A Recipe for Humble Pie
The turgid football, baffling team selection and 13th placed finish; left many dissatisfied and calling for Hughes’ job. It’s no secret that my current opinion of Mark Hughes is rocky to say the least, no one was a more vocal critic of him on the Bear Pit last season, than myself. But there is nothing that would please me more than being served up a big slice of Humble Pie, that I would happily eat. So, I have decided to help Sparky and come up with a little recipe for said pie.
500g of Exciting Football
The base for this Humble Pie is found in the origins of Mark Hughes’ employment. Sparky’s job, first and foremost, was to get bums on seats. Dropping season ticket sales lost Pulis’ his job and Hughes was tasked with bringing back excitement and filling the, then, Britannia Stadium. Exciting football was the first task, and it was obviously expected that success in the League and cups would follow, but this was always a secondary aim.
Last season was dour. No right-minded fan can say they enjoyed the season on a whole. Even when Stoke won it was the most boring ‘by the numbers’ victory that could be achieved, always including a prolonged period of sitting back letting the opposition attack. Sack this off Mark, no one enjoys it, go back to what you came here to do.
150ml of Responsibility
Look we get it, everyone makes mistakes, sometimes the Soufflé doesn’t rise, sometimes your pie has a soggy bottom, but take responsibility for it, don’t blame someone else. A degree of respect will always be felt for a man who comes out, puts their hands up, and says ‘sorry I got it wrong’. It appears a corner may have been turned here, as Hughes has declared letting Bojan leave on a loan a “mistake”. Taking responsibility will help to hold together the humble pie, failing to do so may lead to it crumbling before you even get a chance to serve it.
2 Free Range, Organic Grown, Youth Players
Stoke have invested a lot in the youth development system of late, and we have been told time and time again the results will be reaped from this investment. And it is time to make sure the progression continues into the first team, something that many doubt Hughes will ever do. So if Sparky trusts the likes of Ngoy, Edwards and Verlinden to become genuine members of the first team squad, he would truly be justified in flipping two fingers to his doubters. Adding appearances for youth products will only make the Humble Pie sweeter, it is a more the merrier situation.
A pinch of Underdog Victories
This is the delicate flavouring that turns an average season into a memorable one. Even one tiny little win against a top 6 side will be enough to complete this Humble Pie. 2015 December, the last time Stoke beat a top 6 side, it’s been a long time, and seeing as we did it 3 times in that month, all in convincing manners, the fans appetite is growing. But with most things, finally beating a member of the top 6 club will only be sweeter as a result of the long wait.
Filling: Anything sweet and exciting, only use luxury ingredients
This is probably the most important instruction, no pie is complete without a good filling, and a good filling can only be made with the best ingredients. Look Mark, we can tell the difference between you using some of Europe’s finest produce and the low-cost leftovers from when you moved in. I don’t want to catch you running around to the neighbours offering to let them use Bojan for six months, or turn up to the house and see a sign in the window saying “Giannelli Imbula for sale: Inquire inside”. You paid a lot of money for these ingredients, don’t let them go to waste!
Optional Topping: A Trophy
If the instructions above are followed then this Humble Pie will be so sickly that Sparky will revel as his critics are forced to eat it. But, with this added extra Hughes will elevate himself to the position of club legend, and no word against him shall ever be allowed again.
Cook for 6 weeks over July and Early August, and if baked properly then this Humble Pie will be forced upon Hughes critics, like myself, all season long. Please Mark, I’m begging you, prove me wrong.
Written by Tom Thrower
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