At the time of its demolition the Victoria Ground was the oldest football grounds in the Football League. It served as the home of Stoke City for almost 120 years from 1878 to 1997. Stoke moved out and into the Britannia Stadium where they have been ever since.
The first match at the Victoria Ground was a friendly against Scottish side Rangers that Stoke won 1-0 in front of 2,500 spectators. The ground’s name came from the nearby Victoria Hotel. After Stoke dropped out of the Football League due to financial trouble they returned in 1919 to a much improved home.
In 1956 floodlights were installed at the ground with Port Vale playing ‘ceremonial friendly’ to make the switching on of the lights. The ground saw many other improvements including a new main stand and dressing rooms, which were built in 1960. Stoke players helped to lay the concrete in 1963, which made up the paddock terrace.
The ground was also victim to the elements and at one point gale force winds took part of the roof off of the Butler Street Stand. The roof was fixed, but not without incident as a number of workmen fixing the scaffolding were injured when supports collapsed.
The Victoria Ground will be famous for many reasons but it will be forever remembered as the home of Sir Stanley Matthews, one of the English game’s greatest ever players. During his time with the Potters, he helped the Club win the Second Division titles in 1932–33 and 1962–63 and scored 54 goals he was also capped for England and played in the World Cups of 1950 and 54.
The record attendance at the ground was a Division One match against Arsenal in 1937, which drew in over 51,000 spectators.
Winning send off
On May 4th 1997 Stoke City played the last ever league match at the Victoria Ground against West Bromwich Albion. While the drama unfolded on the pitch many supporters attention was turned to the ground, each reminiscing about their own personal experiences watching Stoke City.
Gerry McMahon delighted the fans at the Boothen End with an early strike and Graham Kavanagh added another before Andy Hunt pulled a goal back for West Brom, and had the privilege of scoring the final goal at the ground.
The ground has since been demolished but as yet there is still nothing built on the site as the land still lies derelict.