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|Full name||Stoke City Football Club|
|Founded||1863, as Stoke Ramblers F.C.|
|2011–12||Premier League, 14th|
|Website||Club home page|
Stoke City Football Club are an English professional football club based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire that play in the Premier League. Founded in 1863, they are the oldest club in the Premier League, and are the second oldest professional football club in the world, after Notts County.
The club play in the Premier League after winning promotion in 2008; prior to this Stoke had not participated in top flight football for twenty-three years. Their first, and to date only, major trophy was won in the 1972 Football League Cup Final, when the team beat Chelsea 2–1. The club have won the Football League Trophy on two occasions, first in 1992 and most recently in 2000. The club's highest league finish in the top division is 4th, which was achieved in the 1935–36 and 1946–47 seasons. Stoke have competed in European football in 1972–73, 1974–75; and most recently in 2011–12. Stoke played in the FA Cup Final in 2011, finishing runners-up to Manchester City and has reached three FA Cup semi-finals, in 1899 then consecutively in 1971 and 1972.
Stoke's home ground is the Britannia Stadium, a 28,384 all-seater stadium reduced to 27,598 after segregation. Before the stadium was opened in 1997, the club was based at the Victoria Ground, which had been their home ground since 1878. The club's nickname is 'The Potters', named after the pottery industry in Stoke-on-Trent and their traditional home kit is a red and white vertically striped shirt, white shorts and stockings.
Formation and the early years
Stoke City F.C. was formed in 1863 under the name Stoke Ramblers, when pupils of Charterhouse School formed a football club while apprentices at the North Staffordshire Railway works in Stoke-upon-Trent. The club's first documented match was in October 1868, against an EW May XV at the Victoria Cricket Club ground. Henry Almond, the club's founder, was also captain, and scored the club's first ever goal. During this period they played at the Victoria Cricket Ground; however, they switched to a nearby ground at Sweetings Field in 1875 to cope with rising attendances.
In 1878, the club merged with Stoke Victoria Cricket Club, and became Stoke Football Club. They moved from their previous ground, Sweetings Field, to the Athletic Club ground, which soon became known as the Victoria Ground. It was around this time that the club adopted their traditional red-and-white striped kit. In August 1885, the club turned professional.
Stoke were one of the twelve founding members of The Football League when it was introduced in 1888. The club struggled in their first two seasons, 1888–89 and 1889–90, finishing bottom on both occasions. In 1890 Stoke failed to be re-elected and joined the Football Alliance, which they won and thus were re-elected to the Football League. Stoke spent the next 15 seasons in the First Division and reached the FA Cup Semi-Final in the 1898–99 season before being relegated in 1907. Stoke went bankrupt and entered non-league football until 1914, when the First World War meant the Football League was suspended for four years. During the wartime period, Stoke entered the Lancashire Primary and Secondary leagues. When football recommenced in August 1919, Stoke re-joined the league.
The Victoria Ground and Stanley Matthews
The club became owners of the Victoria Ground in 1919. This was followed by the construction of the Butler Street stand, which increased the overall capacity of the ground to 50,000. In 1925, Stoke-on-Trent was granted "city status" and this led the club to change its name to Stoke City F.C. in 1928.
The 1930s saw the début of club's most celebrated player, Stanley Matthews. Matthews, who grew up in Hanley, was an apprentice at the club and made his first appearance in March 1932, against Bury, at the age of 17. By end of the decade, Matthews had established himself as an England international and as one of the best footballers of his generation. Stoke achieved promotion from the Second Division in 1932–33 – as champions – however Matthews only featured in fifteen games in this season. He did however score his first goal for the club in a 3–1 win against local rivals Port Vale.
By 1934, the club's average attendance had risen to over 23,000, which in turn allowed the club to give the manager Tom Mather increased transfer funds. The club was now considered one of the top teams in the country. It was in this period that the club recorded its record league win, a 10–3 win over West Bromwich Albion in February 1937. In April of that year, the club achieved its record league crowd – 51,373 against Arsenal. Freddie Steele's 33 league goals in the 1936–37 season remains a club record.
Title challenge and league decline
Following the resumption of the FA Cup after World War II, tragedy struck on 9 March 1946, as 33 fans died and 520 were injured during a 6th round tie away against Bolton Wanderers. This came known as the Burnden Park disaster. In 1946–47, Stoke mounted a serious title challenge. The club needed a win in their final game of the season to win the First Division title. However, a 2–1 defeat to Sheffield United meant the title went to Liverpool instead. Stanley Matthews left with 3 games remaining of the 1946–47 season, opting to join Blackpool at the age of 32.
Stoke were relegated from the First Division in 1952–53; during the season Bob McGrory resigned as the club's manager after 17 years in the role. Former Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Frank Taylor took over at the club looking to gain promotion back to the First Division. However after seven seasons in the Second Division without promotion, Taylor was sacked.
The Tony Waddington years
Tony Waddington was appointed as the club's manager in June 1960. He joined the club in 1952 as a coach, before being promoted to assistant manager in 1957. Waddington pulled off a significant coup by enticing Stanley Matthews – then 46 years old – back to the club, 14 years after he had departed. The return of Matthews helped Stoke to an improved 8th position in 1961–62. Promotion was achieved in the following season, with Stoke finishing as champions. In their first season back in the 1st Division, 1963–64, Waddington guided Stoke to a mid-table finish. Matthews remained influential, as he helped the club to the final in 1964, which they lost to Leicester City over two legs.
Waddington counted on experience; Dennis Viollet, Jackie Mudie, Roy Vernon, Maurice Setters and Jimmy McIlroy were all players signed in the latter stages of their careers. Matthews was awarded a knighthood for services to football in the 1965 New Year's Honours list. This was followed by his 701st, and final, league appearance for the club against Fulham in February 1965, shortly after his 50th birthday. Gordon Banks, England's 1966 World Cup-winning goalkeeper, joined in 1967 for £52,000 from Leicester. Regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world, Banks proved to be a shrewd signing for Waddington as he helped the club maintain stability in the 1st Division. For one season in 1967, Stoke City F.C. was imported as the Cleveland Stokers of Cleveland, Ohio playing in the United Soccer Association. The team emerged as runner-up of the Eastern Division, falling one point short of the championship final.
The club won its first major trophy on 4 March 1972 in the League Cup Final. Stoke beat favourites Chelsea 2–1 in the final at Wembley Stadium in front of a crowd of 97,852 spectators. Preceding this victory, Stoke had progressed through 11 games in order to reach the final. This included four games with West Ham United in the semi-final; the two-legged tie was replayed twice. Stoke fared well in the FA Cup; the club progressed to the semi-final stage in both the 1970–71 and 1971–72 seasons. However, on both occasions Stoke lost to Arsenal in a replay. Stoke City also became the first First Division side to play a match on a Sunday, when they faced Chelsea on 27 January 1974.
In January 1976 the roof of the Butler Street Stand was blown off in a storm. The repair bill of nearly £250,000 put the club in financial trouble; key players such as Alan Hudson, Mike Pejic and Jimmy Greenhoff were sold to cover the repairs. With the team depleted, Stoke were relegated in the 1976–77 season. Waddington, after a spell of 17 years in charge, left the club after a 1–0 home defeat to Leicester in March 1977.
The managerial roundabout
Waddington was replaced by George Eastham in March 1977; however, he could not prevent the club's relegation to the Second Division in 1976–77. Eastham left in January 1978, after only 10 months in charge, and was replaced by Alan Durban from Shrewsbury Town. Durban achieved promotion to the First Division in the 1978–79 season, but after consolidating the club's position in the First Division he left to manage Sunderland in 1981. Ritchie Barker was appointed for the 1981–82 season but was sacked in December 1983. and replaced by Bill Asprey. Asprey decided to bring back veteran Alan Hudson, and the decision paid off as an improved second-half of the season saw Stoke avoid relegation on the final day of the 1983–84 season.
The 1984–85 season proved to be disastrous. Stoke finished the season with only 17 points, with just 3 wins all season. Mick Mills was appointed player-manager for the 1985–86 season, but was unable to sustain a challenge for promotion and was sacked in November 1989. His successor, Alan Ball, Jr. became the club's 5th manager in 10 years.
Ball struggled in his first season in charge, 1989–90, and Stoke was relegated to the third tier of English football after finishing bottom of the Second Division. Ball kept his job for the start of the following season, 1990–91, but departed during February 1991, in an indifferent season that saw Stoke finish 15th in the Third Division. Stoke's lowest league position in the Football League.
Ball's successor, Lou Macari, was appointed in May 1991, prior to the start of the 1991–92 season. He clinched silverware for the club; the Football League Trophy was won with a 1–0 victory against Stockport County at Wembley, with Mark Stein scoring the only goal of the game. The following season, 1992–93, promotion was achieved from the third tier. Macari left in October 1993 to be replaced by Joe Jordan; Stein also departed, in a club record £1.5m move to Chelsea.
Jordan's tenure in charge was short, leaving the club less than a year after joining, and Stoke opted to reappoint Lou Macari only 12 months after he had left. Stoke finished 4th in 1995–96 but were defeated in the play-off semi-final by Leicester City. Macari left the club at the end of the season; his last game in charge was the final league game at the Victoria Ground. Mike Sheron, who was signed two years previously from Norwich City, was sold for a club record fee of £2.5m in 1997.
The Britannia Stadium and the Icelandic takeover
1997–98 saw Stoke move to its new ground, the Britannia Stadium, after 119 years at the Victoria Ground. Chic Bates, Macari's assistant, was appointed manager for the club's first season in the new ground. He did not last long though, and was replaced by Chris Kamara in January 1998. Kamara could not improve the club's fortunes either, and he too left in April. Alan Durban, previously Stoke's manager two decades earlier, took charge for the remainder of season. Despite his best efforts, Durban was unable to keep the club up, as defeat on the final day of the season consigned Stoke to relegation from Division One. Brian Little, formerly manager of Aston Villa, took charge for the 1998–99 season. Despite an impressive start, the team's form tailed off dramatically in the latter stages of the season, which led to Little leaving the club at the end of the season. His successor, Gary Megson, was only in the job for four months. Megson was forced to depart following a takeover by Stoke Holding, an Icelandic consortium, who purchased a 66% share in Stoke City F.C. for the sum of £6.6m. Stoke became the first Icelandic-owned football club outside of Iceland. Stoke appointed the football club's first overseas manager, Gudjon Thordarson, who helped Stoke City win the Football League Trophy and earn promotion to the First Division in 2001–02.
The Auto Windscreens Shield was won in the 1999–2000 season, in April 2000, with a win over Bristol City in front of a crowd of 85,057 at Wembley. Thordarson achieved promotion at the third time of asking in 2001–02. A second successive 5th-place finish ensured a play-off spot. Cardiff City were defeated in the semi-final before a 2–0 win against Brentford at the Millennium Stadium secured promotion. Despite achieving the goal of promotion, Thordarson was sacked by Gunnar Gíslason only days after the club won promotion.
Steve Cotterill was drafted in as Thordarson's replacement prior to the start of the 2002–03 season, but quit in October 2002 after only 4 months in charge. Tony Pulis was appointed as Stoke's new manager shortly after. Pulis steered Stoke clear of relegation, with a 1–0 win over Reading on the final day of the season keeping the club in the division. However, Pulis was sacked at the end of the 2004–05 season, following disagreement between himself and the club's owners.
Dutch manager Johan Boskamp was named as Pulis' successor on 29 June 2005, only a day after Pulis was sacked. Boskamp brought in a number of new players from Europe but despite his spending his side was inconsistent, and only a mid-table finish was achieved. Boskamp left at the end of the 2005–06 season, amidst a takeover bid by former-chairman Peter Coates. On 23 May 2006, Coates completed his takeover of Stoke City, marking the end of Gunnar Gíslason's chairmanship of the club. Coates chose former manager Tony Pulis as Boskamp's successor in June 2006. Pulis took Stoke close to a play-off place, but an eventual 8th-place finish was achieved in the 2006–07 season.
Return to top-flight football
A defeat to Bolton Wanderers on the opening day of the season meant bookmaker Paddy Power paid out on Stoke to be relegated, but the team's fortunes quickly changed. Stoke managed to turn the Britannia Stadium into a "fortress", making it difficult for teams to pick up points there. In their first home game, Stoke managed to beat Aston Villa 3–2, and wins also came against Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion. After a 2–1 win at Hull City, Stoke confirmed their place in the Premier League as the "Potters" finished 12th in their return to the top flight, with a total of 45 points. Stoke finished the following 2009–10 season in a respectable 11th place, with 47 points. Stoke also made it to the quarter finals of the FA Cup for the first time since 1972, beating York City, Arsenal and Manchester City before losing out to eventual winners Chelsea.
A 3–0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the 2010–11 season gave Stoke two new records; their largest away win in the Premier League, and their largest top division away win since 1982. It was also the first time since the 1983–84 season that Stoke had won three top-flight matches in a row. with manager Pulis hailed the new records as "a fantastic achievement". Stoke reached the FA Cup Final for the first time, beating Cardiff City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Brighton & Hove Albion, West Ham United and a famous win of 5–0 against Bolton Wanderers (the biggest post war FA Cup Semi-Final victory). However, they lost the final 1–0 to Manchester City. By reaching the final, Stoke qualified for the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League.
In the UEFA Europa League Stoke advanced past Hajduk Split, FC Thun, and a tough group containing Beşiktaş, Dynamo Kyiv and Maccabi Tel Aviv which Stoke managed to progress through finishing in second position. City's reward was a tie against Spanish giants Valencia and despite putting up a spirited 2nd leg performance Stoke went out 2–0 on aggregate. In the Premier League Stoke made the high-profile signing of Peter Crouch as they finished in a mid-table position for a fourth time.
It is not clear where Stoke's original playing fields were located. Their first pitch was certainly in the site of a present burial ground in Lonsdale Street, although there is evidence that they also played on land near to the Copeland Arms public house on Campbell Road. In 1875 they moved to Sweetings Field, which was owned by the mayor of Stoke, Alderman Sweeting. It is estimated that as many as 200–250 spectators were attending home matches at Sweetings Field, paying one penny for admission. Stoke were to stay at Sweetings Field until a merger with the Stoke Victoria Cricket Club in March 1878, when Stoke moved to the Victoria Ground.
The first match to be played at the Victoria Ground was a friendly against Talke Rangers in the 28 March 1878; Stoke won 1–0 in front of 2,500 fans. The ground was originally an oval shape to cater for athletics, and this shape was retained for the next 30 years. Major development work began in the 1920s, and by 1930 the ground had lost its original shape. By 1935 the ground capacity was up to the 50,000 mark. A record crowd of 51,380 packed into the Ground on 29 March 1937 to watch a league game against Arsenal.
Floodlights were installed in 1956 and another new main stand was built. Over the weekend of the in January 1976, gale force winds blew the roof off the Butler Street Stand. Stoke played a home League match against Middlesbrough at Vale Park whilst repair work was on-going. The Stoke End Stand was improved in 1979 and through the 1980s more improvements were made. By 1995 Stoke drew up plans to make the ground an all seater stadium, to comply with the Taylor Report. However, the club decided it would be better to leave the Victoria Ground and re-locate to a new site.
In 1997 Stoke left the Victoria Ground after 119 years, and moved to the modern 28,384 all seater Britannia Stadium at a cost of £14.7 million. Stoke struggled at first to adjust to their new surroundings and were relegated to the third tier in the first season at the new ground. In 2002 a record 28,218 attended an FA Cup match against Everton. With Stoke gaining promotion to the Premier League in 2008 attendances increased; however, the capacity was reduced to 27,500 due to segregation.
Supporters and rivalry
While much of the support that the club enjoys is from the local Stoke-on-Trent area, there are a number of exile fan clubs, notably in London and stretching from Scandinavia to countries further afield such as Australia and the USA. A capacity 28,000 crowd regularly turn out to see them in the Premier League.
Stoke have had problems in the past with football hooliganism in the 1970s, 80s, 90s and early 2000s which gave the club a bad reputation, this was to the actions by the "Naughty Forty" firm which associated itself with the club and was formed by supporter Mark Chester. Mark Chester reformed himself and now works as a youth inclusion promoter. In 2003 the BBC described Stoke City as having "one of the most active and organised football hooligan firms in England". In response to these criticisms, the club introduced an Away Travel ID scheme; this was subsequently suspended in 2008 as a result of improved behaviour and an enhanced reputation. More recently, Stoke City's fans and their stadium have been perceived as loud, friendly, passionate and modern, welcoming as guests Sugar Ray Leonard and Diego Maradona. There is in the media now "genuine admiration for the volume and volatility of the club's loyal support".
In November 2008 a group of Stoke fans were forced by the Greater Manchester Police to leave Manchester before a league match against Manchester United. The Human Rights group Liberty took up the case of the fans, and Manchester police eventually apologised for their actions and the fans were awarded compensation.
Stoke's local rivals are Port Vale, based in the Burslem area of Stoke-on-Trent. As the two clubs have regularly been in different divisions there have only been 46 league matches between the two sides, with the last match being in 2002. Regardless of the lack of games, the Potteries derby is often a tight and close game of football with few goals being scored. Stoke have won 19 matches whilst Vale have won 15.
With Stoke City's rise to the Premier League coinciding with traditional rival Port Vale's relegation to League Two, and a hard-fought promotion battle with another West Midlands outfit West Bromwich Albion, rivalry with West Brom fans has increased. Another rivalry exists with fellow West Midlands club Wolverhampton Wanderers.
- As of 6 February 2013.
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Reserves and academy
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
For details of former players, see List of Stoke City F.C. players, List of Stoke City F.C. players (25–99 appearances), List of Stoke City F.C. players (fewer than 25 appearances) and Category:Stoke City F.C. players.
For player records, including player awards, see List of Stoke City F.C. records and statistics.
Stoke City Ladies
- Board, directors & presidents
- Chairman: Peter Coates
- Directors: Keith Humphreys, Phil Rawlins & Richard Smith
- Chief Executive: Tony Scholes
- President: Gordon Banks
- Vice-President: Alex Humphreys
- Team management
- Manager: Tony Pulis
- Assistant Manager: Dave Kemp
- First Team Coaches: Adrian Pennock, Mark O'Connor & Gerry Francis
- Goalkeeping Coach: Andy Quy
- Director of Football: John Rudge
- Fitness & Physio Co-ordinator: Paul Maxwell
- Head Physiotherapist: Dave Watson
- Physiotherapist: Chris Banks
- Sports Rehabilitator: Andy Davies
- Doctor: Dr Andrew Dent
- Chiropractor: Dave Cosgrave
- Chief Scout: Lindsay Parsons
- Kit Manager: Gary Worthington
- Performance Analyst: Scott Coomber
- Academy staff
|August 1874 – June 1883||Thomas Slaney|
|June 1883 – April 1884||Walter Cox|
|April 1884 – August 1890||Harry Lockett|
|August 1890 – January 1892||Joseph Bradshaw|
|January 1892 – May 1895||Arthur Reeves|
|May 1895 – September 1897||Bill Rowley|
|September 1897 – March 1908||Horace Austerberry|
|May 1908 – June 1914||Alfred Barker|
|June 1914 – April 1915||Peter Hodge||First manager from outside of England|
|April 1915 – Feb 1919||Joe Schofield|
|February 1919 – March 1923||Arthur Shallcross|
|March 1923 – April 1923||John Rutherford|
|October 1923 – June 1935||Tom Mather|
|June 1935 – May 1952||Bob McGrory|
|June 1952 – June 1960||Frank Taylor|
|June 1960 – March 1977||Tony Waddington||Most honours won as manager|
|February 1977 – January 1978||George Eastham|
|January 1978||Alan A'Court||Caretaker manager|
|February 1978 – June 1981||Alan Durban|
|June 1981 – December 1983||Richie Barker|
|December 1983 – April 1985||Bill Asprey|
|April 1985 – May 1985||Tony Lacey||Caretaker manager|
|May 1985 – November 1989||Mick Mills|
|November 1989 – February 1991||Alan Ball|
|February 1991 – May 1991||Graham Paddon||Caretaker manager|
|May 1991 – October 1993||Lou Macari|
|November 1993 – September 1994||Joe Jordan|
|September 1994||Asa Hartford||Caretaker manager|
|October 1994 – July 1997||Lou Macari|
|July 1997 – January 1998||Chic Bates|
|January 1998 – April 1998||Chris Kamara|
|April 1998 – June 1998||Alan Durban||Caretaker manager|
|June 1998 – June 1999||Brian Little|
|July 1999 – November 1999||Gary Megson|
|November 1999 – May 2002||Guðjón Þórðarson||First manager from outside the United Kingdom|
|May 2002 – October 2002||Steve Cotterill|
|October 2002 – November 2002||Dave Kevan||Caretaker manager|
|November 2002 – June 2005||Tony Pulis|
|June 2005 – May 2006||Johan Boskamp|
|June 2006 – present||Tony Pulis||First manager to reach the F.A. Cup Final with Stoke|
Top 20 managers of the club's history
- Based on win % in all competitions
|9||Lou Macari||1991–1993 & 1994-1997||266||110||41.35|
|13||Alan Durban||1978–1981 & 1998||148||55||37.16|
|15||Tony Pulis||2002–2005 & 2006-Present||461||169||36.65|
* Stats correct as of 14 May 2013
- Runners-up: 2007–08
- Champions: 1932–33, 1962–63, 1992–93
- Runners-up: 1921–22
- Third Place: (Promoted) 1978–79
- Play-off Winners: 2001–02
- Champions: 1926–27
- Champions: 1890–91
- Champions: 1910–11
Southern League Division Two: 2
League Cup: 1
Watney Cup: 1
- Winners: 1973
- Winners: 1877–78, 1878–79, 1903–04 (shared), 1913–14, 1933–34, 1964–65, 1968–69 (shared), 1970–71, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1981–82, 1992–93, 1994–95, 1998–99
- Runners-up: 1882–83, 1885–86, 1894–95, 1900–01, 1902–03, 2002–03, 2005–06, 2010–11
- Winners: 1901, 1914
- Runners-up: 1910, 1915, 1920, 1921
Isle of Man Trophy: 3
- Winners: 1980, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1998
- Runners-up: 1890, 1894, 1990, 1996
- Eric Skeels – 592 appearances (League and Cup)
- John McCue – 675 appearances (Including War time games)
- Record win: 26–0 v Mow Cop 1877
- Record League victory: 10–3 v West Bromwich Albion (4 February 1937)
- Record League defeat: 0–10 v Preston North End (14 September 1889)
- Record FA Cup victory: 11–0 v Stourbridge (26 September 1914)
- Record FA Cup defeat: 0–8 v Wolverhampton Wanderers (22 February 1890)
- Record League Cup victory: 6–2 v Chelsea (22 October 1974)
- Record League Cup defeat: 0–8 v Liverpool (29 November 2000)
- Record Premier League win: 4–0 v Newcastle United 19 March 2011
- Record Premier League defeat: 0–7 v Chelsea 25 April 2010
- 51,130 at the Victoria Ground v Arsenal 29 March 1937
- 28,218 at the Britannia Stadium v Everton 5 January 2002
|1972–73||UEFA Cup||First round||1. FC Kaiserslautern||3–1||0–4||3–5|
|1974–75||First round||Ajax||1–1||0–0||1–1 (A)|
|2011–12||UEFA Europa League||Third qualifying round||Hajduk Split||1–0||1–0||2–0|
|Maccabi Tel Aviv||3–0||2–1|
|Round of 32||Valencia||0–1||0–1||0–2|
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