Leon Cort & Richard Cresswell

True Colours: Stoke City's Premier League Promotion Kit

Ahead of Leicester City's Emirates FA Cup meeting with Stoke City on Saturday, LCFC.com recalls how the Potters ended a 23-year exile from the top flight, wearing an iconic home kit.
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Until 2008, Stoke City had never been a Premier League club, but after promotion from the Championship at the end of the 2007/08 campaign, the Potters soon established themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

Repeatably picking up notable scalps against the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United, Stoke were known as a team to fear, using a direct style of play to their advantage, particularly at home.

The promotion-winning season laid the foundations for a 10-year spell in the top flight, the majority of which came under the management of Tony Pulis.

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Dominic Matteo
Dominic Matteo

The first outing for Stoke's 2007/08 strip was a pre-season friendly against Real Madrid.

Their 2007/08 kit featured the traditional red and white striped shirts adopted since the formation of the modern day Stoke City FC in 1908. For the fifth season running, white shorts and socks were worn, rather than the more traditional combination of white shorts with red socks, often seen throughout Stoke's history.

It was the first kit to be made by French company Le Coq Sportif, who maintained the five thick red and white stripes across the front of the shirt and a round-neck collar also used by previous manufacturers, Puma.

The front of shirt sponsor, Britannia, also Stoke City's stadium sponsors since the opening of the Britannia Stadium in 1997, remained on board for the sixth consecutive season that the Potters would compete in the second tier of English football.

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Liam Lawrence
Liam Lawrence

Midfielder Liam Lawrence was a key source of goals throughout the promotion-winning campaign.

Pulis' second spell in charge had begun with an eighth place finish in 2006/07, incidentally Stoke's 100th season in the Football League, though automatic promotion would be secured a year later.

Summer transfer activity saw the arrivals of centre-back Ryan Shawcross, future Fox Ritchie de Laet and experienced forwards Jon Parkin and Richard Cresswell, as well as the loan signings of Stephen Wright and Jody Craddock.

The season got off to the perfect start with a 1-0 victory at Cardiff City on the opening day thanks to a debut goal from Manchester United loanee Shawcross and a late penalty save from Steve Simonsen.

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Ryan Shawcross
Ryan Shawcross

Ryan Shawcross emerged as a key figure at both ends of the pitch during his first season at the club.

Stoke backed it up with a home win over Charlton Athletic and it was another new signing, Parkin, who grabbed the winner after Ricardo Fuller's opener. Fuller would go on to net 15 league goals, finishing the campaign as top scorer.

Four games without victory blunted the Potters' good start and the winless run looked set to continue with Stoke 2-1 down at home to Plymouth Argyle, before a comeback win, secured by Fuller and Liam Lawrence, showed their fighting spirit.

Following another sticky patch, losing four out of six games, Leon Cort and Danny Pugh were brought in to bolster the squad and Stoke soon went on a run of 12 games unbeaten between November and the turn of the year.

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Ricardo Fuller
Ricardo Fuller

City's top scorer Ricardo Fuller helped complete a league double over Cardiff City.

January 2008 saw the permanent signings of Shawcross, Cort and Pugh, while Andy Griffin and Paul Gallagher returned to the club and Glenn Whelan made the move to Staffordshire from Sheffield Wednesday.

A spell of five consecutive wins in February earned Pulis the Championship Manager of the Month award and made Stoke serious contenders, backing up impressive results against rivals Sheffield United (3-0) and eventual champions West Bromwich Albion (3-1), during which Fuller scored a hat-trick.

Into April and on a run of one win in eight matches, Stoke's 2-1 away triumph at Coventry City was vital to get their promotion challenge back on track. Subsequent wins over Bristol City and Colchester United, combined with Hull City's late winner against Crystal Palace, took the race to the final day.

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Leon Cort
Leon Cort

Stoke drew twice with Hull City during the season before pipping the Tigers to second place in the league.

Competing with the Tigers for the second automatic promotion spot, Stoke played out a goalless draw with Leicester City in front of 26,609 fans at Britannia Stadium, with the point enough to seal promotion. 

The Foxes, meanwhile, were relegated to the third tier for the first time in the Club's history, although the Foxes would return to the Championship as League 1 champions at the first attempt. 

Stoke's tally of 79 points signalled the return of top flight football and was two behind that of West Brom and four ahead of third-place Hull, who would join them both in the Premier League after their play-off victory.

Subsequent kits, manufactured by Le Coq Sportif for another two seasons, were similar in design and layout, while on the pitch, Stoke implemented their style of play to great effect in the Premier League, beginning their decade-long stint with a credible 12th place finish.

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