Last Game: Barclays Prem
Welcome to TEAMtalk's Stoke City Your Say forum - the place to be for positive Potters!
The curtain has come down on our fifth season in the Premier League, and most supporters will be glad to see the back of what has been, on the whole, a pretty uninspiring nine months of football.
It promised so much, with Tony Pulis promising to change the style of football and early signs suggesting he had done so successfully, with Stoke playing more through the middle of the park than they had done in the past whilst still winning games.
In fact, at the halfway stage Stoke were eighth having just put in their best performance of the season to beat Liverpool 3-1. Steven N'Zonzi had transformed the midfield, Charlie Adam had started to show improvement in his advanced role, and there was no longer such a reliance on the wingers for creativity.
Unfortunately things went downhill from there, with the defensive solidity we had become so famous for disappearing and Pulis failing to make changes to an attack that had stopped scoring goals or even look like doing.
The failure to then strengthen the first team in January cost us further, while the promising signs we had in the early stage of the season - remember the way we attacked Chelsea and Manchester United? - became a distant memory, with long balls from the defence suddenly the only form of attack.
All in all, it would be difficult to argue the team has not regressed this season, and there is now an awful lot of work to do over the summer to put things right.
There needs to be additions at full-back, on the wing, up front, and possibly in central midfield too, depending on what the future holds for Messrs Wilson, Cameron and Cuvelier. We also need back-up in central defence and will almost certainly need a new goalkeeper, too.
For once, the club has to act quickly in the transfer market because they cannot afford to leave the problem areas unaddressed again - otherwise relegation will be a real concern next season.
The big question, of course, is who will be in charge of the team. As I have said on a few occasions in recent months, I would not be against a change of manager, but we mustn't change for the sake of change.
Tony Pulis should only be replaced if there is a better option available - and that leaves Peter Coates with a very difficult decision to make in the coming weeks.
Whatever it is, I hope everybody stays behind the club. The football hasn't been good this season, and the manager has to take most of the blame for that, but remember things could be much worse.
I for one would rather see us play boring football in the Premier League than exciting football in the Championship. I might enjoy the latter more, but I want what's best for the club and that is to be playing in the top division against some of the best teams in the world. We do have some things to be grateful about!
Finally, I just want to again say 'well done' to everybody that remained positive during our bad run. Plenty of fans (yet again) predicted our certain relegation and suggested a change of manager was all that would save us, but the majority on here - THE place to be for positive Potters - kept their heads. Enjoy it...until the doom mongers provide the latest set of damning predictions!
since 67 (): "The events in Woolwich today put the post season debate and questions into perspective - football is..."
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|2.||Dortmund aiming to 'annoy' Bayern|
|3.||Pulis leaves Stoke with his legacy intact|
|4.||Lambert building bright Villa future|
|5.||Goals! Champions League video special|