Britannia History Season 97/98
The beginning of our Britannia Stadium story starts with the late appointment of who was promised to be 'A big name manager' to kick off the new season in a new stadium but previous seasons Assistant Manager Chic Bates took on the job - a last minute placement by the Stoke board who were heading towards disaster.
Stoke City started at the Britannia Stadium with a very similar team that finished 12th the year before. The money and talk was all about the stadium and no-one stopped to think that there was no new faces to compete in an ever improving first division.
The Squad had 18 players, Mark McNally, Paul Stewart, Justin Whittle, Neil MacKenzie, RichardForsyth, Jan Dirk Schreuder, Jose Andrade, Phil Morgan, Carl Muggleton, Peter Thorne, Graham Kavanagh, Ally Pickering, Simon Sturridge, Mike Macari, Gerry McMahon, Ray Wallace, Kevin Keen and Larus Sigurdsson.
The windy new stadium took some getting used to. Stanley Matthews was to open the ground like he closed the Victoria Ground, scoring a penalty in front of the home crowd of the Boothen End. The ball was stupidly placed at the edge of the penalty box and 82 year old Stanley Matthews's shot was slowed with the wind and stopped outside the six yard box. He did score it from there though to the joy of the Stoke crowd. Sir Stanley Matthews sadly passed away a few years later.
Protest upon protest which was to continue until the club was finally sold to an icelandic consortium in 1999. Relegation was iminent and City went through 3 Managers, the second being Chris Kamara and the third being Alan Durban, who took the job being the only person left, and he saw his team relegated along with Man City on a tough game where the winner had a slight chance of staying up, and Man City won 5-2. Stoke finished off a pathetic season with relegation.