Posted on March 31st, 2017 by



It’s 4 years almost to the day when Paul left us far, far too early…..
It’s almost 25 years to the day he sent us to Wembley…..
Joe Barbieri pulls all the stops out on the amazing cover, and inside we have six pages devoted to Warey from the likes of Steino, Cranny, other ex players, Stoke fans, and most importantly – his family.

Also inside,

4MIDABLE: We asked Stokies for their best 4 on Twitter: Best SCFC goalkeeper; Best SCFC defender; Best SCFC midfielder; Best SCFC striker.

A LEAGUE OF MY OWN: Here’s the selection of DUCK reader Paul Ruane, a Stokie who goes to watch Stoke play literally anywhere and everywhere. And who likes his (proper) ale……

THE YOUTH OF TODAY: Dave Cowlishaw looks at the Man City v Stoke U18’s semi first leg

1993 AND ALL THAT: Film makers Mike and Dan are making a documentary on Stoke City’s amazing 1992/93 title winning season. Support them!

THE CHAIR: Matt Simmonds’ beautiful tale of growing up in a sea of Stoke-lessness, and a very special chair!

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: We talk to the people who are taking our city forwards. This time, Antony Turner from Terraces

NO GROUNDS FOR COMPLAINT: Duts looks at the home of the cardboard clapper.

THE HUNGER GAMES: Orfy looks at how we’ve started to compete against the leading lights of the Premier League again

EVERY STEP ALONG THE WAY: Stoke. March. 2017.

PERIPHERAL VISION: The superb Rob Doolan looks at the Stoke players on the fringes of history



GHOST: The Regent theatre, Hanley

Posted on March 22nd, 2017 by



“Oh, my love, my darrrrlliiing, I’ve hungered for….your touch”

I know you’re thinking “Crikey, it’s only a Monday night in ST9 as well!” Mucky lot!

No, Ghost is in town – and no, I don’t mean Molly Lee, either.

You know, Ghost?!?!??! Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore; the psychic; the baddie; that scene by the potter’s wheel? This time, it’s on stage, and for the rest of the week it’s up Hanley (duck) in musical form, as Bill Kenwright brings it to the Regent Theatre, halfway down Piccadilly.

The film is pretty iconic, and whilst overly sugary and schmoozy at (all) times, it’s a decent enough yarn. And a bit like the film itself, the two main stars of the show aren’t the main reason in driving the musical version on. Whilst Molly (Lauren Drew) and Sam (Andy Moss) are centre stage and pretty good, it’s the interjections of ‘psychic’ Oda May Brown (Jacqui Dubois) that get the crowd going and move it all along apace.

Just like Whoopi Goldberg who played Oda May in the film (and won an Oscar for her trouble) it’s Dubois who turns a good evening out into cracking one for the assembled throng. Let’s face it, the film is a right sop-fest at (all) times, and is the usual…..boy-meets-girl-but-won’t-tell-her-he-loves-her-boy-then-he-gets-murdered-on-a-night-out-and-his-trapped-spirit-watches-over-his-better-half-as-the-baddies-are-after-her scenario! A bit like a lot of rom-coms I suppose, but with an added murder on a night out, I suppose.

You know the rest, as Sam eventually departs to The Righteous Brothers’ ‘Unchained Melody’ to the sight of people wiping, er, dust from their eyes. But the special effects and performances seemed to go down very well with a Potteries crowd already well versed in the musical’s cinematic version.

Ghost    The Regent, Stoke-on-Trent until Saturday 25th March.

Tickets available from The Regent Theatre Box Office (0844 871 7649) or go to


Posted on March 21st, 2017 by



Our last issue sold out in record time. Here’s what’s inside #32………


Failure to attend – does it really matter if you’re at the game or not? A look at someone being shouted down who can’t go, when he offers an opinion.

West Brom – a new, and overdue, rivalry? – Orfy licks his lips.

Like the corners of my mind – being snowballed at Anfield, and the return of the Prodigal Hudson

A CD of two halves – Dave Proudlove’s superb choice of 90 minutes of the finest in aural brilliance.

Go Ahead, Make My Day……A weekend in the Eredivisie – Rob Doolan’s beautiful piece of watching two games in the Netherlands

No grounds for complaint – AFC Fylde, this time.

Movers and shakers – We chat to Lee Fredericks, a man who has done as much as anyone to progress clubbing in our city in the last three decades

The Michelin Man – life was so much more simpler in 1975, wasn’t it? Bunny thinks so. The clown.

Stuck in the middle with you – Duts has written it. Yet more brilliance from the bloke.

Helen Delap – Rory’s wife and all-round brilliant person, on her 40 challenges to raise £40K, in her 40th year.

Diary – we look back at the last month and all that sailed in her. Or summat.

Cradle to Grave – it’s a Stoke thang.

Lovely – Stoke at Preston in the Youth Cup. Lovely!

The Inbetweeners – Stoke in Sandbach





Sir Lee Pearson CBE will become an ambassador for the Donna Louise!

Posted on March 14th, 2017 by

Great news from our chosen charity!

Donna Louise Children’s Hospice Press Release 

11x Paralympic Gold Medallist Sir Lee Pearson CBE Takes On Ambassadorial Role For Stoke Based Hospice Charity


The Donna Louise children’s hospice is proud to announce that the 11 x Paralympic Gold medallist Sir Lee Pearson CBE will become an ambassador for the charity.

 Sir Lee Pearson CBE is a well-known figure in the world of Paralympic equestrian sport, and is a passionate advocate and campaigner for people with disabilities. He is also an ambassador for several high-profile charities across the Midlands. 

 Sir Lee was inspired to support the Donna Louise charity following a recent visit to the hospice where he learned more about the expansion plans for a young adult service. During this visit, he spent time chatting to staff and children at the hospice. Sir Lee also met three young people who will stand to benefit from this new service.

 Speaking at a visit to the hospice, Sir Lee said:

 “I was incredibly moved and inspired to see the great work being done at the Donna Louise and to meet the staff, children and young people who benefit from the work of this incredible charity. I am particularly proud to support local charities like The Donna Louise that help local people. I am looking forward to supporting the charity and I hope I can help shine a light on the amazing people and work they do to support children and young adults with life threatening illnesses.” 

 Melanie Williams, Head of High Value Partnerships at the hospice said: “We are absolutely delighted that Sir Lee has agreed to be an ambassador for The Donna Louise. We look forward to working with him, especially as we embark on an exciting and transformative time in the charity’s history with the expansion into services for young adults.”

 “On behalf of the children, young people and team at The Donna Louise, I’d like to thank Sir Lee for his commitment and support.”

 Sir Lee joins a host of celebrities including charity Patron, Robbie Williams, Jo Brand, Nick Hancock, Rory Delap, Phil Taylor, Rachel Shenton and Jonathan Wilkes in supporting the hospice.



4MIDABLE: Manchester City (a)

Posted on March 9th, 2017 by

4MIDABLE: Manchester City (a)

Four things we noticed from last night’s game

1. Questioning time for Cameron

We’ll hold our hands up here. We’re big fans of Geoff Cameron’s (underrated) ability and athleticism at this magazine. When he plays it means one certainty: we are a much more mobile team. One with energy and legs. It’s what we’ve been missing, especially away from home. Fact is, some don’t like him, and that’s fair enough. Opinions and all that. But his contribution was still questioned last night by some, who seemingly can’t or won’t see just how good a game he had. Which leads me onto………

2. Stats not amazing


I’m not one for statistics. My eyes and ears help me judge a football match, and I don’t immediately trot off to some data website to help me to decide of someone has played well or not. That’s why pass completion stats mean the square root of an Arsenal Champions League campaign to me.  A 100% pass completion rate, or 100% PCR as the hipsters probably say, can tell you a few things, but what it can’t tell you is context.

Statistics don’t tell you how the game is developing, and in what positions that person was when making the pass. They don’t often tell you if they were safe passes, or did the player actually attempt something a bit more adventurous.  Let’s take last night’s game……

Like I said, I haven’t looked at the stats from last night, and I won’t end up doing so, either. I simply go on what I saw. And what I saw was this – and we’ll take the aforementioned Geoff Cameron as an example:

First half, when Stoke were the better team, Cameron had more time on the ball and was in positions where he could be a little more adventurous. Second half, when Man City pressed and they were the better team, I expected the opposite to be true. It was. And surely it’s far harder to have a better PCR if you are not defending?

I saw some people say that Geoff Cameron didn’t have a good second half. Eh?!??!?! My eyes saw him tracking back, closing angles, being in the right place when needed, seeing danger, always being available, taking responsibility – that to me is what a good defensive midfielder does, especially when the team is on the back foot. As we were forced back, the gap between midfield and attacking players grew, hence the PCR decreased. Or summat.

You see, I don’t really care what the stats say. I saw Geoff Cameron have a really good game. He was my MOTM, just ahead of our captain, whilst everyone else put a great shift in, too. Why can’t everyone simply enjoy that, without the need to dissecting something to death or looking for negatives?


3. The shape of things to come

And whilst we’re giving out praise – surely the manager should get some, too?

By god, after Spurs I had far more questions than answers: How come we’re getting hammered so regularly? How come we don’t just lose to teams, we get that hammering? Why did we play possibly our most immobile team at WHL against the most mobile team in the league? And just why the **** did they ever introduce Scrappy Doo into his uncle’s TV programme?

Never mind Scooby Doo, just what did Sparky do (geddit) last night that was so different?

Mobility, pace, mindset.

By playing two up top, Geoff Cameron in the central role alongside Joe Allen, and Diouf/Sobhi out wide, the manager got it spot on. Which kind of makes the Spurs line-up even more wrong in my eyes. We had a threat going forward last night, plus the legs to get back and defend, too. And whilst Mame didn’t have his best game going forward – with the first touch of a trampoline at times – his defensive work was sterling. And it was great to see our lovely lovely left winger doing likewise to help his full back out, too.

For the most part, that’s as comfortable as we’ve been on our travels at a top 4 side in recent times. They rarely hurt us all night, and that is in no small part to the manager. He chose a brave line up, but I tell you what – even in defeat, I’d prefer to lose being brave than lose being meek. And when you’re 9th in the league, then why the hell not be brave? And to go higher than 9th, we have to be bold.

More of the same please, Sparky…….and just imagine what we might have done with Arnie fit!

4. There’s only one City

Despite what the national media would say, there really is more than one team with ‘City’ in the title: as I pointed out to a Mancunian radio station the night before the game as they had me on previewing (in their words) “City versus Stoke”.

Little things, and all that, but they mean so much, eh?

And you know that Stoke CITY have put in a great performance when our club are once again boiling the urine of those we’ve just taken points off, don’t you. You really can’t beat the spoiled brat antics of some, can you? 10pm last night: Cue the social media meltdown by any number of precious divine-righters who in 2017 DO NOT pay their money to see Manchester City drop points to the likes of Stoke City. That is not in the plan, and despite most neutrals agreeing we were well worth a point, the moral high ground was taken to almost Arsenal levels by some of those clad in laser blue.

“How do we watch that every week?”

Quite easily and willingly to be honest, and probably at around half the cost of what you do, too.

How ‘iccle Stoke had the sheer audacity to be hard to beat and defend superbly is to the great shame of our football club. Why we couldn’t just let them have the three points as they are “considerably richer than yowww”, I really don’t know. Their anti-footballing arguments were met with a plethora of Potteries’ straight bats: we played two up front and two attacking wide players; we didn’t pack the midfield; we had as many chances as you; and we were the better team first half; our keeper had hardly anything to do; and…..if you’re so ace, why is your ground never full!??!?!

Most Stokies will admit when we’ve been outplayed. After all, we’ve had 154 years of mainly that. Indeed, whilst unbeaten in Manchester this season, we’d take it on the chin that we were very fortunate to get a point at Old Trafford.

I’m sure those Man City fans won’t be all over social media moaning about a 0-0 draw in Monaco featuring superb defending next week, eh?

A League Of My Own

Posted on March 1st, 2017 by

A League Of My Own

1 League…..19 teams….Your choice of who, where, and why you’d want Stoke to play.

Here’s the selection of Matthew Hill, huge Stokie and Head of Business for Swansway Jaguar Crewe. This is where he’d like to be visiting with Stoke – in a Jag, of course!

Matt, far left, with Stoke and Wrexham fans. SKY Sports’ Bryn Law is third from the right.


Barcelona I know, I know…an obvious choice. But I’ve had a soft spot for the Blaugrana since I went on holiday to Lloret De Mar in 1980, and I was bought a Real Madrid and a Barcelona pennant. I preferred the Barca one!

Real Sociedad  Went on a road trip through Northern Spain a while back: what a beautiful part of the world. They also play in red and white stripes, which is always a massive bonus.

Bayern Munich Would love to go back – what a stadium, and an incredible atmosphere, too. Went there and saw some pre-season friendlies over two days. I remember AC Milan played in it, but ace German ale means that I’ve kind of forgotten the other two teams! We had corporate in the ground, and were and horrendously hammered!

Seville  Anything to see Steven N’Zonzi play again. One of my favourite players, plus it’s a great city. Me and a mate were around 30 minutes up the coast from there and they had a game later in the week. We spent more time talking about going the game in the pub than actually doing anything about it, and we missed it.

Any of the Milan teams  The coldest I’ve ever been at a football match not in ST4, but at the San Siro. But I’d go back in a heartbeat. I saw Inter Milan v Torino, and it was that cold that old Milanese boys were rocking up with inflatable rubber rings to sit on – to shield their backsides from the concrete seats! I had several layers and a CP Company Explorer on, and was still frozen!

Fiorentina  Florence: a beautiful place. The Fiorentina kit is a beauty too, and I always loved watching that classic 90’s team of theirs. Was surreal seeing Batistuta and Effenberg at The Victoria Ground in the Anglo-Italian Cup.

Borussia Dortmund  I’m sure may would want choose to go and see a game here. I’m no different: be superb to stand in that Yellow Wall end.

Boca Juniors  I’d be bang up for attending a Superclásico derby game. Absolutely bonkers, feverish support, in a brilliant, football-mad city. There’s also the Maradona link, too, what a player….plus, I’ve always loved watching Riquelme as a player, too. And I haven’t even mentioned that iconic kit!

New York City  Just to experience a game over there to be honest. Again, one of the world’s greatest cities, plus I’ve not been there before, either. The fact I love my shopping only adds to it.

FC St Pauli   I read that superb piece by a Stokie in a previous DUCK on his visit to St Pauli, and what the club’s beliefs and mantra are. One of the things definitely on my bucket-list of things to do is to visit the Millerntor-Stadion sometime soon.

Aberdeen I’ve got mates up there off Twitter (calm down!), plus I used to go up there with work, too. The last stretch of the journey in the car is simply brilliant. Absolute cruise control bliss. Add in the likes of Kafka – one of the UK’s best shops – and you have a superb weekend.

Juventus   My Italian ‘team’ – when I was growing up. Conti, Del Piero, and Vialli. Wow!

Zimbabwe National Football Team   I went a game once there, against Zambia, when I was backpacking. Absolutely bonkers in and around the ground….in fact, we had a three mile walk to the ground which was in the middle of nowhere. After the game as we were walking back, all of a sudden, everyone simply stopped still as a load of armoured vehicles went past. President Mugabe had been to the game.

Everton   For me, Goodison is your quintessential ace away day. Never mind the view, I love the fact that it’s a community club in its community. There’s a real sense of matchday around the ground: hemmed in by tight terrace streets, with lots of pubs nearby – all in a fantastic city.

Napoli   An absolute nuts city, and a city that simply loves its football team. “See Naples and die”, the saying goes – I can believe that! And Maradona again…..possibly the best of all time.

Red Star Belgrade 1991   Red and white stripes, and a team that was too kool for skool, featuring the likes of Robert Prosinečki. Saying that, their 1991 European Cup Final win against Marseille was possibly the most boring game of all time!

Shanghai Greenland Shenhua   A city of over 14 million people, and one that batters your senses, and one I’ve always wanted to visit. And with the flood of money into football in China, it would be interesting to see what a matchday would be like there.

Kashima Antlers  I’d love to watch a game in Japan, and I love the name of this team. Kahima means ‘Deer island’, hence Antlers. Okay?

Melbourne City   The coolest city in Australia. Everyone who’s been says it’s this place, not Sydney. And when you get the chance to possibly see Tommy Sorensen in action too, this is my go-to Oz city of choice.

FSV Mainz 05    Just to watch the little genius again. *weeps*