Branding Stoke City by Kevin Raftery
Nobody was more pleased than yours truly when Stoke City entertained Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League. Yes, it's worth saying again: Dynamo Kiev. Stoke were in the big time and Valencia was to come. Then there was that small occurrence of Stoke getting to the FA Cup Final. Yes, yours truly thought it was 'Stoke's time' and they would go on and win it. And they might have if not for injuries.
On the other hand, the Pulis brand of football is arguably the worst ever seen at Stoke City. Can any supporters point to a more dour and bland period in the clubs history than seen now under Tony Pulis? The point being made is not about league positions, but the brand of football on offer. To not produce hardly a worthy shot on goal at home in 90 minutes on more than one occasion indicates that the Pulis brand is far past its sell-by date.
One remembers Stoke City under Alan Durban (1978-81) when, like today, the media labelled Stoke dour. As an afterthought however, it is difficult to remember Durban using such negative tactics as seen today. There was one occurrence when Stoke entertained champions Liverpool in 1980 at the Victoria Ground before a crowd of over 33,000. Stoke were overrun and were completely outplayed to an understandable chorus of boos from the home fans at the final whistle. That was a one off.
It can be argued that Stoke fans are trying to be positive and want nothing more than to sing the clubs praises from the terraces. The football on offer though is making the task as difficult as Stoke stringing three passes together.