Stoke City dropped out of the Premier League on Saturday without putting up too much of a fight.
They did take the lead as the first half came to an end but once Crystal Palace had got level, there was only one way the game was going to end. Its been that way for much of the season so it was hardly surprising when the Potters, first of all, gave away their lead and then went behind themselves.
We have seen it far too many times this season with Mark Hughes and his bright ideas and then Paul Lambert coming in to prove he was not really up to the job, but we all knew that when he took over the running of the club’s team affairs, he was far from the club’s first choice but he at least wanted to come and have a go, even if it wasn’t much of one.
But when push comes to shove you have to say that any side who persisted in relying on Mame Diouf to get the goals and also an ageing Peter Crouch were just asking for trouble, and so it proved. Diouf is simply not good enough at such a high level and I would doubt that he would be much different in the Championship.
Crouchie would give his all, but at 37, his best days are well behind him. Glen Johnson is 33, Stephen Ireland at 31, Charlie Adam 32 and Darren Fletcher 34, all making Stoke look like a bunch of old-timers, their best days are long gone.
As for Saido Berahino, don’t get me started, many Stoke fans said at the time of his signing that he is quite simply hopeless, but Hughes and the board could not see that and insisted on signing him. Dave Bamber coming out of retirement would have given Stoke more hope.
Berahino has not scored a goal in over 1,200 minutes of league football at Stoke City.
There are others in the side who have proved to be a waste of time Wimmer, Imbula and Bojan are just a few that deserve a special mention for their help in making the club look like one big joke Butland, Shawcross, Crouch and maybe Shaqiri have all tried and earned their wages on the field, the rest have been lacking for at least some of the time and I would question if they are bothered about the club suffering relegation.
Lambert told BBC Radio 5 Live after relegation was confirmed: “It has got to be rebuilt and it will come back strong because of the support it has got behind it.
“The football club should mirror the supporters because it has got incredible support.”
But is Lambert really the man to sort things out? And if he was to have the gumption to get things done at the club, can he work under the restraints of the board and the men responsible for recruiting players? Stories are now unfolding from the players about just how badly in their opinion that the club is run, the fans have suspected it for some time, now the truth will come out hopefully.
Hughes could well find himself remaining in the Premier League with Southampton and that in my opinion would be unjust. I don’t hold any grudges with Saints fans themselves but if there was to be any justice in football, Hughes will find himself in the Championship next season also.
I personally don’t see a quick fix coming any time soon at Stoke, I don’t see the club bouncing straight back up again how things are at the moment, but a mass sort out in the playing staff is needed, if its Lambert who has to do that then so be it, but lets hope the rot can be stopped very soon.