Forgive me for a moment or two of self-indulgence.
The wonderful family of Stoke City lost a life long supporter on Wednesday morning after a short illness. I will be eternally grateful to my Dad for him introducing me to Stoke City at the tender age of 5 and I recall my first game against Coventry City. I was fortunate enough to be taken by him to watch Stoke v Ajax and I sat on the crush barriers on the old Stoke End terrace possibly imagining that this playing against European teams was the 'norm'. How quickly that perception of watching Stoke changed!
Over the years we watched many games from the old Stoke End terrace before relocating to the Boothen Paddock next to the tunnel. During my adolescent years for a period I attended Stoke games with school friends but would occasionally go to away matches with dad - as he had the wheels!!
When Stoke moved to the Brit we decided that it was time (now in his retirement) that we spent more time together and so we bought season tickets in the lower tier of the main stand. I remember him telling me how he queued outside the portakabin 'for hours' before choosing the seats which we have kept to this day.
He sadly wasn't well enough to attend Monday's game but he watched it on TV and after the match when I visited him, he was clearly so pleased that Stoke had won and that his favourite player had scored the winning goal.
Although those who sit around us, have I feel become good friends over the years, although we do not really 'know' each other and as such I have no contact details of those who we both sit with.
Dad who sat in Block 13 Row 26 Seat 97, thoroughly enjoyed his match days and I will be forever grateful to 'Mick' who sat next to dad (on his good hearing side!) for making him feel welcome and chatting to him throughout the game. To 'Ray' who sits next to me and his son 'Si' who always chatted to Dad and passed the time of day with him. To the fellow supporters who have sat in front, behind and around us over the years - 'thank you' for helping make even the dark days at the Brit that much brighter with your chat and banter.
Dad was 84 - I never dreamt that we would see Stoke in the Premier League, let alone Europe. The biggest highlight though must be the FA Cup Final. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would one day have the privilege and honour of accompanying Dad to such a match to watch Stoke City. The singing of 'Abide With Me' that day will live with me for ever - as will all the precious times of watching Stoke with Dad at the Vic and the Brit and on our travels around the country.
I know that Stoke may have lost a supporter from in the ground but I'm sure he'll be watching each game from above along with all other fellow Stokies that have sadly left us to join the Heaven branch of the Supporter's Club.
God bless you Dad - Stoke matches will never be the same again.
Post by terrorofturfmoor on Oct 4, 2014 7:38:20 GMT
Sorry about your loss.... In many ways your story is similar to my own, unfortunately my Dad throughout his many many years of following Stoke never got the chance to go to Wembley to see Stoke in the FA cup, he had to settle for his old faithful armchair to watch it because of his illness that eventually took him!!!
Condolences and best wishes to yourself and family!!!
Post by Stafford-Stokie on Oct 4, 2014 7:45:59 GMT
My heart felt sympathies go to you and your family. Fantastic tribute to ya dad. Just treasure the good times as I am sure you have many and these memories will help you through the bad times. R.I.P fellow Stokie.
Super tribute to your Dad. I can just about remember my late Dad lifting me over the turnstiles at the Vic in the mid 1950's I then sat on his knee watching the game. My son and his lad are now Stokies, our great club has so much to be proud of in terms of the generations watching.
Post by stokienorthants on Oct 4, 2014 9:37:45 GMT
A very moving post reminded me of my Dad also a fellow Stokie who we lost 5 years ago. The pain will never go away completely but it will get easier and like myself you have wonderful memories that will last for ever.
Again very similar to my dad.He died during our first season in the prem, I visited in hospital after we had beaten Man City 1.0 with 10 men and his last words to me were ' we'll stay up ' and he was right.
We mustn't forget we only get one Mum & Dad, fortunately my Mum is still about and she follows Stoke's progress as keen as ever.
I lost my Dad 3 years ago in August, he introduced me to the Potters at the age of 9 at the Old Vic, we beat Coventry City 2 nil in a night match, Conroy and Greenhoff were the scorers that night. Can remember being lifted over the turnstyle into the Boothen Paddock Stoke End side as if it was yesterday. Still got the Ceramic City Clipper programme somewhere. Think it was Greenhoff's home debut in the 1969/70 season. That was also the season we beat Arsenal 5 nil and it was on Match of The Day!
Chin up mate your Dad will be watching over you and the Mighty Potters on match days.