Michael Baggaley: From Chic Bates street parties to putting the wind up Wilson Palacios, the plans they didn't want you to know about
S TOKE City revealed this week they have applied for planning permission to fill in a corner of the Britannia Stadium and take the capacity to 30,000.
In a further exciting development, a dusty file has been found at the Civic Centre, containing some long forgotten applications from our football clubs.
Brace yourselves for a run-down of the ideas that were never made public.
1) Application to close roads within three-mile radius of the Britannia Stadium for street parties, 1997.
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Stoke chief executive Jez Moxey announced, to much excitement, that City were about to unveil a new manager and the signing of an England international.
The next day they appointed former assistant boss Chic Bates as manager while an ageing and creaking Paul Stewart was unmasked as the marquee signing.
Woolworths reported queues of fans returning value packs of party poppers.
Other fans held on to theirs throughout that relegation season, but found they were out of date by the time they were next required.
2) Application for scientific research facility, Victoria Ground, 1995.
Amid claims that Stoke centre-forward Keith Scott was actually moving, although this was not visible to the naked eye.
Debate was raging as to whether the phenomenon was due to movement in the earth's crust or a rise in tidal levels. Either way, sharp atmospheric changes were being noticed in the Boothen End whenever the ball went near the striker.
However, plans had to be shelved when manager Lou Macari sold Scott to Norwich in an inspired swap deal for Mike Sheron.
3) Application for a Secret Lair at Sideway Incinerator, 2003.
After searching in vain for a suitable disused volcano in North Staffordshire, Stoke's Icelandic owners needed a headquarters from which to direct their dastardly plan to buy Port Vale.
City chairman Gunnar Gislason, who had taken to stroking a white cat, was keen to move the Vale to the Britannia Stadium in a development which could eventually lead to the merger of the Potteries clubs and the demise of the Valiants.
The plot was thwarted by Port Vale administrator Bob Young following a heated meeting with the Icelanders.
Bob Young: "Do you expect me to talk?"
Gunnar Gislason: "No Mr Young, I expect you to ignore subsection 22 (b) of the Football League regulations."
4) Application for a pot-holing training centre, Railway Paddock toilets, Vale Park, 2004.
Season-ticket holders recommended the infamous toilets would be ideal for enthusiasts who wanted to explore wild cave systems while ankle deep in water and in complete darkness.
However, the application was rejected on safety grounds because of the danger of noxious gases.
Concerns were raised after a steward was spotted entering the toilets at half time carrying a canary.
5) Application for a Wilson Palacios Wind Farm, Britannia Stadium, 2012.
The name would put a positive spin on an unfortunate misunderstanding after manager Tony Pulis appeared to claim it was too windy for Honduras international Palacios to play one afternoon.
It is thought wind turbines around the Britannia Stadium would provide enough energy to light up the whole of the Potteries, or keep six radios going for the entire length of a Dario Gradi interview from the Radio Stoke archives.
This was seen as the best way of turning the Britannia's notorious wind problem into a solution.
Complainants include a bearded lady from Sunderland on the front row of the South Stand. On further inspection it turned out she was the victim of someone taking candy floss into the Boothen End.
RARELY has the honour of a Potteries sportsman been so besmirched as in this week's tale of Ted 'The Count' Hankey in Wolverhampton.
The two-time world champion, from Bentilee, crashed out of the Grand Slam of Darts with a 5-0 defeat to Michael van Gerwen – and then had to suffer accusations that he was legless.
Fingers were pointed because Ted averaged just 59, was rubbing his eyes and 'looking disorientated' and also at one stage forgot what score he was on.
Bookmakers Paddy Power refunded bets and claimed The Count was "aiming at the wrong type of doubles".
Okay, let's first of all consider the chilling prospect of spending a whole evening at a darts event in Wolverhampton while totally sober. You'd have to be insane.
That aside, Hankey's manager has explained that The Count wasn't drunk, but was merely feeling the effects of medication for a chest infection.
I'm with Ted all the way on this one.
After all, this is a man who, while in full charge of his faculties, strides out on stage dressed in a Count Dracula cape and, to the spine-chilling midnight chimes of a lonely church bell, showers the audience with plastic bats.
RETIREMENT, a chance for sports stars to smell the roses, or in the case of some Premier League footballers, spend the mornings as well as the afternoons on the golf course.
Not so Frankel, the champion racehorse who has just retired unbeaten after winning 14 races.
His destination is Banstead Manor Stud Farm near Newmarket, where he will be asked to "cover" 100 mares a year while his owners charge £125,000 a time.
So no chance for the poor beggar to put his hooves up ... or at least I don't think so as I'm not entirely sure how these things work.
It's thought to be the most lucrative deal of its kind in sporting history – okay, horse racing history, as this sort of arrangement has yet to be tried in crown green bowls.
However, it does beg two questions:
a) Couldn't he just go off and run a pub?
b) What happens when he just wants a back rub and a fighting chance of staying awake for Stoke's late slot on Match of the Day?
Is there a clause?