2016 - 2017

2016 - 2017

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Fortune Recalled By Charlton

Jonathan Fortune has been recalled as defensive cover by Charlton manager Alan Pardew.He has put in some impressive performances whilst at Stoke City.

Monday, February 26, 2007

"Barnsley Staying Up...Stoke Going Nowhere !" Stoke City 0 Barnsley 1.

These words from the BBC Midlands Radio reporter at the match say it all.Another dull and ultimately disappointing match at The Britannia Stadium.A fair estimate would be that Stoke had 80% of the possession,and spent a considerable proportion of the match in the visitors half.

Some idea of how they used it can be gained from the fact that the visiting keeper made his first save in the 70th minute.All that Stoke had to show by way of real goal threat was one Sidibe header cleared off the line.Barnsley defended stoutly and in depth.Once again Stoke could find no real answers to this and despite some tidy approach football, at times, they showed little real penetration.

By contrast Barnsley converted their one and only chance just before halftime.Their breakaway, after Stoke lost the ball in the visitors half,led to a quality goal skilfully taken by Hungarian international Ferenczy.

Despite much huff and puff from Stoke throughout the second half the result did not look in any real doubt.Currently they cannot field anyone capable of putting the ball into the net.

The visitors by contrast have the services of striker Ferenczy,who has played 5 times for them since signing at the very end of the January transfer window,and in the last 3 matches (including this one) has scored 4 goals.

Are there any positives? Fortune still looks to be a player worth pursuing for the future.Griffin and Higginbottom look what they are...a class apart from most of their teamates, the former winning man of the match once again.Simonsen only had to pick the ball out of the net.Hoefkens had a tidy game and showed real determination to make things happen for Stoke.Eustace is looking better each match,but needs to be looking to play the incisively forward more frequently.

Diao and Hendrie are not as influential as they were in their first coming.Lawrence is a major disappointment lately....increasingly it seems Roy Keane is a good judge of a player...to sell.

Stoke Team: Simonsen ,Hoefkens ,Fortune ,Higginbotham ,Griffin ,Russell (Rooney ,61 ) ,Diao ,Matteo (Eustace ,23 ) ,Lawrence (Martin ,83 ) ,Hendrie ,Sidibe
Subs not used: Hoult,Zakuani,

A Must Win Match For Stoke?

With the gap to the playoff places currently 6 points Stoke's televised game against Barnsley this evening is one that they must win.They can ill afford another stalemate draw at the Britannia Stadium.If the excellent result at Derby last week is anything to go by then I expect Stoke to go all out for the win that will keep them in the hunt !

Friday, February 23, 2007

John Ritchie (1941 - 2007) ...One Of Stoke City's 'Greats' Passes Away.

We were only talking at the last home match about what John Ritchie would have done with some of the chances that the Stoke team have been missing of late.

The agreed view was that with his goalscoring touch, particularly his heading ability,we would have bagged more goals and even more points.

Sad news indeed but it was a pleasure and a privilege to watch him play in the red and white stripes at the old Victoria Ground.Plenty of memories of really good times!

Link: The Sentinel

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Derby County 0 Stoke City 2 : Well Didn't You Just Know They Would !!

Stoke City went to Championship leaders Derby County last night on the back of some indifferent form which had seen them drop out of the playoff places.Some of the prophets of doom had been predicting not only mid-table mediocrity for the rest of the season,but also inevitable defeat in this difficult fixture.With a patched up team,due to injuries and suspension, Stoke faced a Derby outfit on which a great deal more has been spent in a bid to gain promotion to the Premiership.

Typical of Stoke the team rose to the challenge winning the game with a penalty from Higginbottom - returning to one of his former clubs - and a headed goal by Matteo from Hendrie's corner.Having secured this lead in the first half, Stoke defended stoutly, rode their luck a little in the second half,and emerged victorious.

A brilliant effort from the team,once again only 3 points form the playoffs,and now,no doubt, itching to get at Barnsley next Monday night,in the televised match at the Britannia Stadium. Can't wait !

Stoke Team: Simonsen ,Hoefkens ,Zakuani ,Higginbotham ,Griffin ,Lawrence ,Russell ,Matteo (Eustace ,63 ) ,Diao ,Hendrie (Dickinson ,85 ) ,Sidibe (Rooney ,89)

Monday, February 19, 2007

More Trouble For Ricardo Fuller ?....And Stoke City !

The Mail's match report doesn't tell us a lot about the match itself....simply it concentrates on everything else but!

Sendings off,(inexcusable positively dangerous) coin throwing from a small section of the crowd toward a totally incompetent linesman,and then apparently trouble in the players lounge after the match involving, it is reported, Fuller and Davis.Police and DPP are mentioned.

Link: Daily Mail Sport

Stoke Lack Punch : Stoke City 0 Luton Town 0

Stoke for the most part fired blanks in their match against Luton Town. The only real threats came from two Lee Hendrie corners in the first half ,and a brilliant free kick by the same player from outside the box in the second half which was only just cleared by a backpeddling Luton defender.

Stoke finished the match without both the the strikers they opened the game with. Once again Ricardo Fuller was sent off for allegedly violent conduct and the only complaint against the red card seemed to come from Fuller himself.His partner Sidibe was scythed down a few minutes later by a Luton’s Davis, who was also given his marching orders. Sidibe was in the wars several times before he too had to leave the pitch for good having damaged his leg in a collision with a goalpost as he attempted to get his head to a cross.

Stoke can best be described as disjointed,fretful,lacking any real penetration,and unable to mount any sustained pressure. Of most concern, far from playing for each other as they had been doing before Christmas ( when the inevitable mistakes were acknowledged between teamates with a positive sign of some kind), the was real evidence not only of frustration with shortcomings but also instances of blame being passed.Not good.

It remains to be seen whether or not young forwards Adam Rooney and Lee Martin, for example, have what it takes to get the goals to reignite Stoke’s push for promotion. With Fuller missing the next 3 games, Sidibe and Pericard injured, it is to be hoped that Tony Pulis can obtain the services of a loan striker.

Stoke are now 6 points adrift of the top six places, and face a difficult match at Derby County on Wednesday night.

Stoke Team:
Stoke: Simonsen ,Hoefkens ,Higginbotham ,Fortune ,Griffin (Dickinson 88 ),Lawrence ,Russell (Martin ,77 ) ,Diao ,Hendrie ,Fuller (sent off 29),Sidibe (Rooney ,58)
Subs not used: Hoult,Eustace,

Friday, February 16, 2007

"Business End Of The Season"

A quiet week for news from the Britannia Stadium.Stoke are still waiting on developments elsewhere, which effectively determine whether or not we obtain the services of any further loan players for the remainder of the season.

Faced with that situation Pulis is adamant that he has enough talent in his squad to get the results that we need,provided that we eliminate the giveaways, that all the players in the team (not just the strikers)begin to put away the chances that are being created,and that our delivery from wide and from set pieces is radically improved ( certainly from the very poor standard evident at Birmingham last week).

Tomorrow's team selection against Luton is intriguing.If fit Salif Diao and Lee Hendrie will return.But what about Darel Russell? My guess is that Russell will play.

It is imperative that Stoke win their remaining home games if they are to make the playoffs,put their recent stutter behind them,and start out on that winning run against Luton Town tomorrow.

Link:Radio Stoke - Tony Pulis

Monday, February 12, 2007

Is The End In Sight For Mama Sidibe? Birmingham City 1 Stoke City 0

Birmingham City did not look at all impressive in this lacklustre game, and were certainly there for the taking.In the end McSheffrey's second half headed goal was the difference between the teams,as he took one of the few chances that Birmingham created.

The makeshift Stoke team coped well for most of the game,and indeed managed to threaten the home goal on a number of occasions.Probably Stoke's best chance fell to on loan Lee Martin who had a one on one with the Birmingham keeper Doyle who was able to push the ball aside and to safety,as the Stoke forward shot a few paces too soon.

Other chances were missed,notably by Mama Sidibe.The question to be asked here is whether the player's undoubted value to the team effort, in many respects,is now outweighed by his inability to score.The coaches have clearly helped him to develop his game,but the one vital aspect remains elusive.He can't be relied upon to score from a high enough proportion of the chances created for him.

On the plus side Fuller had an excellent game turning the Birmingham defence on a number of occasions.Eustace put in a tidy performance linking play.Simonsen pulled off one stunning point blank save from Bendtner,otherwise had very little to do,and had no real chance with the goal as Bendtner's excellent cross reached McSheffrey.Like Southend's goal the previous week this was the only occasion that the Stoke defence was pulled seriously out of position.Fortune looks to be a good replacement for Duberry,and could have had an equalising goal to his name had he managed to get a better contact on the ball in a goalmouth scamble a minute or two before the end of the game as Stoke pressed.

Stoke,in 10th position after Saturday's matches, still remain in touch with the playoff places,4 points behind Cardiff,Southampton,and Sunderland.

Stoke Team:
Simonsen ,Hoefkens ,Fortune ,Higginbotham ,Griffin ,Lawrence ,Eustace ,Matteo ,Martin (Rooney ,74 ) ,Sidibe (Harper ,87 ) ,Fuller

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Be Careful If You're Dining Out In Brum Tomorrow

Weakened Stoke? V Birmingham City

As widely reported Stoke will be without several influential players for their match at Birmingham tomorrow lunchtime.Diao,Hendrie,and Russell will be out through suspension.It is expected that Matteo and Lee Martin will come back into the team.

A tough assignment for the Potters, but given a good start one that might not be beyond them,as Birmingham too have had their difficulties in recent days following Upson's move to West Ham United.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

"See Stoke For A Fiver" A Family Fun Day Out !!!

Whichever way you look at it Stoke City FC's initiative, in conjunction with Sentinel newspapers, to get more fans into the match was a resounding success.As a season ticket holder it was brilliant to see the effect the discounted price (seats for a fiver!) had.
An excellent crowd officially set at 23,017,generating a really good atmosphere on the day,and whatever purist detractors might say,lots of excitment and enjoyment for those who came along.Plenty of people there,many of them first timers,many of them youngsters,some of whom - who knows - may be back in the future.An investment in the future and certainly more likely to be productive as more and more clubs take a realistic look at their ticket pricing policies,lowering levels following the lead of Blackburn and Wigan amongst others.
With careful targeting of matches and good promotion,for the club, the economics can be balanced.The club has say 7,000 season ticket holders.They were joined for the Ipswich match on Tuesday by 4,000 x £19 = £76,000 additional income.Yesterday 16,000 extra bodies brought in £80,000 or thereabout.

Pre match the benefits were evident elsewhere in the Stoke community with a lot more people about.The atmosphere and bustle at local hostelries was reminiscent of better times past but also gave a pointer toward good things to come maybe.
The club is to be congratulated, not derided, for its commonsense forward looking approach.We all know that it is preferable to enjoy our matches in a full stadium - with success that will come - but as a stepping stone what they are doing is excellent.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Time To Get Your Breath Back

Much transfer and loan activity involving Stoke City in the run up to the transfer deadline at midnight yesterday.To sum up the last few days we see extra defensive players coming into the club in the shape of Jonathan Fortune on loan (with a recall clause)for the rest of the season from Charlton,and Gabriel Zakuani on a loan basis from Fulham.

26 year old Fortune was a regular in Charlton's Premiership team,playing 100 matches or so at that level.Zakuani has only had a few cup outings for Fulham.
Russell Hoult from WBA has signed on a free so we now have goalkeeping backup for Simonsen.

Tuesday night's game against Ipswich was a muted flat uninspired performance by the Stoke team which perhaps had something else on its mind..Careful stage management ensured a lift for the sparse crowd before the match kicked off as Lee Hendrie was presented having signed up until the end of the season,but that did not entirely compensate for what many of us figured would be Captain Michael Duberry's last game for Stoke City FC (judging by some of his body language,and his actions at the end of the game).

Whether we miss him remains to be seen,but with our business heads on £800,000 from Reading for the player seems to be an exceedingly good deal at this moment.

Peter Sweeney decided to join Yeovil on loan.