-What happened last season?
Last season was a bit of a non-event. We had a fantastic start to the season and at one point we were topping the table - albeit in September. However as injuries, suspensions and other things took their toll on the squad the Potters found themselves slipping down the pecking order and playing some at times negative football. We had a great ability of beating the teams at the top but slipped up against the teams at the bottom. Our place in the Championship was as good as secured when we lost against Rotherham and then Cardiff, and then made certain following that game against Derby County at Pride Park. A little bit more quality and depth in our squad may have seen them points go from nil to nine which could have changed things over the season with other points we dropped.
Towards the end of the season the club's Icelandic owners announced that they were to sell their stake in the club. This was more of a feud between certain board members and the managers apparant lack of interest in exploring the foreign market (something which Derby County had done very well and very nearly paid off). A few days before the players reported back for pre-season training the shock decision was made to sack Tony Pulis and replace him a day later with Dutchman Johan Boskamp...
What's going to happen next season?
...who has already made a fairly decent impression on the Stoke faithful with some decent signings. However, due to how late it all happened he has bound to have missed out on some good targets. However he has had a good look into what is available off the continent and has come back with some decent signings. Also rather than playing defensive football Boskamp prefers his teams to look for goals, which was proven this past weekend despite Gerry Taggart been sent off in the 13th minute Stoke were still more the attacking side.
It will be a hit or miss season for Stoke. With Boskamp's atacking policy we will hopefully see more goals, which should not be hard apart from we only seem to have new-boy Sidibe as an attacker. However I am sure that the new manager will work hard to bolster a squad that lacks depth. A mid-table finish should be a good season as far as Stoke are concerned, but many in the media are looking towards a relegation battle. We will see.
Soundbites(from assorted census correspondents)
"We are toss and will be relegated"
"Shop at Iceland. Apparently they have really cheap quality Deals on a range of international products! Honest!"
"we have a lying board and our chairman ate my hamster"
"This season marks my twentieth as a Stoke City fan - In my first year we were relegated from the old first division and we have been poor since - do you think it's down to me"
"Badgers are mythologial beasts"
"If The Championship is 6 a-side this season we might be okay. If it stays 11 a-side, with only 8 fit outfield professionals we are shafted!"
"Charlie Chaplin once entered his own look-a-like competition and came 3rd "
"we are serious about killing [name removed] and are keen to carry out any
type of deal. The [gender removed] breaks copyright laws. Please give [gender removed] a
mention as [gender removed] has cost our club shop [amount removed]. Do a big [swearword
removed] sign with [name removed] is enemy of football on it, a big banner.
[Other name removed] is also a moron but [name removed] is Satans butt
cancer. Die [name removed] for ruining my club. Die. If he ever [thing that
he might do removed] make him die"