14:00 03 August 2012
By Stoke City Football Club
City entered the 20th century with major financial difficulties. There was some success in the FA Cup, but public apathy and dwindling support led to a sadly inevitable conclusion.
Things didn't start off to bad under boss Horace Austerberry with the Potters going on to record a sixth place finish in Division One at the end of the 1902/03 season, there joint-best finish ever finish at that time.
They had also reached the Quarter Final stage of the FA Cup for two years running at this stage with the likes of goalkeeper Leigh Richmond Roose, centre half and future Port Vale player & manager Tom Holford and striker Mart Watkins the key players at this time.
This relative success could not be built upon, however, and after several years of stagnation in mid-table, the Club fell further still and were relegated to Division Two at the end of the 1906/07 season.
Attendances plummetted during that season and did not improve the year after either, with attendances sinking to as low as 3,000, 2,000 and even 1,500 towards the end of 1907/08.
With this rapid decline came the financial complications and with the player wages and running costs significantly more than gate receipts, Stoke FC eventually went bust in 1908.
Having also lost their Football League status in the summer of 1908, they re-registered as a new company and replaced the reserve team with the first team for the 1908/09 season in the Birmingham & District League.
It was a fresh start for the club under new boss Alfred Barker, who was forced to introduce a host of new players, but some reward was on the way...