Address: Stanley Matthews Way,
Capacity: 30,089 (All-Seater)
Let's remove the old Stoke 'cliché' here, this is a ground fit for the modern game. The bet365 stadium has a nice modern look to it and offers every fan inside a good quality view of the action on the pitch.
It has been the home of Stoke City Football Club since its construction in 1997.
The Potters moved here from their previous home called the Victoria Ground, where the club had been since 1878. A new home was needed to meet the requirements of the Taylor Report in 1990, which made it compulsory for all clubs in the top two levels of English football to have all-seater stadiums.
Conversion would have been possible at the Victoria Ground but Stoke City had previously considered relocating and the decision to move to a new home was confirmed in 1996.
For sponsorship reasons, the new ground took the name Britannia Stadium between 1997 and 2016, and has used its current name since then.
Location and Getting There
The bet365 Stadium is located in an industrial estate around 1.5 miles south of Stoke-on-Trent City Centre. Queensway and the A50 are very close by, and Staffordshire University is due north of the ground.
Given its location close to main roads, the bet365 Stadium is easy to get to by car, but parking can prove a bit more of a challenge. The ground does of course have parking spaces available around its exterior but these come at a price.
You may find luck in the nearby industrial estate, either south of the ground or across the railway line, but you will need to drive along the A50 and down Queensway to get over to here.
Stoke-on-Trent Train Station is around two miles north of the ground.
Walking from here can take around 40 minutes and the route takes you along the edge of the Trent and Mersey Canal. The route is not very well lit at all and I would not recommend coming along here at night.
Stoke City do run a shuttle bus service on matchdays between the station and the stadium which the majority of fans choose to take instead.
Outside the Stadium
The West Stand, known for sponsorship reasons as the Franklyn Stand, is the largest of the four and the only one completed detached from the rest of the stadium. It is usually the first part of the ground fans see if they are coming from the Trent and Mersey Canal path.
The exterior of the Franklyn Stand is made up mostly of white, grey and red panels, with brickwork at the very base where the turnstiles into the stand can be found.
The club’s Main Executive Entrance is in the very centre, behind the large brick pillars which come down regularly along the lower third of the stand.
The main bulk of the stadium’s car parking spaces are out beyond the stand, whilst Stoke City’s Club Shop and Main Ticket Office can be found in a building attached to the southwest corner.
Continuing round in a clockwise direction brings you to the Boothen End on the north side of the stadium. It takes its name from the village out beyond it.
The stand’s exterior is dominated by the cantilever roof which comes right down the back, and it makes the stand look quite naked in comparison to the adjacent Franklyn Stand. There is a brickwork base along the bottom though and the turnstiles into the stand are regularly spaced out along this.
Another of the stadium’s car parks is out beyond the stand, and beyond that is a memorial to Sir Stanley Matthews.
Born in Hanley on 1st February 1915, Matthews was an outside right (similar to the modern-day right winger) who came through at Stoke City in the early 1930s. He would remain at the club until 1947, returning for a second spell between 1961 and 1965 after time at Blackpool and Toronto City. In total, he would play 355 times for Stoke, scoring 62 goals, but was best known for his speed, skill and crossing alongside the fact that he continued to play football until he was 50 years old.
Capped 54 times by England, scoring 11 International goals, Sir Stanley Matthews passed away on 23rd February 2000 at the age of 85. At the base of his statue outside the bet365 stadium is the quote "His name is symbolic with the beauty of the game, his fame timeless and international, his sportsmanship and modesty universally acclaimed. A magical player, of the people, for the people."
The East Stand, known for sponsorship reasons as the Mountain Stand, has an exterior which looks very similar to the Boothen End.
It is dominated by the cantilever roof but still maintains the brickwork base with the turnstiles into this stand regularly dispersed along it.
Up on the road outside the Mountain Stand is a statue of Gordon Banks, the late Stoke-born goalkeeper who won the League Cup with the Potters in 1972, but is most famous for winning the 1966 FIFA World Cup with England.
The South Stand continues the exterior design of the Mountain Stand and the Boothen End, dominated by the cantilever roof with the brickwork base and red turnstiles spread out down below.
There are two roads off Stanley Matthews Way that lead down to the stand’s exterior, and one of these is usually sectioned off for away supporters only, with the aim of segregating rival fans from one another before they head inside.
Inside the Stadium
The Franklyn Stand is the only one of the four made up of two tiers, with the lower tier significantly larger than the one above. A row of executive boxes separates the two levels from one another and there is an additional row of boxes at the very back. Every seat in this stand is coloured red, and the club’s main executive seating is in the centre of the upper tier, with the press seats behind these.
Stoke City’s changing rooms are located inside this stand, with the dugouts at the front and the tunnel over towards the southwest corner.
There are no supporting pillars in this stand because of the cantilever roof above and as a result your view of the pitch is perfectly clear from any seat.
There is a transparent windshield on either side but these only protect those in the upper tier, meaning anyone sat in the lower tier is not protected from the wind coming in through the open corners.
The Boothen End is noticeably smaller than the Franklyn Stand and also made up of just a single tier of red seats. The letters STOKE CITY are spelt out in white across the upper rows, and there are three flat platforms in place which are used by disabled supporters to ensure that they get a good view of the action whilst still being able to take in the noise of the crowd around them.
There is a very small windshield at one end of the stand which protects only those sat in the back rows, but with the cantilever roof in place, there are no supporting pillars coming down which would restrict fan’s views.
There is a large television screen in the northwest corner which shows a live scoreboard and action replays.
The northeast corner, Mountain stand, and southeast corner are all directly connected to the Boothen End, maintaining the single-tier design with no pillars coming down because of the cantilever roof. The letters bet365 are spelt out in white amongst the central blocks of the Mountain stand, which has six flat platforms for disabled fans running along it.
There is a television screen hanging down from the roof in the southeast corner, but this does not block the view of the pitch for those sat in the back rows there.
The South Stand is a near carbon-copy of the Boothen End opposite.
Made up of a single-tier of red seating, there are no words spelt out amongst the rows of seats with three flat platforms in place for disabled supporters to use. A small box at the back of the stand holds the Stadium Control Centre.
Much like the Boothen End, there is only a very small windshield over by the southwest corner, but the cantilever roof up above does mean that there are no supporting pillars in the way, ensuring a clear view of the action from any seat.
Away fans are housed behind the goal in the South Stand.
Depending on the travelling allocation, Stoke City open up a large section of the stand for big followings or just a handful of blocks over by the southwest corner when smaller crowds are expected. Stewards are usually used to segregate the away fans from the home supporters who take up the seats next to the away section.
You are given a perfectly clear view of the pitch from any seat in this away section, but a small windshield next to the stadium's southwest corner does not fully protect every row inside.
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include:
-The Glebe (35 Glebe Street, ST4 1HG) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located south of Stoke-on-Trent Station on the other side of Queensway)
-Harvester Trentham Lakes (Stanley Matthews Way, ST4 4TL) (Away Supporters Welcome)
-Longton Rugby Club (Eastern Rise Sir Stanley Matthews Way, ST4 8WG) (Home and Away Supporters)
-The Terrace (185 Leek Road, ST4 2BW) (Away Supporters Only) (Located near Staffordshire University and Central Stoke-on-Trent)
-The White Star (63 Kingsway, ST4 1JB) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located in Central Stoke-on-Trent)
-On the canal to the west of the bet365 Stadium are two canal boats, one known as the Oatcake Boat that sells mostly oatcakes, the other called the Bargain Inn Booze that sells beer and lager. Home and away supporters are freely permitted to purchase items from there.
The term ‘a cold and west Tuesday night in Stoke’ is used in a jokey manner by football fans, but if you ever get a chance to come to the bet365 Stadium you will understand why it has been created.
The ground is certainly practical, with a consistent design across three of its four stands and no supporting pillars in place to restrict anyone’s view. The windshields on the open sides of the stadium are very small however and there’s a strong chance you will feel the cold if you’re coming here in the winter months.
Wrap up warm though, and you’ll be completely fine.