Forty pounds of flesh to see Stoke match City
One wondered why it was so easy to obtain a ticket for the sought after Stoke City v Manchester City fixture. The cheapest adult ticket was £40. Yes £40. How this can be justified in an era of poverty and recession in north Staffordshire is beyond comprehension.
This sort of money is a sizeable part of a working man's weekly income without taking into account the additional costs for taking children along to the games too.
Don't the owner's, manager, players and officials of the club have any conscience? Obviously not.
On toddling off to the Britannia Stadium there was another nice surprise in store: Stoke on Trent City Council had ended all concessions with the bus company Wardles so the elderly and disabled could not use their free pass for the shuttle to the Britannia Stadium.
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With regards to the match itself Stoke only had one shot on target in the first half and Crouchie handled that one in order to score. What a shocker when the goal was given.
It was observed that it was only when Carlos Tevez took the ball by the scruff of the neck that City looked dangerous. It was his free kick that met the head of Garcia to draw City level.
The penny slowly dropped that Stoke had abandoned the long throw and in the second half, the Stoke midfield were sweeping some nice balls wide with some regularity. Although the final ball was not telling they were giving City a game even without firing a credible shot on target. Nzonzi and Charlie Adam impressed for Stoke.
Andy Wilkinson also shone; his performances these days are looking polished. Talking of which, City, by and large swept the ball around with synchronised precision reminiscent of performing ballet dancers. However, Balotelli did hit the deck by enacting a sort of choreographed pirouette which was met with boos not applause from the disgruntled audience in the Seddon Stand.
Then Michael Owen came on just before the final whistle with the Stoke fans not having time to sing the novel new song dedicated to him.
Not before Ryan Shawcross showed magnificent stamina to hook out a last minute lob from Dzeko, demonstrating that he is most definitely England class indeed.
Final Score: Stoke City 1 Manchester City 1
Attendance: 27,101 (note the £40 admission price most probably being the reason the game did not sell out)