We’ve played at their gaff – but not against them. Yet, we have played against them. You still with us? Stoke City. What’s going on there, eh? After all, 15 years ago we were going round asking each other “is this the way to the Britannia”. Of course, it wasn’t to call in on the Potters. No, it was to lock horns with Carlisle United. And the less said about that, the better. For now, at least. Like our first meeting with the Staffordshire club, actually.
Buckle up boyos (and girlos)…
Who are Stoke City?
Formed in 1863, the Potters claim to be the oldest professional Football League club. But it also sounds like the club were actually founded in 1868. You’d think someone wrote this all down at the time. But, hey, we all need something to talk about the water cooler. When we get back to our offices. Whenever that may be. Ahem – moving swiftly on…
Given their age, can you believe the Potters have few major honours to their name? This definitely surprised us when we looked back through the archives. Apart from the 1971-2 League Cup, both the top flight title and FA Cup have so far eluded them. They did come within one win of the 1946-7 title. But a last-day defeat saw Liverpool take it instead.
And all this is despite being home to one of English football’s greatest players: Sir Stanley Matthews. You couldn’t write it Jeff, you really couldn’t.
Why do we know Stoke City?
To be fair, we’ve never come close to the Potters in terms of league standing. We’ve come within two divisions of them at different points in time. But that’s the closest the gap’s ever been. So, we had no cause to worry about ’em. And vice-versa. Even Boro’s first trip up to the Britannia had nothing to do with them – the 2004-5 Conference playoff final.
We don’t know how Stoke got the gig for that one. It makes sense in that it’s kinda halfway between us and Carlisle. But what if Aldershot got to the final instead of the Cumbrians? It was a venue big enough for the 13,500-odd crowd, to be fair. And maybe that’s it.
Our 1-0 defeat to Carlisle is still our only trip to the Britannia. And we’ve had no cause to go back. But the Potters found themselves back on our radar in a totally different way 11 years later. After a rare win in the League Cup, we had the novel experience of being in the draw for Round Two. And, almost out of nowhere, we pulled out Stoke indoors.
What is our record against Stoke City?
It’d be our first match against top flight oppo in three seasons; Everton beating us 4-0 at home in the 2013-4 FA Cup Fourth Round. Sadly for us, it’s a trick the Potters repeated. Peter Crouch hit a hattrick and Phil Bardsley pinged one in from distance to shatter any hopes of an upset. Filled with first-team faces, they clocked up 25 shots to our five.
Stoke City: Boro’s Record
Our head-to-head: P 1 — W 0 — D 0 — L 1 — F 0 — A 4 — Pts 0 — WR 0%
Our last tango: Stevenage 0-4 Stoke City, 23 August 2016
What happened to Stoke City?
By the end of the 2016-7 campaign, the Potters were safely nestled in the middle of the Premier League. The next season, however, saw their most recent stay in the top flight come to an end after a nice round 10 years. Of course, we say their most recent on the basis that they failed to go straight back up. In fact, it was a bit of a struggle for ’em.
The threat of relegation was even more real at the point when the 2019-20 season was halted. So, plenty of room for improvement. But we could well say the same for us too…
• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Stoke City club profile