Simon Lowe: Even Stoke's 'sensible' supporters are now unhappy
ARE we getting to the point where forces combine to undermine six years of success at Stoke City?
Are we about to encounter one of those maelstroms that have all too often seen the Potters implode?
A lack of specialist full-backs, a determination to play one way and only one way, an insistence in selecting out of form players and the loss of belief and atmosphere amongst the crowd – these are all factors (amongst others) which have caused frustration.
That is now being exposed by a failure to pull off results, or indeed performances, worthy of five seasons in the Premier League and the huge amount of money the club have spent on players.
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While the likes of Wilson Palacios, Michael Owen, Tuncay and Eidur Gudjohnsen have been expensive flops, players such as Jonathan Walters and Peter Crouch are selected ahead of others seemingly just because they work "ard". At least this is the perception of what is now a large and vocal group of fans.
It manifested itself on Saturday in cheering... but cheering at the departure of Walters, a player regarded by many as TP's blue-eyed boy, when he was substituted.
Then there was the booing.
Booing at the end of a home defeat is fairly typical, I suppose, but that which greeted the referee's whistle on Saturday was a little more heartfelt this time.
You could argue that as Stoke remain solidly mid-table and have only lost at home twice this season, it was unjustified.
But TP's post-match outburst on BBC Radio Stoke, in which he said "sensible supporters will realise we need a bit of help" indicated the heightened levels of frustration at the Brit right now.
It wasn't a clever comment, and plays into the hands of those whose agenda has now moved on to causing upset for the manager. And they have more and more of a case.
Stoke haven't pushed on this season, the famous three-year plan doesn't seem to have made any progress, and people are questioning the manager's position. Not surprisingly, given all TP has done for the club, he doesn't like it.
The wider problem is that there are now many Stokies who don't believe Pulis is the man to undertake the ongoing surgery his team needs.
But it is also true that while Peter Coates is involved with the club, the manager will remain. He and Pulis go together like bangers and mash, oatcakes and cheese or Sir Alex Ferguson and hairdryers.
However, while that remains the case, the vocal minority will continue to grow louder and stronger – unless results and performances improve.
It feels like we're approaching a crossroads. The problem is there are plenty of instances in Stoke's history when the turn taken has produced a sinking to rival that of the Titanic.