A Stoke for everyone

Stoke have a generational issue within their fan base, the older generation hold an idea how the club belongs more to them than it does to anyone else, there I said it. This issue has reared its head again in the discussion over tonight’s FA Cup 3rd round draw and who fans want to see drawn out of the red velvet bag to face the Potters. But this is not the first time that it has been prevalent this season.

Earlier this year, and I apologise for making anyone think about this game again, after the Crystal Palace drubbing I appeared on a fan reaction video saying that it was probably the worst Stoke performance I had ever seen. I still stand by this comment as I have never felt so disappointed and angered by a Stoke performance. But some outright rejected my argument, questioning whether or not I had watched matches that were played before the date of my birth.

Now everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and of course many will have seen worse performances than the Palace match. Yet the rejection on an opinion because you are ‘too young’ or ‘haven’t been there in the bad times’ leaves a sour taste. Suggestions such as those paint out that one fans passion and care for the club is worth more than others purely based on the amount of time and quality of football they have witnessed is desperately unpleasant.

This painting of glory hunting fans coming from far flung reaches of this country and others, being a bad thing is ridiculous. To steal some words from another Bear Pit blogger “It’s not glory hunting. It’s just supporting. And the Stoke City I know are built around great support, so why question it?” (read the full piece here). If the fact that for a majority of my life Stoke City have either been a Premiership side or a Championship side chasing promotion offends you then I can only apologise.

Back to the cup draw. Many have been discussing how they would like or dislike for Stoke to be drawn against Port Vale. There has been a trend that the ones asking the cup draw gods for a Potteries Derby tend to be a younger fan. The older fans seem to, as a whole, dread the prospect, and this is perfectly understandable as losing to the Vale must be horrible. But again it is the sanctimonious way that it is being put across that is grating.

Some are arguing from a concern of an increase in the appearance of idiots who will ruin the match day, and of course this is an understandable worry. But to reject the desire to play our Burslem neighbours because the game is ‘always bad’, ‘horrible’ or ‘a nightmare’ is one that is hard to take.

Many of our younger fans have never experienced the sensation of a local derby, I was only 5 years old the last time we met. And in a quite bizarre sadistic way I want to experience the worry, the fear and the excitement that a fixture that mattered more than life itself would bring. We are probably mistaken and should the Gods draw this match and the unthinkable happen our opinions will be more in line with yours, but let us make this mistake.

All Stoke fans have a strong passion for anyone in Red and White, it is synonymous with the club, but it is worth remembering that Stoke City is for everyone and just because some may not have seen what you have seen does not mean their passion burns any less brightly than yours.

Please let me know your thoughts, on twitter or in the comments below

Written by Tom Thrower

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