1996–97 Stoke City F.C. season

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Stoke City
1996–97 season
Chairman Peter Coates
Manager Lou Macari
Stadium Victoria Ground
Football League First Division 12th (64 Points)
FA Cup Third Round
League Cup Fourth Round
Top goalscorer League: Mike Sheron (19)
All: Mike Sheron (19)
Highest home attendance 22,500 vs West Bromwich Albion (4 May 1997)
Lowest home attendance 7,456 vs Charlton Athletic (4 December 1996)
Average home league attendance 12,751
Home colours

The 1996–97 season was Stoke City's 90th season in the Football League and 34th in the second tier. It was also Stoke's final season at their Victoria Ground.

After 119 years Stoke were all set to move to a new stadium with the 1996–97 season confirmed as the final season at the Victoria Ground. With Stoke agreeing with the council to pay £6 million towards the cost, manager Lou Macari had no money to spend on new players having to rely on free or cheap transfers and loan signings instead. It was a very inconsistent season results wise as Stoke finished in 12th position with 64 points. The final league match at the Victoria Ground saw a repeat of the very first league match against West Bromwich Albion, Stoke won 2–1 with Graham Kavanagh scoring Stoke's final goal at the Vic. Stoke moved to the Britannia Stadium ahead of the 1997–98 season.[1]

Season review[edit]

League[edit]

The final season at the Victoria Ground was a big milestone in the club's history and was met with mixed reaction from the club's supporters, some of whom were happy to move and some who wanted the Victoria Ground to remain.[1] The first ramifications of the move became clear in the summer of 1996 as a number of players wanted a move away as the club began trying to find the £6 million they need.[1] Nigel Gleghorn and Vince Overson were the first to depart both joining Burnley.[1] Funds were generated by the sale of Graham Potter to Southampton for £300,000 and Lee Sandford to Sheffield United for £450,000.[1] The board did permit Macari to spend £200,000 on Richard Forsyth who became the club's first player signed for a fee since 1994.[1]

With the club losing three very good players the supporters were downbeat about the team's prospects ahead of the 1996–97 season.[1] So an opening five-match unbeaten run took many by surprise and Stoke were early season table-toppers as Macari won the manager of the month award.[1] A 3–0 defeat at Barnsley brought reality back and prompted the signings of Gerry McMahon and Graham Kavanagh and the sale of John Dreyer.[1] There were some serious questions now being raised as to how Stoke could afford the £6 million needed for their new stadium and they found part of the answer as a deal was struck with the Britannia building society who bought the naming rights to the stadium as well as shirt sponsorship for around £1.3 million. Henceforth the new ground would be known as the Britannia Stadium.[1]

On the pitch Stoke won one match in seven and went from promotion contenders to mid-table also-rans.[1] And with Macari struggling for players he promoted Andy Griffin to the first team as Stoke's away form continued to be dire.[1] They lost eight of their final nine away fixtures scoring just once which was an own goal.[1] Fortunately their home form held up as the landmark games came and went. Stoke won the last evening game and drew the last Saturday match, while the final Potteries derby at the Vic was won 2–0.[1]

The final league match at the Victoria Ground saw a re-run of the first with Stoke coming up against West Bromwich Albion in a carnival atmosphere.[1] Stoke won 2–1 with Gerry McMahon and Graham Kavanagh scoring Stoke's goals.[1] However manager Lou Macari announced he was leaving at the end of the season which was a surprise but he was 'stripped of his duties' before he left and later launched a lawsuit against Peter Coates for wrongful dismissal.[1] Less of a surprise was the departure of Mike Sheron who joined Queens Park Rangers for £2.75 million exactly the amount Stoke needed to make up their contribution to the cost of the new stadium.[1] And so Stoke went into a new era at the Britannia Stadium with no manager and their best player gone.[1]

FA Cup[edit]

Stoke suffered a poor defeat at home in the third round losing 1–0 to Stockport County.[1]

League Cup[edit]

Stoke edged past Northampton Town and drew Arsenal in the third round.[1] After a 1–1 draw at home Arsenal proved too strong at Highbury running out 5–2 winners.[1]

Final league table[edit]

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Bolton Wanderers 46 28 14 4 100 53 +47 98
2 Barnsley 46 22 14 10 76 55 +21 80
3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 46 22 10 14 68 51 +17 76
4 Ipswich Town 46 20 14 12 68 50 +18 74
5 Sheffield United 46 20 13 13 75 52 +23 73
6 Crystal Palace 46 19 14 13 78 48 +30 71
7 Portsmouth 46 20 8 18 59 53 +6 68
8 Port Vale 46 17 16 13 58 55 +3 67
9 Queens Park Rangers 46 18 12 16 64 60 +4 66
10 Birmingham City 46 17 15 14 52 48 +4 66
11 Tranmere Rovers 46 17 14 15 63 56 +7 65
12 Stoke City 46 18 10 18 51 57 –6 64
13 Norwich City 46 17 12 17 63 68 –5 63
14 Manchester City 46 17 10 19 59 60 –1 61
15 Charlton Athletic 46 16 11 19 52 66 –14 59
16 West Bromwich Albion 46 14 15 17 68 72 –4 57
17 Oxford United 46 16 9 21 64 68 –4 57
18 Reading 46 15 12 19 58 67 –9 57
19 Swindon Town 46 15 9 22 52 71 –19 54
20 Huddersfield Town 46 13 15 18 48 61 –13 54
21 Bradford City 46 12 12 22 47 72 –25 48
22 Grimsby Town 46 11 13 22 60 81 –21 46
23 Oldham Athletic 46 10 13 23 51 66 –15 43
24 Southend United 46 8 15 23 42 86 –44 39

Key: P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

Results[edit]

Legend[edit]

Win Draw Loss

Football League First Division[edit]

Match Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
1 17 August 1996 Oldham Athletic A 2 – 1 8,021 Sheron (2) 27', 43'
2 24 August 1996 Manchester City H 2 – 1 21,116 Forsyth 27', Sheron 32'
3 28 August 1996 Bradford City H 1 – 0 11,918 Sheron 90' (pen)
4 31 August 1996 Reading A 2 – 2 13,540 Sheron 25', Forsyth 76'
5 7 September 1996 Crystal Palace H 2 – 2 13,540 Sheron 20', Dreyer 32'
6 10 September 1996 Barnsley A 0 – 3 11,696
7 14 September 1996 Birmingham City A 1 – 3 18,612 Forsyth 66'
8 22 September 1996 Huddersfield Town H 3 – 2 9,147 Gayle 41', Sheron (2) 77', 85'
9 28 September 1996 Bolton Wanderers A 1 – 1 16,195 Kavanagh 90'
10 13 October 1996 Port Vale A 1 – 1 14,396 Keen 65'
11 16 October 1996 West Bromwich Albion A 2 – 0 16,501 Wallace 33', Forsyth 72'
12 19 October 1996 Sheffield United H 0 – 4 13,581
13 26 October 1996 Portsmouth H 3 – 1 10,259 McMahon (2) 59', 75', Sheron 71'
14 29 October 1996 Oxford United A 1 – 4 6,381 Sheron 59'
15 2 November 1996 Queens Park Rangers A 1 – 1 7,354 Kavanagh 4'
16 16 November 1996 Grimsby Town A 1 – 1 5,601 Forsyth 30'
17 23 November 1996 Southend United H 1 – 2 12,821 Forsyth 52'
18 30 November 1996 Portsmouth A 0 – 1 7,749
19 4 December 1996 Charlton Athletic H 1 – 0 7,456 Sheron 49'
20 7 December 1996 Tranmere Rovers H 2 – 0 9,931 Sheron 27', Higgins 82' (o.g.)
21 14 December 1996 Swindon Town H 2 – 0 10,102 Stein (2) 44', 64'
22 21 December 1996 Ipswich Town A 1 – 1 10,159 Stein 23'
23 26 December 1996 Barnsley H 1 – 0 19,025 Sheron 72'
24 1 January 1997 Huddersfield Town A 1 – 2 12,019 Stein 18'
25 10 January 1997 Birmingham City H 1 – 0 10,049 Wallace 18'
26 18 January 1997 Charlton Athletic A 2 – 1 9,901 Sheron (2) 42', 43'
27 22 January 1997 Norwich City H 1 – 2 10,179 Stein 14'
28 29 January 1997 Bolton Wanderers H 1 – 2 15,645 Macari 84'
29 1 February 1997 Wolverhampton Wanderers A 0 – 2 27,408
30 7 February 1997 Oxford United H 2 – 1 8,609 MacKenzie 9', Macari 37'
31 15 February 1997 Southend United A 1 – 2 4,625 Harris 70' (o.g.)
32 22 February 1997 Queens Park Rangers H 0 – 0 13,121
33 28 February 1997 Tranmere Rovers A 0 – 0 9,127
34 5 March 1997 Grimsby Town H 3 – 1 8,621 Southall 48' (o.g.), Kavanagh 50', Griffin 78'
35 8 March 1997 Ipswich Town H 0 – 1 11,933
36 15 March 1997 Swindon Town A 0 – 1 8,879
37 18 March 1997 Wolverhampton Wanderers H 1 – 0 15,683 Forsyth 47'
38 22 March 1997 Manchester City A 0 – 2 28,497
39 29 March 1997 Oldham Athletic H 2 – 1 11,755 Sheron 17', Macari 40'
40 31 March 1997 Bradford City A 0 – 1 13,579
41 5 April 1997 Reading H 1 – 1 9,961 Forsyth 65'
42 12 April 1997 Norwich City A 0 – 2 13,805
43 15 April 1997 Crystal Palace A 0 – 2 11,382
44 20 April 1997 Port Vale H 2 – 0 16,246 Sheron (2) 44', 85'
45 25 April 1997 Sheffield United A 0 – 1 25,596
46 5 May 1997 West Bromwich Albion H 2 – 1 22,500 McMahon 33', Kavanagh 69'

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 1996–97 FA Cup
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
R3 15 January 1997 Stockport County H 0 – 2 9,961

League Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers
R2 1st Leg 18 September 1996 Northampton Town H 1 – 0 6,093 Worthington 60'
R2 2nd Leg 24 September 1996 Northampton Town A 2 – 1 (aet) 5,088 Sheron (2) 100', 108'
R3 23 October 1996 Arsenal H 1 – 1 20,804 Sheron 26'
R3 Replay 11 November 1996 Arsenal A 2 – 5 33,961 Sheron (2) 35', 88'

Friendlies[edit]

Match Opponent Venue Result
1 Holywell Town A 1 – 1
2 Uttoxeter Town A 6 – 2
3 Northwich Victoria A 4 – 1
4 Dunfermline Athletic A 2 – 2
5 Hibernian A 0 – 1
6 Carlisle United A 1 – 0
7 Cheltenham Town A 3 – 0
8 Shrewsbury Town A 1 – 0
9 Newcastle Town A 1 – 0
10 Osasuna H 2 – 0

Squad statistics[edit]

Pos. Name League FA Cup League Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
GK England Carl Muggleton 33 0 0 0 4 0 37 0
GK England Mark Prudhoe 13 0 1 0 0(1) 0 14(1) 0
DF Portugal Hugo Costa 1(1) 0 0 0 1(1) 0 2(2) 0
DF England John Dreyer 12 1 0 0 3 0 15 1
DF England Andy Griffin 29(5) 1 1 0 0(1) 0 30(6) 1
DF Scotland Mark McNally 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
DF England Ally Pickering 39(1) 0 1 0 4 0 44(1) 0
DF England Ian Cranson 6 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
DF Iceland Lárus Sigurðsson 45 0 1 0 4 0 50 0
DF England Ray Wallace 45 2 1 0 4 0 50 2
DF England Justin Whittle 35(2) 0 1 0 2 0 38(2) 0
MF England Carl Beeston 17(1) 0 0 0 0 0 17(1) 0
MF Scotland Mark Devlin 13(8) 0 1 0 3 0 17(8) 0
MF England Sean Flynn 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
MF England Richard Forsyth 40 8 1 0 3 0 44 8
MF Republic of Ireland Graham Kavanagh 32(6) 4 1 0 2 0 35(6) 4
MF England Kevin Keen 5(11) 1 0 0 2(2) 0 7(13) 1
MF England Neil MacKenzie 5(17) 1 0(1) 0 0 0 5(18) 1
MF Northern Ireland Gerry McMahon 31(4) 3 1 0 3(1) 0 35(5) 3
MF England Kofi Nyamah 0(7) 0 0 0 0 0 0(7) 0
MF England Simon Rodger 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
MF England Graham Stokoe 0(2) 0 0 0 0 0 0(2) 0
MF Northern Ireland Nigel Worthington 12 0 0 0 3 1 15 1
FW England Martin Carruthers 0(1) 0 0 0 0(1) 0 0(2) 0
FW England John Gayle 8(4) 1 0 0 2 0 10(4) 1
FW Scotland Mike Macari 15(15) 3 0(1) 0 0(3) 0 15(19) 3
FW England Mike Sheron 41 19 1 0 4 5 46 24
FW England Mark Stein 11 4 0 0 0 0 11 4
FW England Simon Sturridge 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
Own goals 3 0 0 3

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Lowe, Simon (2000). Stoke City The Modern Era - A Complete Record. Desert Island Books. ISBN 1-874287-39-2.