HALCYON DIGEST: Stoke City 1998

In recent years, the Britannia Stadium has not been a particularly happy hunting ground for City. More often than not a defeat or draw was all City had to take back to Manchester. Who can forget Peter Crouch’s wonder goal which at the time looked as if it had put to bed any hopes of winning the title in 2011/12? Of course, more recently Pablo Zabaleta’s goal in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup last season finally gave City a long overdue victory in Stoke.

Perhaps the most famous trip to the Britannia Stadium was back in May 1998 when both clubs were locked in a relegation battle in the old Division 1. It was the final game of the season and both teams could go down. City needed to win but thanks to a draw with QPR at Maine Road the week before they were relying on other results to go their way. Despite winning 5-2, victories for Portsmouth and Port Vale meant Joe Royle’s City side ushered in the darkest period of the club’s history as they were relegated to the third tier of English football. In scant consolation, Stoke were also relegated.

Looking back on the day former City midfielder, Jamie Pollock, said:

I can’t remember too much about the game apart from Joe (Royle) and Willie Donachie telling us that it was still in our own hands at half-time. Whether it was, I don’t know.  I did go over to collect the ball from the crowd with about 20 minutes to go and the reaction from our supporters told me that we were going down. A sad day.

City’s Starting 11:

Martyn Margetson, Richard Edghill, Kevin Horlock, Gerard Wiekens, Kit Symons, Tony Vaughan, Jim Whitley,  Jamie Pollock, Shaun Goater, Paul Dickov, Lee Bradbury.

Goal Scorers:

Goater x2, Dickov, Bradbury, Horlock

If you dare relive that dark day you can watch extensive highlights in the two embedded videos.

As City stared into the abyss Kula Shaker were riding in the Uk Singles Chart with Sound of Drums at number 3.

 

Written by Robert Toole

 

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