2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Has He Been To Stoke Already ?? Pretty Sure We've Seen Him! Or A Few Like Him.

We've had our share of interesting decisions at Stoke lately. But last night at Charlton Steve Artis proved again that ref's and their assistants are only human and that in the heat of the match its possible for them to get things horribly wrong.

Handball there definitely wasn't by the Charlton defender Triore....but the consequent, wrongly awarded free kick led to Fulham's equaliser. Its only a game, but the future financial consequences of such decisions can often be considerable.

It may be my imagination but often it seems to be the case that, physically, the closer the official is to an incident the less he/she actually sees.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Deon Does For Potters : Stoke City 1 Sheffield Wednesday 2

It has often been the case that Stoke do not rise to the Boxing Day occasion turning in lacklustre performances.Yesterday's match,however was emphatically NOT one of those below par performances, in front of a big holiday crowd, the best of the season so far at 23,003.

The result was disappointing but Stoke lost a hard fought game to a Sheffield Wednesday team who were clearly up for it, and certainly were not afraid to mix it physically with Stoke. 7 Sheffield bookings to 3 for Stoke confirms that impression.Referee Foy-after long consultation with his assistant- defused the games nastiest moment by booking both Lee Hendrie for a late tackle, and the recipient Andrews for retaliation. It has to be said that the latter was the luckier of the two in that he avoided the red card.

A further observation is that Lee Hendrie had clearly been targetted by Sheffield, and (like many other players before him) he is not nearly so effective for the team once he starts to get involved in exchanges with opposing players and officials rather than simply getting on with his game. That said, once again he was involved in Stoke's equalising goal,providing the excellent cross for Sidibe's 12 yard header at the Boothen End.

Stoke put together some really good football at times and could have scored at least twice in the first half before The Owls got their opening goal, but overall the visitors looked more energetic than the home team. Something had obviously been said at halftime with Stoke opening in more lively fashion, their efforts culminating in Sidibe's equaliser.

Throughout it was evident that the visitors had come for more than one point. Their positive approach was rewarded with a winning goal from ex-Stokie substitute Deon Burton, who netted after one of those 'bagatelle' moments in the Stoke goalmouth which featured shooting, good saves, rebounds,interceptions, before Burton finally put the ball in the net despite Stoke's best defensive efforts.

On balance Stoke should have got something from the game, against a spirited, determined, and at times adventurous Sheffield side, which will be no push over for anyone in the remainder of the season. Looking on the bright side whilst Stoke drop out of the playoff places they are still very much in touch being only 4 points off an outright promotion place !!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Stoke Bounce Back At Ipswich

Stoke quickly put last week's defeat at Colchester behind them, securing an excellent 1-0 victory at Ipswich. The match itself was not notable for its quality, but again brings us 3 welcome points, with the added bonus that we are now back in the playoff places in 4th spot.

The return of Salif Diao clearly made a real difference, bringing quality, stability, simplicity, and linkage to the team. Again Lee Hendrie made a telling contribution to the match, his clever back heel setting up Liam Lawrence to score the winning goal in the 71st minute.

Enforced changes to the back four might have been expected to cause disruption.Another excellent cleansheet speaks for itself though!!

Things are now set up nicely for the match against Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day.

LINK: Sunday Times Match Report

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Stoke City To Return To Winning Ways at Ipswich Today?

After last week's defeat at Colchester brought Stoke's run of success to an end some doubters surfaced again but it was interesting to hear mainly positives from most committed fans.

In a wide ranging interview with Radio Stoke it is interesting to have Manager Tony Pulis's upbeat take on 'all things Stoke' just ahead of the festive period fixtures and the reopening transfer window in January.

LINK: Tony Pulis - Radio Stoke

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Stoke City Old Boy - Colchester Utd Striker Chris Iwelumo

LINK :Chris Iwelumo Profile

Saturday's match promises to be a very close game as Stoke City's miserly defence pits its wits against the freescoring Colchester forward line. Certainly Colchester have the firepower, especially at home, to threaten Stoke's record breaking run of 7 cleansheets.

Joint top scorers - each with 10 goals - are Jamie Cureton and ex- Stokie Chris Iwelumo. In Colchester's last home match Iwelumo netted four times against admittedly poor Hull City.

Colchester have a fine home record having won their last 8 home games on the spin.Stoke though, on current form would fancy their chances of coming away from Layer Road with at least a draw.

Sam Bangoura....On His Way?

Back in November after the Hull City match this blog made the following observation :

"Most pleasing was that Sam Bangoura played a part in Russell's goal. Manager Pulis has kept him on the bench for a long time,quite deliberately - and rightly- to be sure, making the point firmly that the club is bigger than the player, however much he may have cost in transfer fees.Playing on the club's terms rather than his own, if Bangoura really has got the message, then he could well find that there will be more opportunities to make a serious contribution to the cause. "

It seems that there are to be no more opportunities with news that Bangoura will be put in the shop window by being loaned out to FC Brussels.It is a pity that this talented striker is unreliable in other ways: ways which undermine not only himself but potentially the team and the club management also.Shrewdly Tony Pulis has not left himself exposed as Johann Boskamp unwittingly did last season.

It remains to be seen how much of their record £900,000 outlay Stoke can recoup when and if Bangoura moves on permanently.Eliminating his substantial wagebill should open up possibilities for incoming players.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Keeno Caretaker At West Ham

Following today's sacking of West Ham Manager Alan Pardew, first team coach and ex Stokie Kevin Keen takes over temporarily.

Keeno has been spotted several times recently on the touchline during televised West Ham matches.Given West Ham's recent form we wonder how long he will survive once a new manager is appointed.

Keeno featured in the last Stoke team (1995 -96) that made a concerted bid for entry into the Premiership. He did not, however,figure in the playoff matches themselves in which Martin O'Neill's Leicester team mugged Lou Macari's Potters.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Not As Tight As The Scoreline Would Suggest : Stoke City 1 QPR 0

In the event Stoke had all their frontline players available. Against a robust QPR team they had chances to enhance the scoreline, but in the end depended on Higginbottom's first half penalty conversion, after Fuller was impeded in the box.

Amongst other chances QPR goalkeeper Royce pulled off a magnificent first half save from a Hendrie shot, after some really swift and incisive build up play by Stoke. Only Pericard will know how he missed an open goal when set up by a Berger cut back in the last few minutes, however.

Stoke looked sharp in the first half playing some class football, if occasionally they did overelaborate their moves. In the second half the team was less ambitious, and QPR came more into things, but did not penetrate the excellent Stoke defence - which now has delivered 7 consecutive clean sheets - too often.

Andy Griffin completed his loan spell from Portsmouth with a masterly display on the left side of defence, which rightly earned him Man of the Match from the sponsors.Nothing is ever certain, but it looks quite likely that he will return to Stoke on a permanent basis in January.

An excellent result, plus 5th in the league table, not at all a bad day's work, in front of an appreciative crowd, on what was easily the coldest day at the Britannia so far this season.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Leading Players Missing against QPR on Saturday?

Injuries and compassionate leave could well have an adverse effect on team selection for Saturday's match. Fuller, Higginbottom, Lawrence, and Bagoura are all mentioned.

LINK : The Sentinel " Setback For City As Fuller Jets Out"

Monday, December 04, 2006

Praise For Hoefkens From Tony Pulis...Triffic !!

Carl Hoefkens, last season's fan's Player of the Year, has had an interesting season so far at Stoke City.First the Belgian international (pictured left in the recent Euro 2008 qualifier against Poland : Courtesy of Sport Gazeta,Poland) was left out of the team altogether, then when he did get back in he had 'a toys out of the pram' episode when Higginbottom took a penalty kick instead of him, leaving the ground in a huff after that match. All of this was accompanied by much media and fan comment to the effect that he would be leaving the club in the January window,and that he did not get on with manager Tony Pulis.

In recent weeks things seem to have gone quiet off the pitch, but on it Carl's boots have done more of the talking. He has been an integral part of Stoke's fine backline which has not conceded a goal for a club record six consecutive games, and, indeed, has the best defensive record in all the league having let in only 15 goals.

In each of the last two home games he was on the receiving end of critical blasts from skipper Michael Duberry, but to his credit got on with his game, no sulks on those occasions as far as we could tell. Most of the time he has looked pretty assured both defensively and going forward.

We cannot be certain what will happen in January but it was good to seeTony Pulis single him out for praise, following Saturday's 0 - 0 draw at Coventry City, something which he has not done before. Maybe this is a good omen. Carl is a class player, a pleasure to watch,with no little skill....to remain on Stoke's books would not only be good for the club but for him as well.

Hope fences are well and truly mended...hope he stays !!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Stoke City FC Financial Position Last Season ....Worse Than We Thought!!

The parlous financial state at Stoke City during the last few months of Icelandic ownership and control are now revealed.It is now easy to see why the takeover negotiations were protracted.

Link: The Sentinel : City hit by loss of record £7m