Ryan Shawcross's last-gasp rescue act ended positive day for Stoke City
I'M NOT saying the entire world's media was at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday, but Princess Kate could have sunbathed topless in Fenton Park had she so wished and been completely undisturbed.
Michael Owen only came on for the last three minutes, but the England legend made his arrival through an enormous forest of photographers before taking his place on the bench.
• GALLERY: Match Action: Stoke City 1 Manchester City 1
First Peter Crouch, now Owen. The Potters are big news nationally and internationally; they even reached the giddy heights of fifth on Match of the Day for goodness sake.
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These are heady days indeed for Potteries sport, and not just football.
After all, the Tour of Britain came through North Staffordshire on Thursday, watched by thousands along the route and covered live every inch of the way by ITV4.
For viewers such as myself, this offered the chance to watch Britain's champion cyclists on television, while we passed comments such as, "We were there last week! Is that Dave and Sue's house? Look, Abbey Hulton. There's the crem!"
It's all a far cry from a decade ago when the only television coverage the Potteries got was twenty seconds of Stoke's or Port Vale's highlights on Midlands Today.
In our house, these fleeting opportunities would spark a frantic scramble to put a tape in the video recorder, a panic-stricken search down the back of the settee for the remote control and finally an angry, 'forget it, Nick Owen's back on, I've flamin' missed it again."
Such confusion, desperation and ultimate frustration was shared by the Manchester City defence on Saturday as Peter Crouch controlled John Walters's cross and bundled through two challenges before firing the ball past Joe Hart after 15 minutes.
Yes, ahem, there was a suspicion of handball, as Crouch later admitted. He also reckoned these things even themselves up eventually.
Maybe he's right. In fact, there are some fans who quite seriously claim that Stoke are still owed several decisions for that programme seller playing Arsenal on-side in the 1972 FA Cup semi-final.
Besides, although Stoke got lucky with the goal, they were well worth a point for their overall performance.
The Potters only switched off once, when Javi Garcia was allowed to head home the 35th-minute equaliser.
That apart, they were formidably intense. In fact, when Crouch scored, the celebratory huddle was broken up by Tony Pulis so he could deliver urgent tactical instructions to Charlie Adam and Steven Nzonzi.
But while Pulis was too focused to enjoy himself during the game, he must be reflecting with satisfaction on a job well done.
Nzonzi could hardly have made a more promising debut as he won the ball repeatedly, used it wisely and emerged just about honours even against the best midfielder in the Premier League, Yaya Toure.
Asmir Begovic was practically faultless, taking crosses with confidence before coming to Stoke's rescue with a stunning reflex save to keep out Garcia's injury-time header.
There was still time for Edin Dzeko to think he'd scored when he lobbed the ball over Begovic, only to be denied by Ryan Shawcross who capped an international-class display by racing back and hooking the ball off the line.
This was right in front of the fans of the league champions, which naturally made the moment all the sweeter. However, I still can't help liking the Manchester City faithful who contributed to a terrific atmosphere, not least with their rather cheeky chant of, "Tony Pulis, he wears the club shop."
They are like lottery winners who still can't quite believe their luck and are on a celebratory cruise, in this case around the away grounds of the Premier League.
No doubt all this will change as their team becomes even more successful and the rest of us take more pleasure in them occasionally falling flat on their faces. They probably couldn't give a monkey's, but their long-held status as the underdogs of Manchester is practically gone after they unveiled plans for a new training complex.
It will cost £100m, will include a 7,000 capacity mini-stadium and will be so hi-tech that staff can change the grass on one of the pitches so it matches the surface they will play their next away game on.
Meanwhile, the groundsman's tractor seat will be made of genuine unicorn leather and is to be polished every morning by Sir Alex Ferguson. Okay, I made that last bit up.