THE players, management and staff at Stoke City would like to wish all of the Club's supporters around the world a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Whilst Tony Pulis and his first team squad will be spending Christmas Day with their loved ones ahead of tomorrow evening's clash with Liverpool... it's easy to forget that there was once a time when the holiest day on the calendar was one of sporting festivities.
Between the years of 1891 and 1954 the Potters frequently took part in football matches on the 25th December, featuring in 28 games over the 63-year period.
Stoke's first ever Christmas Day match occurred 121 years ago and resulted in a 3-2 defeat against Preston North End. Edward Evans and Joseph Schofield got the goals for a City side playing the 1891/92 campaign in strikingly unfamiliar black and amber stripes.
Ironically, Preston have been Stoke's most frequent opposition on Christmas Day, having come up against each other on five separate occasions in a spell of just nine years (1891 to 1900). Sadly though, the Lancashire side have recorded four victories to just a single Stoke one; a 1-0 win in 1895.
The Club's biggest ever Christmas Day victory came in 1937 courtesy of a 5-1 thumping of Grimsby Town, whilst our heaviest defeat came at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday, when the Owls ran out comfortable 4-0 victors way back in 1897.
Stoke's last ever fixture on this date happened 58 years ago, in 1954, when Club legend Johnny King scored a famous hat-trick to secure a 3-2 win over Bury.
It was a season in which the Potters faced Bury a remarkable seven times, including the return league match two days later, on 27th December (drew 1-1), and five times in the FA Cup where additional replays were played instead of extra-time!
CHRISTMAS DAY RECORD
HOME - Played 8, Won 7, Lost 1, Scored 17, Conceded 7
AWAY - Played 20, Won 5, Drew 4, Lost 11, Scored 28, Conceded 43
TOTAL - Played 28, Won 12, Drew 4, Lost 12, Scored 44, Conceded 50