ROUNDABOUT by Paines Plough

Posted on September 13th, 2017 by

ROUNDABOUT by Paines Plough

 19 to 22 October

Outside No 1 Smithfield, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent

 This unique ‘pop-up’ venue returns to City Centre for 4 days of extraordinary shows and entertainment

 Following the summer success of The Big Feast 2017, local arts programme Appetite, led by New Vic Theatre, is bringing another season of exciting new shows to Stoke-on-Trent this autumn, in unique pop-up venue, Roundabout by Paines Plough.

Paines Plough is the UK’s national theatre of new plays and Roundabout is the world’s first ‘pop-up, plug-and-play theatre’ which flatpacks into a lorry and pops up all over the country touring world class new writing for the stage.

On its third visit to Stoke-on-Trent, and as part of a national tour across the country, Roundabout returns to the city from 19 to 22 October with a line-up of superb new shows for Stokies to enjoy, this time in a brand new location outside the newly built No. 1 Smithfield in City Centre Hanley.

Paines Plough said “We built Roundabout because we’re really passionate about new plays and we wanted more people to see them. We can’t wait to return to the Potteries to do just that! The audiences in Stoke-on-Trent are fab – they’re always up for seeing something new, but are also completely honest. We can’t wait to share the three new shows with them and see what they think.”

Direct from a sold out run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Black Mountain by Brad Birch is a tense edge-of-your-seat thriller about betrayal and forgiveness following a couple who run away to an isolated house to try and save their relationship. Out of Love by the award winning Elinor Cook is a funny and tender tale of friendship, love and rivalry told over thirty years. Larger than life story of family, friends and fitting in, family show How To Be a Kid by Sarah McDonald-Hughes follows 12 year-old carer Molly and features dancing, chocolate cake and an epic car chase. Following their premieres at the Edinburgh Fringe all three headline shows have received superb national reviews, being championed by The Guardian and Time Out magazine.

This year not only does Roundabout feature three new headline plays but will also include comedy with stand up from TV’s Hardeep Singh Kohli as seen on The One Show. Plus, there’ll be performance from Staffordshire University’s Performing Arts students, in powerful curtain raiser Almost Nothing, and many more events to be announced very soon.

Tim Hodgson, Appetite Creative Producer (maternity cover) said: “We’re thrilled to be bringing Roundabout back to Stoke-on-Trent with three smashing new shows. Alongside psychological thrillers and heart-warming stories, we’re excited to be presenting nationally acclaimed stand up from Hardeep Singh Kohli plus some more surprises to be revealed very soon.”

 Paul Williams, spearhead for the City of Culture 2021 Bid said, ‘Events like Roundabout are so important in bringing innovative art to more people and show that Stoke-on-Trent is ready and geared up to be the UK City of Culture in 2021. I can’t wait to see this year’s plays.”

 The lineup runs from Thursday 19 October, opening with Black Mountain, to Sunday 22 October, closing with the last performance of Out of Love.

Early Bird tickets are on sale until 19 September with a Standard Adult ticket £7 and family offers available. Tickets can be booked online at or by telephoning New Vic Theatre Box Office on 01782 717962.
For media enquiries contact Gary Cicinskas on 01782 381 373 or email




Posted on September 3rd, 2017 by


When I was a kid, everyone wanted to be Jimmy Greenhoff. Adults did, too. And everyone remembers where they were when they heard Jimmy was to leave Stoke City. For those not old enough to be around at that time, it was huge news. A massive disappointment that I have never seen the likes of since.

I was in my nan’s living room in Cobridge. I’d been throwing a woolly, home-made pom-pom against a wall and volleying it when it bounced back into imaginary goals. Guess who I was trying to be?

The news then came on the radio. I was heartbroken. It’s ironic that as we poured Jimmy a cup of tea in an Alsager hotel, Stoke City are now managed by another unbelievable volleyer of a football.

It was an absolute honour to meet and share an hour with the great man.


jimmy 3

Tell us a bit about yourself growing up and how you got spotted….

I grew up in Barnsley. I was a good kid, went to grammar school but was absolutely football mad. I supported Barnsley and was the first one in the ground on matchdays. Football-mad I was. I was a right half, or the old number 4 as they called them, back in the day.

I was playing for Barnsley schoolboys, the town team. We won the Schools Shield and so obviously the longer we went into the competition the more chance there was for scouts to see us. Scouts weren’t allowed to contact you until you left school back in those days. Don Revie was manager at the time.


You were successful at Leeds – why did they sell you?

Well, to be totally honest, I wanted to go. It wasn’t a case of them wanting me to go. I wasn’t getting enough game time and I was always the one who I felt wasn’t definitely going to be in the team. So I felt it was time to go – I wanted regular football.


So you went to Birmingham and scored 15 in 36 – yet Stan Cullis said you weren’t scoring enough?

Yeah, that’s right, but I actually scored 12 in the first 9, too. He called me into his office first thing on a Monday morning. I thought he was going to offer me a new contract to tie me up for a few more years, and he told me I wasn’t scoring enough goals. I thought he was joking.

Stan Cullis then said “Jimmy, when was the last time that you scored?” – don’t forget that this was on a Monday and I said “Er, Saturday against Huddersfield, boss!”. As a wing-half I was never going to be prolific as a goalscorer. I’d chip in, but my role and my game was about far more than that.


So, in 1969 you moved to us. Tell us about the transfer.

I’d heard rumours about other clubs wanting me at the time in the papers. Just before the season started, Waddo came over with Albert Henshall and I got the call to go to St Andrews as there were a couple of fellas interested in signing me. I wasn’t told who.

So I went down – I must admit, Stoke weren’t my first choice at the time, but we had a chat and I asked if he’d start to look at putting a younger team out at Stoke. I didn’t want to be bought to do the running for other players. I wanted to play my own game. Waddo said that he would, and we shook hands on the deal.

So I went back home and I’d only been in the house 20 minutes or so and the phone rang. It was a Daily Mirror reporter called Bob Russell and he asked if I’d signed for Stoke. I told him “no” and he said “don’t, Everton are coming in for you. They’re on tour though.” A bit later I got a call and it was Alan Ball who also said Everton wanted me. Managers wouldn’t call you, they could get into trouble for that.

I asked my wife (Joan) and she told me to do what I wanted. I had already shook hands with Waddo, so that was that.

Everton went on to win the league that year, but the great thing about it was that I stuck to my word and Waddo stuck to his. The make-up of the team at Stoke immediately became much younger. Conroy, Mahoney, Pejic and others came in to the team. It turned out to be the best move I ever made.


The club’s finest ever day: You went off with a shoulder injury in the League Cup Final, didn’t you?

Yes. I did my shoulder after about 20 minutes and I should have come off, but what do you do? No way was I coming off that early, as it’s a cup final plus you always think you can do better than whoever is on the bench. I remember falling on it again and I did go off. I wanted to stay on but I wasn’t running too well.

As for the day, I don’t remember the lead up to the day of the final too well, but I remember a lot about the day. Like Micky Bernard’s backpass to Chris Garland – I turned to Waddo on the bench after he brought me off and said to him “if we lose, I’ll never speak to you again!”. But when the final whistle went, I gave Waddo the biggest kiss ever. Indeed, that kiss was on telly.


The players and supporters were closer back in the day, weren’t they?

Correct. We always came out before away games with any spare tickets for the fans. Waddo insisted on it and we were happy to do it. He especially made the point of doing so on your longer journeys, to the likes of Norwich, Ipswich and for London matches.

It was a big thing to Waddo. We socialised a lot with the fans. We always had lunch as a team in the Social Club and fans would be in there, too. It was great.

It’s not about money. We’d still do it now I think. John Ritchie’s night out with us was always going down to the Social Club. He had his own pint pot behind the bar, there. Imagine that now!?

Of all the clubs I went to, it was at Stoke that the players had the greatest bond with the fans. Let me tell you two lads here, we used to play for the fans. Make sure that goes in the magazine, lads – we loved the fans.

When Alan Hudson came to Stoke, we’d speak before games and we just wanted to get out on that pitch and entertain the fans. The one-two’s we did we loved doing, but we know we maybe did a few too many as we always wanted to entertain.

That shirt. That hair. That team. That player.


Your on-pitch relationship with Huddy – how brilliant was that?

We were simply on the same wavelength, but me and George Eastham had a great understanding, too. What a player George was. Huddy was telling me that when Waddo went to sign him from Chelsea he told him that he was being signed to replace George Eastham. Huddy said what a fantastic compliment that was, and said it virtually made his mind up to sign for us.


How much did the Arsenal semi finals affect you?

The semis were heart-breaking.

To be honest, every time Arsenal are mentioned there’s a little bit of a……. <Jimmy pulls his face>. I love it when they come to Stoke nowadays and the crowd goes mad and they’re all doing ‘the Wenger’. I want to do it myself! I love Stoke beating them.

Lucky, lucky Arsenal.

Those semi finals, I wanted to win so badly. We were destined not to beat them in those matches. The thing that was really annoying was that everyone in those days wanted to play at Wembley as they only played the final there – not anymore. You hang your boots up and they start playing semi finals there!


Onto Europe, Jimmy. What do you remember of the Ajax games?

I remember them at our place playing offside all the time. We should have been able to handle it, but by playing offside they stopped us from playing, really.

Over the two legs we were excellent and we should have beaten them. That showed just how good Stoke City were at that time – we should have beaten one of the great European sides!


Ajax captain Ruud Krol exchanges pennants with his Stoke City counterpart, Jimmy Greenhoff as the two sides clash at the Victoria Ground in Sept 1974. Italian referee Alberto Michelotti stands in the background.

Legends meet.

You were renowned as probably the best English volleyer of a football. Did you practise it a lot?

Yes I did.

It started at Leeds. Every day I practised volleying. They’d say “save your legs and go inside, Jimmy”, but I always wanted to practice volleying and perfect it. Possibly my best one was playing for Port Vale against York. It was a night game and there wasn’t many there.

The famous one for Stoke against Birmingham was a right footer and the one for Vale was a left footer.

I did used to get a bit of stick from some Vale fans, especially one bloke who kept shouting abuse at me. Fair play to Vale’s Russell Bromage, their left back – he went over to the bloke and told him that I was on the same wages as the other Vale lads and to shut up! I played for all three local teams – I never wanted to upset any Stoke fans and hope I didn’t.


We were in the Social Club at the ground for lunch, as usual. As I said before, we were a close bunch and always ate together. I got a message that the gaffer wanted to see me on the pitch. I found it strange as we didn’t have a game.

So I walked out down the tunnel and there Waddo was – in the centre circle, looking up at the Butler Street Stand. I said “Crikey gaffer, what a mess that is, eh”.

Waddo replied “yes it is Jimmy, but it gets worse: we had an emergency board meeting and I was informed that it wasn’t insured and that we need to sell someone to pay for it”.

I didn’t ever want to go. I was told that Sir Matt Busby had phoned and Man United wanted me to go to speak to them that afternoon. I was all confused and so I went over to them on the Monday. I didn’t sign on the Monday, didn’t sign on the Tuesday, didn’t sign on the Wednesday…..that tells you something.

So I called an Extraordinary Board Meeting at Stoke and we were all sat there: The gaffer, me and the directors. I told Waddo and everyone I didn’t want to leave.

“So what’s this all about, Jimmy?”, asked someone

“It’s about me telling you that I don’t want to leave”, I replied

After a while someone got up and said “To be honest Greenhoff, we think you’re past it”.

I was only 30. They didn’t mean it, but it was a way of getting me to go. So I stood up, looked at Waddo and said “I’m really sorry gaffer, I’m signing for Manchester United”.

I never wanted to go. It doesn’t take much looking into, does it? I still live in Stoke – that’s how much the club, the people and the area means to me. I’d already thought that I would finish my career at Stoke. I’d like Stoke fans to know that everything I have said about how I love the club is true. I mean every word.

(we know for a fact that when Jimmy does pre-match speaking at Old Trafford he always says that he didn’t want to leave Stoke and it’s the one football club he truly loves – DUCK editors)


So you had to play against Stoke then?

Yes, the first game I played against Stoke was at Old Trafford. I remember Alan Bloor giving me a dead leg after 20 minutes, ha, ha!

As for the game at Stoke – I was early at the Victoria Ground that day as I lived in Alsager. I met the United bus by the entrance and all the players came off and I met Tommy Doc.

He took me to the top of the tunnel and we looked out onto the Victoria Ground pitch and he said “I’m not playing you today, Jimmy”.

I replied “Why boss?” and he said “You’re not sending ‘em down, Jimmy”.

Stoke were pretty much down anyway to be honest, but I did actually think “that’s one of the nicest things I’ve seen in football, boss”.

The Doc knew what the supporters at Stoke thought of me.

I also remember when I was United’s player of the season in 1978/79 season and the trophy was presented by Sir Matt Busby… at Old Trafford… on the pitch before a game against Stoke City! The Stokies gave me a great reception – they were the loudest in the ground as I received that trophy. That reaction meant so much to me.


Peter Osgood – if he had chosen us over Southampton would we have won the league?

Huddy knew Peter Osgood well, and I saw Ozzie after the deal had been done at a Holiday Soccer Camp. Osgood said to me that not joining Stoke was the biggest mistake he had ever made.

And so to the national team….                                                                                                               

I was actually picked to play for England in a midweek game, but I was picked to play for Stoke against Derby at the Baseball Ground too, and that was at a time when you had to play for your club before your country.

I did end up getting picked when I was 34 and at Man United, to play against Northern Ireland in Belfast, but I got injured. There might be a bit of truth in the feeling that lesser clubs, not just Stoke, sometimes get overlooked. But I wasn’t bitter, as I was brought up to think that your club paid your wages every week and were your bread-and-butter, England didn’t and weren’t.

Me and Huddy actually played as over-age players in an under-23 game against Hungary. The crazy thing was that I was played on the right and Huddy on the left! How daft was that?

Do you regret not spending more time in management/coaching?                                                        

No, I should never have even really got into it, to be honest. I quickly realised that.

…and that was it. We finished our coffees and teas having a laugh and a joke about how it was HIS goal in the FA Cup Final when Lou Macari whacked it against Jimmy for the winner (“that shot of Lou’s would have spun out to the corner flag if it hadn’t hit me!”) and how after he famously scored in a semi-final he went and kissed a toothless Joe Jordan (“I cringe at the face I pulled after I scored, and then the first player on the scene was Joe Jordan, so I gave him a big smacker”). Jimmy also raved about more current players like Peter Beardsley and even our own Charlie Adam, a player who he really likes (“I could play in the same team as Charlie, I really could”).

It’s obvious to anyone just how much affection Jimmy Greenhoff has for Stoke City Football Club. Has a Potters’ player ever been held in the regard that Jimmy was?

The name GREENHOFF will forever live in the memory of every single Stoke fan who saw him play association football. What a player! What a man! What an honour to interview him!

Transfers, Announcements and the Right Mentality

Posted on August 17th, 2017 by

Transfers, Announcements and the Right Mentality

by Lee Cork

I saw the social media announcement re our new signing.

I greeted the rumours and subsequent signing with joy and hope. It does inspire me that we could do well this season. It shows that we do have the ambition to better ourselves and bring in players that are capable of producing yet more magic as we continue on our Premier League voyage.


For me, the tone of it was all a bit petty and juvenile. Why do we need to respond to what Adrian Durham says? Why do we need to challenge his belief that we lack ambition? It’s all so small-time to do so.

Whilst I listen a lot to TalkSport, I don’t really listen when it comes to Stoke! Plaudits do though go to Durham for generating debate – he has a simple job on a radio station and that’s to get listeners – so the more insulting and/or controversial he is, the more ears he has taking in his show. Why do we continually rile at the comments? Both Durham and Savage are essentially the modern-day reincarnation of shock jocks and 21st Century ‘click-bait’ all wrapped into one easily digested parcel!

Now, don’t get me wrong – I feel that at times that the club’s communication with fans seems to mostly consist of a giant vacuum that the odd stray message emerges from like a waif of randomness. It is human nature to fill this void, hence the popularity of various social media groups dedicated to filling in these blanks – and of course the ever-growing delight of seeing a blurry photo from the ‘man in the bush’. We can also criticize the clubs seeming inability to get transfers over the line or their protracted negotiation tactics. We can carp on about a questionable transfer policy that has seen lots of players depart. It’s all hearsay and opinion to fill the void.

We do though need to have the right mentality.

We are the oldest club in the Premier League. 1863, us! We are in our tenth season at the ‘top table’, despite being hammered at and condemned to face relegation for the majority of that time. We have a proud footballing heritage – yes, it doesn’t have a glittering trophy cabinet but it is still there nevertheless. Our chairman is thought of with fond regards both by us as fans and within the football community. Yes, we’ve been let down by players and the media still hold to the perception of us as an unglamorous team. We, though, have always strived to prove them wrong in the one area that matters – on the terraces and on the field, playing the game in a way that will bring us a degree of success that every professional club outside of the top flight would kill for. We do not though need to petty, juvenile or bitter.

We are better than that!


Punks and Potters: One Stokie’s 24 hours in St Pauli

Posted on August 3rd, 2017 by

Punks and Potters: One Stokie’s 24 hours in St Pauli

dave 3



I’ve been following FC St. Pauli for a good while now…. I don’t recall if the original article that sparked my interest was in When Saturday Comes, or FourFourTwo. It doesn’t matter, it was in the late 2000s, anyway. I grew up watching Stoke City, and when I started going regularly there would be a bloke selling The Socialist Worker paper outside the Boothen  End season ticket holders entrance.

So roll forward to 2017, my home town team, my team, forms a partnership with my other team. I’ll level with you, I don’t think you can have 2 teams if they’re from the same country, but it’s ok if they’re from other countries. For me, FC St Pauli are a model for fan involvement at all levels of the club, the club reaches into many areas of the local community, has teams in lots of sports at all levels. 

That’s before we even look at the Hamburg club and fans’ stance on hate, they are anti-facist, anti-homophobic, pro-equality. At all levels. They had issues with right wingers amongst the ranks, and they dealt with it at a fan level, they made them persona non grata on the terraces.

Being London based I jumped on the early Tuesday Ryanair flight from Stanstead, took the S-Bahn underground and got off at the infamous Reeperbahn- it was around 11am. I’ve lived in London 19 years, seen a lot of Soho through work, but Soho has nothing on the Reeperbahn: it was eye opening to walk out of the underground and see so many homeless drunks, the stench of stale urine reminding me of the old Boothen bogs. I opted to head towards the ground, find a nice cafe/bar get some food and maybe a beer. I found a great place in a side street just opposite the Millerntor and sat for an hour or so just soaking it up, reading the stickers that were everywhere in the bar. Then I wandered to the ticket office, got my ticket and went in the club shop, where I bought the t shirt of the poster – No Gods, No Masters!

dave 1
Although by now it’s still only
1pm, I walked the 5 mins to my hotel, Hotel Pacific, €45 a room with buffet breakfast but shared bathroom and toilets. I’d recommend it, rooms were big and clean.

I the took a bit of a wander around St. Pauli taking pictures of the graffiti for a while, went back to the Reeperbahn and just tried to take it all in, McDonald’s next to a very public 5 story legal brothel emblazoned with the price, then 2 doors down, a club shop. Every other shop seemed to be a kebab shop or strip club.

I did a good bit of walking and even ventured into the infamous street they have like in Amsterdam, with the women sat on stools in the window. I politely declined their offers. Carried on and ended up at Beatles Plazer.  I’m sure the Reeperbahn is great for a stag do, but I’m more of a nice quiet bar with a pint kinda person these days, so headed back to the place I’d been at in the morning, before meeting up with some other Stokies at The Jolly Roger a famous pre match bar. After that we went to the supporters club bar and experienced true German hospitality, as St Pauli gave all Stoke fans free beer in one of their bars.

 In the match, we had St Pauli fans sitting with us, no segregation, and beer being drunk. Of course, there was no trouble, fans mingled, chatted, drank together, exactly as it should be. Obviously our country’s have a shared history, and part of that history dominated the skyline behind the stand to our left.  But more of that later.

After the game we returned to the Jolly Roger, drank with St Pauli fans and with European based Stoke fans who were taking  pics of their German friends in old borrowed Stoke tops. My evening ended in a kebab shop next to my hotel having an Iskender kebab and another beer.

Although my hotel did breakfast they didn’t do coffee as I like it, so I returned to the same Cafe/Bar I’d been at twice before yesterday. I sat at one of the long outside table benches near a lady in an anti-facist t shirt, who immediately asked if I’d been at the game. She was a St. Pauli fan, and we spent the next two hours talking football, politics, war, history, how WW2 bombs keeping being found……….

Hamburg was bombed extensively in WW2, and those towers were anti aircraft gun platforms; so thick is the concrete, they couldn’t knock them down easily, so this one was left. It also stands as a reminder, and St Pauli fans will be the first to man the barricades if the right rears its ugly head again.

 I finished my stay by walking down the Reeperbahn again, and finding a small Hamburger place for lunch. It would be rude not to surely!  Germans are great people, incredibly hospitable, when St. Pauli come to Stoke, we need to show them the same hospitality they showed us!




Posted on June 13th, 2017 by


Very rarely do you get to watch a quite brilliant game of association football at 11am on a Sunday. Indeed, that time of the week is usually a time for peeling spuds, taking dogs/kids for a walk, nursing a tender head, or possibly setting off for a day out somewhere.

And during football matches, rarely do I want a late equaliser against the team I want to win.

But that was the scenario on June 11th, as I sat with my youngest lad watching England v Venezuela in the Under 20’s World Cup Final. The game was that good, I simply wanted another half an hour of it, even though that would have cruelly denied the Young Lions a cup win.

Those who know me will know that I’m not fussed when it comes to watching England. Yes, I’d want ‘us’ to win, but it often leaves me cold, and I often get over even the biggest of losses in big games in minutes. Contrast that to watching Stoke City, and there’s a marked difference. It takes me all week to snap out of us losing. And you can insert your own “well you must be the most miserable sod on earth, then” joke right here.

I grew up as a kid in Sneyd Green, watching on the telly any number of our ‘supporters’ rampage their way around Europe and the world, ensuring that many who went for the football were fair prey in the eyes of those who sought retribution and revenge. It also meant I wasn’t fussed about the actual game, half the time. I’ve also seen us play what can only be described as, technically, some of the worst football going – this, whilst earning a king’s ransom to be played off the park by countries without a penny, yet who managed to string passes together.

Yup, international football isn’t anywhere near the top of my agenda.

But there was a refreshing naieivity about the England Under 20 team during their World Cup. That’s not to say that the coaching staff didn’t do a fantastic job, setting them up and tactically. They obviously did. But how brilliant I thought it was to see us shooting from distance in injury time of the final whilst 1-0 up, and bringing on attacking subs at 1-0 up, and being very, very open at 1-0 up. It was akin to a game of basketball.

Contrast that to the world-weary ex-pro and England international commentator who noted near the end that we should “take the yellow card there” and “manage the game”. Thankfully, it seems that risk taking hadn’t been drummed/coached out of these kids yet, and I sat there with my youngest lad marvelling at two teams having a right go at each other.

Two teams, trying to win a simply huge game of football. A few weeks earlier, we’d watch Huddersfield and Reading trying their best not to lose one. And therein lies the difference….

I can take Stoke or England losing. Christ, we’ve had enough practice at that, eh? But how many times have you left matches bemoaning us not even having a go? Remember those “bonus matches”? Those parked buses? Remember those hammerings at Oxford and Swindon?

I’m not saying go all gung-ho, as the very best players and teams will simply destroy you. But surely (and no disrespect here) an England team can go to Hampden Park and at least try to play better football than Scotland, rather than nicking a win? Is this what the billions of pounds that have floated round the English game since it was invented in 1992 has amounted to? Scraping a result here? Qualifying, only to then not have a go at the finals, there?

Sorry, and nothing personal here, but when we go to Hampden with a back four and two holding midfielders in front of them – that simply is nowhere near good enough. It’s a coward’s mentality, and ensures we only have four attacking players on the pitch – one of those being played out wide, and out of position.

Again, I’ll reiterate – I don’t want to see gung-ho, losing football matches in the process. But a balance must be struck, as we’re losing the important games anyway. If a group of teenagers can go out in the biggest game of their young careers and play with no fear, then I fully expect experienced professionals and those who coach/manage them, to do the same. That’s why I love Bojan in a Stoke shirt so much. Even when he plays poorly, and he has since he came back from his injury, he still plays with a forward-thinking mentality, and with joy in his boots.

No Video. Slideshow (Already uploaded). Sport. Leicester (Blue) v  Stoke (Red and white stripe). Second Half. Saturday 17th January 2015. Pictured: Krkic Bojan scores.


As much as I don’t like Arsene Wenger, I do agree with a comment he made a few years go, about what being ‘brave’ is on a football pitch. He talked about bravery being the ability to get on the ball, make things happen, take risks, expressing yourself, and that bravery isn’t about defending for ninety minutes and sticking your foot in. It’s not about just trying not to lose. It’s about doing your utmost to win. That’s why Spurs are so watchable. Again, there’s a balance to be struck between the two – and that’s possibly why Spurs are so Spursy – but with the money in the game surely there comes a responsibility to play with a little more joy than having Dier and Livermore shielding a back four, against a team ranked 61st in the FIFA rankings, with Blackburn’s centre half at the centre of their defence!

Perhaps the England Under 20’s did far more than win a World Cup? Perhaps they showed everyone why football really is a brilliant sport, and that you can win with a brilliant mentality?


Posted on June 1st, 2017 by


A bit like the Renegade Master, we’re back once again. Our first ever national football and football lifestyle magazine – DUCK UK – is out in just over two weeks time.

Based on the successful formula we’ve stumbled upon/have at DUCK magazine, this is a digital-only, FREE magazine that will me emailed out all over the UK and beyond.


So, what’s already in there?

I know what you did this summer Stoke City’s Marc Muniesa talks to us about his life in Barcelona and Lloret De Mar, getting married and stag do’s, spending the summer with his one year old lad, buying a new house, fitness training in Catalunya etc…..

Pre-season with the pro’s Tampa Bay Rowdies’ and ex-Wolves/PNE/Leeds United/Sheffield United and Scotland U21 international Neil Collins on the ‘delights’ of shuttle runs and beep tests.

The Offside Trust  Set up six months ago after British football was rocked by a series of high-profile revelations regarding child sexual abuse. Several former professional players bravely waived their right to anonymity to speak out about their past abuse. The Offside Trust is committed to supporting survivors and working to make sport safer for children. We are honoured they’ve sent us an article.

4Midable   4 of my favourite ever training shoes. You’ll disagree, but I won’t care.

AMP   A review of Depeche Mode live in Prague

The Bundesliga Experience We have a bloke at the Hertha BSC v Borussia Dortmund match

Inspired by Sport? Netball or football – which was the best option for taking your 14 year old daughter too?

It’s a gas  Money in football. Gravy train or groovy train?

One of 100 We like ace clothes, especially ace shirts. We also like Sauce & Brown. They make ace shirts. We ask them how and why they make ace shirts. Ace.

Lessons Learnt   Despite regularly wanting to stick mine on eBay, kids are great. You may want to read them this article though. They may thank you later.

ZZ Top   An homage to Zinedine Zidane. indeed, a homage does it a disservice. This is simply a brilliant article about an iconic talent.

Football and mental health   Why it’s no longer taboo in the game of 4-4-2.

Trainer Potter  How to clean trainers, and a focus on the adidas ZX700.

…….and pieces on Carlisle United, Whyteleafe FC, Swindon Town, and Stoke City. 

It might be the best thing to land in your infolder all Summer!



“There’s never any decent bands on in Stoke!”

Posted on May 11th, 2017 by

“There’s never any decent bands on in Stoke!”


How many times have you said the above over the last two decades?

It seems that during that time, many other cities of a similar size having been getting the concerts that we needed, wanted and deserved. And ask bands who play our great city what kind of crowd they get. The likes of Simple Minds were gobsmacked when a packed Victoria Hall was turned into what resembled an away end that had seen their team score a last minute winner!

But are the times a changin’?

Hopefully so, and the likes of The Exchange and The Sugarmill have done this city proud in recent times by putting on some great nights, some great DJ’s, and some great bands. And there’s another one on this Saturday…..

Readers of DUCK will know we love the Smoove & Turrell lads. GBOL, them. Anyway, long story short, I had tickets to see them twice last year, in December. One bad back and one bad car later, and that was that – I missed both gigs. So I did a bit of pleading on social media for the Geordie boys to get their backsides down to the Six Towns – and fair play to ’em – they’re here. THIS SATURDAY!

Any group that likes funk, soul, big coats, trainers, Clarks Originals, and football will always stand a good chance of getting in our good books. Thing is, this lot could dress like Crewe fans and we’d still go see them.

Not heard them yet?

Well, they’re a bit like Nile Rodgers joining the cast of Jossies Giants and Brand New Heavies: led by John Turrell’s  beautifully rich Michael MacDonald-on-20-Capstan-a-day vocals, and backed by a group with an ear for a hook bigger than those used on Wicked Tuna. This isn’t toe-tapping stuff. This is stuff that demands you get off your backside and head for the dancefloor. If you can shift Stone Island-clad, Clint Boon stuntdouble keyboard player Mike Porter off it first, that is!

S&T nod their head to soul, funk, jazz, northern soul and several other musical outposts, but retain a gritty northern sound about them at the same time. Want proof? Head, as most do, to Youtube: See ‘Could have been a lady’ off the new album for details. A huge groove and a cover of a Hot Chocolate hit,  that takes ‘Blame it on the Boogie’ for a night out in the Bigg Market and leaves it there up an alleyway.


Then listen to‘Glass’ – the torch song that ‘Fairytale of new York’ (a song I have always hated – dons tin hat) should have been. Just piano and voice. But what a piano, and what a voice.

It should be the law of the land that we beat those absolute whoppers from Arsenal at teatime and then everyone heads up to The Exchange for one of THE party nights of 2017. But we’ve bought our tickets, so even if we lose to that lot we’ll be crap-dad-dancing til the lads leave the stage anyway. Join us, laugh at us, and have an ace night for less than a tenner.

SMOOVE & TURRELL   the Exchange   Saturday 13th May  (hopefully around 9pm to give me time get from the match!)

Tickets are only £8 plus booking fee from:

Water Fool you’d be to miss this! – Appetite Causes a Splash with Spectacular Outdoor Show

Posted on April 2nd, 2017 by

Water Fool you’d be to miss this! – Appetite Causes a Splash with Spectacular Outdoor Show

SIRF Festival

 Don’t be tricked by the timing of this article, it may be April Fool’s Day but this is no joke. Appetite’s headline show for 2017, Water Fools, will take place entirely on water. Yes, the entire show will be performed on water!

Water Fools is an outstanding outdoor show that will be performed entirely on the lake at Central Forest Park. Performers walking on water, floating cars, bikes, and beds, almighty fireworks and astonishing original music will combine to create a dreamlike painting set against the unique backdrop of Stoke-on-Trent, and with no spoken word, the show is suitable for a wide range of people.

Since 2013 Appetite have being serving up a series of world-class performances for people to enjoy in Stoke-on-Trent and each year have brought a spectacular showcase event to the city, offering something completely different to local audiences. Over recent years Appetite’s showcase events have included the incredible contemporary circus show Bianco by NoFit State Circus, Wired Aerial Theatre’s As The World Tipped and The Bell by Periplum. Most recently The Enchanted Chandelier by French Company Transe Express came to town where musicians and performers dangled 50 metres in the sky.

This year they will endeavour to walk on water as the team behind Appetite continue to push themselves with a fresh challenge ensuring a truly unique experience for local people in Stoke-on-Trent. Gemma Thomas, Appetite Creative Producer explains, ‘This year we have the privilege of bringing the show “Water Fools” by Ilotopie to Central Forest Park. It’s a truly spectacular evening event, where the lake becomes a stage. It sounds incredible, and believe me, that’s because it is. This show is like nothing we’ve ever attempted to bring to Stoke-on-Trent before, but as always we are up for the challenge. We can’t wait to wow our audiences with this event and it will certainly be a highlight in this year’s cultural calendar.’

Dominique Noel, Artistic Director of the French company behind the show, Ilotopie says, ‘We spent time researching many water based locations in the area, so I got to know Stoke-on-Trent quite well. I even managed to get to the 6Towns Radio Awards and sampled some lovely Staffordshire Oatcakes too. We have performed Water Fools all over the world including Chicago, Moscow, Sydney, Buenos Aires and Singapore but we are so excited that we’ll be able to perform our unique show in this unique city. We have met some wonderful people in Stoke-on-Trent already so we’re very excited to share this magnificent performance with them”

Karl Greenwood, Appetite Project Director said: “Events like Water Fools coming to Stoke-on-Trent clearly demonstrates our big ambitions as a programme and as a city, showing a real belief and ability that we can deliver world-class events to a high standard and more importantly that local people really do want to see something out of the ordinary. As Stoke-on-Trent is gearing up to bid for the UK City of Culture in 2021, I strongly believe events like Water Fools cause ripples across the rest of the country and shine a big spotlight on the city to say look at what we’re doing here in Stoke-on-Trent”

Tickets go on sale today, with special Early Bird offers running through the month of April. Be aware that tickets are very limited and early booking is strongly advised to ensure you don’t miss this incredible outdoor show on water.

To find out more about Water Fools visit

Standard adult tickets start from £8.95 in advance and a range of Early Bird offers, concessions and group discounts are available. Tickets can be booked online at or by telephoning New Vic Theatre Box Office on 01782 717 962.







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