01 Oktober 2008

Football History: Stoke City (Premier League)

Stoke City claim to be the second-oldest club in English football, having been formed in 1863, though their first recorded match wasn't until 1868. They were initially called the Stoke Ramblers, changing to Stoke Football Club in 1878 when they merged with Stoke Victoria Cricket Club and took up residence at the Victoria Ground as well as adopting their famous kit of red and white vertical stripes.

In 1888 they became one of the founder members of the Football League, but finished bottom of the league in each of the first two seasons. In 1928 they changed their name again to Stoke City, to reflect Stoke's new status as a city, but it wasn't until the 1930s that they started to achieve some fame, with the arrival of young local lad Stanley Matthews, who came through the club's youth academy.

Matthews stayed with the club until 1947, leaving the club due to a row whilst they were close to winning their first ever championship. They ended up losing out on the last day of the season, finishing fourth in a very close battle for the title. Six years later, they were relegated, not returning until 1963, with Matthews back playing at Stoke in his late 40s. He helped them to the League Cup Final in 1964, which they lost to Leicester.

Stoke went back and won it - without the retired Matthews - in 1972, but financial problems over the next couple of decades saw their fortunes fluctuate as managers came and went and they flitted between the lower divisions. However, in 2007/08, ten years after moving to the Britannia Stadium, The Potters won promotion to the Premier League by finishing runners-up in The Championship.

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