On 30th August 2017, almost 20 years to the day after the then Britannia Stadium opened, St Modwen Homes Ltd were granted planning permission for housing on the former Victoria Ground. They have already started preparatory works by removing Japanese Knotweed from the site.
There were three key issues my neighbours told me they wanted dealing with. They were access to the River Trent, usable green space and a recognition of the heritage of the site. All these were included in the conditions to the permission.
For now, I'd just like to consider how the heritage is marked. This condition suggests that monuments, sculptures, public art, public realm works and street naming could be considered as suitable. Many of these are for people more artistic than me to suggest but on the street naming I have been talking to neighbours and fans. There are many worthy players and managers who could be considered. I shall put a few before you now and hope that you can add to these by emailing email@example.com with your justification. Stanley Matthews, Denis Violet, George Eastham, Gordon Banks and Tony Waddington have been recognised at Trentham Lakes and as the City Council no longer uses the names of living people:-
John Ritchie - forward (351 games). Stoke's record goalscorer with 176 and a genuinely nice man with it! After retiring he ran a Pottery Factors company on Lonsdale Street and many locals know him well from in and around the ground. He died at just 65 years in 2007.
Freddie Steele - forward (251 games). A local man who scored an amazing 33 league goals in only 35 appearances during the 1936-37 season. This is still a record. His career was interrupted by injury and he died locally aged 59.
Frank Soo - defender (185 games). Frank was the first player of Chinese origin to play in the Football League and the first non-white player to play for England while working at the Michelin during World War II.
Paul Ware - midfielder (115 games). Scored the goal that was a big part of the turn around in fortunes for Stoke City. When in the 3rd division little was going right but Paul scored the goal that sent us to Wembley and the Autoglass Trophy win. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2012 and died in 2013 aged just 42.
Bob McGrory - defender (511 games) and manager. Played for Stoke for 14 years, including 10 years as captain and managed for the team for 17 years, interrupted by WWII. He lead Stoke to 4th in league in 1946-47 but died 1954 aged 62.
Those are the initial names that have come forward and I would welcome further ideas on firstname.lastname@example.org.