Much to my son's continued disgust, Stoke City are the least interesting Premiership club to support during the transfer window.
Almost the entire school summer holidays can be wasted parked in front of Sky Sports News watching absolutely nothing happening.
Or as Sir Anthony Pulis would put it, 'waiting for something to drop'.
(Which apparently doesn't include the penny that says we really don't need another centre half or even centre forward but God do we need some full backs and a central midfielder, and quick.)
Frankly it's enough to turn a 15 year old into a Sunderland fan, at least for the duration of the window.
How exciting that must be: watching players come, go, nearly come, nearly go, pass within 150 miles of the Stadium of Light on their way to visit the in-laws only to find themselves snapped up on double the salary just because they stopped off for a cup of tea somewhere outside Carlisle.
Contrast that with Stoke City; for a start you can discount any player we're linked with as they will also be linked to several other clubs all of whom will be prepared to pay them more money and probably not ask them to work quite so 'ard.
We know immediately whether they're a genuine possibility if the announcer on SSN prefaces the player's name with 'injury prone', 'addict', 'convicted murderer', 'cat-strangler', 'pensioner', 'free agent', 'recently retired', 'unknown' and so on.
Realistically, potential Stoke City signings fall into one of 3 categories:
1. Good players with a dodgy history (gambling, drugs, ADHD, off-field philandering, custodial sentences, dogging, roasting, toasting, sledging, spitting, knitting, narcolepsy - the list is frankly endless as long as it lowers the price and number of potential competitors for the player's signature)
2. Experienced players with injury problems (Achilles, hamstrings, knees, bad backs, whiplash, chronic arthritis, rheumatism, tennis elbow, heart failure, brain failure, narcolepsy, epilepsy, hayfever, yellow fever, cup fever etc etc)
3. 'ard working players from the championship who are not quite good enough but might be as long as "they buy into this football club's 'ard work ethic of 'ard work and then more 'ard work followed by a day of really really 'ard work as a reward for all their 'ard work "
We are the masters of the last minute deal, many of whom we get really, really excited about
Our only signing to date, Jonathan Woodgate, is the living (or barely living) embodiment of Category 2, suffering, as he does, from every single complaint listed above.
But apart from him, we remain seated in front of SSN with no expectations other than to be informed of a whole host of players who've turned us down for being unglamorous, not in the north and not in the south (that’ll be the midlands then), not paying enough, not liking our style of football, not liking cold, wind or rain, having an allergy to the angle of the roof on the Family Stand, their agent not liking the M6, there being no Pizza Express in Stoke, and preferring Cliff Richard to Tom Jones thus only being prepared to sign if the fans dispense with Delilah and adopt Wired For Sound as their anthem.
We are the masters of the last minute deal, many of whom we get really, really excited about like Eidur Gudjohnnsen only to discover the reason they came to us was.... was..... well, actually none of us can work out why Eidur came to us except that we were pathetically grateful to sign a player of his stature and prepared to pay him a wad of cash without realising he'd formally retired from the game but singularly failed to inform anyone of the fact.
And then there are the last minute signings that barely warrant a raising of the head from the summer long transfer inactivity torpor, like Jon Walters & Dean Whitehead, who turn out to be worth a thousand Eidur Fatjohnnssens and exemplify further TP's mastery of the dark arts of footballing alchemy.
So that's it basically.
We sit, we wait, we arch an eyebrow, we groan, we nod off, and we repeatedly utter the mantra that has served us so well in the past: 'Trust in Tony'.
Or we pretend to support Sunderland for the close season.
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