You are about to journey through time, exploring the greatest players in Stoke City’s history. Potters supporters will forever remember legendary figures who played at the Britannia Stadium.
Even though they’ve retired from the game, the legends and stories about these athletes will be passed down for years to come.
As you read about the ten legends of Stoke City, you’ll be taken away by stories of skill, enthusiasm, and determination that epitomize what it is to be a great football player.
From Stanley Matthews’ mesmerizing dribbling skills to Gordon Banks‘ acrobatic saves, these players embody the spirit of Stoke City and prove that anything is possible with determination and hard work.
So kick back, relax, and enjoy our countdown of the top 10 greatest Stoke City players!
1. Stanley Matthews
Stanley Matthews, dubbed “The Wizard of Dribble,” stunned spectators with his dazzling footwork and left defenders scattered like leaves in a whirlwind.
Born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1915, Matthews started his career with local team Stoke City before playing for Blackpool, England, and even winning the Ballon d’Or in 1956.
Matthews’s greatest strengths were his dribbling ability and his ability to overcome defenders in one-on-one situations. He was a winger for the team and was renowned for his speed and quickness.
His performances often left fans stunned as he weaved through opposition players effortlessly.
Even at an older age, when most footballers are past their prime, Matthews performed at the highest level. He played in over 700 league games before calling it quits at 50 and Greatest Stoke City Players.
It’s no secret that he’s revered as one of the greatest players in the franchise’s annals.
2. Gordon Banks
You can’t help but feel in awe of Gordon Banks, the legendary goalkeeper who made some of the most spectacular saves in football history.
He was integral to Stoke City’s success during his seven-year stint with the club from 1967 to 1973.
Here are three reasons why Banks is considered a true Stoke City legend:
- His incredible reflexes: Banks was known for his lightning-fast reactions and cat-like reflexes, which allowed him to pull off some genuinely unbelievable saves.
- In the 1970 World Cup, he made a save that persists in the memory when he tipped a header by Pele over the crossbar.
- His leadership skills: Despite being a quiet and unassuming character off the pitch, Banks was a natural leader on it. He commanded respect from his teammates and was always willing to offer advice and support when needed.
- He was a natural choice to lead Stoke City as captain.
- His unwavering commitment: Even after suffering a severe eye injury in a car accident in 1972, Banks refused to let it derail his career. He battled back and continued playing at the highest level until he retired in 1978.
Gordon Banks will undoubtedly go down in history as one of Stoke City’s all-time greats. His legacy will continue to motivate new generations of fans because of his brilliance, leadership, and tenacity on the field.
3. Peter Dobing
If you’re a fan of Stoke City, you might not have heard of Peter Dobing, but his contributions to the club deserve recognition.
Dobing was a prolific striker who played for Stoke City from 1950 to 1961, making over 250 appearances and scoring an impressive 118 goals. He was also part of the team that won promotion to the First Division in 1963.
To truly appreciate Dobing’s impact on Stoke City, take a look at this table highlighting some of his career statistics:
|Best season (goals)
|Total league goals scored for Stoke City
Dobing’s ability to find the back of the net was unparalleled during his time at Stoke City. His six hat-tricks are still a record for the club, and his best season saw him score an incredible 26 goals.
His legacy lives on as one of the greatest strikers in Stoke City’s history.
4. Denis Smith
When discussing the history of Stoke City, it’s necessary to recognize Denis Smith and his impact on the club.
The defender joined the Potters in 1968 and made over 600 appearances for the team, earning himself a spot as one of Stoke’s greatest-ever players.
Smith’s no-nonsense defense and ability to take charge on and off the field made him a fan favorite.
Smith helped promote Stoke City to the First Division in 1979 and played a crucial role in their successful runs in domestic cup competitions during the early 1980s.
During his time at Stoke, he was also voted Player of the Year three times by the faithful.
After retiring from playing, Smith managed several lower-league clubs before returning to Stoke as manager from 1991-1999, where he continued to leave his mark on the club.
Denis Smith will undoubtedly be a legendary figure in Stoke City folklore.
5. Neil Franklin
As you delve into the history of the Potters, it’s worth mentioning Neil Franklin. He was a skilled center-half who played for Stoke during the 1950s and helped them secure their first-ever FA Cup victory with his impressive defensive abilities.
Here are a few things that make him stand out as one of the greatest Stoke City players of all time:
- Franklin was a product of Stoke’s youth system and debuted in 1946 at 16.
- He became captain at age 20 and led the team to promotion to the top tier in 1953.
- Known for his tough-tackling skills, he earned a reputation as one of England’s best defenders.
- Despite interest from some major European clubs, including Real Madrid, Franklin remained loyal to Stoke until he retired in 1960, making over 400 appearances for the club.
With his unwavering loyalty and outstanding abilities on defense, Neil Franklin undoubtedly deserves a place among Stoke City legends.
6. Alan Hudson
Prepare to learn about Alan Hudson, a gifted midfielder for Stoke City in the 1970s who was much admired for his ingenuity on the field.
Hudson was born in Chelsea, England, in 1951 and began his football career at Chelsea FC before moving to Stoke City in 1974 for a then-club-record fee of ÂŁ240,000.
Hudson’s contribution to Stoke City was significant, as he helped propel the team to their second League Cup win in 1972. He was also instrumental in helping the team achieve its highest-ever finish in the First Division (now Premier League) by ending up fourth at the end of the 1974-75 season.
Known for his sublime passing ability and vision on the field, Hudson was a key player who could control games from midfield. Despite suffering severe injuries at Stoke City, his talent and ability were never in doubt, making him one of the greatest players ever to grace Stoke’s colors.
7. Jimmy Greenhoff
Jimmy Greenhoff was a striker for Stoke in the 1970s, and his stories of his incredible goal-scoring prowess will captivate you.
He scored an impressive 78 goals for the club in just over 200 appearances, helping them to win promotion to the First Division in 1972.
Greenhoff’s talent was undeniable. He had a powerful shot and could easily find the back of the net from almost any position on the field.
In addition to his goalscoring abilities, he was also a skilled dribbler with excellent vision and an ability to create chances for his teammates.
His contributions were vital as Stoke enjoyed one of their most successful periods in history, and he rightfully earned himself a place among the greatest players ever to wear a Stoke City shirt.
8. Terry Conroy
Terry Conroy was a phenomenal winger for Stoke. His blistering pace and skill on the ball left defenders in awe. He also had a stellar reputation for his tireless work ethic and pinpoint crosses inside the penalty area.
Conroy played for Stoke City from 1967 to 1979, amassing over 400 appearances. And scoring more than 80 goals during his time at the club.
In addition to helping the squad reach the League Cup final in 1971 and 1972, he was also instrumental in their promotion to the First Division that same year.
His performances on the wing were crucial to Stoke’s success during this period, and he quickly became a fan favorite due to his tenacity and commitment on the pitch.
Even after retiring from playing, Conroy remained heavily involved with Stoke City as an ambassador for the club. Demonstrating his unwavering loyalty to a team that will always hold him dear as one of their greatest legends.
9. Eric Skeels
A former Stoke City defender, Eric Skeels played an instrumental role in the team’s success during the 1970s with his physicality and toughness on the pitch.
Here are three reasons why he is considered one of Stoke City’s greatest players of all time:
- Skeels was a commanding presence in defense, always willing to put his body on the line to block shots and make crucial tackles.
- He was also known for his aerial ability, winning countless headers both defensively and offensively.
- Beyond his skills on the pitch, Skeels was also a leader off it, serving as captain for several seasons and inspiring his teammates through his hard work and dedication.
Skeels’ contributions were essential to Stoke City’s success during one of the club’s most successful periods. His legacy lives on as one of the great defenders in Stoke City’s history.
10. Andy Wilkinson
Andy Wilkinson, a former Stoke City defender, was known for his versatility and determination on the pitch. He played for the club from 1996 to 2016, making over 190 appearances in all competitions.
Wilkinson could play as a right-back or center-back and was renowned for his hard-tackling and committed performances.
He remained integral to the team’s defense throughout his career at Stoke City. Fans and teammates highly appreciated his fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude.
Despite facing several injuries throughout his playing days, he always bounced back with remarkable resilience and dedication.
Andy Wilkinson may not have been the most technically gifted Player on the field, but he certainly made up for it with his unwavering passion and commitment to the game.
Unsurprisingly, he’s still considered one of Stoke City’s all-time great defenders.
Stoke City has seen several exceptional players who have achieved great success and left a lasting impact on the club.
These ten players, from Gordon Banks to Stanley Matthews to Peter Beardsley, have showcased their incredible skills on the pitch and become revered legends in the eyes of Stoke City supporters.