There is some doubt over when Stoke came into existence. It is reported that a club was formed in 1863 by former pupils of the Charterhouse School, but there is little evidence of matches being played.
A report in The Field magazine on 1868 stated that a club had been formed in Stoke-on-Trent and that its founder member was ex-Charterhouse School pupil Henry Almond.
So it is possible that matches had been played over the previous five years but the first on record played by Almond's team was in October 1868 and consisted mainly of railway employees. The team was called Stoke Ramblers.
The club turned professional in 1885, and became owners of their stadium, the Victoria Ground, around 1919. The club's most celebrated player Stanley Matthews made his debut in the 1930s and helped the club achieve promotion to the top flight in 1933.