West Ham face Stoke City this weekend in another huge game for the Hammers; here are 10 facts about this week’s opponents.
1. Stoke were founded as Stoke Ramblers in 1863, they are the 2nd oldest Football Club in the world behind Notts County, the club were one of the founding members of the Football League.
2. Stoke have only won 1 major honour, the 1972 League Cup Final. The Potters beat West Ham over an epic Semi-Final series of 4 games (2 legs and two replays). The series of games saw Gordon Banks save a last-minute penalty from Geoff Hurst in the Second Leg that would have put West Ham through and the great Bobby Moore go in goal for the concussed Bobby Ferguson and save a penalty in a mud-soaked Old Trafford in the 2nd Replay.
3. One of Stoke’s most infamous players was former England centre half Neil Franklin. Stoke were a very good side in the late forties and Franklin was one of the stand out players, he was poached by a Colombian club just before the World Cup in 1950. Franklin was offered a chance to treble his wages and a huge £2,000 signing on fee. Colombia was enduring a civil war at the time and Franklin’s family could not settle and the family returned back to the Potteries within the year. Unfortunately both Stoke and the FA were furious with Franklin for his supposed betrayal and his playing career at the top level was effectively ended. Stoke suspended him indefinitely and eventually sold him to Hull in 1952. He never played for England again.
4. The great Sir Stanley Matthews played for Stoke in two spells becoming their oldest player in 1965 at the age of 50 years and 5 days, something I can’t imagine being beaten.
5. Stoke’s highest ever finish in the top flight is 4th, they have achieved this twice, once in the 1935-36 season and again in the 1946-47 season.
6. West Ham legend Geoff Hurst moved to the Potters in 1972, scoring 30 league goals in 108 games over 3 years with the Staffordshire club.
7. Stoke Assistant Manager Mark Bowen played 17 times for the Hammers in the 1996-97 season.
8. Stoke played at former ground The Victoria Ground for 119 years before moving to the Britannia – now the Bet365 – in 1997.
9. Stoke striker Peter Crouch is one of only 26 players to have scored over 100 goals in the Premier League and in cumulative transfer fees he is the 5th most expensive British player of all time.
10. West Ham have played Stoke 96 times, winning 36, drawing 26, losing 34, the teams have drawn the last 6 meetings, the last being a 0-0 draw at Stoke in April 2017.