Stoke City Speak Out: Analysis of what has been said.

Four defeats in a row. Three of them extremely heavy ones. In any situation, good or bad, many of us adore talking about our Stoke City but it’s never really the same as having a good, old moan about everything that is going on, or not going on, with our football team. In the midst of one of our worst starts to a season in recent memory it hasn’t just been the fans that have had a lot to say about what is going wrong for the Potters.

The players, staff and even the big dog chairman, Peter Coates, have all had their say on this torrid patch of form we find ourselves in. HughesIn or HughesOut this blog is not; I merely aim to sift through the dirt to find the nuggets of gold from the plethora of quotes released by figures in the club over the past week.

This interesting titbit from our assistant manager is the first compelling quote of this fascinating week of Stoke City fandom. It truly split Stoke fans down the middle in a way that would leave our attacking players wishing that they could have done the same to opposition defences in recent weeks. Does the fact that Bowen came out and say this prove Marc Wilson right? That we never concentrate on our defensive game. Perhaps we will never know the answer to the question but I would suggest the truth of the matter is that Wilson over exaggerated the truth and Bowen said this to calm down a fan base that is on the edge. Unfortunately, for many, it didn’t do much to quash the nerves.

As ever with Hughes’ pre-match press conferences there is a distinct sense of optimism. After hearing these lines I myself was filled with naïve expectation for the upcoming fixture at Selhurst Park. Maybe this quote wasn’t meant to include the Palace game, something tells me differently.

Maybe we should concentrate on putting out a decent 10 minutes in a game first. It may be that in previous games to last weekend we did string together decent performances for 10, 20 or maybe even 45 minutes of the action but against Pardew’s side I don’t think we were the better team for 5 minutes let alone 90.

Bojan with his usual joyous optimism. As is the norm this season that optimism will come to an abrupt stop in the not too distant future, sorry Mr Bo.

Ah, the day before the big match our worries about a lack of defensive training have been cut short. What a beautiful feeling. I’m really looking forward to that clean sheet we will get. If only. Reading this article from the Daily Mail I can’t help but question one part. Hughes saying that Wilson did not understand the sessions is quite perplexing in itself. Unless the players are being asked to do a Sudoku whilst working on their positioning should defensive work really be that hard to understand? I’m not sure if I feel alienated by the fact Wilson might not have understood defending or Mark Hughes potentially offering mind boggling blocking drills.


So, Sunday comes and today the football does the talking. Unfortunately, that talking is of a similar coherence to that of my two-year-old baby cousin. The less said about the game the better. However, post-match Hughes, of course, had some interesting things to say: “We’re too open and teams capitalise on that. “It’s key we stay in games – at the moment we are just chasing games too much” All good points and all very obvious stuff. The signs have been there for a long time that our team features many a defensive frailty, the worrying part is that we have not yet found the solution to that “open” nature, Mark.

As expected in this time of blatant disarray, Peter Coates has entered the arena and has had his say on the slightly less than awful circumstances we currently occupy. If you haven’t had the chance yet, have yourselves a listen. Read into it as much as you like, it is a difficult one to interpret. Peter Coates is a wonderful chairman for our football club and we are extremely lucky to have him. I completely trust his judgement. In this I think he is defiant. He knows that the team is in a tough place and has offered his support. In my opinion that is exactly what the manager and the players need. This is no time for him to add to any speculation surrounding Hughes’ job. Hughes has his backing now, which is essential if there is going to be a turnaround in our fortunes whilst he is still in charge, but Coates parted ways with Pulis at precisely the right moment in time, and if the same fate is around the corner for Hughes I am sure that Coates will get it spot on.

Maligned as lazy and arrogant I tend to think that our talismanic figure is actually the complete opposite. Hard working and a player that clearly cares. On and off the pitch, for the players around him and the fans in the stands. Marko Arnautovic knows that we are struggling and he will do everything he can to turn that around. I think this post helps to show my feelings to be true.


Many had called for some sort of intervention for our captain of six years, and on Tuesday morning these quotes were released from the horse’s mouth. The first seems to suggest that changes with the team will be afoot. Every Stoke fan and their Mum has a different opinion on who should be starting in the red and white stripes so whoever is dropped will no doubt cause controversy in some corners of the Stoke fan base. What is clear to all Stoke fans, and clearly Mark Hughes, is that something needs to change, and fast.

The second quote is fascinating. To me, it suggests that tactically nothing needs to change but the players themselves need to work on clicking as a team on the pitch. No doubt this statement is partly true, but surely Hughes should know that these problems clearly stem from a tactical basis alongside a disappointing run of performances from his squad. I would imagine that we will be fiddling with how we set up tactically too but it is difficult to know when rumours of a complete lack of defensive work are still fresh in the memory.

So there we have it, my interpretation of the many different quotes, reactions and general unhappiness emanating from the Stoke City camp. You might disagree with everything I have said or you might think I can read the game better than the late Philip Wollscheid. Let me know either way on Twitter @bajcartwright.


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