STOKE CITY 3 CITY 1
League Division 2
26th December 1988
scorers City Gleghorn Stoke ???
Ref K Barratt
City Dibble, Seagraves, Hinchcliffe, Gayle, I Brightwell, Redmond, White, Gleghorn, Morley, Lake, Biggins – used subs Moulden, J Beckford
The biggest love-in of all was, without doubt the 1988 Boxing fixture at Stoke City. A group of City fans had decided to celebrate the festive season by going to the Victoria Ground in fancy dress, and the idea spread like wild fire. Costume hire shops were plundered, wives’ wardrobes were ransacked, and City’s diehards would yet again brighten up the football world with their unique brand of lunacy.
As our team coach drove up to the stadium that day it wasn’t the usual sea of blue shirted fans, instead it was a swaying mob of Dracula, Nazis, Mr Blobbies, Mother Superiors, Tommy Coopers, a pantomine horse, Bernie Clifton ostriches and lots of hairy crossdressers, total mayhem. The decision to stage a mass fancy dress party in the potteries was quite a brave one; Stoke could be a menacing town on a match dayand in the 1980s was notorious for it’s special brand of ‘hospitality’ to visiting supporters.
In keeping with the party atmosphere, the club made us run onto the pitch carrying our own inflatables to launch into the away end. We weren’t exactly thrilled by the idea, I remember Neil McNab spewing out a stream of Scottish expletives when he was handed a huge blow up banana, but we did as we were told.
If our woeful performance was anything to go by, it should have been us City players who turned up in fancy dress costumes that day. Eleven clown outfits would have sufficed for the farce that culminated in a 3-1 defeat, a result which no doubt put a dampener on all the revelling on the terraces. There was a feeling of deep embarrasment on the team coach as we headed back up the M6, all of us lamenting our lacklustre display. Twelve thousand fabulous fans had gone to all that trouble to create a carnival atmosphere, yet our response had been to truly rain on their parade.