Stoke City F.C.
Stoke City Football Club is a professional football club based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Founded as Stoke Ramblers in 1863 the club changed its name to Stoke in 1878 and they are the second oldest professional football club in the world, after Notts County, and are one of the founding members of the Football League. Their first, and to date only major trophy, the League Cup was won in 1972, the clubs highest league finish in the top division is 4th, which was achieved in the 1935–36 and 1946–47 seasons. Stoke played in the FA Cup Final in 2011, finishing runners-up to Manchester City and have reached three FA Cup semi-finals, in 1899 then consecutively in 1971 and 1972. Stoke have competed in European football on three occasions, firstly in 1972–73 then in 1974–75 and most recently in 2011–12, the club has won the Football League Trophy twice, in 1992 and in 2000. Stokes home ground is the bet365 Stadium, a 28,116 all-seater stadium, before the stadium was opened in 1997, the club was based at the Victoria Ground, which had been their home ground since 1878. The clubs nickname is The Potters, named after the industry in Stoke-on-Trent and their traditional home kit is a red and white vertically striped shirt, white shorts. Stokes traditional rivals are Midlands clubs West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers whilst their local rivals are Port Vale with whom they contest the Potteries derby, the clubs first documented match was in October 1868, against an EW May XV at the Victoria Cricket Club ground. Henry Almond, the founder, was also captain. During this period they played at the Victoria Cricket Ground, however, 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 and 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 club became owners of the Victoria Ground in 1919 and 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, the 1930s saw the debut of clubs 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, by end of the decade, Matthews had established himself as an England international and as one of the best footballers of his generation
The Victoria Ground was the home ground of Stoke City from 1878 until 1997, when the club relocated to the Britannia Stadium after 119 years. At the time of its demolition it was the oldest operational football league ground in the Football League. The Victoria Ground had been Stoke Citys home since March 1878, the ground took its name from the nearby Victoria Hotel and was originally an oval shape, built to accommodate a running track and used by the local athletic club. There was a grass bank at each end, and a small. Opposite this stand was another bank which could hold 4,000, the ground remained this way for 30 years during which time Stoke had become members of the Football League. Stoke suffered financial difficulties and dropped out of the league in 1908, Stoke got back into the league in 1919 and the ground had now been improved considerably. There were two good sized grandstands and a wooden one which was situated opposite the main stand. The players changing rooms were set in the corner of the ground which included a stove so players could keep warm. Above the changing hut was the box, a rather primitive building. During the early 1920s a new, mainly wooden main stand was erected alongside the hut, by 1930 Stoke had added City to their name and the Boothen End was terraced and later covered, and consequently the ground lost its oval shape. 1935, when the likes of Stanley Matthews was beginning to draw in the crowds, in front of the seats was a small paddock, room for another 2,000 and it took the ground capacity to around the 45,000 mark. A record crowd of 51,380 packed into the Victoria Ground on 29 March 1937 to watch a First Division match against Arsenal, during World War II the Butler Street Stand was used as an army storage camp. Floodlights were installed at the ground in 1956 and local rivals Port Vale marked the official switching on ceremony by playing Stoke in a friendly on 10 October 1956, in 1960 another new main stand was built and the dressing rooms were revamped. In the summer of 1963 concrete was laid on the paddock terracing, more improvements continued in the 1960s and the ground remained in a good condition until January 1976. The strong winds blew a section of the roof off the Butler Street Stand leaving only the west corner intact, top priority was to put the roof back in order that the replay against Tottenham could take place on 7 January. Stoke had to play one home match against Middlesbrough at Vale Park on 17 January. The final improvements to the ground were made during the 1980s with the Stanley Matthews suite being opened as well as a new club shop, with many clubs converting to all-seater stadium due to the Taylor Report the club drew up plans to meet the requirements at the Victoria Ground. However the Club instead decided to build a new ground and so in 1997 Stoke left the Victoria Ground after 119 years for the new modern 28,000 seater Britannia Stadium, archived from the original on 28 January 2010
1972 Football League Cup Final
The 1972 Football League Cup Final took place on 4 March 1972 at Wembley Stadium and was contested by Chelsea and Stoke City. Chelsea went into the match as favourites having won the FA Cup. Terry Conroy put Stoke into the early on but Chelsea hit back through Peter Osgood just before half time. Stoke got the final goal from veteran George Eastham to end their 109-year wait for a major honour. It remains the only major trophy victory, the closest they have come since then to beating this achievement was in 2011 when they lost to Manchester City in the 2011 FA Cup Final. Both sides reached the final after epic semi-final ties with Chelsea beating Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke, the match took place on 4 March 1972 at Wembley Stadium in front of 97,852 with around 35,000 travelling down from Stoke-on-Trent. Chelseas defence panicked and Terry Conroy was quickest to react to put Stoke into the lead, Chelsea improved their game, but it was Stoke who should have scored again with both Dobing and Jimmy Greenhoff being denied by the agile Peter Bonetti. A rare mistake from Alan Bloor inside his own goal-area brought Chelsea an equaliser just before half-time with Peter Osgood taking full advantage, after the break Stoke again forced Chelsea back into their own half and although the play became rather scrappy both sides should have scored. But then on 73 minutes George Eastham scored a goal for Stoke after Greenhoffs shot was only blocked by Bonetti. Gordon Banks made a number of saves to keep Stokes one goal advantage intact. The club marked the achievement by parading the trophy in an open top bus around Stoke-on-Trent,1972 League Cup final at The English Football Archive Match stats at soccerbase. com Final line-ups at Football Focus Match Highlights on YouTube Match Highlights on YouTube
John Ritchie (footballer, born 1941)
John Henry Ritchie was an English footballer. He is Stoke Citys all-time record goalscorer, Ritchie began his career with his hometown club Kettering Town before joining Stoke City in 1962. In his first full season as a professional Ritchie scored an impressive 30 goals and he was surprisingly sold by Tony Waddington to Sheffield Wednesday in November 1966 for £80,000. After scored 45 goals for Wednesday in three seasons Waddington decided that selling Ritchie was a mistake and re-signed him for £28,000. He continued to be a prolific goalscorer for Stoke City and helped win their first major trophy. He remained at Stoke until September 1974 when a leg ended his career. He had scored 176 goals for Stoke in 347 matches making him Stokes record goalscorer. Born in Kettering, Ritchie is Stoke Citys top marksman of all-time having scored 176 goals in 347 games during two spells at the club, from June 1962 to November 1966, and from July 1969 to May 1975. At the end of that conversation Waddington rang around several colleagues to ask about John Ritchie, impressed by what he heard Waddington contacted Kettering and completed the deal immediately despite never seeing him play. Ritchie actually took a pay drop to join Stoke as he had been working in a shoe factory. In his first season at Stoke Ritchie only made appearances while Dennis Viollet. Three months into the 1963–64 season he was given his chance in place of the injured Viollet, Ritchie grabbed it with both hands and scored twice in a 4–3 win over Bolton Wanderers. That sparked a streak of fourteen goals in nine games, breaking Jack Pearts 1910 club record for scoring in consecutive matches. The run was rounded off in a 4–4 draw against Sheffield Wednesday by Ritchies first hat-trick and he also set a formative record for the club in the League Cup scoring ten goals which has only been beaten twice. Ritchies goals helped Stoke reached their first ever cup final, the 1964 Football League Cup, Stoke played two legs against Leicester City and lost 4–3. He twice scored four in a match, against Sheffield Wednesday in April 1965, Ritchie scored thirty goals in his first full season as a professional and 29 the following season and was a firm terrace favourite. It came as a shock then when in November 1966 he was sold to Sheffield Wednesday for £80,000. It was even more surprising as Stoke had sold reserve forward John Woodward to Aston Villa for £30,000, Tony Waddington later admitted that selling Ritchie was a mistake