The route for the re-enactment of Stoke City's famous League Cup-winning tour of the Potteries in 1972 has been announced.
And tickets are now on sale for supporters to take part in the cavalcade of up to 200 vintage and classic vehicles and even join the players later on for a celebratory three-course meal at the Kings Hall, in Stoke.
The event on Sunday, March 12 will start with a vintage car rally on the main car park outside the bet365 Stadium from 9am. Potters legends including Gordon Banks, Denis Smith, Terry Conroy and many of their teammates will then board the same single-decker bus which took them around the city 45 years ago – affectionately known as Fishtail because of its design – at 12pm and set off for an hour-long tour, followed by the cavalcade of vehicles.
The coach will take in Longton, Weston Coyney, Bentilee and Joiners Square before arriving at the Kings Hall, where the players will be treated to a civic reception and dinner from 2pm with room for 200 guests.
Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor Anthony Munday started the ball rolling for the reunion when he came across Fishtail, which is now 67 years old, and its current owner Ray Hine by chance at a vintage vehicle rally at Etruria Industrial Museum in September.
He said: “I’m really pleased to see this event coming together. It has been a team effort by Stoke City, Stoke City Old Boys’ Association, the city council, Staffordshire Police and we can’t forget Ray Hine who owns the coach.
“A special mention must also go to former football league referee John Hilditch who came up with the idea of recreating the celebration tour. We are now ready to really get cracking and I’m confident we will have a lot of interest from vintage vehicle owners and also from supporters who want to attend the dinner.
“We’ve tried to keep it to the original route as much as possible and it would be fantastic to see lots of people lining the roads on the day and taking part in the celebration.”
Tickets for the meal at the Kings Hall cost £40 per person or £400 for a table of ten. It costs £10 to exhibit cars at the car rally, with the first 200 to sign up being allowed to take part in the cavalcade. Tickets for both events are available by contacting Denise Powell in the Lord Mayor’s Office on 01782 232625. All proceeds will go to the Lord Mayor’s charities.
Terry Conroy, who scored Stoke’s first goal in the 1972 League Cup final victory against Chelsea, said: “Who can believe it’s 45 years since that unforgettable day at Wembley and the celebrations that followed?
“I’m really looking forward to meeting up again and sharing fond memories with my teammates from that era and also many Stoke supporters. The vast majority of the lads who played that day will be on the coach for the parade on March 12 and I’m sure it will be a fantastic occasion for us and the city.
“George Eastham, who scored our winning goal that day, is coming over from South Africa. He says he wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
The route on the day will be:
bet365 stadium – depart at 12pm.
Stanley Matthews Way
Left turn on to Trentham Road towards Longton town centre
Weston Coyney Road
Park Hall Road
Arrive at Kings Hall at approximately 1pm.