There are tales of wonder strikes by Stanley Matthews, Freddie Steele and, as recent as the early 1980s, Mark Chamberlain.
But thankfully, for the best part of the last 35 years, most Stoke City matches and goals have caught on camera so we can re-live them time and again.
We asked supporters to rack their brains for other contenders for the title of best ever. We had 30 suggestions that kept being mentioned – 31 if you’re counting Souleymane Oulare knocking one in with his backside that night in the play-offs at Cardiff.
These are beauties we’ll never forget.
Charlie Adam v Chelsea
Just ask Steven Nzonzi, who had one of the best views in the house as Adam took possession IN HIS OWN HALF and wellied a shot over Thibaut Courtois at Stamford Bridge.
Well, we did.
“I have never seen a goal like it,” he said. “Amazing, but it was no surprise really from Charlie. With his left foot, he can do that.
“Some players couldn’t kick it that far – and it’s not just a case of distance. You have to kick it far and you have to get it in the net against one of the world’s best goalkeepers.
“If there is one guy who can score a goal like that it’s Charlie.”
Peter Beagrie v Bournemouth
This solo effort the length of the Victoria Ground pitch came on October 1, 1988, the day when hockey-playing Cobridge newsagent Imran Sherwani had won Olympic gold for Great Britain in Seoul.
A crowd of 7,486 spectators saw Beagrie pick up the ball in his own box, slalom 70 yards up the pitch and smash a left-foot drive into the roof of the net.
Mark Higgins purred: “In 13 years as a professional it was the best goal I have seen.”
Not so for Beagrie, who claimed he had scored two goals better himself in the previous season against Hull. We’re guessing this is one, at Boothferry Park in February 1988.
The trouble for the flair man, it seemed, was that he probably loved dribbling more than crossing, passing or scoring.
Still, the big boys came calling and a £750,000 departure for Everton was announced on the morning of a vital home game against Sunderland in October 1989, with fans finding out while watching Saint and Greavsie.
Asmir Begovic v Southampton
It has to be included because, even if it wasn’t a shot, it’s in the Guinness Book of Records as the goal from furthest range.
Begovic’s monster effort in November 2013 was measured up at 97.5 yards. 97.5 yards! He was barely outside his six-yard box!
It came after just 13 seconds too, which makes it probably the quickest Stoke goal.
The previous quickest by a Stoke player at the Brit was a ripper from Arnar Gunnlaugsson, 24 seconds into a play-off tie with Gillingham in May 2000. Keith O’Halloran, a hapless Swindon defender, also put through his own net after 21 seconds of a 4-1 defeat for the Robins in May 2001.
John Ritchie scored 40 seconds into a 6-2 rout of Northampton Town at the Victoria Ground in February 1966, his first of four on the day.
Carl Beeston v Wigan
Carl Beeston lobbed Nigel Adkins (yes, that Nigel Adkins who Stoke go up against tomorrow) from 40 yards for Stoke against Wigan at Springfield Park back in January 1993.
It was a travesty that Beeston was playing in the third tier.
He had been picked in an England under-21s team which included Paul Gascoigne and David Platt in the late 1980s, but his career was held back by glandular fever and a serious ankle injury. Now a Stoke-supporting postman.
Dave Brammer v Luton
There was a crowd of 18,653 that day but hands up who left early and missed this scorcher against Mike Newell’s early-season high fliers?
Brammer strolled onto a square ball from Karl Henry pretty much mid-way inside the Luton half and let rip into the goal in front of the Boothen End.
Sam Clucas v Barnsley
What a start to the Michael O’Neill era.
Clucas scored two belters to set his side on their way to a 4-2 win at Barnsley.
The first grabbed the headlines after he seized on a poor clearance from keeper Brad Collins and found the net from the half-way line. His shot didn’t bounce until the goal line as Collins raced back in vain.
“It just fell to me and I thought I might as well have a go and fortunately it ended up in the net,” he said.
Terry Conroy v Arsenal
Just over 18,000 people turned out for the game, with many deterred from attending by a local bus strike, but those who did get to the Victoria Ground witnessed a classic Stoke display against an in-form Arsenal team.
The Gunners arrived in September 1970 on the back of a 4-0 win over Manchester United, a 6-2 thrashing of West Brom – who had recently put five past Stoke – and a Fairs Cup victory against Lazio.
Nobody gave Stoke a chance of winning the match, and their chances seemed to disappear entirely when Gordon Banks was forced to pull out because of an injury he’d sustained in a 4-1 loss at Manchester City. John Farmer took his place.
But Stoke won – and won 5-0.
Terry Conroy scored the third and it was a pearler. He exchanged passes with Peter Dobing before sending in a ferocious shot crashing past Bob Wilson from 25 yards out.
The goal went on to win Match Of The Day’s Goal of the Month award and come third in the 1970-71 Goal of the Season competition.
Peter Crouch v Manchester City
Incredible, even now watching that goal back from March 2012.
Jon Walters said the players knew what Crouch is capable of having seen him hit similar volleys in training.
He said: “He’s got that side-volley down to a tee. As soon as it bounced to him, I gave him a shout to shoot. He’s a top class striker. But it wasn’t a straightforward volley because it was coming from the side. The technique is very hard to do.
“To beat a keeper like Joe Hart from that angle and that distance has to make it one of the goals of the season.”
It wasn’t the goal of that season, as it turned out, as votes went to Papiss Cisse for Newcastle against Chelsea.
But we know which one is quicker to raise a smile or nod of recognition talking to any football fan around the world.
Ricardo Fuller v Aston Villa
We can let the great man talk about this himself.
That goal against Villa in the very first Premier League fixture on home soil when he made it 2-1 in the 81st minute of a game Stoke would eventually win 3-2 thanks to Mama Sidibe’s 94th minute winner.
Allowing a Liam Lawrence pass to roll over his foot with his back to goal and with Martin Lauresen at his rear, he completely wrong footed the defender as he and the ball spun goalwards before lashing his shot across Brad Friedel to hit the target just inside the keeper’s far right-hand post.
“We needed that win after coming off a defeat at Bolton in our first Premier League game,” he recalled in an interview with the Sentinel during the recent season.
“It was a big game against a quality side and against a world-class defender in Laursen… and it was a difficult skill as well.
“Every time I see the goal back I feel an after shock. Our fans went crazy with joy and to make that happen has to be one of the best feelings ever.
“I played in the Premier League with Portsmouth and only scored one goal because of injury, so to score this one with a second bite of the apple pie was a special feeling. It felt like Christmas inside me!”
Ricardo Fuller v Birmingham
Fuller says: “I remember that goal against Birmingham and I remember we were under a bit of pressure at 1-0 up in the second half.
“I went dribbling towards the right wing to waste a bit of time, to be honest, and then I looked to see I was the only Stoke player and thought about heading for the corner flag.
“But then I saw there was only three or four Birmingham defenders and suddenly thought `I could do this.’
“Barry Ferguson was chasing towards me at an angle that made me think I could cut the ball back inside, then another came at me at such an angle that I thought if I cut it back sharply I might win a penalty.
“But he ran past me and so the ball was on my left foot, which I usually used for standing on, and I let go for the far corner.”
That made it 2-0 in a game Stoke would eventually win 3-2 and it wasn’t until after the game that Winnie and John, Stoke’s kitmen, told Fuller it was his 100th goal in English football.
“When I realised that I said I can’t give my shirt away, so I got it signed by all the lads and I still have it at home for my son to wear.”
Ricardo Fuller v West Ham
His 69th minute winner at West Ham was special in its creation and its execution – but also in its timing because it came on his first visit to Upton Park since being red carded for raising a hand to skipper Andy Griffin the season before.
Fuller took possession with his back to goal and with a defender at his rear, but he was allowed to turn and cut inside that man, then a second, before lashing past Rob Green just as a third threatened to slide in.
“That goal was pay back,” he recalls, “after the year before when I was sent off after the thing with Griff.
“So I needed to do something special to get back into the good books of the manager and players. It was a nice goal to score and had special meaning for me as well.”
Ricardo Fuller v Wolves
Martin Spinks recalled this afternoon at Molineux as he picked out his favourite matches over the last 25 years.
He said: “A crowd of over 25,000 saw Stoke rise to fourth in the Championship, three points behind leaders Watford, as automatic promotion loomed lovingly into view.
“The game’s defining moment came in the dying moments when Salif Diao appeared to trip Rob Edwards inside the Stoke area, but play was waved on and Ricardo Fuller took off from inside his own half. ‘To the corner you fool,’ we shouted from the press box, but Fuller being Fuller headed in-field after outstripping two defenders and brought the house down by smashing his shot across the keeper and inside his far post.
“It might have been 3-3, but it was now 4-2, and Stoke were heading towards untold riches.”
Jimmy Greenhoff v Birmingham
Peter Crouch’s famous strike against Manchester City in March 2012 was heavily reminiscent of what Jimmy Greenhoff acknowledges as his greatest-ever goal against Birmingham in December 1974.
Which might explain why Jimmy greeted Crouch’s goal like no-one else at the Britannia Stadium that afternoon.
“I was at the game when Peter scored,” he recalls, “and I did jump up and shout `Yes’ and even shouted `Greenhoff.’ It brought back the memory of my goal.”
It was a carbon copy of Greenhoff’s in just about every respect – bar a broken nose.
For while Crouch left the pitch without a scratch Greenhoff had to retire early with a busted beak soon after his memorable effort. By then, though, the legendary Potter had netted twice in a 3-0 victory.
“What I remember,” Greenhoff said, “is trying to get my hat-trick after half-an-hour when I went in with their right-back, Ray Martin, and got my nose broken. I had to come off and it gave me a nose like Micky Pejic’s.
“When the other players saw it they were taken aback, but Pej just laughed and said. ‘You look like me now’.”
Andy Griffin v Coventry
Do not adjust your sets, it really was this foggy.
It was November 2006 and Griffin advanced from left-back and let rip from just outside the box, sending a crackerjack into the goal in front of the Boothen End.
Peter Hoekstra v Reading
If only every week was Peter Hoekstra against Reading.
If it wasn’t for injuries, the Holland international and former Ajax winger would have been playing at a higher level than League One and the Championship with Stoke.
City fans weren’t complaining as he managed 88 appearances in three years – none more magical than his hat-trick against Reading.
His second goal was the best of the lot as he controlled Lewis Neal’s cross-field pass with a first touch which sent him racing towards the left-edge area.
The second touch gave him time to briefly look up before he hammered a left-footed strike which must have scorched keeper Marcus Hahnemann’s eyebrows on its way into the net.
Peter Hoekstra v Watford
The ball is bouncing high 10 yards outside the box with bodies all around in a bottom half scrap in the Championship in March 2003.
If it was a Question of Sport what happens next moment, answer A would probably be that the nearest player knocks it out wide, answer B would be that he tried to knock it out wide but lost control and answer C would be that this is Peter Hoekstra: goal.
He sent it flying into the top corner to help earn a result crucial to Stoke staying up.
Cameron Jerome v Southampton
Has a ball ever been kicked harder than Cameron Jerome running onto this chest down from Peter Crouch?
We’re not sure, but we know it almost burst the net in December 2012 and heaven help anyone if they had got in the way.
Graham Kavanagh v Walsall
Graham Kavanagh scored some belters and some peaches – the last one at the Victoria Ground and first at the Britannia Stadium to name just two.
But his best was probably in a play-off defeat at Walsall. Rikki Dadason beat Dean Keates in the air to head James O’Connor’s cross from deep across the edge of the area and Kavanagh acrobatically cracked it back past James Walker to open the scoring.
Unfortunately it quickly came apart at the seasons for Gudjon Thordarson’s surprisingly defensive line-up and they lost 4-2.
Kevin Keen v Derby
Look at the angle.
Keen told Duck Magazine in 2017: “It has to be right up with the best goals of my career. My Marco van Basten moment. It was live on TV and it had to be in front of the Boothen – it wouldn’t have had the same magic at the other end.
“When it smashed into the net, that feeling … that’s why you play the game as a kid.”
Marc Muniesa v Burnley
What was on when Marc Muniesa picked up a ball rolled out out of the area by Lee Grant in December 2016?
He skipped a couple of challenges as he strode forward and passed to Giannelli Imbula to make a sweet pass to Xherdan Shaqiri, who in turn threaded the eye of the needle to find Marko Arnautovic right out on the left wing, mid-way inside the Burnley half.
And Muniesa kept on running.
Arnautovic dummied, got to the by-line and pulled back for Muniesa to swing that left boot and clip a shot past Paul Robinson.
The crowd went bananas. Muniesa went bananas. His teammates went bananas.
Toddy Orlygsson v Sunderland
“I have to say I did enjoy every one of my goals,” he said in an interview for Duck.
“But my goal against Sunderland at home is one of my favourites. Running with the ball from the halfway line, going past a few players and a good strike! Okay, I know the keeper could have done better – but hey, it is a good goal!”
Toddy Orlygsson v Watford
Toddy Orlygsson slammed in from a horribly tight angle against Watford during a run when he scored a hatful of goal of the season contenders in just one month.
Kevin Russell v Blackpool
Stoke’s great run under Lou Macari continued with a trip to Blackpool on November 21, 1992 that saw them hit the top of the table with a 3-1 win. They would remain there for the rest of the season.
The victory came courtesy of two goals from Kevin Russell and one from Stein after the Potters had initially fallen behind, leaving their travelling fans singing in the torrential rain on the open terracing.
Russell’s second was special, dancing through the mud through defenders before squeezing a shot inside the post.
Xherdan Shaqiri v Everton
When Xherdan Shaqiri spoke to the Sentinel about his second, sensational goal in a 4-3 win at Goodison Park, he was amused that Marko Arnautovic had just told us he was probably trying to cross to him rather than shoot.
He said: “Arnautovic was offside when Bojan played the pass but I went deep and I think he was always trying to pass to me anyway. The finish was really good.
“I knew what I wanted to do … does it look like I didn’t!? Arnautovic said it was a cross? Well, Arnautovic talks too much, man.
“I don’t know if that’s the best goal I’ve scored. I scored some nice goals in Switzerland. It was the best goal I scored today! It was an important goal so that was really nice.”
Mark Stein v Manchester United
It didn’t matter a jot that Stoke’s 2-1 first leg League Cup victory over Manchester Unite was subsequently overturned by a 2-0 win for United in the Old Trafford return. For Stein’s double in the first leg was a graphic illustration – against quality opposition with Peter Schmeichel in goal – of the dynamite in his boots.
Stein himself later selected that evening in September 1993 as his own personal highlight in a Stoke shirt.
“That night the crowd was anticipating an upset,” he said. “You could taste it in the air.
“And then the place exploded when I scored the first goal. I ran at (Gary) Pallister and hit it on the run and it dipped over Schmeichel and clattered into the stanchion inside the net. I thought, ‘Blimey. I didn’t realise I could do that.’
“In the second half we were kicking towards the Boothen End and just a few minutes after (Dion) Dublin’s equaliser, I struck this lucky shot.
“I don’t mean lucky in the sense that I mis-hit it or anything, but lucky in that to hit two screamers like that in the same game is unusual; for me anyway. It was my lucky night.”
Mark Stein v Rotherham
Not quite as glamorous but what a corker.
He picks up the ball just outside the area in April 1993, is allowed to turn and punishes Rotherham with a finish into the far top corner. Stoke City were within touching distance of the Division Two title.
Mickey Thomas v Liverpool
Phil Thompson’s loose header gave Mickey Thomas half a sight at goal and good grief did he take it. He wrapped his left foot around this one and sent the ball fizzing past Bruce Grobbelaar.
Stefan Thordarson v Charlton
Talking about catching it sweet. Step forward Stefan Thordarson, who stepped forward in a League Cup tie at Charlton with a rocket that was crowned Stoke’s goal of the season for 2000/01.
One of 14 Icelandic players to play for Stoke in the last 25 years or so, he is the only one to have a shirt number retired in his honour at Norrkoping.
Tuncay v Manchester United
Eight days earlier, Tuncay had scarpered from Bolton in a taxi after throwing one of his wobblies following his omission from the bench.
But an altogether more dignified and celebratory exit beckoned this time in October 2010 after the forward scored a belter – Stoke’s first-ever Premier League goal against Manchester United – to leave his grateful team-mates and joyous fans within 10 minutes of a worthy draw.
Gathering a lovely cross-field ball from Marc Wilson, Tuncay cut in from the right flank and let fly with a sumptuous effort that left Edwin van der Sar groping helplessly as the ball seared across his eye-line and billowed the top right-hand corner of his net.
Bedlam ensued as nearly 25,000 Stoke fans celebrated the genuine prospect of a first point against this opposition since promotion in 2008. Javier Hernandez put paid to that.
Jon Walters v Chelsea
A goal too rarely mentioned from April 2011 as Walters brushed aside David Luiz on the half-way line, sprinted into space left by Jose Bosingwa, checked past Michael Essien and smash a right footer past Petr Cech.