The Blues Are Calling (Part II)

I put polls up on three Stoke message boards to see whether I could get a feel for what people thought of the investment, and whether the fans would like our club to have an Abu Dhabi sugar daddy. Some of the responses surprised me, with one of the sites voting overwhelmingly against the idea.

Overall, 55% of the people polled were against the idea of having a Man City-like billionaire take over the club. One of the main reasons given was that they liked the way that the club was currently run: we have a local self-made millionaire who has put his own personal fortune into the club, supports the club and (seemingly) has the clubs best interests; both financially and football-wise. Continue reading

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The Blues Are Calling (Part I)

Boxing Day, 1988

I had clearly been a good (or possibly naughty, depending upon how you look at it) boy this year, as Santa had given me the Stoke City home kit for Christmas. Red and white stripes, sponsored by Cristal Tiles. I put it on under my tracksuit and coat, ready for my first Boxing Day match.

This would be my second game – at home to Manchester City. I had heard of another team from Manchester; some people in my class supported them. They’d never been before though (and now more than twenty-three years later, still haven’t been). My mother would regale stories of seeing Mike Summerbee play in the 70’s. I didn’t know who he was, and at six years old, didn’t care much either. I just wanted to see George Berry again. My previous match had been a 4-0 home win against Hull City and I was looking forward to seeing more goals. Continue reading

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Mental Illness in Sport

Working for Staffordshire Social Services some years back, my team and I set up some events across the county to help promote the work that the Mental Health Service did in the county. When leafleting in Burton-on-Trent, I approached a gentleman to inform him of an upcoming event and was hit instantly with anger at the very suggestion this person would have any interest in attending and that he certainly did not have any mental health issues. I tried explaining that mental health comes in many forms and it shouldn’t be seen as a taboo subject, and that this is what we were trying to achieve by putting on the events. Unfortunately, I think it fell on deaf ears.

I have been wanting to write something about the mental health issues associated with sport for some time. As an avid fan of England cricket I have seen one of the finest batsmen of my generation suffer terribly with depression, to the extent that he has pulled out of England tours and County games. With the very sad news of the suicide of Gary Speed this week, I thought I’d finally put pen to paper. I must point out though, that at the time of writing this, no official details have been released as to whether or not Speed was suffering from depression, but only that he had taken his own life. Continue reading

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Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Another post-Europa League away day brings the long-suffering travelling Stoke faithful another defeat.

Since promotion to the Premier League in 2008 Stoke have picked up just ten wins out of sixty-three away games. This may sound poor, but that record is not actually that different from other clubs that have finished in similar league positions to us over the last three seasons. Continue reading

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Veganism in Sport

“You don’t look like a vegan.”
“Why, what does a vegan look like?” I ask.
“All pasty and underweight.”
“How many vegans do you know?”
“Well, I don’t actually know any, but it’s what they normally look like, isn’t it?”

Vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke

Vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke

After this I showed the person a picture of vegan bodybuilder and creator of the Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness website, Robert Cheeke.

“He obviously eats meat, there’s no way someone could stack like that without eating meat.”

He doesn’t. Continue reading

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Stoke City Must Owe Me Thousands

Arsenal fans reflecting

In the wake of Arsenals 8-2 thrashing at Manchester United at the end of August, the club have offered the fans that made the four hundred mile round trip a free ticket to a future away match. As a Stoke fan, who has seen his fair share of humiliating defeats over the years, the concept of getting a refund when you see your team lose is somewhat lost on me.

Arsenal aren’t the first to offer their fans compensation after a drubbing, and I’m sure they won’t be the last either. Continue reading

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