawcross,
- James Beattie,
- Thomas Sorensen,
- Robert Huth,
- Rory Delap,
- Asmir Begovic,
- Jonathan Walters,
- Peter Crouch and
- Charlie Adam.
Over the last few years, The Potters have been less successful, but names such as Jack Butland, Joe Allen, Tom Ince, Bruno Martins Indi and Darren Fletcher have all remained important to the club.
By far the biggest honour at Stoke is their League Cup success of 1972. A 2-1 win at Wembley against Chelsea was achieved in front of nearly 98,000 people and handed the club what has proven to be their only major trophy.
In terms of lower-level cups, Stoke has been successful in the Watney Cup (1973) and the Football League Trophy (1992 & 2000), while they have also reached the final only to lose in the League Cup of 1964.
Never champions of England, Stoke major league success other than some admirable seasons in the Premier League has come via title wins in Third Division North (1927), the Division Two (third tier, 1993) and the Second Division (second tier) in 1933 and 1963.
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