Haven't We Met Before? ... Crystal Palace

JIMMY BROAD was once the crown jewel in a Stoke spending spree - and he scored six goals in one week against Crystal Palace.

The centre-forward arrived from Millwall for a Club record £2,500 in the summer of 1921 with a plan that he would convert crosses from his brother and fellow new signing Tommy, who had been brought in from Manchester City for £500.

The splurge had been funded by the new millionaire director - footballer-turned-entrepreneur John Slater - and it worked.

Jimmy was compactly built at 5ft 8ins and 11st 12lbs, but he had speed in movement and mind and spearheaded a charge to promotion to the top flight in his first season with 25 goals.

Four came in a 5-1 thrashing of Palace at the Victoria Ground in the first week of December and he scored a brace in a 2-0 win in the return fixture a few days later.

His form continued in higher division, even if Stoke's did not!

He had hit 23 goals by February when an injury all but condemned the side to relegation.

Purse strings were subsequently tightened and Jimmy was one of a number of players who were not re-signed.

They did not take it lying down, with Jimmy and three teammates breaking into the stadium and trashing the offices in protest.

The board was flabbergasted - yet so impressed by the strength of feeling that the released players instead received one-year contract extensions.

Jimmy had scored another 14 goals the following season, including another one against Palace - making him Stoke's leading scorer in this fixture - before moving onto Everton.

John Ritchie had a good record versus the Eagles too, netting five times in seven games, while Jimmy Greenhoff and Denis Smith both scored three times.

But, Stoke have not always had it their own way. They didn't beat Palace in the league for 13 games from 1988 to 2006.

The current run isn't much better, having lost five in a row and winning none of the last seven in all competitions.

No one has played in this game more than Denis Smith, who won four and drew three of his dozen league outings against Palace, scoring three times in the process.

It has been the starting points for eight Stoke careers, including Geoff Hurst and Jimmy Robertson, who sealed a 2-0 win over the South Londoners when they made their full league debuts on the same day in August 1972.

It has also been the last start for 12 Potters, including England duo Tony Allen and Alan Hudson.

The ball has only been in the net more often once since the Second World War (a 9-1 win over Ipswich in March 1964) than the Valentine's Day nine-goal thriller between these side's 13 years ago.

It's just a shame six were in the wrong net... even Jimmy Broad needed a week to score that many.

For more historical content and exclusive features from Stoke City, purchase your copy of #pottersmag this weekend. On sale in and around the bet365 Stadium.

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