Tag: Stoke City

The 200% Pre-Season Previews: Stoke City

The coming nine season will be the fifth since Stoke City ascended back to the Premier League, and in surviving comfortably in this division they continue to frustrate the game’s self-appointed purists. Stoke remain the nearest thing that the division has to an antithesis of the self-image of twenty-first century football. They neither tiki nor do they taka, and for those who are mortally offended by the sight of a football in the air – and it is perhaps worth pointing out at this juncture that these people are seldom those that actually pay for tickets and season tickets at The Britannia Stadium – these offences are compounded by the fact that they have been successful since their promotion, having defied those who predicted that they would plummet like stones upon their arrival amongst such aristocratic company. Seldom have they been overly concerned by relegation scraps, and on top of this they made an FA Cup Final and even had a go in the Europa League last season. One thing that Stoke City have done in recent years is spend money, but the indications this summer have been of a tighter rein on the purse strings, with the club having to sell in order to buy. As a result of this, Stoke have had a quieter summer in the transfer market this year than in recent years, with perhaps...

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Match Of The Past: Stoke City

The next in our series of Match Of The Past – which will have covered all twenty Premier League clubs soon and will be moving onto the Football League thereafter – focusses on Stoke City, and six matches covering the years between 1970 and 1996. The 1970s were a happy decade for the club. In 1972 they won their first major trophy, and there was a hint of what was to come year before, when they reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup before losing to Arsenal. Our first match is their quarter-final match from that competition against Hull City. This is followed up with an away match, against Chelsea from the 1974/75 season. Our third match features Stoke seeking promotion from the Second Division in 1979 and is a home match against West Ham United. We then have two matches from the early 1980s, an away match against Sunderland from the 1982/83 season – Stoke City are in sky blue for that match – and a home match against West Ham United from the following season. Our final match is from the 1995/96, and features Stoke on their travels again, this time to play Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux, featuring a very dazed looking Wolves goalkeeper Mike Stowell and impromptu goalkeeping performance from the late Dean Richards. You can follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter by clicking...

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The Welcome Return Of The Crouchasaurus

Fifty-eight minutes of largely uninspiring football had been played when, quite out of the blue, we witnessed one of the greatest moments of this Premier League season, and all from the most unexpected of sources. It could be argued that there was something defiantly Stoke City about Peter Crouch’s goal against Manchester City last night. The ball didn’t touch the ground from the moment that Asmir Begovic cleared it down-field until the back of his opposite numbers net rippled. It was the absolutely definitive antithesis of tiki-taka, and it was absolutely magnificent. This year’s Goal Of The Season debate surely has to be over. As football continues to become technically more sophisticated at its highest level, a certain orthodoxy has settled over perceptions of what does and doesn’t constitute “attractive” football in the modern era. Stoke City have become a group personification of something that many have chosen to loathe, and there has been a hum of satisfaction that their limits have been tested more rigorously that in recent years this season. What is undeniable, however, is the fact that there is a primal, visceral rush that thumps us right in the synapses when their directness hits its target. A team that has arguably become over-reliant on set-pieces of the sort that are rehearsed time and again on the training ground demonstrated, in the space of just a few...

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Match Of The Week: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-2 Stoke City

According to the current Premier League orthodoxy, the Vandals are playing the Visigoths at Molineux this afternoon. Wolverhampton Wanderers and Stoke City don’t fit with the marketing profile of the division. These are two clubs that upset people aesthetically. They’re not as glamorous as some would like, and they don’t play football in the way that those that seem to care about this sort of thing are concerned, and neither do they just sit back and accept their inevitable fate. Stoke City have managed an FA Cup final appearance and have held their own in the Europa League so far this season, whilst Wolves survived the cut by the skin of their teeth last season and, despite a dismal run of form during the autumn, have shown signs of life again in recent weeks. With Christmas eight days away, there are empty seats at Molineux this afternoon – even some of the most fanatical of football supporters have families and friends to buy presents for, after all. In addition to this, we have the arguably less forgivable sight of a dozen or so home supporters dressed as Santa Claus. In an era during which stewards and the police seem more than happy to eject people from football grounds for breathing in the wrong direction, would it be too much to ask to also eject those that turn up in...

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The Twohundredpercent Pre-Season Previews: Stoke City

Twelfth, eleventh, thirteenth. Stoke City start their fourth season in the Premier League having been a model of consistency during their time back in the top flight, but this season will bring new challenges that the club has not faced before. The club’s run in the FA Cup came to frame their season but, even though they ended that run at Wembley with a defeat at the hands of Manchester City, their reward came with City’s fourth place finish in the Premier League, all of which meant that Stoke City would go on to play in this season’s Europa League. Whether this proves to be a double-edged sword, however, may come to be the defining story of the coming season for the club. If nothing else, Stoke City has come to be the living definition of the football club as a bunker mentality. There were points during last season at which the criticism of the club, its support, its manager and his methods crossed a line and became mere outright abuse, but the supporters of the club ended their season in dramatic fashion, defiantly belting out their song, “Delilah”, as Manchester City walked away with a trophy that may well come to be regarded by the winners as little more than a stepping stone on the way to greater glory. Stoke City, though are one hundred and forty-eight years...

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