A football-free weekend means that, last night, we dusted off the old record books to work out how Stoke City matched up against the 105 teams they have gone head-to-head against in the league over the last 132 years.
There are a few surprises in the best and worst lists.
Top of the tree for the opponents Stoke should want to face are Wrexham, Chesterfield and Colchester United – and you wouldn’t or shouldn’t be too surprised about any of those.
But at the other end of the scale?
Six of the top 10 are some of the biggest names in world football – but the top two? Well, you might be shocked.
Behind-closed-doors TV mega event plan to finish season ‘is gaining traction’
The Premier League is debating a plan to complete the 2019/20 season in behind-closed-doors matches which take place in strictly-controlled camps in the Midlands and London this summer, according to latest reports.
Football is facing the stark realism that the UK lockdown due to coronavirus will not allow life to get back to normal for six months.
And while the first priority is to ensure safety and minimise deaths, sport authorities are trying to come up with ideas to try to limit the impact on this season and next as much as possible.
‘Alex Ferguson was dreading the headlines’ – What Manchester United legend said about Stoke City team talk
A brilliant night for Stoke City could have been the downfall of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson – or at least he feared, perhaps with a bit of tongue in cheek.
Mark Stein-inspired Stoke, then in the second tier, beat Man Utd 2-1 in a thumping League Cup tie at the Victoria Ground back in 1993.
Ferguson’s side – complete with Mark Hughes, Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs – squeezed through in the second leg at Old Trafford, but the legendary boss was just pleased to keep a lid on what had happened in the first.
He had not just been outdone by his old pal Lou Macari – he had been out manoeuvred by the big clown-turned-kit man at Macari’s side.
It was Neil ‘Nello’ Baldwin who delivered the team talk – and Ferguson remembered as much when he watched the BBC’s Baldwin biopic, Marvellous, which he told Macari was ‘the best football film’ he had ever seen.
Stoke City hero outlines manager’s secret of success
Rory Delap believes Michael O’Neill’s ability to simplify instructions – and his control of the ‘volume’ dial – have underpinned his early success at Stoke City.
Delap has been working alongside O’Neill as a senior member of his coaching team and has admired the manager’s methods from close quarters.
“I think the biggest thing with the new manager is how he simplified a lot of things for the players,” Delap told Martin Spinks.