Footballing Driftwood: Hughes The Victim of Stoke’s Growing Identity Crisis

A few months ago scientists in America revealed new findings equal parts fascinating and terrifying. Among people suffering cardiac arrests, experts announced, even after your body has given up the fight and your heart has pumped out its last desperate beat, there’s enough residual blood sloshing around your brain to briefly keep it functioning as though your entire existence hasn’t just been abruptly sucked into a cold, black eternal void. The upshot of this cheery piece of news is that those of us unlucky enough to suffer the torture of a sudden heart-attack face the added delight of hearing our own deaths being announced to our loved ones before body and mind are finally unified in shuffling off the mortal coil. Continue reading “Footballing Driftwood: Hughes The Victim of Stoke’s Growing Identity Crisis”

Premier League Round-Up: The Madness of December is Over, the Insanity of January is About to Begin

As the fixture lists thicken, so too does the plot. The Premier League has always prided itself on the brutality of its winter schedule, of the underlying feeling that, while any team can vault themselves into its upper echelons through no more than deep pockets, to scale its summit demands a resolve deeper still. Continue reading “Premier League Round-Up: The Madness of December is Over, the Insanity of January is About to Begin”

Premier League Midweek Roundup: Claude’s Revenge

In the summer, the powers that be at St Mary’s concluded that an eighth place finish, complemented by narrow defeat in the League Cup final, fell so far short of expectations that it wasn’t even worth giving the architect of such a calamity a chance to turn things around. Maybe his meek demeanour persuaded them he wasn’t quite cut out for the brash brawl that is the Premier League? Maybe after seeing the previous two managers they’d headhunted desert them in pursuit of fancier projects (with very mixed results), the board just wanted to be the ones who got to dictate the terms of disengagement for once? “It’s not you Mr Puel. It’s us”… “We just don’t think we’re in a place where we can give you what you deserve right now”… “You’ll always hold a special place in our hearts”. Whatever the case, revenge is a dish best served Claude. Continue reading “Premier League Midweek Roundup: Claude’s Revenge”

Pulis Awaits New Canvas on Which to Paint His Singular Style

History’s greatest artists have each perceived the world in a unique manner. Picasso expressed it in cubism, Van Gough through swirling cacophonies of melancholia, Turner via nebulous explosions of light. Continue reading “Pulis Awaits New Canvas on Which to Paint His Singular Style”