Suddenly, Cotterill resigned out of the blue and was announced as Sunderland #2 to Howard Wilkinson, a friend who first got him onto all his European Coaching Certificates.
Stoke City MAD reported this article on October 10th..
Which Included - "From www.stokecityfc.com : "Stoke City have not been approached by another club with regard to the manager and the club is shocked and surprised at the news. The search for a replacement will begin immediately"
We then broke the news that he was announced as Sunderland's #2 only hours later, Cotterill had quite obviously been having talks with Sunderland before his resignation which breached the laws of the game. Stoke we're left managerless and betrayed.
We we're invited to meet the manager himself on several occasions and he won almost every single person over. What we didn't know was that who we had was an honest, successful man who was fully competent of putting something together at this club.
3 points from 9 games saw Stoke slump to a very bad position but Stoke started to string the results together - Pulis had made some good signings and the team began to pick up - playoff form in fact. They crutially beat Sheffield Wednesday, followed by Preson - drew at Leicester away with a fantastic performance, Beat Brighton at home - a really important win for us in front of the Sky Camera's and then went on a 7 match unbeaten run.
It all came down to the final day. A win for Brighton and a Loss for Stoke would mean Stoke would be relegated. Anything other would see Stoke stay up thanks to some terrific form - meaning Stoke needed only a point or a Brighton "non-win". Stoke vs Reading kicked off on Sky - alongside Grimsby v Brighton.
22,000 packed the Britannia Stadium to show their support and Stoke put up a fantastic fight. The Grit and Battle on display was something we just hadn't seen all season - not only that - we looked sharp in attack with youngster Lewis Neal a suprise addition to the squad.
Stoke secured survival with a fantastic goal starting from a Stoke free kick on the half way line taken by James O'Connor. The ball went out to Lewis Neal, being misjudged by the defender - a great cross found the head of Ade Akinbiyi who knew exactly what to do.
These words will bring a smile to Potters faces for a long time to come..
An exiting season brought to a fantastic climax, another season in succession where we can go away and have a great summer feeling proud to be a Stokie. A fantastic achievement with so much to look forward to next time round.
Tony Pulis turned from Villan to Hero, a true saviour and the right man for the job.