The Potters

Posted: January 7, 2010 in People, Places, Sport
Tags: , , , , , ,

Stoke's majestic fans at the Britannia

I was introduced to this lovely little club by @danslee, on twitter. And in just over an year, the potters have displaced L’pool as my 2nd favourite team in the EPL. (Sorry Dan. but the red devils are still 1st favourites ;)

Why do I like them?
Because, on the field, they’re bloody unconventional. And thus very interesting. Don’t believe me, just ask Arsene Wenger :)

Why do I really like them?
Because of the fans. Well known as the loudest fans in english football, the special tongue they speak out there (definitely not english) gives them an extra spark. Despite Manchester just to the north, Liverpool similarly north-west and permanent-ECL-position-contenders Villa just to the south, the young potters still strut around proudly in their red&white stripes chanting Delilah ;)

Frankly, if Premier League were just about passionate fans, Stoke would’ve been ruling supreme for a few generations now.

As for this post, it’s to gather together two wonderful pieces about stoke that Dan has shared over the last year.

First, the language.
I offer a prize to anyone who can decipher the line below without using google:

Owat duck cos kick a bow agin a wo wiv y’ead till yer bost it?

And a bonus if you can speak it, the stoke way. Try it.

Well, translated into common english, that popular potteries’ saying reads like this:

Can you kick a ball against a wall with your head till you burst it?

Now, could you have guessed it. As for the spoken accent, the link isn’t working anymore and I’m too new to this language to speak it out. For all that matters, it’s proof that the celtic genes in english countryside are trying to again empower the roman-saxon language :)
Don’t get it? Neither did I. Chuck that.

Second, the passion.
While the hooligans in our jails use the time as LinkedIn for developing professional networks, guess what a stokie does when spending time at the ol’ boarding house for football hooliganism? He turns to writing poetry out of his love for the hardy club.

Here’s the most famous one, Fortress, celebrating stoke’s survival in the Premier League at end of season one, against all odds (literally all bookmakers had marked them for relegation).


The Britannia is packed to the rafters,
Young and old, meek and bold, but everyone’s sold on Pulis’s grafters;
The loudest fans in the country scream,
For 23 seasons this had just been a dream;
Now it’s here for real in its cold-stark reality,
It’s backs to the wall with a siege mentality;
Go on Stoke Go on Stoke, the Boothen End roars,
And for many, tears in eyes, they take it in and they pause;
Multi-million pound players in red and white shirts,
Putting heads where only feet dare go;
All up for the fight, don’t care if it hurts,
Only one aim for us for now;
Survival and pride,
This is our fortress, where no-one shirks or hides;
The mighty will fall here, bemoan our style and their rotten luck,
So to Wenger and the others, OI! This is the Potteries, duck;
For we are Stoke City and though many of them slate us,
We’ll put our lives on the line for our Premier League status;

And no, just reading the poem ain’t enough. Now view the video below and listen to the passion in his voice (and his potteries accent) as he reads the poem out. Gotta Love it.

Hardy Indian cricket fans above 30 will recognise the resemblance (of spirit & words) to what we developed during the 90s when our beloved team lost more than won, and often ‘snatched defeat from the jaws of victory‘. That siege mentality, that defending the little you’ve got – a mildly proud past, a whiff of the lost pride and the heavy odds against.

Want to know more about Stoke City FC?
You can get your hands on most of the generic info about the club up on the web (start with wikipedia). But to connect with the fans, best place to be is the Oat Cake. Go figure :D
Do listen, in brief, to the popular club chants here.

Interested in the new language we just discovered?
Emigrate to Staffordshire.
If that isn’t too attractive, or practical, start with deciphering the stuff on this page.

Signing off.

Cos kick a bow agin a wo wiv y’ead till yer bost it?

Update 1:

And just as I was about to publish, here comes in another gem from Dan.

Update 2:

Just as I posted, here’s another one from Dan (can almost picture him and his li’l one on the cover). Guess I gotta flipkart this into India again.


She stood there laughing

  1. danslee says:

    Ha! That’s a brilliant blog post, raven. You’ve nailed it. Love the parralel with the Indian cricket team.

    But, really this passing infatuation with Manchester United will wear off. Trust me on this.

    There’s actually a little known connection with India and Stoke-on-Trent. The Oatcake is the club’s fanzine and online forum. It’s named after the local delicacy. Legend has it that North Staffordshire Regiment soldiers stationed in India so loved chipattis that they came up with their own version of them when they returned home.

    Stoke? It’s about being the underdog. It’s about taking pride in what you’ve got. No matter how little that is.

    I’ve been at Stoke when we were battered in the cup 8-0 by Liverpool. Even the scoreboard operator lost count. Nobody left. Nobody stopped singing. That spirit of togetherness was all we had left. Nobody was going to take it from us.

    We’re the second oldest football team in the world yet we’ve got a trophy cabinet that’s – by comparison – threadbare.

    One of the chants that makes me smile the most shows that brilliantly.

    “We won it two times, We won it two times. The Autoglass Trophy. We’ve won it two times…”

    It’s a song that deliberately mimics the Liverpool FC song that celebrates their multiple European Cup wins.

    The Autoglass Trophy? It’s a competition for teams in the third and fourth tiers of English football. We won in 1992 and 2000.

    What does it say that we sing it in the Premier?

    That we don’t care for their medals or their star names. Because we’ve something they don’t have.

    Because We Are Stoke.

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