Stoke City Football Club was formed in 1863 under the name of "Stoke Ramblers" by former pupils of Charterhouse School whilst they were apprentices at the North Staffordshire Railway. The club dropped the Ramblers from their name and in 1888 they were founding members of the Football League. In 1928, the club's name was changed for the final time to Stoke City Football Club when Stoke-on-Trent was granted city status.
The club moved in 1997 to the Britannia Stadium, a 28,383 all-seater stadium; having spent 119 years at the Victoria Ground. In the 2007–08 season, Stoke won promotion from the Football League Championship, the second tier of English football, and as of 2008–09 are playing in the top flight (currently Premier League) for the first time since the 1984–85 season,
When they were relegated with a total of 17 points, a record low unsurpassed for 21 years. Stoke's only major trophy was the 1972 Football League Cup, won when they beat Chelsea 2–1 in the final at Wembley Stadium before a crowd of 97,852. The club have also won the Football League Trophy twice, in 1992 and 2000. In terms of league achievement the closest Stoke have come to winning the title was in the 1946–47 season where a final day defeat cost Stoke top spot.
Stoke begin the 2016-17 season with an away trip to newly-promoted Middlesbrough, followed by a home game against Manchester City (who they beat in the same fixture 2-0 last season) and a trip to Goodison Park to face Ronald Koeman’s Everton.
Other games to look forward to are the always fractious matches against Arsenal, and these take place on December 10 at the Emirates and then the penultimate fixture of the season on May 13 at the bet365 Stadium (as it will be known from August).
Stoke finish their season with an away match at Bournemouth, followed by the home fixture against Arsenal, before a final match away at Southampton. Stoke’s matches against Manchester United are on October 1 at Old Trafford and then January 21 at the Bet365 Stadium.
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 3/4 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.The name of the ground was changed to the Bet365 Stadium in June 2016.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Tony Scholes insists excitement is mounting at the bet365 Stadium following the release of Stoke City's fixtures for the 2016/17 Premier League season.
The Potters will launch their ninth successive top-flight campaign with a trip to newly-promoted Middlesbrough on Saturday 13th August before welcoming Pep Guardiola's Manchester City to North Staffordshire a week later.
City will be chasing a fourth consecutive top 10 finish but Scholes is acutely aware of the challenge facing Mark Hughes and his men. "If last season showed us anything it showed that you don't really know where the points are going to come from," he told us. "We're now capable of beating every team in the league on our day but we're also capable of being beaten if we have an off day. Every game is tough and every game presents a real challenge.
"The release of the fixtures makes you realise that the new season isn't too far away and it's really exciting. "There are certain things you look out for when you first get the fixtures but the thing that hits me when you run down the list is just how tough the league is – it doesn't get any easier.
"The big clubs, if I can call them that, had a disappointing season last time out and they will strengthen over the summer and look to be better and a couple of them have bought in rock star managers to add a bit of glitz to it all. "We've got a tough start with a newly promoted side and then the visit of Manchester City is a great way to kick-off at the bet365 Stadium. We'll look forward to that."
Three first-half goals helped Stoke City demolish Bolton Wanderers and reach the FA Cup final for the first time in their history. Aided by some woeful Bolton defending, Matthew Etherington, Robert Huth and Kenwyne Jones scored in the first half-hour and two goals by Jon Walters after the break completed the victory.
Stoke, roared on by their vociferous fans, can look forward to returning to Wembley to face Manchester City in the final on 14 May. Their other reward is a possible place in the Europa League, either through winning the FA Cup or if City secure fourth place in the league and enter the Champions League - which will mean the Cup runners-up gain the European spot.
For Wanderers, however, the occasion was a massive anti-climax as their hopes of reaching a first final since 1958 in tribute to the late Nat Lofthouse were quickly left in ruins. Bolton were given an ominous warning in the opening minutes when they were caught napping by a quickly taken Stoke free-kick that enabled Walters to escape down the left before being denied by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Bolton did manage a couple of efforts at the other end, with Gary Cahill blasting over from a corner and Johan Elmander failing to test Thomas Sorensen with a low shot from distance. But their big day began to disintegrate from the moment a misplaced pass by Paul Robinson found Etherington on the edge of the area and the winger composed himself before lashing a fierce shot into the corner of the net.
Things quickly got worse for Bolton and, again, their defending was at fault. Cahill got no distance on his header as he tried to clear a cross and Huth met the bouncing ball with a first-time shot that flew past Jaaskelainen's despairing dive.
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