Stoke City: Is honest the best policy? Frustrated Jerome will soon find out
I'M SUMMARISING here, but Cameron Jerome reckons he's spent so much of this season as a spectator, he hasn't known whether to get his hopes up for the next campaign or just invest in an "Early Bird" season-ticket.
That was the gist of the striker's after-match comments which get full marks for honesty, but suggest he's not looking for a career in the diplomatic service when he hangs up his boots.
To be fair, the 25-year-old backed up his opinions with his performance on the pitch last night as he scored a stunning 69th-minute goal to earn Tony Pulis's side a draw with Everton.
His eighth of the campaign turned the tide just three minutes after Pulis made a triple substitution, bringing on Jerome, Ricardo Fuller and Glenn Whelan for Peter Crouch, Jon Walters and Rory Delap.
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The impact was as explosive as Jerome's post-match views as the striker picked the ball up just inside his own half, burst between two defenders and hammered it past Tim Howard.
The superb individual strike came out of nowhere but, overall, was no less than Stoke deserved against one of the form teams in the Premier League.
It was reward for Pulis and reward for supporters who got right behind their side after Everton's 44th-minute opener appeared to have dented City's chances of finishing in the top 10.
Last night was 10 years since Souleyman Oulare fired Stoke to promotion by scoring at Cardiff City with his bum.
The play-off goal remains one of the most celebrated in Stoke's history – particularly because Potters and Cardiff fans aren't known for turning the other cheek – but we could have done without the anniversary special last night.
If Oulare's winner had an element of fortune about it as he deflected home James O'Connor's free-kick with his rear end, that was nothing on last night's opener as Marc Wilson headed an Everton free-kick against an unsuspecting Peter Crouch, who didn't know what had happened until the ball had bobbled off his shoulder and over the line.
The goal was more than a little harsh on Stoke, who weren't as slick as Everton on the ball, but had threatened whenever Rory Delap wound up on the touchline and unleashed hell in the visitors' six-yard box.
Everton mostly kept their cool under pressure, although chants of "Are you Wenger in disguise?" rained from the Boothen End when Steven Pienaar flapped his arms in disgust after being made to retake a corner.
Three days on from the Arsenal game and it's clear that Arsene Wenger's tantrums are the gift that will just keep on giving.
Some entrepreneurial City fans have even had T-shirts made featuring the Wenger tantrum and bearing the slogan "Let's All Do The Wenger".
"They're selling like hot-cakes," said the Rob Ledgar, the man behind the shirts.
No-one took the mickey out of David Moyes in this manner, although it's hard to see what "doing the Moyes" would be.
Staring ferociously without blinking, arms folded for 90 minutes perhaps, but frankly 25,000 Stokies doing that would just look weird.
Instead, the City fans re-launched an old favourite as strains of "Robert Huth, Huth Huth, He's a massive German Youth" were heard around the ground.
Whether that will be the clincher in persuading Huth to sign a new contract remains to be seen, but you can't blame the Stokies for trying.
The defence could be a major issue for Pulis who would no doubt love to also keep Matthew Upson, but can't guarantee him regular football while he has the formidable partnership of Huth and Ryan Shawcross.
Upson was a worthy man of the match having been given his chance last night, while Huth showed his versatility with a solid display at right-back.
However, in the long term, Stoke's defence without Huth in the middle would be like Bonanza without Hoss Cartwright.
Bar the freak goal, the back four were excellent against an Everton side who are finishing the campaign in their best form of the season.
With apologies to Newcastle, Everton are the side every club outside the traditional big six have to try to emulate.
Consistently competitive despite not spending fortunes, they are an example of what might be achieved.
The difference is that while Stoke have had four years running in the top flight to build a side, Everton have been there every season since 1954.
Pulis will be looking to continue his impressive work this summer ... and Cameron Jerome will no doubt be taking more than a passing interest in his plans.