The Bluebirds & the Potters | Making the move
As the Bluebirds prepare to welcome the Potters to Cardiff City Stadium this weekend, we take a look at two players who made the move to South Wales from Stoke City.
There have been a number of players who have transitioned from the red and white of Stoke to the blue of City. We take a look at two who arrived together and left their mark on the Club.
The first of the two we’re looking at is the man who wore a magic hat. Thorne made the move to the Potteries from Swindon Town in 1997. In his four seasons at Stoke, Thorne scored 65 times in over 150 appearances.
Having started the season with four goals from five, Thorne was snapped up by the Bluebirds for a then reported fee of £1.7 million. Injury would hurt Thorne’s time with City, but he still had many memorable moments in a blue shirt.
Thorne was able to play a full season in 2002-03 and linked up well with his strike partner Robert Earnshaw. Between them, they scored 52 goals in a season, with Thorne chipping in with 16 of those goals, including the all-important goal against Bristol City in the playoff semi-final, as City returned to the second tier.
The following season, Thorne stepped up with a mesmeric performance against his old side, scoring a hat-trick in a 3-2 win at the Britannia. A powerful low effort and two headers enough for City to take all three points, and for Thorne to stick it to the Potters.
In his 126 appearances, Thorne scored 46 times for the Bluebirds, and eventually left for Norwich City after four seasons at the Club.
The other player who made the move to Wales alongside Thorne was Graham Kavanagh. Kav played for Stoke the most during his distinguished career, donning the stripped shirt on 203 occasions, and helped them lift the Football League Trophy in 2000.
After spending five years in Staffordshire, the Bluebirds acquired his services. During his time down at Ninian Park, the Irishman was a staple of the midfield, and was involved in some of the club’s brightest moments in the early part of the decade, especially in his first season at the Club.
Kavanagh scored 16 goals in his debut seasons, including goals that will live long in the memory of the City faithful; a goal against Premier League Leeds United in the FA Cup and the winner to defeat Swansea City in the FAW Premier Cup all spring to mind. Ultimately the season would end in heartbreak for Kavanagh and his side, as they were defeated by Stoke in the play-offs. The Bluebirds and Kavanagh wouldn’t have to wait long to return to the second tier, as they beat QPR in the final the following year.
Kavanagh would face off against his former club seven times and would be on the right end of those games on four occasions. Kav was known to be some sort of set-piece whisperer, and he would use his mastery to help City to wins over the Potters. His pinpoint corner found the head of Danny Gabbidon to help Lennie Lawrence’s side to a 3-1 win over Stoke in 2003.
Kavanagh would leave in 2005 and head to Wigan Athletic, but he will always be a fans favourite in our part of South Wales.