On the 26th November 1983 I went, as a guest of a friend, to the Victoria Ground to see Stoke City play Nottingham Forrest in the First Division of English football. It was the first football match I attended. In those days the First Division was the top flight of English football featuring all the sides that people worldwide have heard of, Manchester United, Liverpool and so on. Little did the 8 year old Mr Atrocity realise it but within a couple of years Stoke would be relegated to the second tier of football. And there they have remained. In the intervening years I have lost interest in Star Wars figures, discovered girls, finished school and a degree and been at work for nearly a decade. Though I live in London and don't get to see the side play I have kept tabs on their progress through the years - I listen to their games on the radio when I can and on the odd occasion when one of their F.A. Cup games gets televised I make sure I watch.
Why am I telling you all this? Well the happy reason is that today Stoke City secured promotion to the Premiership, the new fancy name for the top flight these days. Next year I will be able see Stoke get humiliated by the likes of Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and probably most of the other sides currently in the Premiership. I do not hold out huge hopes of them not getting immediately relegated back whence they came but for now it's a very special feeling to think that my side will be playing in the highest league in the land next year.
Incidentally, If you watch the protracted helicopter shot revealing the Greek armada in Troy you might just be able to spot a ship with a Stoke City strip for a sail: my little devotional offering. My love for them goes that far. Go on you Potters!
Labels: history, joy, sport