Who Are Ya? | Ten Things You Didn’t Know About…Stoke City
(Posted on 23/06/17)
The ultimate Premier League middle man, Stoke City are enjoying a wonderful era as they continue year on year to cement themselves as Premier League regulars. But there’s more to solid finishes and surprise stars at the Bet365 Stadium, here’s ten things you might not have known.
1- Stoke City are the second oldest football club in the world having formed in 1883. Behind only Notts County who formed a year earlier, Stoke were originally known as Stoke Ramblers FC having been formed by a group of pupils from Charterhouse School. Their first documented match was in October 1868 against EW May XV at Victoria Cricket Club Ground. Founder Henry Almond was the first known captain and scored the first recorded goal for the club. In 1908 the club was wound up and re-formed as Stoke FC.
2- Stoke City are pioneers of the game, and introduced one of the most important things in football, the penalty. In a match against Notts County in the 1891 FA Cup, a County defender punched the ball away in the box. Due to rules at the time Stoke were awarded a free-kick where all eleven County players stood on the line and shielded the goal. Due to this, referee John Lewis campaigned for a fairer ruling and the penalty was born. While we are at it, they also helped create injury time! In a game against Aston Villa the ninety minutes were up when a Villa player picked up the ball and kicked it out the ground following the awarding of a penalty for Stoke. Having fought down from 3-0 down to trail by a goal the penalty would have equalised at the death but with the ball outside the ground, the referee saw that the 90 was up and the whistle was blown before they could take it. Hence, injury time was founded, initially only for penalties to be taken.
3- When Stoke City played their first ever league game, the evening paper included the famous headline ‘League Match’. However, the spotlight had to be shared with a certain famous Londoner. To prove just how long ago they played out the fixture, they shared a front page with the headline ‘Another Murder and Mutilation in Whitechapel’. That’s right, Jack the Ripper was walking the streets as the Potters fell short against West Bromwich Albion. Coincidence?...Yes.
4- Stoke were in quite the predicament come the summer of 1939, when a decision had to be made on whether or not they embark on their planned pre-season tour of Poland. With Nazi Germany gearing up for the bloodiest battle in human conflict, the Potters pulled out months before the invasion of Poland from German forces seeing the beginning of six years of warfare. Many members of Stoke City would eventually head over to the continent, but as soldiers and not footballers.
5- Stoke City legend Nobby Steele lived a rather exciting football career. He is credited for the most hatricks in the league for City with twelve but that’s just a small snippet about the Hanley born striker. At 23 his career was almost ended when he broke his knee colliding with Charlton Athletic's goalkeeper before his club trainer sent him to a hypnotist who restored confidence in the attacker! He went on to become the first Iceland manager and is known as the founder of the 4-4-2 formation.
6- Stoke City once faced Burnley in in an end of season play-off for promotion to the top flight in 1898, and was famed for being the ‘match with no shots’. A draw would see both sides promoted to the top flight and so a game of dull passing ensued. Stoke goalkeeper Tom Wilkes had to put a coat on to keep warm as boredom kicked in. At times the ball ended up in the stands with fans not even bothering to give it back! In the end, both sides tasted promotion.
7- Records: Stoke City’s history has had many ups and downs, but not many higher than the records they’ve set in the past. Their biggest ever win came in the Staffordshire Senior Cup in 1877 beating Mow Cop and their biggest league victory finished 10-3 against West Brom.
8- Stoke have had some footballing legends turn out in their red and white over the last 154 years. England’s World Cup winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks turned out over 200 times for the Potters from 1967 to 1973. But perhaps the most significant player of all was Stanley Matthews. Born in Stoke he began life with his hometown club in 1932 and played over 250 games in the league over 15 years before going on to join Blackpool where he famously won the FA Cup in 1953. He returned to Stoke in 1961 playing for a further four years, retiring at the age of 50. Other notable players include Peter Shilton, Howard Kendell and Lee Dixon.
9- Stoke are famed for their red and white striped shirts but it hasn’t always been that way. The original colours of the club were striped, but it was claret and blue horizontal thin stripes that donned the Potters shirt. They switched briefly to sky blue and black horizontal stripes before the first use of the colours we know today in 1883. From the 1890’s up until 1915 they experimented with an array of colours until settling on red and white in 1918. The first kit suppliers were Umbro in 1973 and the first kit sponsors was Ricoh in 1981. Hi-Tech, Admiral, Asics, Scoreline, Matchwinner, Le Coq Sportif, Puma, adidas, Warrior and New Balance have all designed kits for the Potters and are now supplied by Macron.
10- More than a match for any shirt in the Premier League, Stoke’s 16/17 shirt saw history made with yet another solid finish in the Premier League and a great achievement for veteran striker Peter Crouch. The former Portsmouth, Southampton and Liverpool forward scored his 100th Premier League goal last season and with the likes of Xherdan Saquiri, Marko Arnautovic, Ryan Shawcross, Joe Allen and Jack Butland, it was another excellent season.