RTG’s totally and utterly (we hope) indispensable guide to this season’s away grounds.
THE OPPO –Stoke City aka The Potters
DATE – Tuesday 16th September
KO TIME – 7.45pm
The Britannia Stadium is south of Stoke city centre, close to the main A50.
There is a maximum away supporters’ allocation of 4,800, accommodated in the Big AM stand.
Tickets are now on general sale from either the SAFC Ticket Office (tel 0191 551-5151) or online via Ticketmaster.
GOING BY CAR?
Travelling from the north-east, head off down the A1 and stay on it until you see signs directing you to the M1 signposted for Leeds and Manchester; you join the motorway at jcn 44 but need to leave it quite soon afterwards at jcn 42. At the roundabout go straight on. Just under a mile later, take the third exit off the roundabout onto the M62. Seven miles later join the M60 at jcn 18. Stay on that road until you reach jcn 12 then take the M62 signposted Liverpool and Birmingham. You stay on the M62 for 28 miles until you reach the Croft Interchange, then you’re looking for the M6.
Leave the M6 at Junction 16 and head south along the A500 – go straight over at the first two roundabouts and once you’ve passed the second one you’ll see signs for the Britannia Stadium.
Parking close to the stadium is apparently very restricted with a lot of ‘residents only’ restrictions in nearby streets and estates. If you get there at least a couple of hours prior to kickoff you might get a space at the “Power League”, car park, two minutes walk from the stadium but it fills up very early on. One of the unofficial Stoke City fansites recommends that while you’re on the A500/A50 to follow signs for Campbell Road and look out for parking spaces there – the Booker Cash & Carry there will take £1 off you to let you park there, then it’s a 500 metre walk to the stadium.
GOING BY TRAIN?
A bit of a pain if you’re travelling from Sunderland – a five hour journey involving three changes on the way there – and no trains back that late on a weeknight.
And it’s not that much better if you’re travelling up from London. You can get a train up the West Coast mainline from London Euston to Stafford, but then it’s a bus transfer to Stoke because of engineering works.
If you do decide to brave the nightmare that is British train travel in the 21st century, your quickest option when you arrive at Stoke is a taxi from outside the station – they’ll drop you off right beside the away supporters’ end at the Britannia, and it’ll only set you back about £3.
Check the National Rail website for details.
SCRAN AND BOOZE
There’s not an awful lot in the area immediately surrounding the stadium – it hasn’t really been developed since the stadium was opened. Visiting supporters are welcome at the ‘Power League’ five-a-side complex, about 150 metres behind the away end, or The Plough – close the the Booker Cash & Carry (above), and drinks are available inside the stadium. Food’s also on sale inside the Britannia (typical football nosh – chips, burgers, pies etc). But there are no burger vans or similar in the immediate vicinity of the stadium on the outside. There are a couple of good sandwich shops (providing they open that late, to cater for match-goers) on Campbell Road (see ‘Parking’) and a Harvester restaurant across Stanley Matthews Way, over from the stadium. The ‘Potters Bar’ also welcomes well-behaved visiting supporters – it’s five minutes’ drive away from the stadium on the A50. Word of warning: since the anti-boardroom protests of the early 80’s the atmosphere at Stoke games has been intimidating, and the move to the Britannia stadium did little to rid the club of its troublemakers – keep your ‘colours’ discreet and avoid heading into the centre of Stoke.
LEND US A FIVER I’M OUT OF CASH
I’d get some dosh before you leave home – the nearest cash machine is over a mile away from the stadium, at Christchurch Street (Nat West).
IN THE NEWS
– they have just signed Ade Akinbiyi on a three year deal.
– they recently lost 1-0 to Preston North End…who we beat to avoid equalling THAT record alongside Darwen.
– Stoke beat Manchester United in pre-season
– Their goalie is one Ed de Goey…signed from Chelski
Final league position – 21st of 24.
Currently 14th of 24: P7 W2 D2 L3 F9 A9 Pts 8 GD 0
HEAD TO HEAD
Stoke and Sunderland have met 114 times in the league and we’ve won just under half of those – 54 to be precise. They’ve won 34 and there have been 26 draws.
LAST 6 MEETINGS
25/04/98 Lads 3, Stoke 0 (Williams, Phillips x 2)
25/10/97 Stoke 1, Lads 2 (Clark x 2)
21/04/96 Lads 0, Stoke 0
22/11/95 Stoke 1, Lads 0
11/03/95 Lads 1, Stoke 0 (Melville)
27/08/94 Stoke 0, Lads 1 (P Gray)
– Best league win: 10-3 vs West Brom back in February 1937.
– Worst league defeat: 0-10 vs Preston.
– Record transfer fee paid: £600,000 to Swedish club Orgryte for Brynjar Gunnarsson (December 1999)
– Record transfer fee received: £2.35m from QPR, for Mike Sheron (July 97)
– Adrian Heath started his career at Stoke as an 18 year old apprentice in 1979; he stayed for three years before moving on to Everton. They got him back for five months in 1992 before sending him on a free to Burnley.
– Former Sunderland player Steve Bould also did his time at Stoke.
– Stoke supporters hate Port Vale with a passion – and aren’t awfully keen on Crewe either.
– The Britannia Stadium was used for the filming of the TV series Michael Owen’s Soccer Skills.
– What does Stoke City FC have in common with ageing rockers Genesis? They were both formed by former pupils of Charterhouse School. Two ex pupils formed the club as Stoke Ramblers 135 years ago. They became Stoke FC ten years later
– In 1890 after winning only 7 of 44 games in two seasons, they were voted out of the football league, to be replaced by……………Sunderland
Credits: Stoke City official website, Stoke City fansite “The Oatcake”, Rough Guide to English Football, Soccerbase, RAC, www.streetmap.co.uk, National Rail.