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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Britannia Stadium is home to English Premier League Stoke City and was opened in 1997 following the club’s relocation from their historic Victoria Ground less than a mile away. The stadium’s name is taken from its sponsors, and has an all-seated capacity of 27,598. The venue is a multi-purpose arena with banqueting suites and Delilah’s bar. It has hosted the likes of Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi and Elton John concerts.
The stadium consists of four cantilever stands with the L shaped Boothen and East stands being of a separate structure to the rest of the stadium. The main West stand, consisting of two tiers, houses the clubs corporate and media facilities. The legendary Sir Stanley Mathews who officially opened the stadium had his ashes buried under the stadium’s centre circle following his death in 2000. Statues outside the stadium show his career at different stages.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
If you are feeling peckish on your approach to the stadium, the extra ten minute wait until you are inside will be worth it. Sports stadium food in Britain often leaves a lot to be desired. This is not the case at the Britannia. The club now offers alternatives to the traditional food on offer within its new food courts.
There are separate kiosks selling different ranges of burgers, hot dogs, pie, mash, peas and gravy and curry and rice pots in addition to the normal range of food. These are all reasonably priced with meals deals on offer at £6.50 with a soft drink or £8.50 with a pint of beer or cider. The food is piping hot and is of good quality.
The atmosphere generated at the Britannia is renowned for being one of the best in England's top flight and has often been the 13th man when Stoke have beaten some of the country's biggest clubs at the stadium.
Made up of six separate towns, Stoke on Trent is the home of the Pottery Industry and the area is commonly known as the Potteries. There are many museums to mark the city's pottery and coal mining industry.
Festival Park houses the water park and Trentham Gardens with its own Monkey World, and is a mere five minutes drive from the stadium.
The Potteries Shopping Centre in Hanley has all the major stores with a good selection of Theatres and Cinemas also near. The Alton Towers Theme Park Resort is the area's best known attraction and this is a thirty minute drive away near to the town of Uttoxeter. Port Vale is the city's other football team located in Burslem and play in League Two of the English Football League. Although there is a Holiday Inn and Harvester by the ground there is little to do in the vicinity of the stadium.
The club are once again established in the top flight of English football. Stoke have a hard-core support and gates held at 15,000 even when the club sunk to the third tier of English football. Stoke supporters have been officially recognised by the football authorities as the noisiest supporters in the Premier League.
The stadium is located on the Junction of the A500 and A50 which is within a five minute drive of the M6 Junction 15. Stoke-on-Trent railway station is also well served by trains between London and Manchester. There is plenty of parking in adjacent roads and the stadium also has plenty of parking, although delays after the game are common place. Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham airports are all within a one hour drive of the city.
Like all Premiership clubs, ticket prices are high and range between £35 and £45 for league games with discounts for children and O.A.P's.
F.A. Cup, League Cup and Europa League games are often cheaper depending on the opposition. Big games tend to sell out early but, if planned in advance, getting into the stadium should not be a problem.
There is a club superstore next to the ticket office selling a wide range of merchandise. Betting Shops are also located on the stadium concourse in the vicinity of the fast food outlets. Stadium tours are available on request and programmes and fanzines are printed for each game.
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