In a series shamelessly stolen from Deadspin great Drew Magary, Cartilage Free Captain will preview each opponent before we face them and explain to you exactly why they're complete crap and doomed for the drop.
Oh boy, Stoke City. After such a highly anticipated matchup where Spurs went up to Old Trafford to start the season, our boys come home to White Hart Lane to take on the Potters. The best part is that we will help them suffer through this season because they are absolutely getting relegated.
Your Club Sucks
Stoke City makes the claim that they've been around since 1863 when they were called the Ramblers. Yes, somehow the people who created this club decided to give the team the nickname that has the definition of a person who walks for pleasure. I would normally commend you on making this decision to change the name, but then your people in charge managed to screw that up and named them the Potters. Let me tell you that there's probably very few names that strike fear into opponents' hearts than the Potters. Nobody in the history of the world has actually said out loud "Boy, I really hope we don't run into a potter! Those bastards are vicious!" You should've named yourselves "the Ginnys," since that's the only Potter I know that's worth a damn.
Your Badge Sucks
Stoke's current badge has been around since 2001, when someone took a relatively dull looking badge that had a rope and stove on it and somehow made it worse. Even the site talking about the history of the badge is forced to used the terms "plain" and "simple" because that's all there is to talk about. It's the C-average of badges. This is a crappy corporate design if I've ever seen one, and it wouldn't even make the first cut by any CEO today. You may as well have just stamped "STOKE" onto a red background and called it a day.
Your Owner Sucks
Peter Coates is the chairman of the board, owner of Bet 365, and was already 72 years old when the club was formed back in 1863. Almost every single picture portrays him as your grumpy grandpa who yells at kids trampling over his lawn. He looks bored, and why wouldn't he be? He's a boring owner for a boring club. He is remarkable for absolutely nothing. There are no scandals to talk about, no talks of crime, and no talks of doing anything awesome or terrible. Boring.
Your Last Season Sucked
Stoke City finished 9th last season in the Premier League, just about the perfect finish for a boring club with no aspirations other than to exist. Your worst result was a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Woolwich. Even though you managed to give all of us a great laugh in your 6-1 thrashing of Liverpool, somehow you lost 1-0 to them in the reverse fixture and looked as dull as dishwater doing it.
Your Coach Sucks
Quick, tell me anything of note that Mark Hughes has done as a coach other than always being at the head of a club that gets accused of being dirty and overly physical. You can't because there's nothing. He is the perfect coach for Stoke for this very reason. Oh yeah, he managed to get Blackburn into the UEFA Cup back in 2006, but there's zero silverware on his resume. This was a coach who was at Manchester City when they changed owners and suddenly had enough money to start their own space program, yet he could do nothing except flounder with the likes of Robinho, Gareth Barry, Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez, Nigel de Jong, and so on. Did you know that Hughes spent £22m on Joleon Lescott? Now you do.
Your Players Suck
First, read this awesome post on Yahoo Sports that talks about why everyone hates your club.
Your team, top to bottom, is loaded with a**h*les, and none are bigger than Charlie Adam. We know how much he detests Tottenham and, trust us, the feeling is mutual. Sandro was licking his chops wanting to turn you into puppy chow not long ago. It's a shame he never did.
Ryan Shawcross pretty much hates everyone and, again, the feeling is mutual. Honestly, it must be a requirement to be some kind of a jerk to play in defense or midfield for your club. Peter Crouch deserves better than to be surrounded by this group.
Your New Signings Suck
Somehow, Stoke managed to sign Xherdan Shaqiri, who is apparently playing his career in reverse. How does one go from Bayern Munich to Inter Milan to Stoke f***ing City? That breaks all forms of logic. Also, what the hell is up with his head in all of his signing pictures? Was he separated at birth from his long lost brother Megamind and he just inherited all the hair? You also signed both Ibrahim Afellay and Glen Johnson on free transfers, who are following in Shaqiri's footsteps of going in reverse order of clubs joined. Ibrahim, you're supposed to go to Barcelona from Stoke City, not vice versa. The only other player you actually spent money on was Joselu from Hannover 96, and I immediately hate him because he's competition for Crouch. Go away.
Why You Might Escape The Drop
Mark Hughes uses whatever black magic he had up his sleeve when signing Shaqiri and hypnotizes every official in the Premier League to look the other way while Charlie Adam breaks everyone legs.