An Interview With Vital Stoke
The final home game of the season and it's Stoke City, we're out for three points.
With thanks to Lloyd Reddin from Vital Stoke.
1) When did you start following your club and what would you say are your best and worst memories in that time?
As I'm only creeping into my early twenties, I'm somewhat of a newbie in terms of supporting Stoke. I've been regularly going to Stoke since 2000, and even had a spell as Ball Boy, which brought me some of my best memories. I've been quite fortunate to not really be on the end of any real bad memories whilst watching the Potters, although away trips sometimes can be dreadful, going to Hartlepool for an early kick off and seeing Pericard and Delap up front, which resulted in a defeat was pretty woeful.
My best memory of the club either has to be one of the two F.A. Cup Wembley days, especially the 5-0 over Bolton or Promotion Day vs. Leicester or one of the European trips. Besiktas and Valencia were phenomenal experiences.
2) Who was your first football hero, and do you have any players that you believe will be the legends of the future?
Peter Hoekstra. The Dutch wizard was phenomenal. We were very lucky to get the winger at the twilight of his career. He could do anything with the ball and will never remember his superb hat-trick over Reading.
We have a few potential legends in the making at the club, the likes of Begovic and Shawcross could easily go on to much bigger things, but our stand out player is Steven N'Zonzi. He is so calm on the ball and we will be lucky to keep hold of this player. He could easily walk into most top teams in Europe in my opionion.
3) If you could resurrect one ex-player from the past, who would it be and why?
It's got to be Sir Stan. The Wizard of Dribble. He is what we need at the club at the moment, a real live spark, someone who could create something out of nothing, and just a very direct player who would give us natural width.
He also has unfinished business with the club, as he never managed to win anything in the famous red and white stripes.
4) Which was the best game you ever experienced, and if one goal stands out from your history, which is it?
The best game I have experienced has to be our 5-0 victory at Wembley in the F.A. Cup Semi-final over Bolton. Everything just went our way that day, and we just thought that it was going be our year. As you know, it didn't go our way in the final.
In my history of supporting Stoke, I think I've been blessed with many a good goal. One that stands out though is Peter Crouch's spectacular finish against Man City. I was sat right behind the shot and the technique used and the way he struck the ball was unbelievable. It will take a mighty fine strike to beat that strike in my book.
5) What were you expecting from the season and have their been any highlights so far?
We were expecting a comfortable mid-table finish which looked on the cards after a strong first half of the season, but now I'm happy and glad that we have secured another season in the league. A highlight of the season has to be the victory against Liverpool at the Brit where we blew them away 3-1.
6) Are you happy with your clubs business in the transfer window (and have those players adapted well for you on the pitch)?
On a whole the summer transfers have done well. The likes of N'Zonzi, Adam and Cameron have done well for us but need to be consistent next season. It probably hasn't helped that the manager has tried his hardest to play everyone of them out of position at one period of this season. January additions looked good on paper (Butland and Shea) but as it was feared they seem to be additions for next season and at that time the squad was crying out for some freshness.
7) Who is going to be your main dangerman when we play?
It would have been Charlie Adam, but he will be suspended for this tie now. It may come as a surprise but I think it will be Michael Owen. I fully expect the veteran striker to start at the weekend and as it is his final professional game, he should be chomping at the bit to finish his career in style.
8) What are your weaknesses, any clues for the game will be appreciated :-)
We don't score enough goals.
This comes from not creating enough chances which comes from most of the midfield being shackled. Pulis' first thought is not to concede and hopefully snatch a goal late on, especially away from home, which is highly frustrating for a travelling fan.
9) Have you been surprised with how Saints have performed so far?
No. I have a soft spot for Southampton and have followed you with intrigue the last few seasons and even tipped you for back-to-back promotions. I thought with the additions you made in the summer that you would be fine and you haven't proved me wrong.
10) Do you have any thoughts on Nigel Adkins, his departure, and his replacement Mauricio Pochettino?
I did think that it wasn't the best thing to do. If anything it was a lack of respect for a manager that had done so well to get you back into the top division so quickly, but Pochettino has seemed to instill more confidence in your side, especially going forward and the performance against United impressed me thoroughly. It will be interesting to see what he does in the summer and how he will continue his evolution.
11) Has anyone stood out from our recent buys?
Obviously Gaston Ramirez has been a superb signing and I was very surprised that you were team to grab his signature but I would to take Jay Rodriguez off your hands. I have always been a follower of the forward and think he would be a very good addition to our current squad.
12) If you could take one of our players, who would it be and why?
Morgan Schneiderlin. Another player I've admired for years. He would be a very good addition to our midfield. I love his hard hitting ways but also his intelligent passing. A midfield trio of N'Zonzi, Morgan and Adam is a mouth watering prospect.
13) Who do you see as our main threat in the game?
Your main threat will be your wingers. Our full back's don't instill the most confidence and I can't say they will be looking forward to your pacy and direct wingers.
14) Finally, a prediction for the game please?
I think it's going be a dull game which has end of season wrote all over it. If Pulis announces that he is leaving at the end of the season then we could actually snatch a victory with the 3,000 Stoke fans going giving the capped one a great send off. I'd go for 2-1 win, if not I think you'll win 3-1.
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