March 5, 2012 by Ross
EDIT- Competition is now CLOSED. A winner has been contacted.
Fancy winning yourself a signed copy of the fantastic Mark Crossley book ‘Big Norm’? The former Forest, Milwall, Middlesbrough, Stoke, Fulham, Sheffield Wednesday, Oldham and Chesterfield keeper played 451 league games and even scored a goal whilst at Sheffield Wednesday. There is one copy of the book available for one lucky winner in this biography full of pictures, great stories, fantastic personal insights into some massive names in the game and the personal revelations of the modern day footballer.
One lucky winner will receive this signed copy of the book, simply by answering this simple question:
Which country did Mark Crossley represent at International Level?
Please send all answers* (including your name, club that you support, Twitter name (if applicable) and your answer) in an email to Ross@SCFCRoss.co.uk by 5pm Friday March 16th 2012 to be in with a chance of winning this fantastic book! You can also enter my sending me a Direct Message on Twitter. Simply follow ‘@SCFCRoss’ and I will follow you back so that you can send your answers that way too
*Only one answer per entrant, please note that the phrase ‘International level’ applies to the first team and not youth or under 17/19/21 level,
Category Pottering About | Tags: Big Norm,Chesterfield,Competition,Goalkeeper,Mark Crossley,Stoke | No Comments
April 25, 2011 by Hannah
This wasn’t a game filled with action or memories but it most definitely was a game that The Potters needed to approach carefully.
After Stoke’s emphatic win last Sunday at Wembley anybody would expect there to have been an air of optimism amongst the travelling Potters fans as they looked for 3 points that would more than likely guarantee them premier league football for a 4th consecutive season. However you’d be forgiven for thinking it was Stoke who had been thrashed 5-0 at Wembley after entering the away concourse as there was almost silence with nearly half an hour to go before kick-off. An air of caution rather than confidence swept across the stadium, for both sets of supporters.
With 6 premier league games remaining Stoke sat 5 points above the relegation zone on 38. A win at Villa Park was not vital but would be a sort of ‘late gift’ for Stoke after their Wembley heroics. Villa themselves needed points and in the absence of their hospital stricken manager Gerard Houllier, Gary McAllister was to take charge.
The Villains started brightest but failed to create any clear cut chances. Stoke started to press and began to dominate the game with a series of long throw-ins and corners. Robert Huth came closest with a volley much like the one that found the net at Wembley, on this occasion however Brad Friedel got down well to save it, before making another smart save from Kenwyne Jones after he flicked the ball on from a Matthew Etherington corner. In the 20th minute Friedel was powerless to stop a strong Jones header from a trademark Rory Delap throw-in and the away side took the lead. The Potters fans were in dreamland as chants of “we’re all going on a European Tour” were bellowed from the away end.
Just before the interval the home side responded with Darren Bent scoring his 7th Villa goal of the season, again from a header. Despite this it was Stoke who had, had the better first half.
As the 2nd half started it was clear that The Villains wanted all 3 points as they piled on the pressure shooting from numerous different angles. The Potters were now clinging on for a point after several scrambled clearances. However despite there being no video evidence to show for it Stoke did have the ball in the net for the 2nd time only for it to be ruled offside. Local radio suggested the goal should have stood but Match of the day decided this was not the case and did not show the footage, we may never know whether the Potters were wrongly denied 3 points.
The cameras did spot the away sides’ 2nd disallowed goal however but it was clear from the replays that when Ricardo Fuller received the ball before placing it in the net, he was indeed offside. The Jamaican was again involved as he was stretchered off late on with a nasty looking ankle injury.
So it wasn’t the most exciting of games but it’s another point for Stoke and as we all know every point is crucial in the closest Premier League relegation fight for years. Something to take from the game would have to be fact that this was Stoke’s first point away from The Britannia in 8 league games, which on another note needs to be addressed next season in order for Stoke to push on and compete higher up the league table.
Next up for The Potters is a Staffordshire derby at home against Wolves. A win on Tuesday night would seemingly guarantee Stoke’s Premier League status for another year, whilst also kick starting ‘party time’ in The Potteries ahead of the eagerly anticipated Cup final on May 14th.
Category Latest News, Match Reports | Tags: Aston Villa,Match Report,Stoke | 1 Comment
April 22, 2011 by Ross
Aston Villa will be without a key member of their side for Saturday’s game with Gerard Houllier yet again falling ill and requiring hospital treatment. Gary McAllister will take temporary charge of a Villa side standing perilously above the drop zone.
Villa have no injury worries ahead of the game and neither do Stoke with only the long standing injuries of Mamady Sidibe and Danny Higginbotham being a problem for the Potters.
It’s likely that we’ll see a completely different Villa side with McAllister in charge and therefore entirely possible that Gabriel Agbonlahor could return upfront after coming off the bench to grab the winner last weekend.
The only big change for Stoke will be the change in goal with Sorensen likely to drop to the bench for Asmir Begovic. John Carew cannot play against his parent club and therefore also misses out.
It’ll be a tasty encounter at Villa Park with neither side safe by a long way. Expect a tough battling performance from both sides with the confidence of the 5-0 win at Wembley fresh in the fans and player’s minds.
Category Latest News, Match Reports, Team News | Tags: Aston Villa,Match Preview,Stoke | No Comments
April 20, 2011 by Ross
Words fail me(But i’ll try anyway). The Saturday night before the game I predicted a close 2-2 draw with Bolton and an extra time winner being needed to win. But nobody (and that is NOBODY) could have predicted the events on Sunday.
My day started at 6am. Getting up early, getting ready early for the bus. Nerves settling in, confidence being downtrodden by an underlying sense of negativity. ‘We’ll get beaten badly today’ my mind whispered. It kept niggling away all morning. I had this thought in my head that we would lose badly. Thank god I was wrong.
8am approached. Dad picked me up in his car being brilliantly later than expected. ‘I’ll be there for 7:30′. Yeah ok Dad. We got to the pub we were getting the bus from at Quarter past. There were men and women stood outside smoking like it was their last cigarette. A wry smile on their faces as they saw every single person reach the pub in Stoke replica shirts of past and present. As soon as the landlord shouted ‘Oatcakes’ there was a mad rush. Literally hundreds of bacon Oatcakes and booze flowing at the bar. Sky Sports News on the big screen. Sky visited fans of both teams ready for their bus. Bolton fans were 100% full of confidence. Each and every one thought they would win by a huge margin, each and every one meant every word they uttered. Soon the bell tolled and the bus was ready. A second mad dash as everybody got excited for the journey there. A number of louts with shaven heads drinking all morning, drinking on the bus and singing like it was the final and they were there. We trundled onto the packed bus. Everyone in high spirits. Everybody smiling. We set off to chants of ‘Wembley’.
We all chatted for a good hour about the build up. ‘Petrov and Cahill are their biggest threats’, ‘We have to watch the ball as Kevin Davies knocks it down’ and ‘Etherington and Pennant are going to have to be up for this today’. Everybody had the same feelings. We all thought it would be tough, we all wondered what would happen, nobody knew. The pungent smell of alcohol wafting from the soft drinks bottles with marked letters. A warm and uncomfortable journey lay ahead as the noise dyed down and the constant need for the toilet left a torrid stench in the middle of the bus. Warwick services awaited us as we met another few thousand Stokies and a few hundred coaches. It was mayhem but also the first realisation of how many people would be at the match. It all set in. Thousands of fans en masse in a brilliant mood. Atmospheric.
Category Latest News, Match Reports | Tags: Bolton,Stoke,Wembley | 2 Comments
April 14, 2011 by Ross
I was going to give this post a really good title, but after careful consideration i’ve come to realise how big an occasion this is, and silly puns are not going to make an ounce of difference. A simple title helps and sometimes simplicity is the key.
Stoke have been given the rub of the green in the cup this year with West Ham being the toughest opponents yet. In the 3rd Round Stoke progressed in the extra time of a replay against Cardiff City who were on a good run. But after two relatively boring games, Stoke progressed through to face another tough match against Wolves. After another boring game the Potters stole the win through an almost routine Robert Huth goal. Stoke then faced a tough home game. In our history we’ve always seemed to struggle against sides we should beat, so nerves were jangling when I saw Brighton were drawn out. But under Pulis it seems we can go out and actually get a result without any trouble; and that’s what happened. A comfortable 3-0 which could have so easily been more and it looked like Stoke could really dream of Wembley. Then came the Quarters. Strugglers West Ham led by Cup maestro Avram Grant. The Hammers looked dangerous at times and needed a slice of luck to score their first through a Freddie Piquionne (forearm/shoulder/chest whatever it was it looked wrong) goal. Missing a penalty early on in the second half did not help Stoke but a valiant effort from the team gave Stoke fans the dream way to spend a weekend in April; at Wembley.
That has been the journey so far, but for me- it’s seemed almost distant from real life. As a teenager I’m striving to earn as much as I can before I make the step up to University and the big wide world. So i’ve got a job. A job flexible enough to allow me to not work Saturdays just for Football. It’s great. However, Sundays seem to be the day that Stoke have to play FA Cup games nowadays, and this impacts on other fixtures leaving us with a string of Sunday fixtures that I miss. I wasn’t there to see West Ham. I wasn’t there to feel the atmosphere as we recorded a famous victory and got ourselves into the semi-finals. I’m lucky to have booked the day off work for the trip to Wembley.
It’s a big trip down to London for all four semi finalists. Three teams from Manchester and one from Stoke-on-Trent, you could say we are at home. And with the speed the tickets sold you’d think we were. Stoke has been gripped by Wembley fever with even non-Stoke fans aching for tickets. Let’s hope Tony can really fire up the team and give them that boost that the club needs. Potentially a European place is up for grabs if we win. Stoke….in Europe……Does not Compute.
We go to Wembley as Underdogs, we go there as a team renowned for one style of football, let’s hope we leave as winners.
Category Latest News | Tags: Bolton,Journey,Stoke,Sunday,Wembley | No Comments
April 11, 2011 by Ross
Saturday saw the return to goalscoring form of £8million pound Kenwyne Jones who’s screamer against Spurs gave Stoke a confident foothold in a game they were widely thought they’d be massacred in.
But it took the aerial threat of Spurs’ victim of the piece from the Bernabeu, Peter Crouch to give the North Londoners the victory over a Stoke side eagerly awaiting a trip to Wembley in 6 days time. A poor defensive display from the off gave Spurs 2 goals within 20 minutes with Crouch rising above a flailing Shawcross from a short corner for the first and Luka Modric driving home after some short passing around the defense led him clean through. But the brightest note in the whole game was possibly this next gem. Matthew Etherington got the ball from inside the Stoke half and took on 2 Spurs players before slotting home past a stunned Gomes. The ex-Spurs winger was gracious in celebration and his goal gave the side belief all over the pitch. This belief was quashed just 7 minutes later when another towering header from Crouch left Begovic without a chance. But yet another 7 minutes later and Stoke were given fresh hope in the form of a now rare strike from record signing Kenwyne Jones. After Spurs lost possession Jones ran at the Spurs back four with only one intention; striking it hard. And that he did. The ball evading a hapless Gomes as the striker scored for the first time since New Years Day.
Overall it wasn’t a bad game with both sides having good goalscoring opportunities in the second half to score with Walters coming closest for Stoke and Pavlyuchenko for Spurs, but the key points to be taken from the game were the goal from Jones, the lack of injury and the lack of belief amongst the side. Pulis seems to have instilled a real sense of hope in the side and the confidence from Jones has been evident in his last 3/4 performances where he’s been unlucky to not score. Now he’s broken his duck, maybe we’ll see the Jones we saw near the start of the season return once more.
Category Latest News, Match Reports | Tags: Caribbean,Kenwyne Jones,Spurs,Stoke,Tottenham Hotspur | No Comments
April 8, 2011 by Ross
This Saturday sees the Potters visit North London just a week before they face one of their biggest games in the club’s history. Many argue that our visit to the Millenium stadium to gain promotion to the Championship or many of the games keeping us up/getting us up were more important, but to many young fans the salivating prospect of a trip to Wembley makes the occasion absolutely huge for the city and club. Before the team can focus on that they face a tough trip against a Spurs side licking their wounds after being mauled in Madrid by Mourinho’s men. The Potters hope to replicate their 1-0 victory at the Lane last year and continue a rich vein of form that is hitting at just the right time as close season beckons and the FA Cup semi-final draws closer.
Higginbotham faces 6 months out
The absence of Aaron Lennon on Wednesday due to ‘Illness’ will leave a sour taste in the mouth of many fans and Lennon himself who feel he was used as a scapegoat for an under par performance. Spurs will more than likely field a strong team in order to give the fans something to cheer about.
Hutton is out for the season whilst the two most injury prone players in the world (Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate) unsurprisingly miss out. Wilson Palacios and Stephen Pienaar are also set to miss out of the game. With Hutton already missing at right back it’s probable that Vedran Corluka will take his place, however the Croatian could miss out with an ankle niggle. Niko Krancjar completes the list of Spurs’ walking wounded with a foot injury. Corluka, Lennon and Krancjar will all face late fitness tests.
Fortunately for Stoke there are very few worries in injury terms. John Carew should be fit now after recovering from a back problem whilst the in form Jermaine Pennant looks set to keep his place despite almost ruling himself out of the game tomorrow. The biggest blow to the side this week is the loss of Danny Higginbotham who last week ruptured his knee ligaments and looks set to spend 6 months out. This will mean Danny could miss pre-season entirely and have to catch up throughout the season. The only plus point of this is that it will force Pulis to sign a left back over the summer as he would be foolish to rely on Danny Collins and Danny Pugh to be the sole left-backs for a season….right?
I’ll leave you with that thought.
Likely Stoke Line-up
Begovic, Wilson, Shawcross, Huth, Collins, Pennant, Delap, Whelan, Etherington, Walters, Carew
Category Latest News | Tags: Match Preview,Spurs,Stoke,Tottenham Hotspur | No Comments