At a time when football grounds have closed their doors, we’ve asked Martin Tyler to share some of his favourite facts and memories of the homes of clubs around the world.
This week, Sky Sports’ Voice of Football is looking at some grounds at clubs that used to be in the Premier League. Today, he takes us on a trip to Stoke City’s Bet365 Stadium.
Keep an eye on The Football Show on Sky Sports News and @SkySportsPL for some special Tyler’s Teasers from Martin.
What it’s like to commentate there
Very accommodating! You go up via a lift at the back of the stand and then through a hospitality area. Turn to the right and you are there.
The only difficulty for even the keenest eyes is the type of numbers on the back of the stripes of the Stoke shirts when there is no white patch on which to fix them, like the current strip.
Emirates Stadium | Villa Park | Vitality Stadium | Amex Stadium | Turf Moor | Stamford Bridge | Selhurst Park | Goodison Park | King Power Stadium | Anfield | Etihad Stadium | Old Trafford | St James’ Park | Carrow Road | Bramall Lane | St Mary’s | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium | Vicarage Road | London Stadium | Molineux
Did you know?
The stadium was opened by the legendary Sir Stanley Matthews who was born in Stoke and had two famous spells with the club as player. When he died in 2000 his ashes were buried under the centre circle.
My memories of the ground
In Cobham in Surrey, close to where I live, I occasionally bump into a lady who is a diehard football fan and her club is undoubtedly Stoke City. For decades she has spoken up not just for her own team, but for the many issues of great concern to supporters in general. She loves her football.
With Christmas approaching in 2012 our paths crossed again, or in her case a warpath. She wanted to know what Sky Sports were doing making the Boxing Day fixture at home to Liverpool an evening kick-off?
Her traditional plans for the festive period would be totally disrupted and with a raised voice which raised eyebrows among the passing public she called into question the whole process of kick-off times.
As you would expect, I stood my corner, explaining the difficulties for television companies within the fixture regulations and pointing out the financial benefits to the clubs of the TV deal. She was having none of it!
I tell you this because when the game took place, at the arranged evening hour (7.45pm), Stoke City produced the best performance I have personally seen from them at home in the Premier League. No Potters fan, however inconvenienced by the kick-off time, could have complained.
The portents were not good when in the opening seconds Luis Suarez stumbled after Ryan Shawcross got hold of his shirt. Howard Webb awarded the penalty. Steven Gerrard put it away.
Stoke were not behind for long. Shawcross played a long ball forward, Kenwynne Jones won the aerial battle with Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel slipped and Stoke’s own scouser Jonathan Walters made the most of a somewhat unexpected chance.
Liverpool had never won a Premier League game in this stadium to this point, and would lose 6-1 a couple of seasons later. The 1-1 scoreline after five minutes became 2-1 to Stoke after 12. The hours of practice put in by Tony Pulis and his players at set-pieces became perfect as Jones headed in a Glenn Whelan corner and produced his trademark somersault celebration.
Liverpool had left the front post unguarded. Any thoughts of a Reds revival in the second half was quashed by conceding again just four minutes after the re-start.
Liverpool again knew what to expect but could not deal with it. A long-throw was flicked on and the Everton-supporting Walters controlled the ball on his chest and volleyed in gleefully. Stoke City had control and were not going to relinquish it. It was a fine and deserved victory, and extended an unbeaten run in the Premier League to nine games.
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