Stoke City End Of Term Report
The ‘I f*cking love this game’ highlight of the season?
Hajduk Split’s 500 fans who came to the Brit in July. A stunning display of support for your club that was simply untameable devotion on another scale from what I’ve ever seen before; The ten minutes or so after Crouchy’s wonder volley against Man City – the Stoke Poznan with all 25,000 joining in; winding Wenger up. Again; Ricardo Fuller’s reception in the last game. A bloke who single-handedly got my kids into supporting Stoke City and kept their old man walking to the ground with joy in his heart and a spring in his step; seeing my club play a Euro away – something I never thought I’d type.
The season ticket shredding moment?
Pick any number of away-day surrenders or our manager’s Holy Grail of playing as many different players at right back as it was humanly possible in one single game. Stoke fans giving Demba Ba stick for failing a medical – yeah, go figure that one out.
Moment that just about summed it all up?
Liverpool away in the cup, 45th minute. Quite brilliant, old skool away support saw Jon ‘willing-workhorse-but-should-be-nowhere-near-our-first-team-instead-of-Fuller-and-Jerome’ Walters one-on-one with Reina at one-each.
As usual, he didn’t score and we didn’t come out for the second half. End of season.
Got the right manager?
Yes, but I’d keep an eye on us if we don’t start well. We’ve spent plenty of ding, and there have been mumblings about a continual lack of quality, lack of plan B, perception of getting to 40 points as the be-all-and-end-all, square pegs in round holes etc.
It’s hard to criticise and not come over as a JCL, post-92 whopper when you see Stoke City in the FA Cup Final and Europe. But the ones moaning are those who have done their time watching us all over the country, in our darkest hours. The joy of following Stoke away from home has all but been sucked out of us now.
“Eternally grateful, but too-often bored”. As my mate said.
Player of the season?
Crouch. Scored lots in a team that creates next to nothing. I dread to think where we’d have been without him. Huth and Shawcross are as good a defensive pairing as there is, too. We also have as good a pairing of goalkeepers as there is in the league, too. Shame we can’t say the same in more entertaining areas of the pitch, eh?
What would you change next term if you were the gaffer?
I’d quite like a striker alongside Crouch whose main responsibility ISN’T defending or someone playing in the same postcode as the best target man in the country. We also lost our tempo last season. Stoke at full tilt are thrilling to watch no matter what the footballing snobs say. Apart from the big boys at home, we spent the season treading water, tempo-wise and also volume-wise too.
Which player would you like to sign?
A full back. Any proper full back. And a central midfielder. Any proper central midfielder.
Playing the reserves in Valencia. Possibly our third biggest game ever, 7,000 Stoke there and we put out the (with respect) stiffs. Baffling, infuriating and yet we won the next two home league games, so it possibly even kept us up.
I would say Arsene, but he’s turned himself into a bit of a cartoon character when he visits ST4 and actually gets the crowd involved. No, he’s too easy.
I’ll go for any manager who loses or draws at The Brit. None do so with any class or grace at all, eh Mr Mancini?
Best away pub?
The Ship and Mitre, Liverpool for ale. Fulham away is always a great awayday on the rattler from Stoke. Good turnout of those who want a proper sing-song and pub crawl. The game, as ever, is the worst part of the day.
Why would I buy a pie at football? Is this ‘Match’ magazine?
Although this tume has been rinsed by various clubs all season……In Valencia…“We wanna stay here, we wanna stay heeeere, Stoke is a sh**hole, we wanna stay here”.
Perceptive self-mockery always does it for me.
Player’s tweet of the season?
Tweets are either for the socially bankrupt or the young.
Best laugh you had all season?
Any awayday spent with mates and not having to drag my kids with me. Harsh, but laddishly fair.
How do you plan to get through the summer without football?
Laugh at clueless whoppers, head to toe in facepaint, pretending they know anything about football. Then laughing as the facepaint runs down their cheeks as ‘Team Ingerlund’ fall spectacularly short again.
Unpatriotic? No, I want England to win. I just love the irony of clowns all over the country who have no interest in the working man’s ballet suddenly thinking they have an opinion worth listening to. This after slating their local team(s) on a daily basis.
I’m also finishing my first book, too (shameless, eh?).
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