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The History of Stoke City Football Club

Formed in 1863 by the former pupils of the Charterhouse school, Stoke City is the second oldest league club in the World. Prior to 1875 Stoke City FC played on Sweetings Field, which was a strip of land owned by Alderman Sweeting (at the time the Lord Mayor of Stoke). In March 1878 they merged with Stoke Victoria Athletic Club when matches were played on Victoria’s oval shaped ground, the home of the famous Boothen end stand. Stoke's first game at the Victoria Ground was a friendly against Talke Rangers on 28th March 1878, you’ll be pleased to know that Stoke won 1-0 .

Stoke becamr a professional football club in 1885 and 3 years later they were one of only 12 clubs who formed the 'Football League'. Stoke played their first ever Football League game against West Brom on 8th September 1888 infront of a crowd of about 4,500. Unfortunately, Stoke ended that first year in last place, were relegated from the League and replaced by Sunderland. However the number of League teams was soon increased to 14 allowing Stoke to re-enter the top-flight

Stokes fortunes changed as they were relegated from various divisions. However, after the First World War things began to improve, and by 1923, the now Stoke City 1923 won the Third Division championship. By 1933 they were Champions of Division Two, which meant a return to top-flight football once again

During the Second World War the Football League was temporarily suspended until 1946. In the first full season after the end of the war Stoke came back with a vengeance, narrowly missing out on the First Division crown to Liverpool. For several years after Stoke failed to match this success and by 1953 were once again relegated.

By the early 60’s things were not looking good for the Potters with further relegation looming. The newly appointed manager, Tony Waddington re-signed the legendary Stanley Matthews from Blackpool, aged an incredible 46. By 1963 Stoke took the Second Division Championship to re-enter the First Division after an absence of ten years. In their first season Stoke were beaten finalists in the League Cup, narrowly loosing out to Leicester City.

The early seventies saw Stoke enter one of their most successful eras ever, they reached the FA Cup semis and won the League Cup in 1972, beating Chelsea 2-1, their first major trophy for nearly 110 years. Unfortunately this good fortune was not to last, when in 1977 Stoke were relegated to the Second Division.

Further disasters struck when during a storm, the roof of the Butler Street Stand was severely damaged forcing the club to sell some of their key players. Soon after, Stoke stalwart, Tony Waddington was sacked after an incredible 17 years at the club.

Stoke then went on a downward spiral and went nearer to the foot of Division Two. Half way through the 1977-78 season Alan Durban was appointed new manager and things began to look up, just one year later Stoke were promoted back into the First Division. But following years saw Stoke fighting for thier place in the First Division. In the 1984-85 season, Stoke suffered a really terrible run of matches, winning just 3 games out of 46 league and Cup matches. Stoke finished the season with 17 points, their worst ever total. In the 1984-85 season, new Stoke manager Mick Mills arrived.

In 1989 the club was once more on the way down, Mick Mills was eventually sacked, being replaced by Alan Ball. Stoke dropped into the Third Division. Things got no better and when Lou Macari replaced Alan Ball, Stoke reached their lowest league position ever (14th in the 3rd Division).

In Lou Macari's first season he took Stoke to the Third Division play-offs, only to be beaten by Stockport County. The following season, 1992-93, with the formation of the Premier Division, saw Stoke in the newly formed Division Two, and Stoke ran away with the title.

With Stoke back in Division One Lou Macari left to manage Celtic. He was replaced by Joe Jordan but just after a year Lou Macari had left, he was back in charge at Stoke.

With Lou's return Stoke reached the play-offs losing to Leicester City in the semi-final after a 1-0 defeat at the Victoria ground. Stoke's last season at the Victoria Ground failed to build on the previous season's form, ending in a mid-table position. On May 4, 1997 after 119 years at the Victoria Ground, Stoke played their final match against West Brom, before moving in the summer to the new purpose-built Britannia Stadium. But performances on the pitch did not match the impressive new stadium and for the 1998/99 season the club was relegated to Division Two.

Optimism returned to the Potteries with the appointment of Brian Little as manager and the team made a magnificent start to the season, winning the first six league games which is a club record. But in the second half of the season when wrong when Stoke's terrible form saw them sink to eighth by the end of the season.

Rumours were about that Brian Little would quit but it wasn't until he returned from holiday - five weeks into the close season - that he finally announced his decision to walk. Stoke took a month to finally unearth his replacement, unveiling former Stockport, Blackpool and Norwich manager Gary Megson .

Former Port Vale manager John Rudge joined soon afterwards and was given the title of football executive to oversee all aspects of Stoke City football club.

In November 1999 an Icelandic consortium brought a 66% share in Stoke City fc for £6.6 million which brought an end to Peter Coates and Kieth Humphreys gruesome reign of Stoke City for 14th years. Gary Megson had done a heroic job in change of the team with no money to spend but unfortunately was a causality of the Icelandic takeover, this sadden some fans but they were soon won over by the Icelandic consortium.

In the 1999/00 season Stoke City put together a string of good results reached the playoffs, in the first round the game was against Gillingham. Stoke went into the second leg with a 3-2 lead but bad refereeing caused Stoke City to lose 5-3 on aggregate and spend another year in the hell they call the second division.

In April 2000 Stoke City had reached the Auto Windscreen final playing Bristol City in front of a sell out crowd of 75,000 people. Stoke won 2-1 with goals by Peter Thorne and Graham Kavangh and a trophy was a help to long years of suffering the club has had.

Having gained promotion from the English Football League Championship in 2007/2008 Stoke City now play in the English Premiership.

2010/2011....good luck to the Potters in the Premiership!

 

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