Desperate for goals to stay up, they let Scott Hogan go in January and now he’s banging them in left, right and centre for Birmingham City.
His tidy strike at the weekend was his fourth in just five appearances since joining Blues on loan from Aston Villa.
But could those goals have been in a Stoke shirt? Should he have been allowed to cut short his loan spell in the Potteries?
It would be easy to point a finger with the benefit of hindsight after now seeing him start scoring for fun.
But, in truth, how many of us could have realistically seen him hitting this kind of scoring streak?
And like it or not, Stoke had other viable reasons for removing him barely half-way through his season-long loan.
He wasn’t playing and was therefore a potential problem behind the scenes along with any other player not getting a game.
O’Neill was understandably desperate to move players on to lighten a bloated squad and loan players were easier to shift than those under long-term contracts.
Indeed, fellow loanees Cameron Carter-Vickers and Mark Duffy went too.
And with the dramatic rise of Tyrese Campbell, there were two further reasons to let Hogan go.
One was the belief that Campbell could start providing the goals Hogan had failed to deliver after three goals all season.
And the second was to demonstrate to Campbell that he was leaping up the pecking order at a time when he was deliberating over whether to leave or sign a new contract.
Letting Hogan go doesn’t look like the best bit of business in the world right now, but we can all be clever in hindsight and let’s make a fairer judgement at the end of the season.