What is the most asked question about Stoke City?
Yes, that’s right. According to Google, the most searched question about the Potters – lock down or no lock down – is this: why do Stoke fans sing Delilah?
It has been heard on most match days for 30 years… but why did supporters adopt Tom Jones classic Delilah as their own anthem?
It is a question that made Graeme Souness so paranoid while he was manager of Liverpool in the early 1990s he demanded his press corps to deliver an answer mid-game.
It was sung at its loudest probably at Wembley in 1992, drowning out poor Ivan Gaskell on Radio Stoke as he tried to describe the scenes after Stoke had won the Autoglass Trophy under Lou Macari.
And it still makes hairs stand on end, heard everywhere from weddings to funerals and brilliant boxing walk ons.
Anton Booth, owner of Newcastle-based roofing firm A.D Booth & Sons and known as TJ among Stoke supporters, claims to have unwittingly kick-started the Delilah phenomenon among fans after he began to sing it in a pub in the late 1980s.
“I still can’t believe the phenomenon over singing Delilah,” he told the Sentinel in 2009.
“It all began at an away game in Derby (in April 1987) where we were all in a pub and the police asked us not to sing a song with swear words on. So we put Delilah on the jukebox, and I got up on a table and started singing it. We sang it in the ground and it just went from there.”
Other theories include a hangover from a gig the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, rather than Jones, held at the Victoria Ground in May 1975, unleashing their own version of the hit.
Stoke fans have actually tweaked the lyrics away from its jealousy-inspired murder theme… but the Boothen End version is no less controversial.
Either way, songwriter Barry Mason, who penned the hit after a doomed love affair of his own, said: “Delilah lends itself to a football anthem. It is a drinking song really, you need a pint in one hand and a scarf in the other.
“I would like to thank the Stoke fans for what they have done. It is a big compliment and it means that the song lives on.”