Lou Macari: Building for the future must begin on the pitch
STOKE fans must be looking down the road towards Wolves and thinking, "Thank goodness our club isn't run like that one".
Stoke are thinking of filling in one of the corners at the Britannia Stadium as early as next summer.
In other words, after five years in the Premier League and with the almost certain guarantee of another to come.
What a contrast to Wolves, who go building a spanking new stand at Molineux while the rest of us were wondering whether they actually needed one.
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Far worse than that, however, they do it at a time when the club is far from established in the Premier League ... where all the money is.
You surely don't have to be a football manager to appreciate the fact that the first priority of any club has to be the team.
Supporters will sit in an old stand if they are watching a good team playing in the top flight.
But they might think twice about sitting in a brand new one when their team is half-way down the Championship.
It's sad to see for a club with the size and tradition of a Wolves, it really is.
And to compound the decision to build a stand before the team is properly built, they not only sack an experienced safe pair of hands like Mick McCarthy, they go and replace him with a complete unknown.
I'm afraid Stale Solbakken was always an accident waiting to happen.
Not only did he have no experience of the game in this country, his record was hardly startling after losing his job at FC Cologne last year.
You just hope the Wolves hierarchy have learned their lesson for the sake of their fans because they certainly deserve better.
Only time will tell whether Dean Saunders is the answer after he was appointed as Solbakken's successor.
Saunders hasn't exactly set the world alight at either Wrexham or Doncaster, but he's going into Wolves at a good time because the only way is up.
He also knows he has a bit of time because no-one expects any miracles this season.
It's all about launching a promotion push in 2013/14.
And if he gets it right, those Wolves fans might be back at the Britannia in a couple of years to admire a slight change to the stadium that didn't cost Stoke their place in the Premier League.
Stoke are certainly looking good for another year at least in the top flight because, barring a complete disaster, they can't finish in the bottom three this season.
That means they can focus fully on the FA Cup and the little matter of defeating Crystal Palace in next week's replay before taking on Manchester City at the Brit.
Let's face it, Tony Pulis won't have been doing cartwheels round his living room when Stoke pulled that one out of the hat because you would want to avoid the likes of City, United and Chelsea if you could.
But playing Man City at home certainly seems to be a different proposition to playing them away where Stoke are concerned.
They may have lost and not even scored in five Premier League games at The Etihad, but back in the Potteries they have won one and drawn the last four in the league.
Stoke also knocked City out of the FA Cup in a fifth-round tie three seasons ago, so they have previous.
So you can't imagine Roberto Mancini was giving Mario Balotelli a big kiss on the cheek by way of celebration at the fourth-round draw either.
We might well see Balotelli in that fourth-round tie – assuming Stoke can get past Palace first, of course – as part of the Italian's rehabilitation.
There will certainly be a vacancy because Sergio Aguero looks as though he'll be out with that hamstring injury.
People keep telling me Balotelli is a wayward and wonderful talent.
Well, I can see the wayward, but I haven't seen much of the wonderful yet.
Yes, he can score the odd goal here and there, and I mean the odd goal, but I don't see a player with any fantastic pace, any great desire or any real ability to bring his team-mates into the game.
One thing's for sure, if Man City turn up with the wrong attitude then I can certainly see Stoke knocking them out.
But let's not forget they still have to sort out Palace first of all. That is far from a foregone conclusion.