It was a case of “Hello Goodbye” on a warm afternoon at the Victoria Ground on a late April day in 1967 when Gordon Banks, a recent buy from Leicester City made his home debut; the departure was Dennis Viollet who was hanging up his boots after 181 games with the Potters.
A few days before the game Banks was pictured in the newspaper, being shown around the Victoria Ground by Alan Ball and Frank Mountford. Perhaps they were telling Banks about the new possibilities in the Potteries? In April 1967 C and A opened in Stafford Street and then there was the Boom Boom Club in Anchor Road with the charms of the “lovely Mitzi, the adorable Pauline and the exciting Penny compeered by Bobby Nutt comedian, a recent contestant on “Opportunity Knocks”?
In Leicester’s goal was the 17 year old Peter Shilton who the East Midlands team had confidence in following the sale of England’s keeper to Stoke.
The Stoke team were: Banks, Skeels, Bentley, Viollet, Bloor, Allen, Burrows, Dobing, Mahoney and Eastham
It was a sunny spring day as the Sentinel correspondent remarked more appropriate for hitting boundaries than scoring goals. There were chants around the ground of “Viollet for England”.
Stoke’s keeper played a part in the first goal as a huge clearance bounced at the edge of the area was controlled by Dobing who beat off a challenge by Cross to side foot past a sprawling Shilton on 10 minutes.
Leicester’s attack was rather plodding and did not challenge Stoke’s defence at all in the first half. The defence was a cohesive unit and offered few chances. The Potters were dominant with Eastham and Mahoney combining well to put the visitor’s defence under relentless pressure.
The second came in the 44th minute a brilliant period of play involving a passing move between Vernon and Burrows saw a shot by the later beaten out. Mahoney returned the pass to Burrows who lobbed Shilton.
The report read “ Stoke were a pleasure to watch as they dominated play with handsome attacking football”.
Banks had an easy introduction as a Potter and a shot from Nish on 60 minutes was the only thing he had to deal with. In the other goal the young Shilton was stopping chance after chance. On 66 minutes dealing with a blistering drive from Burrows and then 3 minutes later brilliantly getting down to push away a point blank drive from Vernon.
On 72 minutes against the run of play Stringfellow pulled a goal back. The impetus swung back to Leicester and there were jitters in the Stoke team heightened when Woolett scored but was ruled off side on the 78th minute.
The nerves settled and the game was put beyond the Foxes when Mahoney slipped through the Leicester defence to add a third.
At the end of the game the crowd cheered Viollet off the park as he made his final exit
For the very first time me and my dad sat in the Butler Street Stand right in line with the Boothen End penalty spot. Had a brilliant view of the great man and couldn't believe he was a Stoke Player. Hope he pulls through his present health problems.