By Calvin Palmer
It is Cup Final week and to mark Stoke City reaching the first FA Cup Final in the club’s 138-year history, I have posted a Stoke-on-Trent gallery on Calvin Palmer Photography.
The B&W images were shot during a visit to the UK in March, my first visit back in 11 years. How I wish I could have made my second visit in time for this Saturday’s Wembley final. Alas funds do not allow, so it will be the Fox Soccer Channel for me.
I was lucky enough to attend the League Cup Final at Wembley in 1972 when Stoke City beat Chelsea 2-1. Although I enjoyed the atmosphere that came with victory, the match itself was a nerve-wracking and tense experience made worse by the fact that I was in the seats. I think I would have coped better in the standing section behind the goal. I usually stood at football matches in those days but outside the ground someone offered me a ticket for the seats in exchange for a standing ticket. That seemed like a good deal at the time.
Although it is 38 years since I last lived in Stoke, I still regard the place as home. When people ask me, “Where are you from?” I always reply, “Stoke, Stoke-on-Trent.” I have never said my place of residence. How could I? It is Stoke that has moulded me, for better or worse, into the person that I am.
It is the kind of place that engenders a fierce sense of loyalty and pride. Don’t ask me why because, in reality, it is a grim industrial place; some would even say a dump but that assertion is the sole preserve of those born or raised there. Anyone else passing such a comment runs the risk of being a candidate for a thick ear or bosted lip.