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Victoria Ground, Stoke



Former Home of Stoke City FC
Club Founded 1868

Contents
Ground History
Boothen End
(photo)
What Was The Ground Like?

Stoke End & Sentinel Stand (photo)
What Is Left Now?
Record Attendance
Main Stand & Stoke End
(photo)
Did You Know?

Boothen End
(photo)
Fans Memories

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Ground History
Before moving to the new Britannia Stadium in 1997, Stoke City had previously played for 119 years at the Victoria Ground. The Club which was formed as Stoke Ramblers in 1868 (although it is widely believed that the Club may have been in existence five years earlier) played their first match at the Victoria Cricket Club Ground (nothing to do with the subsequent Victoria Ground). They continued to play at this ground until 1875, when they then moved to Sweetings Field, opposite to the Athletic Club ground, which was to become the Victoria Ground. The Club first played at the oval shaped Victoria Ground in 1878 when it was still known as the Athletic Club Ground. It later got it's name from the Victoria Hotel, that was built on the nearby Sweetings Field. In 1888, Stoke became one of the founder members of what was then the 'new Football League'. 

A new Main Stand was built, at an otherwise open ground in 1919. This was re-built during the 1920's and a small wooden stand was also erected opposite. In 1930 the Boothen End terrace was constructed, complete with a roof. In 1935 a new Butler Street Stand was constructed, opposite the Main Stand. This covered stand had 5,000 seats to it's rear and a terraced paddock at the front. The stand was unusual in the respect that each swept around the corners of the ground towards the terraces. The Main Stand was again rebuilt in 1963 and in the early 1970's the Butler Street Stand was partly re-built following a gale. The last major development took place in the late 1970's when the new two tiered Stoke End was opened, which replaced the former huge open terrace.

May 4th 1997, saw the last ever league match to be played at the Victoria Ground. This saw a 2-1 victory for the Potters, against West Bromwich Albion (attendance 22,500).

Thanks to Gareth Cooper for providing a number of photos for this page.

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Boothen End


Boothen End

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What Was The Ground Like
The ground before the Club's move to the Britannia, was of a good size and although showing it's age, it was not a bad one to visit. At one end was the impressive Boothen End Terrace. This large terrace was partly covered (to the rear) and had a number of supporting pillars running across it's middle. Unusually, the floodlights at this end were erected behind the stand, rather than in the normal position of each corner. At the other end was the Stoke End, which was a covered stand, that had seating to the rear and terracing to the front. On one side was the Sentinel (Butler Street) Stand, which was an unusual looking stand, having a small area of terracing to it's very front, seating above this and then a row of executive boxes across the back. This stand extended around one corner towards the Stoke End, whilst the other corner beside the stand, was unused and filled with advertising hoardings, although you could see that it had previously used as terracing. On the other side was the Main Stand, which was a two tiered covered stand, again with terracing to the front and seating to the rear. Overall the ground was well balanced as all of the stands were roughly of the same height.

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Stoke End & Sentinel Stand


Stoke End

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What Is Left Now?

The ground has been completely demolished and the land lies derelict. However, it is not uncommon to see people walking their dogs across what was the site of the Victoria Ground pitch.

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Record Attendance
51,380 v Arsenal
Division One, March 29th, 1937.

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Main Stand & Stoke End


Stoke End

Taken after the last league game to be played at the Victoria Ground.

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Did You Know?
In common with a number of other Clubs, floodlights were first installed in the 1950's. To celebrate a couple of floodlit friendlies against foreign opposition took place. So in the 1956-57 season, Radnicki of Yugoslavia and Essen of West Germany, played at the newly lit Victoria Ground. Stoke ran out winners on both games (3-0 & 5-0).

Stoke playing legend, Stanley Matthews, played for the Club in separate spells, before and after the Second World War. He had reached 50 years of age when he made his last appearance. His ashes are interned below the present pitch at the Britannia Stadium.

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Boothen End


Boothen End

Taken after the last league game to be played at the Victoria Ground.

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Fans Memories
I only managed to visit the Victoria Ground once, the season before it closed. I was particularly impressed with the atmosphere within the ground. I particularly remember a rendition of the Stoke fans anthem, Delilah, which almost lifted off the roof of the Boothen End! it was that loud!

If you have any memories of the Victoria Ground that you would like to share, then please use the e-mail link below.

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Feedback

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me and I'll update the guide.


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Copyright © Duncan Adams 2008. All rights reserved.
Last Revised: 25 January, 2008