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Stoke City: A Love/Hate Relationship

An era of beautiful football?
Started on 26 January 2014 by MeerkatKid2
Latest Reply on 2 March 2014 by MeerkatKid2
  • POSTS42
  • VIEWS14861

Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen to my first ever attempt at a Football Manager story. For this story I have decided to take the almost universally disliked, if not hated,Stoke City, famous for their 'long ball football', physicality and rough play. My aim for this story on a purely footballing level is to change this philosophy and create a new style of play somewhere between 'Tikka Takka' and the rough, physical football their fans are used to. Although I am a Chelsea fan I am going to poor everything into this save and for the record I don't hate Stoke as a club (or a city mainly because of Alton Towers), I admire their grit and determination and this is what I want to utilise but simply in a different style of play. Now without further a do let us begin.

Breaking News: 11/7/2013
Sky Sources are suggesting that current Stoke City Football Club manager, Mark Hughes, has had a very serious disagreement with the Chairman, Peter Coates. Currently it is not known if Hughes will lose his job but the disagreement seems to be regarding Hughes' footballing vision and the funds he feels are necessary for said vision. One thing for sure is the fact the betting market will go crazy.

Breaking News: 12/7/2013
In what can only be described as a very unexpected turn of events Luke Savidge (Me!) has been appointed as the new Stoke City Football Club manager with immediate effect. This follows the sacking of Mark Hughes due to an 'undisclosed reason' which is rumored to be over transfers funds and Hughes' apparent lack of ambition. In a statement the club had this to say "Mark Hughes has been removed from his position as Stoke City manger and replaced by Luke Savidge. We believe this move is best for the club as it was clear that Mark didn't share our ambitions, which Luke wholeheartedly does. We'd like to thank Mark for his services but feel that a change is best for all parties concerned."

Only time will tell if the virtual unknown manager whose only previous managerial experience has come from religiously playing the Football Manager franchise of games will turn out to be the right appointment. Savidge, who was a young aspiring goalkeeper, has now been thrust into the limelight and his methods and ideologies will be constantly be analysed by pundits and disgruntled fans alike. One Stoke fan had this to say "This is a very big gamble and I hope that board and the manager, to a certain extent, will be able to put their hands up if this risk doesn't pay off." Savidge is set to be unveiled to the media later today.

12/7/2013- Savidge Faces Media
Today Luke Savidge faced the national media for the first time as Stoke City Football Club manager. This press conference both introduced Savidge to the press and allowed them to ask him questions before Stoke's first preseason friendly against Tours FC.

The Guardian's Billy White was first to ask Savidge a question. The press conference went as follows:

BW: We all know the manner of your predecessor's, Mark Hughes, exit. What I want to ask you is that does your ambition match the chairman's?
LS: Yes. Yes is the easy answer. We are both very creative people and we have very productive meetings to discuss said ambitions.

Jo Bangura, Sporting Life: Do you believe the targets you have been set are realistic and fair?
LS: In my job as Stoke City manager I will do everything I cant to meet both my own and Pete Coates' targets. Although, these targets will take a lot of work to achieve I believe they are definitely achievable.
JB: On a different note, there has been a lot of speculation over the future of Peter Crouch with QPR on red alert, reportedly. Would you like to comment on this matter?
LS: Peter is a very good player and has been crucial to this clubs success but I would like to make it clear that no one is safe in this squad. This preseason will be about assessing what I have at my disposal and who I can mold into my style of play. However, I will not be disclosing any potential outgoings until I have had due time to evaluate.

Barry Reid, The Birmingham Post: Most managers like to work with their own backroom staff. Do you plan on clearing out the old staff and replacing them with your own?
LS: Although I would prefer to work with my own staff everyone will be given a chance to see whether they fit my criteria. If not then replacements will be sourced. I already have my eye on a few good quality scouts who would fit my philosophy.

David Harvey, Team Talk: I understand that all managers have competitions they favour over others. Do you plan to rank the competitions you are competing in?
LS: Not at all. I have a big and deep squad as well as money at my disposal and as such I feel that both a reasonable league position and a good 'cup run' are achievable.
DH: You hinted that you had money available and you have been linked with a move with Sunderland forward Ji Dong-Won. Are you planning a move for the South Korean.
LS: At the moment all I am prepared to say is no but there is still plenty of time left in the transfer window. I know have to leave as I have other commitments. Thanks guys.

Savidge seemed quite cagey in the interview and nerves were clearly on show. However, he seems to be ruthless when it comes to squad and staff a like. Keep reading Sky Sports News for updates on the situation.
Good luck, was at the game earlier and Begovic was just hoofing it up to Crouch. Try and get Hazard, Oscar and Mata in and you will be fine :P
Good luck :)
2014-01-26 19:09#156897 joethequin : Good luck, was at the game earlier and Begovic was just hoofing it up to Crouch. Try and get Hazard, Oscar and Mata in and you will be fine :P

Thanks mate! Yeah I hope my budget will stretch ;)
I'm rather jealous as I tried to get tickets but had to settle for watching it on TV.

@pompeyblue and @seni
Thanks you guys very much I hope for a long successful save!

Savidge Appears on Football Focus
Luke Savidge, the newly appointed Stoke City boss has, today, appeared on the long running BBC television show Football Focus. On this show he talked in depth about his squad, his tactics and transfers. He was interviewed by Dan Walker and was very willing to provide unprecedented details which for a man managing a club which could be fighting for Premier League survival could be viewed as either brave or stupid. Either way it was a sign of his obvious inexperience.

Firstly, Mr Savidge was asked about how his squad had reacted to him and his thoughts on the players at his disposal. Savidge had this to say, "When I first introduced myself to the team their was some understandably cagey responses due to the fact I was hired as a virtual unknown.However, after I showed them my passion and explained how I believed we could manage to finish in mid-table this season the squad were soon fired up and behind me. On the contrary though one senior member of the squad (believed to be Marc Wilson) deliberately undermined me and I made it very clear that any deliberate attempts to create friction within the group would result in disciplinary measures."

Mr Walker then proceeded to ask Mr Savidge how his squad looked to him. At this point his provided us, the BBC, with some very in depth analysis and a chart to support his points. This was very surprising but thrilling at the same time to have such an exclusive and a controversial one at that- a manager evaluating his own squad for other managers to hear. This was the chart provided to us.

Savidge said that "It is clear to me that Asmir (Begovic), Ryan (Shawcross), Steven (N'Zonzi) and Peter (Crouch) are the best in their respective positions but something that is also clear is that Marko Arnautovic should be feared in the division as he is well and truly our 'star player' and it was a real coup to snatch him from the eyes of potential suitors. Another point that is to be noted is the fact that in the future we are not going to concede many goals as I believe that in a few years time Jack Butland will be the best 'keeper in the Premier League, if not the world. Jack has a great career ahead of him and will one day captain England."

Here at the BBC we have put together a document that highlights both Jack Butland and Marko Arnautovic's key attributes and their current market value. This can be found below.

Next, when asked to talk tactics, Mr Savidge was very open with us and was quick to distance himself from the typical 4-4-2 that lots of clubs further down the table use. Without prompting he then explained the tactics he planned on using. "After my first preseason game I am going to take time to evaluate my squad and implement my tactics. Until then we are going to unfortunately use my predecessor's tactics to see what I need to change. However, I have focused my training sessions on adapting to my 4-1-1-2-2 tactic which utilises a CDM, a CM, two attacking wingers and two strikers. These tactics will be combined with the mentality of passing into space, exploiting the flanks and keeping a high tempo. Although mainly I want my players to play rigidly I will allow my wingers freedom to swap sides as I feel this is very effective. However, this will require a high quality left winger which I am unsure if we own one."

This is what us here at the BBC envisage Savidge's tactics looking like and we believe this to be his preferred line up until transfers are completed.

Finally, when Dan Walker asked the question "What potential transfers do you see being completed, Mr Savidge?". The young manager then responded: "I have a number of changes in the pipe line, so to speak, some player wise, some staff wise. However, at this moment I am unwilling to comment on the situation other than the fact I am looking to invest my money wisely and not panic buy."

For further updates regarding Savidge's tenure as Stoke City manager be sure to keep updated on the BBC website or App.
Good luck !

I have used the same formation in my Leyton Orient save with some good results.

I have experienced that against stronger this formation is easily outnumbered in the midfield.
I have use another variation against stronger teams where I draw back the Crouch position as an AMC and the AMR to a normal MR
2014-01-27 08:05#156961 Northwood : Interesting.

I have used the same formation in my Leyton Orient save with some good results.

I have experienced that against stronger this formation is easily outnumbered in the midfield.
I have use another variation against stronger teams where I draw back the Crouch position as an AMC and the AMR to a normal MR

Thanks for the advice, my back up plan for harder opponents is a much more sturdy formation which I currently have the team working on as well.

@captainbrickarms thanks for the kind wishes.
MeerkatKid2's avatar Group MeerkatKid2
10 yearsEdited

Tours Provide No Issues for Savidge- 12/7/2013
In Luke Savidge's first game in charge of Stoke City his team ground out a comfortable 4-1 victory away from home. However, the game was not as comfortable as the scoreline suggests as 'The Potters' had to absorb pressure at times and were slow to break, something Savidge is said to be looking to change. In his first game in charge he named an average squad, one that was almost identical to the one used by his the man who previously held his job, although this was expected. In an uninspiring 4-4-2 Savidge played this side: Begovic, Pieters, Huth, Shawcross, Wilkinson, Etherington, Palacios, Adam, Pennant, Jones and Crouch. This team lacked youth and this showed as the crowd had to wait until the 27th minute for the first goal from Kenwyne Jones, a man rumored to be on his out of the club, despite Stoke's clearly superior team. The next two goals both came from the Peter Crouch in the 57th and 62nd minute. Tours then pulled one back through Alexis Jolly but then shot themselves in the foot by scoring an own goal. After the game Savidge was interviewed and was quoted as saying "It's a good start to my tenure but it also highlighted many flaws in my team. It has also forced me into considering potential transfers."

"Adapting but an awful performance"- 14/7/2013
Stoke City manager Luke Savidge was said to be livid over his sides sloppy and lazy performance against FC Sochaux-Montbe. Despite everything pointing towards a comfortable win for Stoke a, frankly, shocking 0-1 loss was inflicted. Although away from home, Savidge would have expected a much better performance and probably would have taken a draw in the 87th minute when a Muniesa mistake allowed the hosts to score through the ever moving Vincent Oliver. One positive that could be taken from the game was the performance of youngsters Jack Butland and Ossama Assaidi who were two of the seven changes, the others being Wilson, Muniesa, Arnautovic,Cameron and Jones. This will provide little respite for the manager and will probably spark an immediate reaction on the transfer market. Two potential reinforcements being linked with the club are Tom Ince and Alexander Ka?anikli? both who ply their trade on the left wing. Keep your eyes peeled for potential dealings and be sure to visit SkyBet where the odds for both moving to the club are at a low but fair 5/1.
MeerkatKid2's avatar Group MeerkatKid2
10 yearsEdited

WORLD EXCLUSIVE 16/7/2013- Ince to Stoke
Today it has been announced that Thomas Ince has moved to Stoke City Football Club from Blackpool for a fee of £3.9 million. This is the first player brought in by Luke Savidge, the new Stoke manager, and marks the start of a youthful transfer policy. Ince, the England Under 21 international is said to have signed a contract until 2016 worth somewhere in the region of £25 000.Ince was signed rather than a secondary target believed to be Alexander Ka?anikli?. Although the reason for signing Ince over Ka?anikli? has not been confirmed, it is believed that Ince provided better value for money. When Ince was introduced to the media by a jubilant Savidge the media were truly shocked as it was widely believed that Ince would secure a move to Swansea. Barry Reid from the Birmingham Post was the first to ask Savidge a question regarding his new signing. The Interview went as follows:

Barry Reid, Birmingham Post: Well Luke your are clearly happy about securing your man. Can you describe your emotions?
Luke Savidge: I am over the moon, absolutely delighted as is Tom I'm sure!
Ashley Galting, Daily Mirror: This signing has really caught us here in the media by surprise! It was widely expected that you would sign Alexander Ka?anikli?. Would you care to comment?
LS: It may have been a surprise but it that was because I worked really hard to keep it under wraps so that I wasn't gazumped by another club, such as Swansea who registered their interst.
AG: How do you anticipate the signing of Tom will affect your squad?
LS: It should come as a real lift because it shows our ambition, signing someone who is not only a talented player now but one to watch for the future. I am really just chuffed!
Joe Bangura, Sporting Life: How has this signing affected your transfer budget? I assume it has taken a large chunk out of it?
LS: Not really, this may have been a large transfer but in reality more funds are available, plus there are a few players I am looking to unload from my squad.

Regardless of anything any one in football has to say, Ince will be judged on the football pitch and ultimately on how well he fits into Savidge's new system. One thing for sure, it looks like Stoke have found a mainstay in their team for years to come. Below is our interpretation of Ince's attributes and his strengths.

For further transfer developments, buy the Guardian everyday or check our online newspaper.
That´s a good signing! :)

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