“You can’t pretend it’s a great time for Stoke to be going to Wigan tonight.
And unlike Stoke, Wigan aren’t going to miss their home fans because, with all due respect, they don’t get great crowds they rely on anyway.
I don’t want to make excuses for the Stoke lads, but not having their home fans against Middlesbrough on Saturday was a big miss for them and they simply have to get used to playing without them.
Even when we were flying at Stoke during my time, we still needed those home fans at the Victoria Ground.
Whether it was to lift us if we were struggling, or whether it was to influence a referee in the split second he had to make a big decision, they didn’t half play their part in our success.
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I can imagine how much the Stoke lads needed the home support when they went a goal down against Middlesbrough at the weekend, and how that home support could have worked against Boro as well.
If they can stop Wigan’s charge tonight that will be a start and set them up nicely for the home game against fellow strugglers Barnsley on Saturday.
But it’s a Wigan side that’s in the best form of anyone in the Championship and that’s some task for Stoke.
I see that Wigan have lost just one in their last 11 games and taken 24 points from a possible 33 in the process.
Remarkable given the position they were in.
Hopefully, Stoke fans won’t need a pick-me-up come Wednesday night, but if they do, and for all those other people in need of a laugh after months of lockdown, can I suggest BBC2 at 9pm.
It’s a re-run of Marvelous, the story of my old mate Neil Baldwin, the one-time Stoke kit man and friend to the stars.
I’ve seen it plenty of times myself, but never on the telly before because the first time it was shown I had to be at Old Trafford for a dinner in honour of Ryan Giggs.
I had no idea of the sensation Marvellous would cause until my phone began exploding with messages that night.
So all being well, I’m going to pour myself a nice drink, a soft one of course, and sit back to enjoy this screening.
It’s not only a great tale, it also portrays Stoke-on-Trent and Stoke City in a great light and it’s one of those stories that will have you laughing and crying, sometimes at the same time.
As for Neil himself, he’s been keeping a low profile for once in his life because of the pandemic.
He’s locked himself away with about a year’s supply of food and says he isn’t resurfacing until he’s eaten it all. “