Stoke City: 'My dad said Franklin was the greatest, and that's good enough for me'
Stoke City are 150 years old this year, so what better way to mark the occasion than by recalling their finest players?
Club director KEITH HUMPHREYS today selects his favourite line-up from the Potters stars he has seen play over the years.
We'd love you to do the same. Just tell us how long you have been following the Potters, name your best Stoke City team and manager, and then give the reasons for your choices.
The best response will win a framed and signed poster of Stoke skipper Ryan Shawcross, plus a signed copy of a fabulous pictorial of the Potters entitled Stoke City: A Nostalgic Look at a Century Of The Club.
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KEITH Humphreys has chosen his all-time Stoke City dream team from no fewer than seven different decades.
A director for the past 27 years after following his father, Alex, on to the Stoke board, Humphreys junior first began watching his beloved club more than 20 years earlier.
He confessed to quite a few highly personal selections for nostalgic reasons, while also sprinkling his team with more conventional quality from down the years.
He refused to be drawn on who should manage the team, however, after admiring the respective qualities and achievements of both Tony Waddington and Tony Pulis.
Perhaps Waddington could be the father figure in the manager's office and Pulis the boss on the training ground.
But who would select the starting 11 come Saturday afternoon?
GORDON BANKS (246 apps 1967-72)
THE best ever, what more can you say? His penalty save against West Ham in the League Cup semi-final in 1972 took us through to the magnificent occasion of a Wembley victory.
LEE DIXON (88 apps 1985-86)
I WAS at the tribunal when we signed Lee from Bury. He was a great attacking right-back, and was helped out defensively by the under-rated Tony Ford.
ANDY GRIFFIN (139 apps 1996-98, 2006-07 & 2008-10)
ANDY was a great young left-back who burst on to the scene at such an early age. I remember Lou Macari saying "we've got something special in the reserves"' and the next thing you know he's making his first-team debut.
DENIS SMITH (482 apps 1968-82)
MR Stoke City. He was the toughest centre-half in the game and it was a shame he never became our manager.
NEIL FRANKLIN (162 apps 1939-50)
I'M going to break the rule here because I never actually saw Neil play, but my father, Alex, says he was the best-ever Stoke City player. That's good enough for me, so he gets my vote at centre-half.
STANLEY MATTHEWS (355 apps 1932-47 & 1961-65)
THE first European footballer-of-the-year and the first player to be knighted. He was past his best when I saw him play, but you are allowed to be when you are approaching 50. Still worthy of a slot on the right of midfield.
ALAN HUDSON (162 apps 1974-76 & 1984-85)
MY all-time favourite player. It's just a shame his England career didn't give him the reward his football ability deserved.
JOHN DEVINE (16 apps 1985-86)
THIS is a personal one because John joined the club on the same day I joined the board in 1985. He was also an excellent player, but one whose career was cruelly cut short by a broken leg. But I'd play him in the middle with Alan Hudson.
MARK CHAMBERLAIN (125 apps 1982-85)
FOR a short period of his career, Mark was the most exciting and arguably the best-ever player for Stoke City. He was just electric, and I remember sitting in front of Bobby Robson at one game when I heard him saying, "What a player!" That's good enough for me, so Mark would be on the left of my midfield.
RICARDO FULLER (208 apps 2006-12)
ONE of Stoke's best-ever signings who scored many great goals and was exciting to watch.
JIMMY GREENHOFF (338 apps 1969-76)
THE best player never to be capped by England.
He played superbly with Alan Hudson, and I'll always remember his great goal at Birmingham, something I was reminded of by Peter Crouch's superb volley against Manchester City last season.
ASMIR BEGOVIC (90 apps 2010-)
SORRY you're not in the team Asmir, but it's no disgrace to be behind Gordon Banks.
RYAN SHAWCROSS (226 apps 2008-)
A GREAT captain and an excellent young man.
RORY DELAP (208 apps 2006-)
A WONDERFUL servant for Stoke, and what fun we've had with his throw.
JOHN RITCHIE (343 apps 1963-66 & 1969-74)
HIS debut was my first away game when I was 10 years-old, Leeds in the FA Cup in 1963.
MARK STEIN (134 apps 1991-93 & 1996-97)
WHAT a great signing for Stoke City. I also remember playing tennis against him on a pre-season tour to the Isle of Man when he was a little bit fitter than me.
TONY WADDINGTON (1960-77) & TONY PULIS (2002-05 & 2006-)
I WON'T be split between the two Tonys, Waddington and Pulis.