Stoke City secured a third season in the Barclays Premier League with an impressive 11th place finish at the end of 2009/10.
Manager Tony Pulis again exceeded expectations by confirming the Potters' place in the top flight with a handful of matches to spare a year after they placed 12th.
This is Pulis' second spell in charge at the club. He originally parted company with the Potters at the end of the 2004/05 season. Dutch manager Johan Boskamp stepped in but left at the end of the season after a mid-table finish.
Boskamp's departure came as former-chairman Peter Coates was completing a takeover of the club and he reappointed Pulis who, after leading the club to eighth in the 2006/07 season, guided them to promotion.
Prior to their promotion, Stoke had not competed in the top flight since the 1984/85 season.
Their most recent trophy was won in 2000 when their first overseas manager, Gudjon Thordarson, guided them to The Auto Windscreens trophy. It was the Icelander who led them to promotion into the First Division in 2001.HERITAGE
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.
Stoke mounted a serious title challenge in the 1946/47 season but missed out on the final day. Matthews, at the age of 32, opted to join Blackpool two matches earlier.
The club won its first major trophy in 1972 when beating Chelsea 2-1 to win the League Cup. They played a staggering 11 matches before achieving this feat.
The Potters have enjoyed sustained spells in the top tier of English football, while also residing in the Second Division, notably for a ten-year period in the 1950s and early 60s. Under Tony Waddington they remained in the First Division between 1963 and 1977, and it was in that period that they won their only major trophy.
Stoke had been back in the top flight for six successive seasons before they were relegated in 1984/85. The Potters remained in the Second Division for the rest of the decade. Between 1980 and 1990, the club had five managers and five chairmen.
Under Alan Ball, the club were relegated to the Third Division in 1991 and he failed to earn them promotion the following season. Lou Macari, though, steered them back up in time for the 1992/93 season, and made it two promotions in two campaigns by taking the club up to Division One that season.
Stoke consolidated their position for five seasons before relegation in 1997/98. Four seasons in the Second Division followed, until Thordarson took them back up. PREMIER LEAGUE HISTORY
2008/09 - Stoke consolidate their place in the Barclays Premier League
2009/10 - The Potters retain their Barclays Premier League status
Manager Tony Pulis
Tony Pulis' record of never being relegated as a manager is proudly intact after he secured a third successive Barclays Premier League campaign for Stoke City.
Pulis guided the Potters back to England's elite league after an absence of 23 years when they finished as Championship runners-up in 2008.
He had ambitions of becoming a manager from a young age, when at 19, Pulis got his FA coaching badge, then two years later obtained his UEFA A Licence.
Pulis was one of the youngest players to obtain his coaching badges during his playing days with Bristol Rovers, AFC Bournemouth and Gillingham.
Like many players keen to get into management, Pulis became a player-coach during his second spell at Bournemouth.
Harry Redknapp appointed him as his assistant and Pulis replaced went on to replace him as manager when Redknapp departed for West Ham United in 1992.
After two seasons with the Cherries, Pulis went back to another of his old clubs, this time Gillingham.AUTOMATIC PROMOTION
In his first season at Preistfield, Pulis steered the Gills to runners-up in the old Third Division and automatic promotion. Not bad considering the previous season, Gillingham were five points off dropping out of the Football League.
He established Gillingham in the old Second Division with midtable finishes over the following two campaigns.
In his fourth and final season at the club, Pulis took the Gills to the play-off final where they faced Manchester City. Two goals up with just two minutes left, they were on course to seal a place in the old First Division. But two last-gasp City goals levelled the scores to bring extra-time and they lost the penalty shoot-out.
Pulis was dismissed from his post at Gillingham and took up the reins at Bristol City ahead of the 1999/00 campaign. He did not stay long at Ashton Gate and was on his way to become manager of Portsmouth six months later.
He did not have the best of times during his stint with Pompey and was replaced by Steve Claridge 10 months later.
A period of two years out of work came to end when Pulis took charge of Stoke City after Steve Cotterill was sacked in November 2002. Stoke were at the foot of the table for much of the campaign but Pulis ensured they avoided relegation on the final day of the season.
Things improved in 2003/04 as the Potters ended up in 11th and then 12th the year after before he was sacked in June 2005.
A few months later, Pulis was in the hotseat at Plymouth Argyle and spent a season there, leading them to 14th position in the Championship.
He returned to Stoke in June 2006 and a number of inspired signings led to an excellent campaign. Danny Higginbotham, Ricardo Fuller and Vincent Pericard came in, along with loan signings Lee Hendrie, Andy Griffin and Rory Delap.
The Manager of the Month award for April was won by Pulis and Stoke had a late surge for the play-offs but just missed out, finishing in eighth.
However, 2007/08 was to be Pulis' season. Although Higginbotham left for Sunderland, Pulis brought in fine additions to freshen up his side and they had one of their best-ever seasons, finishing as Championship runners-up on the last day of the season to secure promotion to the top flight. Stoke have upset the odds with Pulis leading them to two successive seasons in the Barclays Premier League.