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Saturday 29th May 2021 ko 14:30

Staffordshire County Senior League Division One

CITY OF STOKE 5 (Meek 19 82 Marcisz 25 Sargeant 61 Armstrong 82)

Marcisz sent off 80 (foul & abusive)

HAWKINS SPORTS 2 (Pike 8 57)

Att c25 at North Stafford Sports Club, Whisper Lane, Butterton

Free Entry

I’ve often opined that I don’t pick my games, most of the time they pick me, and this was the latest in the long list. You may remember that just under two years ago, I battled both appalling weather and traffic to watch a game at Keele University.  At the time I questioned why I was the only hopper there, and subsequently came to the conclusion that the reason I was the only one there with no connection to either side was my own insanity. But there was a silver lining to the evening.

That was that the away side that night was City of Stoke, and ever since chairman Leigh Robinson and I have formed something of an online friendship. They were formed in 2019 as a club for all of Stoke- their colours are the black and white of Port Vale and the red and white of Stoke City. The ethos of the club is one of community and if writing these articles over the last decade has taught me one thing, its that if a non league club isn’t rooted in the community then it cannot succeed. Leigh clearly recognizes that, and I found his enthusiasm infectious- if that isn’t a bad choice of words in this day and age!

There was one question I did have, and that is why the club uses an umlaut over the “O” when it abbreviates its name to “CöS?” The answer is similar to why Lemmy did the same thing when he named Motörhead- it serves no purpose other than to create a talking point! Come to think of it, Lemmy was born in Stoke-on-Trent and without that umlaut CöS would be a variety of lettuce!

CöS took on the North Stafford Sports Club, in Butterworth’s Whisper Lane to the west of the city; older groundhoppers might remember the now defunct Shamblers FC being based here in the Potteries & District Sunday League, but they folded in 2017. 

But if you saw Shamblers back in the day I doubt you’d recognise the place now, as the changes are manifest, and more will be forthcoming as the club are looking to develop a floodlit 3G pitch on the overflow car park on the other side of the lane- the photo with the 3 cars and the “Screed van” is of the site, so there’s an excuse for a revisit!!

We watched a game of little consequence, CöS had finished second and with it promotion and were only able to muster 12 players, and those didn’t include a goalkeeper. They made light of it for the most part, and were still able to feature quality in all the other important areas, and eventually that quality counted. They’ll certainly be a force in the Premier Division next season. 

But I know that for some groundhoppers there is only one question that matters, and that is whether CöS produce a matchday programme? I’ll leave aside for now my bewilderment at the notion of a few that clearly are in the habit of reducing a club’s value down to no more than a magazine, but Leigh did comment that CöS will be producing a matchday programme next season.

When you visit, though you’ll see so much more than just that. I hope you’ll enjoy their company as much as I did.