f ever Stoke supporters have enjoyed a win, Sunday's superb victory over Arsenal has to be right up there. Under normal circumstances they shouldn't even feature on our radar. Sure they're a London club who are favoured by the media and many of their (internet based) fans seem to be clueless, stuck up snobs but other than that why should we be interested?
Well if you're still wondering, the reason revolves around two words - "Arsene Wenger". Of course there is absolutely no doubt that the Frenchman is a superb manager but he's also myopic and sanctimonious. His comments about Stoke City have been nothing short of a disgrace since our promotion and have illustrated what a sore loser he is. We have kept ourselves to ourselves and gone about our business in a sensible, progressive manner. Yes we have had poor spells and we have made mistakes but in general our three seasons back in the big time have reflected superbly on everyone associated with Stoke City.
Clearly out of all our players, Ryan has been subjected to the sharpest end of Wenger's pathetic vendetta. Hopefully after Sunday's comprehensive victory a line can be drawn under his views about our club and our style of play. After all, Aaron Ramsey appears (thankfully) to have made an excellent recovery and will go on to be a tremendous player and if any team was guilty of foul play it was the men from north London who were very fortunate to not see red on at least a couple of occasions. Jack Wilshere may be a gifted player but he's a spiky individual who looks like he could potentially end up missing many a game through suspension. He may well be the future face of the national team but despite his undoubted talent, his attitude on the pitch leaves a lot to be desired. Quite where a young lad of his tender years learns to act in the manner he does speaks volumes for his manager. After watching the Arsenal team the big difference between the two sets of players is that our lads are committed with a wholehearted team ethic whereas the Gunner's squad appear snide and a collection of individuals.
Well after a tasty appetiser we move on to the main course next week and the F.A. Cup Final. Confidence in the Potter's dressing room must be absolutely through the roof right now. Despite all of Man City's endless wealth the spirit around the club is something that money simply can't buy. We will of course go into the final as huge underdogs and that's just how we like it. Having said that with all at Eastlands desperate for Champions League football and with a huge game against Spurs in midweek, I'm sure our performance has given Mancini some food for thought. We have suffered some real blows to our team with injuries to three key players and while not wishing any player ill, it would however be nice if the footballing Gods decided to test the strength of the Manchester club's squad on Tuesday night.
These are indeed heady times to be a Stoke fan. After being dragged through the lower leagues for 23 years and then once we finally achieved promotion to be derided by all and sundry this Saturday is for the city of Stoke on Trent and everyone associated with our proud club. It is also (no matter what the final score) a joyous two-fingered salute to Adrian Durham, Ian Wright, Micky Quinn, Mick Dennis, Danny Murphy, Arsene Wenger, Gary Linekar and Paddy Power (apologies to any idiots I have missed out.)
We're Stoke City and we'll play how we want (in the cup final!)