Danny Higginbotham: Fans have a right to their opinion, but how can they doubt TP?
I FIND it amazing that there are Stoke fans out there still questioning Tony Pulis as their manager.
I accept that supporters have a right to their opinion, but I just don't see how they think the club will benefit with Pulis gone.
Of course, you might expect me to say that if I was still playing for him, but I'm not. This is more than just a show 9of loyalty to my old boss.
When he first signed me for Stoke, I recall how he sold the club to me at a time when people were questioning why I would leave Southampton to join what was then a lower third Championship team.
His vision for the club was impressive to say the least, and I bought into it – albeit with a little scepticism.
But who was I to doubt him. My first game was a 1-0 defeat at Southend – nowadays Stoke are playing the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United.
People question the style of football Stoke play, but their success over the past few years prove it is effective, if not always pretty.
Fans are expectant, and rightly so, but I can't help feel that TP, main picture, and his team have become victims of their success in the Premier League.
To have the good finishes we did in the league, plus the successful FA Cup final run and then European football has made the expectation among fans all the greater.
Tony has taken a club from the Championship with average attendances of between 12,000 and 15,000 and help make it an established Premier League outfit playing in front of 27,000-plus gates for every home game.
Of course, supporters want to see Stoke go up to the next level, whatever that might be.
But they must remember the club has already spent millions over the last few years to get to where they are now. To get to the "next level", that of a top-seven or eight club, would cost many millions more.
No, the manager has done an amazing job in his time at Stoke, and not just on the field either.
I remember that when I first joined I was never shown the training ground for some reason.
When I had my first day's training it was clear why. It was just a field.
We got changed at The Brit and then the players would argue about who was driving to the Michelin because their car would end up getting filthy with all the mud.
Not any more. Clayton Wood is as good as a facility as you will find anywhere, and TP was instrumental in all that.
Whatever their misgivings, fans have to realise that Stoke City – their club – is in great hands.
If someone one had told them in 2006 that in another six years time Stoke would be an established Premier League club with a multi-million pound training ground, England internationals in their ranks and playing in Wembley cup finals and against Europe's elite, most Stoke fans would have had you carted off to the funny farm.
For all that, though, tomorrow's game against Reading is a big one for both clubs.
The Royals have had a great few weeks with comebacks aplenty, and they will be feeling confident about their trip to The Brit after finally getting out of the bottom three.
Stoke, on the other hand, are having a bit of a blip of late.
But if my old club can win this game then they can then start to look up instead of over their shoulder.
I fully expect them to get the three points with the help of their fans, and then kick on to finally secure that elusive top-10 finish they have been so close to in recent years.
I've always said Stoke fans are the best I have had the pleasure to play for.
As long as you give 100 per cent to the cause, they always back you to the hilt.
ASMIR Begovic has been the subject of plenty of transfer talk just lately ... and deservedly so.
I've got no doubt he has the ability to play at one of the truly big clubs.
The big man was a snip at the price Stoke paid Portsmouth for him (£3.25m) three years ago, and he has gone from strength-to-strength under the guidance of goalkeeping coach Andy Quy and the support of Thomas Sorensen.
I don't think many clubs in the Premier League have two better goalkeepers.
Asmir is flourishing while keepers at top clubs are in the spotlight for the mistakes they are making, not their excellence.
If he continues to prosper, then I think there will be plenty of suitors for him come the summer. Then Stoke and Asmir will have a decision to make.