2011 FA Cup Final

The 2011 FA Cup Final was the 130th final of the FA Cup, the world's oldest domestic football cup competition.[4][5] The final took place on 14 May 2011 at Wembley Stadium in London in front of 88,643 spectators and a British television audience of more than eight million.[6][7] The clubs contesting the final were Premier League clubs Manchester City and Stoke City. The match was Stoke City's first FA Cup final, and Manchester City's ninth.

As Premier League clubs, they entered the competition in the third round. Manchester City made an unconvincing start, contesting two replays against lower league opposition in the third and fourth rounds but gained momentum and kept three consecutive clean sheets en route to the final. Stoke City played one replay in the third round, before beating all opponents in a run which culminated in a 5–0 victory over Bolton Wanderers in the semi-final at Wembley Stadium – the biggest winning margin at Wembley since 1939.[8] Manchester City entered the final as favourites,[9] with Stoke City as underdogs.[10]

Manchester City began the match the brighter of the two teams with the majority of possession and a number of shots forcing saves from goalkeeper Thomas Sørensen but the first half remained goalless. Stoke improved after the half-time interval but failed to score from their only shot on target in the 62nd minute, which was saved by goalkeeper Joe Hart after a one-on-one with striker Kenwyne Jones. In the 74th minute, Manchester City midfielder, Yaya Touré fired a loose ball in the Stoke City penalty area past goalkeeper Sørensen to give Manchester City the lead. Stoke attempted to equalise after Manchester City's goal without success and the final finished 1–0 with Manchester City claiming their fifth FA Cup.[11] The result gave Manchester City their first major trophy for 35 years, ending the longest trophy drought in the club's history.[3][12] Stoke City manager Tony Pulis said "Manchester City were the better team and deserved to win",[13] but expressed "disappointment" at his team's display.[13] Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini dedicated the victory to the Manchester City supporters, declaring, "I am happy for the fans, they deserved to win this Cup. For a long time they didn't win."[14]

The medals were handed out by Prime Minister David Cameron. As winners, Manchester City won a place in the 2011 FA Community Shield and the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League but as they had already qualified for the UEFA Champions League via their league position, the Europa League place was given to Stoke City as runners-up. To celebrate their victory, Manchester City held an open-top bus parade on 23 May 2011, beginning at Manchester Town Hall and ending at the City of Manchester Stadium; it attracted a crowd of up to 100,000.[15][16]

2011 FA Cup Final
FA Cup final programme 2011
The match programme cover.
Event2010–11 FA Cup
Manchester City Stoke City
1 0
Date14 May 2011
VenueWembley Stadium, London
Man of the MatchMario Balotelli (Manchester City)[1]
RefereeMartin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)[2]
Attendance88,643[3]
WeatherSunny
17 °C (63 °F)

Route to the final

Manchester City

Wembley Manchester derby after final whistle
After the semi-final against Manchester United, which Manchester City won 1–0 to secure a place in the 2011 final.

As a Premier League team, Manchester City entered the competition in the third round. Their opening match was an away draw at Leicester City. Following a supporter campaign, Manchester City dedicated the match to former striker Neil Young, who was terminally ill.[17] Young scored the winning goal when Manchester City and Leicester City met in the 1969 FA Cup Final.[18] Manchester City fell behind after 46 seconds when Sol Bamba scored for Leicester following a corner. Manchester City took the lead by half-time through James Milner and Carlos Tevez, but Andy King equalised midway through the second half to make the score 2–2.[19] The tie was replayed at the City of Manchester Stadium the following week. Tevez gave Manchester City the lead after quarter of an hour, but the lead was brief. Four minutes later, Paul Gallagher's penalty levelled the score, after Patrick Vieira had fouled Lloyd Dyer.[20] Before half-time, two Manchester City goals in 90 seconds shifted the momentum of the match. In the second half, Tevez missed a penalty and a goal by Dyer made the score 3–2. Leicester then pushed for an equaliser, but instead Aleksandar Kolarov scored on a counter-attack to make the final score 4–2.[21]

Round Opposition Score
3rd
Replay
Leicester City (A)
Leicester City (H)
2–2
4–2
4th
Replay
Notts County (A)
Notts County (H)
1–1
5–0
5th Aston Villa (H) 3–0
6th Reading (H) 1–0
Semi-final Manchester United (N) 1–0

For the fourth round Manchester City were drawn against League One Notts County at Meadow Lane. On a pitch described by the BBC as "pudding-like", lower division County threatened an upset when Neal Bishop scored from a corner in the 59th minute.[22] However, ten minutes from time Micah Richards crossed for Edin Džeko to score his first Manchester City goal, ensuring a replay at the City of Manchester Stadium.[23] Notts County started the rematch brightly, but faded as the game progressed. The score remained 0–0 for most of the first half, but Vieira scored either side of half-time to give Manchester City a two-goal lead.[24] From that point, the match proved less even, and Manchester City scored three more goals for a 5–0 win.[25] From there on, City kept consecutive clean sheets on the way to winning the cup. Manchester City's fifth round match was against Aston Villa at the City of Manchester Stadium. Villa manager Gérard Houllier rested several senior players, in contrast to a near full-strength Manchester City line-up.[26] Manchester City took the lead after less than five minutes through Yaya Touré, and further goals from Mario Balotelli and David Silva resulted in a comfortable 3–0 win.[27]

In the sixth round, Manchester City were again at home, and faced Reading, the only non-Premier League team left in the competition.[28] Micah Richards scored the only goal, a header from a corner in the 73rd minute.[29] In the semi-final, at Wembley Stadium, City defeated rivals Manchester United 1–0 with a Yaya Touré goal,[30] and continued their FA Cup semi-final record of nine victories out of 11, reaching the FA Cup Final for the first time since 1981.

Stoke City

Round Opposition Score
3rd
Replay
Cardiff City (H)
Cardiff City (A)
1–1
2–0 (aet)
4th Wolverhampton Wanderers (A) 0–1
5th Brighton & Hove Albion (H) 3–0
6th West Ham United (H) 2–1
Semi-final Bolton Wanderers (N) 5–0

Stoke, also a Premier League side, entered the competition at the third round stage, where they were drawn at home to Welsh side Cardiff City. Stoke City made seven changes to the team that played their previous match.[31] Michael Chopra gave Cardiff an early lead, but Stoke's Tuncay Şanlı levelled the score just before half time. Stoke had a number of chances in the later stages of the match, but Cardiff held out for a replay.[32] In the replay at the Cardiff City Stadium Stoke again used several reserves, changing all but one of the players from the previous league match.[33] Few chances occurred during the game; the score was 0–0 after 90 minutes, prompting extra time.[34] In the added period, Jonathan Walters scored twice to secure a 2–0 Stoke City win; the first goal was a header from a corner,[34] the second a near-post rebound.[33] Stoke City then travelled to fellow Midlands team Wolverhampton Wanderers for the fourth round, in one of five all-Premier League ties.[35] Stoke defender Robert Huth was a central figure in the match. Ten minutes from time he gave Stoke a 1–0 lead with a header from a free-kick,[36] but in the final minute he conceded a penalty for tripping Nenad Milijaš. Milijaš took the spot-kick himself, but his effort was saved by Thomas Sørensen.[37]

Stoke's fifth round match was at home against League One leaders Brighton & Hove Albion. Three first half goals by John Carew, Jonathan Walters, Ryan Shawcross led Stoke to a 3–0 win.[38] Stoke then faced West Ham United in the sixth round. Stoke scored an early goal from a set-piece, when long throw-in specialist Rory Delap delivered the ball into the penalty area for Huth to score with a header.[39] Controversial refereeing decisions then provoked the ire of both teams. When Frédéric Piquionne equalised for West Ham, the decision to award the goal infuriated Stoke; in controlling the ball Piquionne committed what Stoke manager Tony Pulis called a "stonewall" handball.[40] West Ham themselves felt aggrieved in the first minute of the second half when Stoke were awarded a penalty. Matthew Etherington was adjudged to have been fouled by Scott Parker though, as the BBC correspondent wrote, "there appeared to be minimal contact".[41] Robert Green saved Etherington's penalty to keep the score level. The winning goal also came from a set piece. Danny Higginbotham's free-kick was reached by Green but could not be stopped, and Stoke won 2–1 to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1972.[41] In the semi-final, Stoke beat Bolton Wanderers comfortably, winning 5–0. Stoke took a three-goal lead in less than half an hour after goals from Etherington, Huth and Kenwyne Jones. Walters scored twice in the second half to complete the win. The margin of victory was the biggest in an FA Cup semi-final since 1939,[42] and secured Stoke's first ever FA Cup Final appearance.[43] By reaching the final, Stoke qualified for the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League before the final, as Manchester City had beat Tottenham days before the final to secure fourth position in the Premier League and consequently Champions League qualification.[44]

Pre-match

2011FACupFinalAbideWithMe
The pre-match rendition of Abide with Me.

Manchester City were appearing in the final for the ninth time. They had won the cup four times previously (in 1904, 1934, 1956 and 1969), and had been beaten in the final four times (in 1926, 1933, 1955 and 1981). Stoke City were making their first appearance in the final. Their previous best was participation in the semi-finals, which had occurred three times.[45]

The 2011 final faced scheduling problems and the match clashed with top flight League fixtures for the first time since 1934, which disappointed football traditionalists.[46] The 2011 UEFA Champions League Final was being hosted at Wembley on 28 May 2011 and UEFA rules stipulate that the host stadium for the final must not have a fixture played two weeks prior to the final. Therefore, the FA Cup final had to be moved forward, and for the first time since 1989 was played before the English football domestic season ended.

2011FACupFinalTeams
The teams line up before the match with Stoke City in red-and-white stripes and Manchester City in sky blue.

Many of the weekend's Premier League fixtures were rescheduled to avoid a clash with the final, with some kicking off at 12:45 on Saturday and others on Sunday.[46][47] By coincidence, Manchester City and Stoke City were scheduled to meet in the league on cup final day. The league match was rearranged for the Wednesday after the final. This prompted criticism from Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp, whose team was challenging Manchester City for a place in the 2011–12 Champions League. Redknapp stated that if Manchester City won the final, it would then be in Stoke City's interest to lose against Manchester City in the league match, as it would make Europa League qualification for Stoke more likely.[48] Stoke City refuted this accusation strongly,[49] but ultimately this scenario was avoided. Champions League qualification was settled four days before the final, when Manchester City beat Tottenham Hotspur 1–0 in a league match.[50]

Both clubs received an allocation of approximately 25,000 tickets,[51] fewer than the 32,000 received for the semi-finals. The allocation was enough for the 21,000 Stoke City season ticket holders, but not for Manchester City's 36,000 season ticket holders.[52] Consequently, some supporters felt aggrieved at the lack of tickets,[53][54] including Stoke City chairman Peter Coates who expressed his disappointment and suggested an allocation in the region of 30,000 for both clubs.[55] Ticket prices for the final exceeded £100 for the first time. The most expensive tickets cost £115,[56] an increase of 22 per cent on the previous season. The cheapest tickets available at £45, up £5 from 2010.[51]

As for every match in the 2010–11 FA Cup, the ball for the final was provided by Nike-owned, Manchester-based sports equipment company Umbro. The Umbro Neo Pro features a 14-panel design, and is patterned in blue and red.[57] The majority of the balls to be used in the game arrived on the previous Wednesday, while the ball to be used at kick-off was delivered to the stadium on the day of the game.[57]

The traditional Cup Final hymn, "Abide with Me", was sung by Tenors Unlimited, a trio of male vocalists, and former X Factor contestant Stacey Solomon performed the national anthem, "God Save the Queen".[58]

Match

Match statistics[3]
Manchester City Stoke City
Goals scored 1 0
Total shots 23 9
Shots on target 14 1
Ball possession 59% 41%
Corner kicks 8 2
Fouls committed 14 9
Yellow cards 0 2
Red cards 0 0

Stoke City went into their first FA Cup Final as underdogs according to their manager Tony Pulis,[10] while Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini saw in-form Stoke's underdog tag as a risk for complacency from his side.[59] There were fitness doubts over key players for both teams, Carlos Tevez for Manchester City,[60] and Matthew Etherington for Stoke City, who suffered a hamstring tear only 17 days prior to the final,[61] but both were able to start the match. However, Stoke City's underdog tag proved true as Mancini's Manchester City side had the better of the match, with a 59 per cent share of ball possession and 23 attempts on goal to Stoke City's nine, only one of which was on target.

Both teams were able to play in their respective home colours without any colour clash: Stoke City played in their red-and-white stripes, and Manchester City played in their sky blue colours with the Manchester coat of arms on their shirt numbers, keeping up a long-standing club tradition of wearing the city's coat of arms for cup finals.[62]

Report

Manchester City set up in a 4–2–3–1 formation,[63] with Mario Balotelli, David Silva and Yaya Touré playing behind lone striker Carlos Tevez, and Nigel de Jong and Gareth Barry in defensive midfield roles.[64] Stoke City set up in a rigid 4–4–2 formation, with two wingers in Jermaine Pennant and Matthew Etherington[65] to support strikers Kenwyne Jones and Jonathan Walters.[64]

Manchester City started sprightly, managing to create some chances which forced saves from Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sørensen and steady defending to keep Stoke City in the game in the first half. Yaya Touré unleashed a 30-yard strike in the 11th minute which went only inches wide of the top corner of the goal,[66] while Mario Balotelli had a curling shot from the corner of the penalty area in the 24th minute which was destined for the goal but for a strong, one-handed save from Sørensen.[66]

Stoke improved after the break, but Manchester City had a key opportunity in the 56th minute when a counter-attack led by Carlos Tevez, who drifted out to the right flank, allowed David Silva to find space outside the Stoke City penalty area as the Stoke defence vanished. Tevez managed to pass to Silva, but Silva was guilty of over-elaboration instead of shooting first-time, and the Stoke City defence managed to regroup, dispossessing Silva before he could adjust himself to shoot at goal.[66]

Only six minutes later, in the 62nd minute,[66] Stoke had their key chance and only shot on target of the match with Kenwyne Jones in the 61st minute. A looping ball over the top of the Manchester City defence by Matthew Etherington allowed Jones a one-on-one, but he failed to convert, firing straight at goalkeeper Joe Hart with the ball ricocheting off both striker and keeper before bobbling to safety. Doubts over Matthew Etherington's fitness resurfaced when he was taken off in the 63rd minute,[67] with Stoke City still in the game at 0–0 as it stood.

However, in the 74th minute,[66] Sørensen was powerless to prevent Yaya Touré's effort from ten yards when he pounced on a stray ball in the penalty area to thrash his thunderous shot with his left foot past Sørensen in front of the travelling thousands of Manchester City supporters. Stoke City attempted to get a goal back, resorting to direct long balls into the Manchester City penalty area but struggled to create any concrete chances. Despite Yaya Touré clinching the winning goal, enigmatic striker Mario Balotelli – who claimed he had a "shit" season in a post-match interview[68] – was named man of the match for his efforts.[63]

Details

Manchester City1–0Stoke City
Y. Touré Goal 74' Report
[69]
Manchester City
Stoke City
GK 25 England Joe Hart
RB 2 England Micah Richards
CB 4 Belgium Vincent Kompany
CB 19 England Joleon Lescott
LB 13 Serbia Aleksandar Kolarov
DM 34 Netherlands Nigel de Jong
DM 18 England Gareth Barry Substituted off 73'
CM 42 Ivory Coast Yaya Touré
RW 21 Spain David Silva Substituted off 90'
LW 45 Italy Mario Balotelli
CF 32 Argentina Carlos Tevez (c) Substituted off 88'
Substitutes:
GK 1 Republic of Ireland Shay Given
DF 5 Argentina Pablo Zabaleta Substituted in 88'
DF 38 Belgium Dedryck Boyata
MF 7 England James Milner
MF 11 England Adam Johnson Substituted in 73'
MF 24 France Patrick Vieira Substituted in 90'
FW 10 Bosnia and Herzegovina Edin Džeko
Manager:
Italy Roberto Mancini
Man City vs Stoke 2011-05-14
GK 29 Denmark Thomas Sørensen
RB 28 England Andy Wilkinson Yellow card 76'
CB 17 England Ryan Shawcross (c)
CB 4 Germany Robert Huth Yellow card 40'
LB 12 Republic of Ireland Marc Wilson
RM 16 England Jermaine Pennant
CM 6 Republic of Ireland Glenn Whelan Substituted off 85'
CM 24 Republic of Ireland Rory Delap Substituted off 81'
LM 26 England Matthew Etherington Substituted off 62'
CF 9 Trinidad and Tobago Kenwyne Jones
CF 19 Republic of Ireland Jonathan Walters
Substitutes:
GK 27 England Carlo Nash
DF 5 Wales Danny Collins
DF 25 Senegal Abdoulaye Faye
MF 14 England Danny Pugh Substituted in 85'
MF 15 Senegal Salif Diao
MF 18 England Dean Whitehead Substituted in 62'
FW 22 Norway John Carew Substituted in 81'
Manager:
Wales Tony Pulis

Man of the match

Match officials

Match rules

  • 90 minutes.
  • 30 minutes of extra-time if necessary.
  • Penalty shoot-out if scores still level.
  • Seven named substitutes.
  • Maximum of three substitutions.

Post-match

2011FACupFinalWinners
The Manchester City team celebrating winning the FA Cup

Tony Pulis commented after the game that "Manchester City were the better team" and that "they deserved to win the game",[13] while Roberto Mancini dedicated the victory to the Manchester City supporters.[14] Pundits Graham Taylor and Mark Lawrenson agreed that Manchester City deserved to win but expressed disappointment at Stoke City's under-par performance in the final.[70]

As President of the FA since 2006, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge is a frequent guest of honour at the FA Cup final, attending the 2007 and 2010 finals, but his recent marriage to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meant he could not attend.[71] Instead, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron awarded the medals to individual players at Wembley Stadium.[72] Presenting the trophy was British Army Corporal Mark Ward, a lifelong Manchester City supporter who served in Afghanistan and whose bravery was rewarded with the Military Cross.[73] Corporal Ward presented the trophy to the winning captain, Carlos Tevez, after the game.[74]

Manchester City's victory set up a Community Shield match against rivals Manchester United – who City had beaten in the semi-finals – after United clinched the Premier League shortly before kick-off in the Final. The FA Cup winners are usually awarded qualification for the UEFA Europa League, but because Manchester City qualified for the UEFA Champions League via their league position, the Europa League place was passed to Stoke City as runners-up. In the 2011 FA Community Shield match in August, the FA Cup winners Manchester City lost 3–2 to Manchester United after creating a 2–0 lead at half time.[75]

Manchester United winning the 2010–11 Premier League title earlier in the day meant double pride for Manchester as its teams claimed both of English football's blue ribbon competitions.[76][77] Some football pundits debated whether the joint win – along with City's qualification for the Champions League – would mark the start of new era similar to the late 1960s when both City and United dominated English football; during that period, both clubs won the league championship once, with United winning the European Cup and City winning the FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup within four years.[78] The '35 years' banner that had stood at Old Trafford, home of Manchester United which referenced to Manchester City's long trophy drought, was taken down in recognition of City's victory.[79]

Manchester City FC parade after winning the 2010-11 FA Cup
The victory parade reaches Portland Street.

The match was broadcast live in the United Kingdom by both ITV and ESPN, with ITV providing the free-to-air coverage and ESPN being the pay-TV alternative. Television viewing figures were collated after the final, with a peak of 8.5 million viewers recorded across both channels.[6] ITV held the majority of the viewership, with a peak audience of 8.1 million during the last 30 minutes of the final and averaged at 6.68 million,[80] their highest viewing figures for an FA Cup since the competition moved to ITV from the BBC in 2009.[6] The pay-to-view alternative ESPN averaged 412,000 viewers throughout the day with a peak of 476,000.[81]

Manchester City and Stoke City had been scheduled to play in a Premier League fixture on the day of the FA Cup Final, but instead the match had to be moved to the following Tuesday,[82] making it the last mid-week game of the Premier League season, a match Manchester City won, 3–0.[83] Despite it being Manchester City's final home game of the season, they postponed their homecoming celebrations until the post-season out of respect for the opposition.[84]

Manchester City elected not to parade the trophy at the match as they did not wish to be seen as 'crass' in front of the visiting Stoke City supporters.[85] Instead, Manchester City were invited by Manchester City Council to host an open-top bus parade through the City of Manchester in celebration of their victory. The parade took place on 23 May 2011 and began at 18:00 starting at Albert Square outside Manchester Town Hall where 10,000 people were present to see the team set off on the bus parade with various streets of the city centre closed by 12:00 in preparation for the parade.[86] The open-top bus then travelled out of Manchester city centre via Princess Street, Portland Street, Piccadilly Gardens, Newton Street on onto Great Ancoats Street.[87] The parade finally reached Ashton New Road where thousands supporters were waiting at the gates of the City of Manchester Stadium to welcome the team home. The parade culminated in a special reception at the stadium, where 40,000 who claimed free tickets for the event were waiting.[88] Greater Manchester Police estimated that the parade attracted a crowd in excess of 100,000.[89]

See also

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External links

1972 Football League Cup Final

The 1972 Football League Cup Final took place on 4 March 1972 at Wembley Stadium and was contested by Chelsea and Stoke City.

Chelsea went into the match as strong favourites having won the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in the previous two seasons, whereas Stoke were attempting to win their first major trophy. Terry Conroy put Stoke into the lead early on but Chelsea hit back through Peter Osgood just before half time. Stoke got the decisive final goal from veteran George Eastham to end their 109-year wait for a major honour. It remains the club's only major trophy victory; the closest they have come since then to beating this achievement was in 2011 when they lost to Manchester City in the 2011 FA Cup Final.

2010–11 Stoke City F.C. season

The 2010–11 season was Stoke City's third season in the Premier League and the 55th in the top tier of English football.

Stoke spent over £10 million in the summer of 2010 with the arrivals of Jermaine Pennant, Jonathan Walters, Marc Wilson with £8 million spent on forward Kenwyne Jones. Stoke made a bad start to the campaign losing their first three matches against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Tottenham Hotspur, and Chelsea. This was followed by wins over Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers. Stoke, however, hit poor form, losing four in a row in October and were knocked out of the League Cup by West Ham United. The club's inconsistency continued as they went through November with three victories and two draws. Poor defeats against Blackpool and Fulham in December prevented Stoke from pulling away from the bottom half of the table.

Stoke started 2011 in poor form, winning three of ten matches which ended with a 3–0 defeat against West Ham which left Stoke just four points above the relegation zone. The team, however, was doing well in the FA Cup after progressing past Cardiff City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Brighton & Albion, setting up a tie with West Ham United in the quarter-final. A 2–1 victory saw Stoke reached their first FA Cup semi-final since 1972 and also helped them improve their league form. Stoke beat Newcastle United 4–0 and put in good performances against Chelsea and Tottenham before the semi-final against Bolton Wanderers at Wembley. Stoke produced arguably one their greatest ever performances, beating Bolton 5–0 to reach their first FA Cup Final. Stoke played well in the buildup to the final beating Wolves 3–0 and Arsenal 3–1. Stoke's opponents for the 2011 FA Cup Final were Manchester City and they scored the only goal of the contest though Yaya Touré. Stoke ended the season in 13th position with 46 points.

2011 FA Community Shield

The 2011 FA Community Shield (also known as The FA Community Shield sponsored by McDonald's for sponsorship reasons) was the 89th FA Community Shield, an annual football match contested by the winners of the previous season's Premier League and FA Cup competitions. The match was the 160th Manchester derby between Manchester United and Manchester City and played at Wembley Stadium, London, on 7 August 2011. Manchester United won the game 3–2, with goals from Chris Smalling and Nani (2), after Joleon Lescott and Edin Džeko had put City 2–0 up at half-time.Manchester United qualified to take part for the fifth consecutive year by winning the 2010–11 Premier League title and Manchester City qualified by winning the 2010–11 FA Cup. United successfully defended the shield to win it for the fourth time in five years, having beaten Chelsea 3–1 in the 2010 match.

Andy Wilkinson

Andrew Gordon Wilkinson (born 6 August 1984) is an English former professional footballer who played as a defender.

Wilkinson joined Stoke City's academy from his local club Stone Dominoes and made his professional debut in October 2001. Since then Wilkinson has gradually worked his way into the first team and after four loan moves and a number of injury problems had restricted his career. He broke into the side during the 2007–08 season in which Stoke were promoted to the Premier League. He helped Stoke establish themselves in the top-flight in 2008–09 and 2009–10 and he played in the 2011 FA Cup Final which Stoke lost 1–0 to Manchester City.

He played in the UEFA Europa League in 2011–12 as Stoke again finished in mid-table. He remained in the side in 2012–13 under Tony Pulis before Mark Hughes was appointed manager in May 2013 and Wilkinson became a fringe member of the squad. After failing to regain his place in the first team in 2014–15, Wilkinson joined Millwall on loan. He retired from football in February 2016 after struggling to recover from a serious head injury.

Danny Pugh

Daniel Adam Pugh (born 19 October 1982) is an English footballer who is now a player-coach at EFL League Two club Port Vale. A versatile player, he can play in midfield or at left-back.

He began his career with Manchester United, and made a handful of first team appearances before being traded to Leeds United in May 2004. He spent two seasons at Elland Road before joining Preston North End for a fee of £250,000 in June 2006. Another two-year spell followed until he joined Stoke City for £500,000 in January after a short loan period. He became a regular under Tony Pulis and helped the club to gain promotion out of the Championship in 2007–08. He appeared in the 2011 FA Cup Final, however he struggled to hold down a regular place in the Premier League and had loan spells back at Preston and then Leeds, before joining Leeds permanently for a second time in January 2012. He made 62 appearances in his second spell at Leeds and also played on loan at Sheffield Wednesday in the 2012–13 season. He left Leeds and went on to spend the 2014–15 season with Coventry City, the 2015–16 campaign at Bury, before moving on to Blackpool in July 2016. He signed with Port Vale in January 2017 and was appointed as a first-team coach in September 2018. He stepped up to become Vale's caretaker-manager in January 2019.

Dean Whitehead

Dean Whitehead (born 12 January 1982) is a retired English professional footballer who last played as a midfielder for Premier League club Huddersfield Town. Although he played as a midfielder, Whitehead also played in the right–back position as well.Whitehead joined his local non-League club Abingdon Town before he signed for Football League club Oxford United in 1999. He impressed in the lower divisions and was signed by Championship club Sunderland in 2004. He won promotion in his first season with Sunderland, although they were relegated from the Premier League after one season. He was made captain by Roy Keane as Sunderland claimed an instant return to the top flight. After two more seasons in the north-east, Whitehead signed for Stoke City in 2009. He helped Stoke reach the 2011 FA Cup Final, where the team finished runners-up to Manchester City. After spending four seasons with Stoke, Whitehead signed for Middlesbrough in 2013. He moved to Huddersfield Town two years later, helping them to promotion from the Championship in 2017.

Glenn Whelan

Glenn David Whelan (born 13 January 1984) is an Irish professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Championship club Aston Villa and the Republic of Ireland national team.

Whelan started his career at Manchester City but only made one appearance which came in the UEFA Cup and after a loan spell at Bury he moved on to play for Sheffield Wednesday, with whom he won promotion to the Championship in May 2005. In January 2008 Whelan joined Stoke City for a fee of £500,000 with whom he helped gain promotion to the Premier League. He took a while to establish himself in Tony Pulis' first team plans in the top flight but by 2009 he became a regular and went on to play in the 2011 FA Cup Final, but his old club Manchester City beat Stoke 1–0. Whelan continued to be a regular in the side under Pulis and kept his place under Mark Hughes. Whelan spent nine years at Stoke making 338 appearances before joining Aston Villa in July 2017.

Jermaine Pennant

Jermaine Lloyd Pennant (born 15 January 1983) is an English footballer who last played as a winger for Billericay Town. Pennant has made over 300 appearances for 15 clubs, and has scored 24 goals to date.

Born in Nottingham, Pennant played for his local side Notts County as a teenager. He earned promising reviews in the youth team at County and Arsenal signed him in 1999. He struggled to make much of an impact at the North London club and spent time on loan at Watford, Leeds United and Birmingham City before joining the latter permanently. While an Arsenal player, he won 24 caps for the England under-21 team. He gained notoriety in 2005, when he had to play a match while on probation – he played while wearing an electronic tag following a drink-driving conviction. Following Birmingham's relegation in 2006, Pennant signed for Liverpool for a fee of £6.7 million. He won the 2006 FA Community Shield and also played a vital role in the club's run to the 2007 UEFA Champions League Final, where Liverpool lost 2–1 to Milan.

However, off-field problems continued to affect Pennant and consequently led to him being left out of the side. He joined Portsmouth on loan before leaving to join Spanish side Real Zaragoza in 2009. His time in Spain was overshadowed by disciplinary problems. He returned to the Premier League for the 2010–11 season signing on loan at Midlands club Stoke City. Following a successful loan spell, he signed a permanent contract at Stoke in December 2010. He played in the 2011 FA Cup Final, Stoke losing 1–0 to Manchester City, and also played in the UEFA Europa League the following season. Pennant fell out of favour with Tony Pulis in 2012–13 and spent time out on loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers. With his Stoke career looking to be coming to an end, new manager Mark Hughes gave Pennant a new contract. However, after failing to make an impact, he left Stoke in January 2014. He then spent time playing in India with Pune City before returning to England to sign a short-term contract with Wigan Athletic. In January 2016, he signed a one-year deal with Singapore S.League club Tampines Rovers.

Jonathan Walters

Jonathan Ronald Walters (born 20 September 1983) is a former professional footballer who played as a striker.

Walters started his career at Blackburn Rovers but failed to break into the first team and joined Bolton Wanderers. Again he failed to establish himself and went out on loan to Hull City, Crewe Alexandra and Barnsley before joining Hull permanently. He then went on to play for Wrexham and Chester City before finally finding regular football at Championship side Ipswich Town. Walters spent three years at Portman Road before joining Stoke City for £2.75 million in August 2010. He helped Stoke reach the 2011 FA Cup Final after scoring twice in the semi-final against Bolton Wanderers as Stoke won 5–0. Walters played 54 matches during the 2011–12 season and then played in UEFA Euro 2012 with the Republic of Ireland. Walters remained a regular at Stoke under Tony Pulis and Mark Hughes, scoring 62 goals in 271 appearances before joining Burnley in July 2017.

Walters scored five times for the Republic of Ireland in 2015 during their successful UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, and was acknowledged with that year's FAI Senior International Player of the Year award.

Kenwyne Jones

Kenwyne Joel Jones CM (born 5 October 1984) is a Trinidadian retired professional footballer who played as a striker. He began his football career with Joe Public in his native Trinidad and Tobago. He moved to W Connection in 2002, and he was a utility player in the Trinidad and Tobago team in 2003 against Finland. In 2004, he joined Southampton, where he was converted to a striker. He was later loaned to Sheffield Wednesday and Stoke City during the 2004–05 season.

In 2007, he joined Sunderland for £6 million where he spent three seasons before he signed for Stoke City in August 2010. In his first season at Stoke Jones scored 12 goals and played in the 2011 FA Cup Final. Following the arrival of Peter Crouch in August 2011, Jones struggled to hold down a regular place in the side which saw him score just four more league goals in the next three seasons. In January 2014 he joined Cardiff City in a player-exchange with Peter Odemwingie. Whilst with Cardiff he spent time out on loan at Bournemouth and Al Jazira before moving to Atlanta United in the summer of 2016. Jones decided to retire from football in November 2017.

Lee Probert

Lee William Probert (born 13 August 1972) is an English professional football referee who officiates primarily in the Premier League. He was born in South Gloucestershire but is now based in Wiltshire and is associated with the Wiltshire Football Association.He has refereed in the Premier League, the top level in the English football league pyramid, since his promotion to the panel of Select Group Referees in 2007. In 2010, he officiated the FA Trophy final at Wembley Stadium and in 2014 he took charge of the FA Cup final, the highest refereeing honour in England.

List of Stoke City F.C. seasons

Stoke City Football Club is an English professional football club based in the city of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. The club was formed in 1863 and played their first competitive match in November 1883 in the FA Cup. They were founder members of the Football League in 1888, in which they struggled finishing bottom in the first two seasons and failed to gain re-election for the 1890–91 meaning that they played in the Football Alliance. They won the Alliance and re-joined the league. Stoke continued to struggle financially and in 1908 the club was liquidated and had to resign from the league. They re-branded as Stoke F.C. (1908) and joined the Birmingham & District League and Southern Football League before regaining their league status for the 1919–20 season.As a Football League team Stoke have won two divisional titles at the second and third levels of the English football league system. They have been promoted eight times and suffered relegation on seven occasions. They played in the 2011 FA Cup Final, losing to Manchester City and their best achievement is in the League Cup which they beat Chelsea in the 1972 Final. As of the end of the 2017–18 season, the club has spent 62 seasons in the top tier of the English football league system, 41 in the second and 8 in the third.

Marc Wilson (Irish footballer)

Marc David Wilson (born 17 August 1987) is an Irish professional footballer who plays as a defender or midfielder for Bolton Wanderers in the EFL Championship.

Wilson left his home town of Aghagallon in 2000 to join the Manchester United Academy, after four years he was released and was signed by Hampshire club Portsmouth. He went out on loan to AFC Bournemouth, Luton Town and Yeovil Town to gain first team experience before making his Premier League debut on boxing day in 2008. After Portsmouth were relegated to the Football League in 2010 Wilson was named as club captain.

In August 2010 he joined Stoke City in a deal which saw Stoke duo Liam Lawrence and Dave Kitson join Pompey. He converted to left back under Tony Pulis and in his first season at Stoke he played in the 2011 FA Cup Final as Stoke lost 1–0 to Manchester City. Wilson was a regular in 2011–12 as Stoke played in the UEFA Europa League. He suffered a broken leg in October 2012 which saw him miss most of the 2012–13 season. He became used as a back-up player under Mark Hughes and left Stoke in August 2016 to join Bournemouth.

Wilson got his first call up to the Republic of Ireland senior squad for their game against Brazil in March 2010, and made his first appearance as a substitute in February 2011 during the 3–0 Nations Cup win over Wales.

Martin Atkinson

Martin Atkinson (born 31 March 1971) is an English professional football referee who officiates primarily in the Premier League and also for FIFA. He was born in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, but is now based near Leeds, and is a member of the West Riding County Football Association.Atkinson made his first appearance as an official in the Football League as an assistant referee in 1995. Since he was promoted to the list of Select Group Referees in 2005 he has refereed a number of notable matches, including the FA Community Shield and the finals of the FA Trophy, Football League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Europa League.

Matthew Etherington

Matthew Etherington (born 14 August 1981) is an English former footballer who played as a winger. He currently manages the under-18 team at Peterborough United.

Born in Truro, Cornwall, Etherington began his footballing career at Peterborough United and was a stand-out performer for the Posh, which attracted the attention of Premier League clubs. He joined Tottenham Hotspur in 2000, along with Simon Davies. He struggled at Tottenham and left for West Ham United in 2003. At the East London club, Etherington showed his true form and became a vital player for the Hammers. However, he had personal problems related to an addiction to gambling and in 2009 was sold by manager Gianfranco Zola to fellow Premier League side Stoke City.

At Stoke, Etherington became a vital member of the side under manager Tony Pulis, winning the player of the year award for the 2009–10 season and also played in the 2011 FA Cup Final. Etherington remained a regular under Pulis in 2011–12 and 2012–13 before he was released by Mark Hughes at the end of the 2013–14 season.

Pablo Zabaleta

Pablo Javier Zabaleta Girod (American Spanish: [ˈpaβlo saβaˈleta]; born 16 January 1985) is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a right-back for English Premier League club West Ham United and the Argentina national team. Zabaleta can operate on both sides of the pitch as a full-back and is known for his tenacious style of play, and has captained his club on numerous occasions.

With Manchester City, Zabaleta won all of English football's major honours: the FA Cup (2011), the Premier League (2012 and 2014), and the League Cup (2014 and 2016). Before joining Manchester City, Zabaleta played for La Liga club RCD Espanyol, where he won the 2005–06 Copa del Rey. He made 333 appearances over nine seasons for Manchester City before signing for London-based club West Ham United in the summer of 2017.

A full international since 2005, Zabaleta represented Argentina at the 2011 and 2015 Copa América, and was part of their team which finished as runners-up in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He was also in their team which won gold at the 2008 Olympics.

Ricardo Fuller

Ricardo Dwayne Fuller (born 31 October 1979) is Jamaican professional footballer who plays as a striker for Nantwich Town .

Fuller started his football career with Jamaican side Tivoli Gardens, before he moved to England with Crystal Palace in February 2001. He returned to Jamaica and then went on loan to Hearts, before joining Preston North End. He scored 27 goals in 58 League game at Preston, which prompted Portsmouth to pay £1million for his services. Fuller failed to make an impact at Portsmouth and joined rivals Southampton in 2005 before Stoke City signed him for £500,000 in August 2006.

At Stoke, he became an influential member of the first team and his goals helped the "Potters" gain promotion to the Premier League in 2008. He remained a key figure in the top-flight, despite a poor disciplinary record, and helped Stoke reach the 2011 FA Cup Final, but missed out on the final due to injury. After he recovered from his injury he was only give a bit-part role and he left the club in June 2012 for a one season stay with Charlton Athletic. He spent the 2013–14 season with Blackpool and 2014–15 with Millwall. He joined Oldham Athletic in October 2015.

Fuller played 77 international matches for the Jamaica national team between 1999 and 2012.

Ryan Shawcross

Ryan James Shawcross (born 4 October 1987) is an English professional footballer who plays as a centre back and is captain of Championship club Stoke City.

Shawcross began his career with Manchester United and made his debut for the club against Crewe Alexandra in the League Cup; he then spent time on loan at Belgian feeder club Royal Antwerp. He joined Championship club Stoke City on loan in August 2007 and made an instant impact scoring on his debut against Cardiff City. His good form prompted Stoke to pay Manchester United £1 million in January 2008 to keep him at the Britannia Stadium. He formed a good defensive partnership with Leon Cort as Stoke gained promotion to the Premier League for the first time, ending 23 years away from the top flight.

Despite making a bad start to Premier League football, Shawcross established himself as first-choice centre back along with Abdoulaye Faye. Stoke comfortably stayed up, and after another mid-table finish in 2009–10, Shawcross was handed the captaincy by manager Tony Pulis ahead of the 2010–11 season. With Faye drifting out of the team, Robert Huth became Shawcross's defensive partner and the team reached the 2011 FA Cup Final, finishing runners-up to Manchester City. The run to the final also meant that Stoke entered the UEFA Europa League in 2011–12, and they reached the round of 32 losing to Spanish team Valencia. Shawcross continued to be a regular under Pulis in 2012–13 and then under Mark Hughes in 2013–14 which saw him win the player of the year award.

Sandy Mutch

Alexander "Sandy" Mutch (9 December 1884 – 16 September 1967) was a Scottish football goalkeeper.

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