The idea that football is about results in pervasive throughout football. It’s a phrase that you hear every day in the football world. For people in the game; managers, players, chairmen who rely on every point scrapped and gained it’s true. Results are the lifeblood of a club’s survival, of players’ and manager’s careers. If you don’t get results you don’t stick around for long. But fans, fans are different. Fans will be there when you’re in the fourth division. Fans will be there forever. For fans football shouldn’t be a results game, and if it is then Stoke might not be the club for you.
What lives in the memories of fans are the performances, the entertainment, the magic of football. Seeing your centreback charges headlong up the pitch and volley the ball furiously into the back of the net (thanks Marc). Aptly today, seeing your team win their playoff semi-final in the last minutes of extra time. Setting the record for the biggest win – for a club side – in a game at Wembley. These are what the fans remember.
The truth is that fans don’t really care about where their team is in the leagues. As long as the football is entertaining and the team tries to win fans are generally happy. Being outside of the Premier League can be difficult, myself and many others grew up at a time when Stoke were really a bit rubbish. That’s why we were surrounded by the gloryhunters who did only care about the results. But it doesn’t matter. I got to see Thorne and Sheron, Hoekstra and Sigurdsson. I got to see James O’Connor blasting in two goals at Ninian Park. I got to see Johan Boskamp’s mental ‘football’. I got the memories.
Robbie Savage is the latest to stir up trouble with Stoke fans, but it’s been brewing internally all season. There are many who view the lifetime goal of Stoke to survive in the Premier League, from one season to the next eeking out a living in the league. These people are more than entitled to their opinion on that, but for many it’s not the be all and end all of football.
Apart from the aforementioned Marc Muniesa goal this season has been entirely devoid of entertainment, and for many that’s the most painful thing. It’s a season without good memories, and if that’s where we’re at then what’s the point. Results might be the lifeblood of football clubs, but the fans are the heart. If the fans aren’t enjoying themselves then the fans won’t turn up, and without the fans football dies. That’s an extreme way of putting it, but in the end it’s true. It was the end of Tony Pulis at Stoke and it looks likely to be the end of Mark Hughes.
Savage did much shouting about the results business, and how Stoke are 12th so fans should be happy with that. But it’s no real surprise. He’s in the business, it’s ingrained into him because Robbie Savage was a results player. He wasn’t memorable, if he didn’t have daft hair, a loud mouth and a habit of making a bit of a dick of himself he’d be just another faceless player from the late-90’s/early-00’s of the Premier League. A man who brings absolutely no recollections to your mind. Think Malcolm Christie. Who? Exactly.
Zdeněk Zeman is a coach famous in Italy for being forthright on the importance of performances and excitement over results. Which is why he’s loved dearly by the fans of almost all of the clubs he’s worked at, but has only won two Serie B titles and one Serie C2 title. He said “A 0-0 is boring, it’s better to lose 5-4. At least it gives you some excitement.” and after a drearily boring 0-0 draw against West Ham United it’s hard to argue with him when it comes to Stoke.
Sam The Lost
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