Stoke City must overturn worst opening day run in English football at Millwall



No wonder Michael O’Neill has been banging on about the importance of changing the way Stoke City start a season.

Stoke are currently on the longest ongoing winless opening day run of all sides in the English Football League. That’s 10 games, drawing three and losing seven, since they last won their first league game of a season back in 2009 (2-0 against Burnley).

Millwall, on the other hand, have only lost one of their last six opening day league games (1-0 at Nottingham Forest in 2017).

And Millwall manager Gary Rowett’s only defeat in his last six games on the opening day of a league season was, you guessed it, when he was in charge at Stoke City in 2018-19, going down 1-3 to Leeds United. He’s won two and drawn three of his other five.

Stoke, it should be pointed out, had a couple of pretty tasty curtain raisers during the decade in the Premier League.

This run has featured matches against Chelsea, Liverpool x 2, Aston Villa and Everton.

But all the same, Michael O’Neill knows it needs to turn – and not just as far as Day One is concerned. The whole start needs to be better.

“We’re back early, earlier than a lot of teams,” O’Neill  said back in mid-August.  “We’re hopeful that will make us a little bit ahead of the curve so to speak…

“We have to be realistic as well. We have a lot of players that need to leave the football club because for one reason or another it hasn’t worked out for them. There is a period of transition and a period when we have to get the squad into the place we’d like it to be.

“We’ve finished in the bottom half of the table in the two years we’ve been in the Championship so we have a lot of work to do to get to where we want to be.

“I think the players we’ve brought in will help us and going forward the imperative thing for us is to make sure we have a good start to the season. The two seasons the club have been in the Championship, that’s not been the case.

“We want to get started on the front foot and hopefully we’re at the other end of the table.”

All in all, Stoke have won 40 of 113 opening league fixtures and lost 48, scoring 145 and conceding 162.

Last season, that poor start was taken to a new level when they won none, drew two and lost eight of their opening 10 league games under Nathan Jones.

Stoke City’s opening league fixture record

8/9/1888: Harry Lockett (div 1) West Bromwich Albion (h) lost 0-2

7/9/1889: Harry Lockett (div 1) Derby County (h) drew 1-1

5/9/1891: Joseph Bradshaw (div 1) Derby County (h) won 2-1

3/9/1892: Arthur Reeves (div 1) Derby County (h) lost 1-3

2/9/1893: Arthur Reeves (div 1) Bolton Wanderers (a) lost 1-4

1/9/1894: Arthur Reeves (div 1) Bolton Wanderers (a) drew 2-2

2/9/1895: William Rowley (div 1) Bolton Wanderers (h) won 2-0

2/9/1896: William Rowley (div 1) Aston Villa (a) lost 1-2

2/9/1897: William Rowley (div 1) Notts County (h) won 2-0

1/9/1898: Horace Austerberry (div 1) Derby County (h) drew 0-0

2/9/1899: Horace Austerberry (div 1) Liverpool (h) won 3-2

1/9/1900: Horace Austerberry (div 1) Aston Villa (a) lost 0-2

2/9/1901: Horace Austerberry (div 1) Bury (h) lost 1-2

6/9/1902: Horace Austerberry (div 1) Newcastle United (a) lost 0-5

1/9/1903: Horace Austerberry (div 1) Bury (h) won 4-1

1/9/1904: Horace Austerberry (div 1) Derby County (h) lost 1-2

2/9/1905: Horace Austerberry (div 1) Notts County (h) won 3-0

1/9/1906: Horace Austerberry (div 1) Liverpool (a) lost 0-1

2/9/1907: Horace Austerberry (div 2) Chesterfield (h) drew 1-1

30/8/1919: Arthur Shallcross (div 2) Barnsley (h) won 2-0

28/8/1920: Arthur Shallcross (div 2) Nottingham Forest (a) drew 2-2

27/8/1921: Arthur Shallcross (div 2) West Ham United (h) won 2-0

26/8/1922: Arthur Shallcross (div 1) Oldham Athletic (a) lost 1-4

25/8/1923: No manager (div 2) Leeds United (h) drew 1-1

30/8/1924: Tom Mather (div 2) Stockport County (a) lost 0-2

29/8/1925: Tom Mather (div 2) Stockport County (h) won 3-0

28/8/1926: Tom Mather (div 3) Bradford Park Avenue (h) drew 0-0

27/8/1927: Tom Mather (div 2) Southampton (a) won 6-3

25/8/1928: Tom Mather (div 2) Nottingham Forest (a) won 5-1

31/8/1929: Tom Mather (div 2) Bradford City (h) won 2-0

30/8/1930: Tom Mather (div 2) Millwall (a) won 3-1

29/8/1931: Tom Mather (div 2) Chesterfield (h) won 2-1

27/8/1932: Tom Mather (div 2) Manchester United (a) won 2-0

26/8/1933: Tom Mather (div 1) Chelsea (h) won 1-0

25/8/1934: Tom Mather (div 1) Sheffield Wednesday (a) lost 1-4

31/8/1935: Bob McGrory (div 1) Leeds United (h) won 3-1

29/8/1936: Bob McGrory (div 1) Liverpool (a) lost 1-2

28/8/1937: Bob McGrory (div 1) Birmingham City (h) drew 2-2

27/8/1938: Bob McGrory (div 1) Leicester City (a) drew 2-2

31/8/1946: Bob McGrory (div 1) Charlton Athletic (h) drew 2-2

23/8/1947: Bob McGrory (div 1) Bolton Wanderers (a) won 1-0

21/8/1948: Bob McGrory (div 1) Charlton Athletic (h) drew 2-2

20/8/1949: Bob McGrory (div 1) Bolton Wanderers (a) lost 0-4

19/8/1950: Bob McGrory (div 1) Newcastle United (h) lost 1-2

18/8/1951: Bob McGrory (div 1) Newcastle United (a) lost 0-6

23/8/1952: Bob McGrory (div 1) Manchester City (h) won 2-1

19/8/1953: Frank Taylor (div 2) Brentford (h) drew 1-1

21/8/1954: Frank Taylor (div 2) Birmingham City (h) won 2-1

20/8/1955: Frank Taylor (div 2) Doncaster Rovers (a) won 4-2

18/8/1956: Frank Taylor (div 2) Middlesbrough (a) drew 1-1

24/8/1957: Frank Taylor (div 2) Middlesbrough (h) won 4-1

23/8/1958: Frank Taylor (div 2) Fulham (a) lost 1-6

22/8/1959: Frank Taylor (div 2) Sunderland (h) won 3-1

20/8/1960: Tony Waddington (div 2) Plymouth Argyle (a) lost 1-3

19/8/1961: Tony Waddington (div 2) Rotherham United (h) lost 1-2

18/8/1962: Tony Waddington (div 2) Leeds United (h) lost 0-1

24/8/1963: Tony Waddington (div 1) Tottenham Hotspur (h) won 2-1

22/8/1964: Tony Waddington (div 1) Everton (h) lost 0-2

21/8/1965: Tony Waddington (div 1) Arsenal (a) lost 1-2

20/8/1966: Tony Waddington (div 1) Nottingham Forest (a) won 2-1

19/8/1967: Tony Waddington (div 1) Arsenal (a) lost 0-2

10/8/1968: Tony Waddington (div 1) Sunderland (h) won 2-1

9/8/1969: Tony Waddington (div 1) Wolverhampton Wndrs (a) lost 1-3

15/8/1970: Tony Waddington (div 1) Ipswich Town (h) drew 0-0

14/8/1971: Tony Waddington (div 1) Coventry City (a) drew 1-1

12/8/1972: Tony Waddington (div 1) Crystal Palace (h) won 2-0

25/8/1973: Tony Waddington (div 1) Liverpool (a) lost 0-1

17/8/1974: Tony Waddington (div 1) Leeds United (h) won 3-0

16/8/1975: Tony Waddington (div 1) West Ham United (h) lost 1-2

21/8/1976: Tony Waddington (div 1) Sunderland (h) drew 0-0

20/8/1977: George Eastham (div 2) Mansfield Town (a) lost 1-2

19/8/1978: Alan Durban (div 2) Cambridge United (a) won 1-0

18/8/1979: Alan Durban (div 1) Coventry City (h) won 3-2

16/8/1980: Alan Durban (div 1) Norwich City (a) lost 1-5

29/8/1981: Richie Barker (div 1) Arsenal (a) won 1-0

28/8/1982: Richie Barker (div 1) Arsenal (h) won 2-1

27/8/1983: Richie Barker (div 1) Everton (a) lost 0-1

25/8/1984: Bill Asprey (div 1) Luton Town (a) lost 0-2

17/8/1985: Mick Mills (div 2) Sheffield United (h) lost 1-3

23/8/1986: Mick Mills (div 2) Birmingham City (h) lost 0-2

15/8/1987: Mick Mills (div 2) Birmingham City (a) lost 0-2

27/8/1988: Mick Mills (div 2) Ipswich Town (h) drew 1-1

19/8/1989: Mick Mills (div 2) West Ham United (h) drew 1-1

25/8/1990: Alan Ball (div 3) Rotherham United (h) won 3-1

17/8/1991: Lou Macari (div 3) Bradford City (a) lost 0-1

15/8/1992: Lou Macari (div 3) Hull City (a) lost 0-1

14/8/1993: Lou Macari (div 2) Millwall (h) lost 1-2

13/8/1994: Joe Jordan (div 2) Tranmere Rovers (h) won 1-0

12/8/1995: Lou Macari (div 2) Reading (h) drew 1-1

17/8/1996: Lou Macari (div 2) Oldham Athletic (a) won 2-1

9/8/1997: Chic Bates (div 2) Birmingham City (a) lost 0-2

8/8/1998: Brian Little (div 3) Northampton Town (a) won 3-1

7/8/1999: Gary Megson (div 3) Oxford United (h) lost 1-2

12/8/2000: Gudjon Thordarson (div 3) Wycombe Wanderers (h) drew 0-0

11/8/2001: Gudjon Thordarson (div 3) Queens Park Rangers (a) lost 0-1

10/8/2002: Steve Cotterill (div 2) Sheffield Wednesday (a) drew 0-0

9/8/2003: Tony Pulis (div 2) Derby County (a) won 3-0

8/8/2004: Tony Pulis (div 2) Wolverhampton Wndrs (h) won 2-1

6/8/2005: Johan Boskamp (div 2) Sheffield Wednesday (h) drew 0-0

5/8/2006: Tony Pulis (div 2) Southend United (a) lost 0-1

11/8/2007: Tony Pulis (div 2) Cardiff City (a) won 1-0

16/8/2008: Tony Pulis (div 1) Bolton Wanderers (a) lost 1-3

15/8/2009: Tony Pulis (div 1) Burnley (h) won 2-0

14/8/2010: Tony Pulis (div 1) Wolverhampton Wndrs (a) lost 1-2

14/8/2011: Tony Pulis (div 1) Chelsea (h) drew 0-0

18/8/2012: Tony Pulis (div 1) Reading (a) drew 1-1

17/8/2013: Mark Hughes (div 1) Liverpool (a) lost 0-1

16/8/2014: Mark Hughes (div 1) Aston Villa (h) lost 0-1

9/8/2015: Mark Hughes (div 1) Liverpool (h) lost 0-1

13/8/2016: Mark Hughes (div 1) Middlesbrough (a) drew 1-1

12/8/2017: Mark Hughes (div 1) Everton (a) lost 0-1

5/8/2018: Gary Rowett (div 2) Leeds United (a) lost 1-3

3/8/2019: Nathan Jones (div 2) Queens Park Rangers (h) lost 1-2





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