Potters legend Mickey Thomas previews the new 2014/15 Barclays Premier League season in the first of his regular chats with stokecityfc.com and is predicting bright times ahead for his former club.
Mark Hughes and the powers-that-be at the Club clearly knew what they wanted to do in the transfer market this summer … and they got most of their business done early, which can only be a good thing.
Mark is very confident about the season coming up and he has every right to be after what Stoke achieved last season.
The Potters didn’t start last season particularly well but they went from strength to strength as it progressed and long may that continue.
There’s an air of confidence around the Club and the fans that I’ve spoken firmly believe they can have another really good season.
There’s no way that Stoke will be competing with the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool but City can achieve another top 10 finish. Can they finish higher than the ninth place they achieved last season? Well, if they get off to a really good start you never know what can happen.
The Premier League is probably the best league in the world at this moment in time, even better than the Bundesliga. It’s tough – just surviving in the division is tough but what Stoke have got is a solid base.
The foundations are there; they’ve got a core group of players who have been together for a considerable amount of time, the signings they have made will be out to make a big impression and, as history has shown, it’s very difficult to get a result at the Britannia Stadium. Even when Stoke aren’t doing particularly well, teams still fear going to the Brit.
If they make the Brit a fortress and pick up points away from home along the way then they will have all the ingredients for a high finish.
Then there’s the FA and Capital One Cups – they will be on Mark’s radar and he would love to bring a trophy to the Club.
Everything I see at Stoke City is geared for success; from the facilities at the training ground, to the quality of the management team and coaching staff and the ambition of the owners. It’s a great place to be and it’s attractive for players.
A few years ago people may have looked at Stoke and wondered whether they had enough to stay in the division but that’s not the case now. It’s a case of looking forward for the Club, rather than worrying about what the future might hold.
One player I know a lot of fans are really looking forward to watching in a red and white shirt this season is Bojan. The physicality of the Premier League is demanding but if he can cope with that, which hopefully he will, I’m sure he will be a really good signing for the Club.
The new season is now just hours away and there will be highs as well as lows but I’m feeling really optimistic from a Stoke City perspective and I hope you are too.
Enjoy the ride.