The club moved to the Victoria Ground in 1878 after playing at the Victoria Cricket Ground (1868–1875) and Sweeting's Field (1875–1878). The club played there for an unbroken period of 119 years until moving to a new purpose built stadium in 1997. At the time of its demolition, the Victoria Ground was thought to be the oldest operational football league ground in the world. The first game at the ground was a friendly played against Talke Rangers on 27 March 1878. Stoke won 1-0. My first game at the Vic was with my Grandad and I can still clearly remember walking up some steps and out into to a wall of noise. Soon after the match started, there was a loud rumble and having just been to London with my parents, rather embarrassingly, I asked if it was the Underground. It was pointed out to me that it was the fans slapping their hands on the advertising hordings! I was born in Sutton Coldfield so I do have a soft spot for Aston Villa and I have never lived in Stoke (although I have been out with five girls from the city over the years!) but with Grandparents from Burslem and Trentham, I was destined to support a team from the Potteries. I have to admit that I have been inside Vale Park although only when they used to open the gates at half time to let those out who'd had enough. I don't ever want them to finish above or beat Stoke, but I don't stand or sing when Stoke are singing 'Stand up if you hate the Vale'. The last game at the ground was played on 4 May 1997, a 2-1 win against West Bromwich Albion in Division One, watched by a crowd of 22,500. I always used to go in the Boothen End but for this game I could only get a ticket for the Stoke end but it did mean I got to see the Boothen in full flow from a different perspective. It was an emotional day and one that prompted me to purchase a limited edition painting 118/500 called “The Last Goodbye” by Gary Holmes The official record attendance was 51,380 for a match against Arsenal on 29th March 1937 and the record cup attendance was 50,735 against Bolton Wanderers (FAC6) on 2nd March 1946.
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Stoke City Football Club Victoria Ground