Are Stoke City the most boring team in the game?
Published: 13.01.13 / Written by: David Gold
Few teams divide opinion as much as Stoke City.
Adored by the cliché spewing ex-footballer dominated punditry which rules the airwaves, loathed by fans of rival clubs alike, Stoke City are one of the most infuriating teams in the game.
Shirt pulling, over the top challenges, boring football, gamesmanship. Stoke City practise the lot. At Manchester City on Tuesday they were up to their usual tricks, taking ages over goal kicks and time wasting from the very start of the game. Their very limited ambitions explain why they have conceded so few goals this season. Frequently the last team on Match of the Day, they are a side few enjoy watching, and who should be surprised about that?
They are one of the most excruciatingly dull team to watch. They have a manager who continually complains about referees and the injustices going against his team. He complains about diving, yet turns a blind eye to his team’s transgressions. The over the top tacking, the time wasting. There is always a complaint about something where Tony Pulis is concerned. He whined about the gulf in financial resources between his own side and Manchester City this week, yet Stoke City have a net spend higher than three quarters of teams in the Premier League in recent years. Manchester United have a lower net spend than Stoke. Stoke waste their money signing players like Cameron Jerome, Kenwyne Jones, Peter Crouch and Wilson Palacios. All tall players who can win a header, but Crouch aside lacking in technical ability for the most part.
This is a team built with vast resources, who play the most dull football in the league. Swansea City have spent relatively little by comparison, yet who produce magnificent football. Neither side are going to win the league or qualify for Europe, and neither will be relegated. But you can bet your house on which the neutral would rather pay to watch.
As it is, a fair few would probably pay not to watch Stoke City. There is so little to credit about the way they do things. From the lack of style, lack of ambition, brutish thuggish approach, the old school rule bending foreigner bashing mentality, and the whining about a lack of money whilst spending more than almost every other team in the league.
And which other group of supporters, aside from Stoke City’s, would boo a player for having his leg broken by one of their own? They claim that they boo him because he did not accept Ryan Shawcross’ apology, but who can blame Aaron Ramsey for that? Football is in a confused state when it believes a crass challenge which breaks a player’s leg can be resolved with a handshake. An apology sometimes is not good enough.
This is a club that is slowly being reviled by the common football fan. And with good reason.