Rags had a big win at West Brom so you thought something fishy had happened. Sure enough Albion had a player sent off early doors – decision later rescinded – just how long can this keep going on? Then Vidic gets a one match suspension instead of a three match. Unbelievable.
Good win for the Blues over Newcastle with new signings De Jong and Bellamy on show. SWP getting a welcome goal and Craig notching nicely on his debut. We let a late one in when Bridge dropped one, which ruined my 2-0 prediction to the Newcastle zine True Faith and we await the outcome of the Robinho incident in the Leeds nightclub.
Incidentally I have it confirmed that dreaded anti Blue journo Michael Henderson is indeed a Blue – which is unfathomable.
Transfer news is that we’re still thinking about Given and Santa Cruz, who would both be good additions but we’re not desperate and shouldn’t be held to ransom, even though we can afford it. What do you think?
Tomorrow it’s the short dash down the M6 to Stoke who’ve added Beattie to the squad.
This season so far : Robhino’s hat-trick in October saw them off to the tune of three comfortably nil as we moved up to 8th place, and silenced the Delilah song.
Currently they’re in 19th place with 21 points from 22 games and 5 wins 3 draws and 3 losses at home.
In the F.A. Cup they went out at Hartlepool.
Our form at Stoke : Last meetings (other than the friendly a few years ago) were in season 1998/99 in the old 3rd division with a 1-0 City win courtesy of a Gerard Wiekens goal in front of 13,579. Prior to that it was the 5-2 end of season win, when we both went down to the old division 3. We’ve had the odd win there otherwise, 3-1 in 87/88 and in 81/82 the unforgettable debut of Trevor Francis, in the same season as the 9-8 penalty shoot out win in the League Cup second round.
Comment : We surprised ourselves with the win in October thinking that they’d be the sort of team to outmuscle us on the pitch, so it shows we can do it when we put our minds and body to it. They’ve had good results, and bad ones, a bit like us, but they’ve also had problems between their own players, Fuller and Griffiths, on the pitch. Again, Delap’s throws will need to be watched if we’re going to keep a clean sheet, but we should and need to get something from this game. Off the pitch it has sometimes been an unpleasant place to visit so let’s hope everything is under control today. The Manc cops rounded up a load of their fans in Trafford recently and sent them back to Stoke which I’m told was out of order, and a court case is pending, so hopefully there won’t be any repercussions on that score today. Obvious wind ups of the pansy Potters is – going down, going down (them not us!) and Stoke you’re a F**kin joke
Groundwise : The Britannia Stadium - Capacity : 28,218. It’s been a while since we were last here so we’re assuming we’ll get half of the stand behind the goal for an estimated 2,500 Blues. The pitch, I’m told is the narrowest in the league and wouldn’t it be ironic if WE scored from a long throw!
Stats : 28 pre-war and 51 post make it our 80th league meeting, and in Stoke we’ve won three of the last five.
WwtwtwShite : Averaged 8,288 in 1985/86
Their current home average : 27,137
Away day zine : The Oatcake (buy it) and an actual Oatcake if you can find one!
SP Route: M6 to jn 16, then A500, under the new flyover junctions, then left onto A50 (signed Uttoxeter) and first exit left and back on other side for the stadium. In previous years, away fans have been directed to Trentham and the A5035 entrance to the ground. (Leave M6 at jn 15, at the roundabout take A519 right, then left at lights (B5038 Whitmore Road) down to A34 and turn right, then left at roundabout on A5035, road to stadium on left after about a mile. Check City FC website in case of recommendations.
Public transport: £11.10 any train off peak return from Piccadilly to Stoke or £4 advance singles on specific trains, then a long walk or a special bus to the ground – may be hard to get to the return bus if there’s any post-match trouble (not unlikely at Stoke).
Sat Nav : Mathews Way ST4 4EG