Tag Archive: Stoke City F.C.

Time for divers to be banned?

Once again, the Premier League weekend was subject to a little controversy as a number of players were accused of diving to try and win their side a penalty, or get an opposing player sent off.

One of the big examples of this was Luis Suarez for Liverpool against Stoke City on Sunday as the Uruguayan went down far too easily in the second half of the a football result   that ended goalless draw between the two sides at Anfield.

This made Stoke boss Tony Pulis come out and ask for Suarez to be banned, suggesting that too many players get away with doing it and that if they were suspended for diving, it would cut it out of the game.

These days it is almost impossible for a referee to give a penalty as there is always the doubt that a player has tried to con the officials or whether there was enough contact. Someone like Suarez is constantly in the headlines for playacting and it has led to him getting a lot less spot-kicks.

However, he seems to keep on doing it and maybe a ban would be a big statement of intent from the Football Association that they want to get diving out of the game and it would make a player think twice about doing that.

The FA could use video evidence after the match, and if someone has clearly dived to try and win a penalty of having a member of the opposition sent off, then it is them that face the ban.

No one likes to see a player cheating – there is a big difference between winning a penalty and looking for one. If you feel contact in the box, then you have every right to go down, but if you go into the area knowing you are going to fall to the ground – you deserve to be punished.

This is not just a pick on Suarez either, there are players all round England that are guilty of it. When you are successful in trying to con the referee it can have a massive impact on a team’s season – which is really not fair.


By Tony Alvarez

As Harry Redknapp being found innocent of all charges regarding tax evasion is being widely reported by various forms of media outlets and of course you cant turn a TV on without reading the news of Fabio Capello resigning as England boss we thought we would avoid the topics and comment on something that isn’t widely covered else where on the web.

Instead were going to look at the role of the panel who are in charge of rescinding red cards upon appeal and what it is they exactly look for, this is especially prominent this week as Stoke’s Robert Huth has had his ban upheld although it is clear to all who have seen the incident that he should not of been red carded.

Any regular reader will know I’m not a Stoke fan in fact there are possibly my least favourite Premier League team I have problems with many things they do during their games and the way they go about a Football match, however in this case the FA have done them wrong.

I wrote an article earlier in the season after Jack Rodwell was wrongfully sent off in the Merseyside derby a red card that upon a appeal was revoked, incidentally both red cards were given by the same referee Martin Atkinson, I would of expected similar treatment for Robert Huth on this occasion however the panel saw things differently.

It should be noted that Mr Atkinson is a fan of branding the red card awarding almost one in every three fixtures of the 41 he officiated in the 2010-2011 season.

If you have not seen the incident pictured above Stoke defender Huth slid in on a slippery snowy surface to attempt to win the ball, he was travelling at speed and being unable to stop on the surface didn’t help his cause, he did not lung and it was not a two footed tackle (the two reasons we usually see players dismissed). That alone should make the tackle nothing more than a yellow card, it was mistimed he never won the ball and he went in with reasonable force. But even more incredible is that if you watch the tackle he realised he would not win the ball and completely pulled out of the tackle meaning the only contact wasSunderland’s David Meyler kicking Huth’s knee as again the picture shows.

I can understand how the referee got it wrong he was under pressure fromSunderlandplayers Huth was travelling at speed and Meyler ended up in a heap on the floor, this wasn’t like Rodwell’s where there was no case for a sending off, so I can sympathise with the referee they have a tough job. But how a panel that can see it again from many different angles with no pressure on them and can even have a rule book in front of them is beyond me.

Stoke chairman Peter Coates has even spoken out about the incident and the refusal from the appeal panel/board/committee to over turn the red card awarded by the referee.

He commented “You feel it is not being operated satisfactorily… Referees do make mistakes and nobody blames them for that, but we need a system that redresses that.”

It is obvious from what I have written above that I agree with Coates and feel there is many processes that the FA use that need to be altered. But what are your views?

Should Huth of been sent off? Do you agree with the panel’s decision to uphold the red card? Is it time for a change in the process?

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By Tony Alvarez

In our final piece before our end of season close down Shouts From the Stands will look into who the Premier League clubs need to sign in the current transfer window in our opinion.

Our views on the teams who finished in positions 1-12 in the league in the season just finished can be found on the links below and today is the turn of the 5 remaining survivors and the three new boys.




Stoke have had a successful season finishing 13th thus not getting dragged into a relegation battle and reaching the cup final losing out toManchesterCity.

Although manager Tony Pulis generally sticks with the same type of players, big strong powerful or quick he often does add a touch of class to his side in every transfer window and I don’t expect this one to be any different.

Jon Walters has shocked everyone with his level of performance and goal return the level of Walters debut season will mean that it will be unlikely that Stoke enter the market for a striker although they may pick up John Carew who they had on loan from January on a free transfer.

I think they may add a body to the midfield to give the squad greater depth, someone in the ilk of Scott Parker would be perfect for Stoke although he is not big in stature he covers every blade of grass and gives his all, however if rumours are to be believed Parker has a host of bigger clubs queing up to sign him, Stoke could do a lot worse than looking at his team mate Mark Noble.

Pulis sofar hasn’t shown a good knowledge of the European market but has a great knowledge of the lower leagues and it wouldn’t surprise me if he finds another gem from there.


 With the loss of Johan Elmander Bolton massively need a striker, they would love to be able to sign Daniel Sturridge after his hugely successful loan spell at the club, however due to this Chelsea are very unlikely to let the young Englishman go but there may be a possibility of another loan spell for the former City man.

Boltonmay have set their sights higher than picking up the best of the players from the relegated sides but I believe DJ Campbell would be worth a look at, he would be ideal to run onto Kevin Davies flick ons and knock downs and knows where the goal is. He also wouldn’t cost too much which is always an added bonus.

At the back it is strongly believed that Gary Cahill will not start the season in a Bolton shirt which means a replacement will be needed, it would be easy to link Bolton with someone like Matthew Upson who is available but with the season he has had a don’t think Owen Coyle will go near him unless it was for a real basement price, I believe Coyle will be tempted to enter the market for Roger Johnson as he is the type of no nonsense defender that would suit Bolton’s style of play.

It is my personal believe that Bolton also need a lefty back as for me Paul Robinson is worse than average however last time I said that Bolton fans were not best pleased so maybe there happy to stick with him.


I can see this being a difficult summer for Rovers, they have a manager that does not really inspire me or anyone else there owners seem to be out of control and the club only survived relegation on the final day of the season, on top of that it looks as though they will lose at least 2 big name players in captain Chris Samba and youngster Phil Jones.

Should these two leave as expected the club will need to spend heavily to fill the void left at centre back, Nelsen and Givet are not bad defenders but they are also not great and it would also leaveBlackburnwithout cover at centre back.

Depending on how much the new owners want to invest in the playing squad will define what type of player the club can try to attract.

In January it was rumoured that world wide super stars Ronaldinho and David Beckham were targets for theLancashireclub.

I wouldn’t like to put a name to that defender as I always seem to end up quoting places from the relegated sides.

Many fans forums link Rovers with moves for both Seb Larsson and Ruud Van Nistelroy I cannot see either coming off, would either really want to a move to a club that seems really unsteady and if they carry on in the same direction will be Championship sides this time next year


 Wiganhave a big battle on their hands, it is expected that they will lose the services of star man Charles N’Zogbia as well as striker Hugo Rodellega and possible midfielder James McCarthy.

Although if these three go it will bring some much needed funds in the club will struggle to replace them as no disrespect to the club butWiganisn’t exactly an attractive proposition for players on the continent.

Manager Roberto Martinez will no doubt try and use his knowledge of the Spanish market as well as his knowledge of the lower leagues inEnglandto try and bolster his squad.

It was quoted during Mondays play off final thatMartinezwas inSpaintrying to tie up some potential deals so we could see some exciting European talent at the DW stadium come August.

I have a decent knowledge of the Spanish leagues but don’t know enough to put names to the playersMartinezis likely to target.

One thing is for certain if the club don’t replace N’Zogbia they will be in trouble and to be honest it will be difficult to find some one with his creative talent with Wigans budget, however Connor Sammon appear to be a find.



Wolves are on odd one for me because I actually think there a really good side but the final league table doesn’t lie.

They clearly have a good bunch of players as they have taken points off Man United,Chelsea, Tottenham andLiverpool.

Mick McCarthy is a great man manager and gets his teams playing well as a unit so its hard to judge the individuals.

They have a couple of players who I feel are a bit out of there depth such as Ronald Zubar and George Elokobi, it appears all there fragilities are at the back as most of their attacking talent is more than good enough.

At the back the club have been linked with Roger Johnson who I have linked with many clubs during this article but also Matthew Mills who scored in yesterdays play off final and from what I’ve seen of him looks to be a very good defender whetherReadingwill let him go is a different matter.



  QPR are another team with an odd situation, despite winning the Championship Neil Warnocks position as manager is apparently under threat, as well as this despite being owned by some of the World’s richest men the club appear reluctant to spend money.

This makes them impossibly hard to predict as you do not know what sort of markets theLondonclub will be shopping in.

They have been linked withWatford’s prolific marksman Danny Graham but he is not the type of player that is going to propel them up the Premier League.

Again QPR have been linked with a whole host of players from the sides that have been relegated, players such as Liam Ridgewell and Roger Johnson are believed to be target

In my opinion the main issue for QPR is keeping hold of the star men they already have, Taarabt has been linked with many clubs but there has been no formal offers for the Algerian, they will also hope to sign wide man Wayne Routledge on a permanent basis after he impressed in a loan spell in the second half of the season. Finally keeping goal keeper Pay Kenny Is a must, fortunately he has always been loyal to Neil Warnock and there are no signs of that changing.



Norwichas a whole do not appear to be ready for the Premiership and the promotion could of possibly came a year to earlier for the Canaries.

However they are I n the Premier League on merit and Blackpool were getting many of the same doubters this time last year and so wereHullbefore them.

I know I have linked a lot of clubs with the players from relegated teams but it appearsNorwichwill be wholy shopping in that market as well as fringe players form bigger teams and the better players from the lower leagues.

Manager Paul Lambert moved quickly to snap up Everton forward James Vaughan, the striker has always looked promising but has struggled with injury problems, I once remember an Everton fan telling me his talent was unrivalled but his time on the pitch was bettered by everyone.

In the middle they have  battlers such as Croft but I feel to survive they will not some better Footballers along side the “engine room men” in a similar situation to what Blackpool had with Charlie Adam, a few clubs have tried to sign him in the past and personally I would try to prize away Darren Ambrose from Crystal Palace he has Premiership experience an eye for a goal and is an all round good footballer.

At the back you can get away without getting in big names as long as they all work well in a unit together, due to this it makes it anyone’s guess who Lambert is going to try and sign if he tires to sign anyone at all.



 Swansea gained promotion thanks to a thrilling victory overReading at Wembley in the play off final.

Anyone who saw this game will recognise the danger of their wide men Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer.

Swansea manager Brendon Rodgers knows how to use the loan market a prove with the late addition ofChelseastarlet Fabio Borini to his squad I would not be surprised if he tries to acquire the young forward again.

In all honesty I don’t know much aboutSwansea’s financial position so I don’t know how likely they are to spend.

They have a decent spine however I fear with Darren Pratley no longer a started they lack size and physical presence in midfield.

At Championship level they were a better Footballing side than most of the teams they came up against I am afraid in the Premier League this will not be the case.

Due to this I think they should look to sign a midfield general a towering presence, givenRogersuse of the loan market I will not be surprised if he looks at Arsenal’s youth man Frimpong he may not give the added height but he is a tenacious tackler and then gives the ball simple to the passing machine.

Personally if I was Rodgers I would look for someone with more experience than young Frimpong but this is a notourisly hard position to fill the ideal candidate would be Owen Hargreaves but I very much doubt they can afford his wages and also doubt they would want a injury prone player when they need to dig deep and get stuck in.

Pulis has transformed the fortunes of Stoke during his second spell in charge

By Laurie Fitzgerald

History was made this weekend as Stoke City clinched a place in their first ever FA Cup Final in dramatic style.

Their 5-0 hammering of a hapless Bolton Wanderers side was the biggest winning margin in an FA Cup semi-final in over a century.

It also marked a new peak for a Stoke side guided by a manager that doesn’t get the credit he surely deserves.

Tony Pulis is approaching his fifth anniversary in his second spell at the Britannia Stadium, and the Potters have come a long way in that period.

When the 53 year-old took over in the summer of 2006, Stoke had finished in 13th place in the Championship, well off the pace of a promotion push.

Pulis knew that the squad needed improving, and after bringing in the likes of Rory Delap, Danny Higginbotham and Ricardo Fuller, the side made huge strides in his first season back in charge.

They finished just two points off the play-offs in eighth position, compared to the 20 points that they were adrift from the top six only 12 months prior.

The Welshman needed to utilise the transfer market well to push Stoke up to the next level; a young Ryan Shawcross was brought in, while the likes of Andy Griffin joined to give the squad the necessary experience.

The changes paid off; Stoke gained automatic promotion to the Premier League and Pulis had completed the transformation from Championship mediocrity to the promised land of the top-flight.

Now a new test was to come, and Pulis had to find a way of establishing them in a division they fought so hard to get to.

Over the past three seasons in what many believe to be the most difficult league in the world, Stoke have consistently grown in stature.

They finished 12th in their debut PL campaign, and followed that up with an 11th placed finish the next season.

Now they find themselves in 13th place, and although they are not safe from relegation, they only need one or two more wins to secure their status and give themselves of improving their points tally from the previous two years.

Maybe the reason that Pulis doesn’t get the recognition for his considerable efforts is the style of play his side have adopted.

They have utilised the astonishing throw-in ability of Delap and the constant threat from set-pieces to provide the goals to keep them amongst England’s elite.

Another reason that might have prevented any due praise is the physical nature that has been implemented within the team.

While they have a big, strong presence against anyone, there have been times when they have appeared over exuberant to neutrals, best demonstrated when Shawcross broke Aaron Ramsey’s leg in a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal last February.

However, Pulis should be commended for getting the best out of his players. The likes of Jermaine Pennant and Matthew Etherington have rediscovered meaning in their career’s under his guidance.

Alongside the likes of Robert Huth, Kenwyne Jones and the flourishing Jon Walters, there is a good squad of players at the Britannia.

The comparison to where Stoke were when Pulis took over and what he started with is startling.

Maybe when people look back on what he’s achieved over the past five years, they will see that he is long overdue for some credit.

So what do you think? Does Pulis deserve more credit for what he’s achieved? Has the style of play affected any incoming praise? Let us know your thoughts.

After a difficult start, is Grant starting to turn things around at Upton Park?

By Laurie Fitzgerald

This weekend sees the quarter-finals of the FA Cup take place, with the eight sides remaining just one win away from Wembley.

One of these teams will be West Ham United, and if there is one team that will be going into their match with confidence, it’s Avram Grant’s side.

The Hammers are unbeaten in their last four, including winning their last three against Burnley, Liverpool and Stoke, who will be their opponents tomorrow.

Not only has it given West Ham a last eight spot in the cup, it has also given them a realistic chance of Premier League survival, with the side climbing out of the bottom three.

It’s great to see that Grant is turning things around; my first piece on SFTS looked at how Grant should be given more time to succeed despite a difficult start (https://shoutsfromthestands.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/is-avram-being-taken-for-grant-ed/)

This time that was craved looked unlikely to come to fruition when a much-publicised attempt to bring in Martin O’Neill failed, despite Grant still being in the managers’ hotseat.

But the Israeli found a way to put these issues behind him, and since strengthening in January and seeing long-term injuries return, West Ham are in a great run of form.

So what has led to the change in fortunes? One of the biggest factors has been the Hammers’ ability to find the back of the net with such regularity.

This four-match unbeaten run has seen 14 goals scored, including January arrival Demba Ba scoring four goals in five games since his arrival from Hoffenheim.

The striker has added a cutting edge in a strikeforce that has failed to find consistency in front of goal in the likes of Carlton Cole and Frederic Piquionne.

Another major help in the revival is the long-awaited return to form to summer signing Thomas Hitzlsperger.

28 year-old Hitzlsperger had to wait eight months after joining from Stuttgart before making his debut at Upton Park, but the German International has been making up for lost time.

He has already scored twice in his four matches, and has formed a great relationship as part of a midfield trio along with Mark Noble and the irreplaceable Scott Parker.

This 4-3-3 formation was used to great effect against Stoke last Saturday, although there may be a change to the style when travelling to the Britannia.

Grant will know that his side will be the underdogs. Stoke have rightly gathered a reputation at home that makes them regarded as one of the toughest places to go and get a win.

But the confidence that has been found within the squad over recent weeks will give the fans great belief that at least a replay can be secured against the Potters.

For Grant, overcoming the odds has been the story of his season.

So what do you think? How much credit does Grant deserve for the recent turnaround? Which players have made the biggest difference over recent weeks? Let us know you what you think

By Tony Alvarez

With reports suggesting Aston Villa’s John Carew is on the brink of a move to Stoke following Darren Bent’s high profile move, Shouts From The Stands looks into whether this is a good move for club or player.

Sky sports have reported that Carew passed a medical ahead of a loan move until the end of the season, which is when his contract at Villa runs out.

While there is very rarely a bad loan deal I personally don’t see this as a good move for Stoke City. Although the move will never be a flop because they are only going to be covering his wages which I doubt are excessive.

I should elaborate I don’t see Carew being a flop and may notch a few goals and add to their game but he is not as good as Kenwyne Jones, he may be better in the air but is no where near as mobile and not as much of a handful for defenders.

Whilst he will be a good squad player I find it unlikely that he will be happy to come and sit on the bench, I would be very shocked if he played alongside Jones as they are too similar and do not have enough goals between them.

I think should this deal be complete it will stop Tony Pulis going into the transfer market for a real goal scorer as he will think they have enough options upfront but for me a real goal scorer or a poacher is what they need.

From Carew’ point of view I think this is a great move. For whatever reason he was not getting enough game time at Villa which would of only been lessened by Bent’s arrival

This move provides Carew with the opportunity to get some game time under his belt, if the move is a relative success Stoke will sign him in the summer if the move is a huge success he could attract the interest of some bigger clubs in the summer ( no disrespect to Stoke).

It is also clear that Stoke play to Carews obvious strengths they like to hit the target manarly and hope he can flick on or hold up the ball both of which Carew is very good at, they also get some good deliveries (from crosses, contrary to popular belief they don’t only throw the ball into dangerous areas)  which they will hope Carew can latch on to.

Carew is the obvious winner in this move but should his performances prove a success he could be a massive bonus for Stoke City.

What do you think? Are you happy to be taking him on loan? Do you think he will cut it at Stoke? Villa fans are you glad to see the back of him or would you of preferred to keep him? Would you of signed Carew If you were in Pulis position? Let us know

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