Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Thursday March 9 2006
Stoke City chairman, Gunnar Gislason has said that he does not think the ongoing management row caused the team's recent dip in form.
The Potters have only won once in the league since December 17th and although recent results have seen a slight overall improvement (we've not been beaten 3-0 for a few weeks now) the Chairman puts our form down to other factors.
He told the Sentinel: 'Everyone is unhappy with the results - the manager, the players and the supporters - but I don't think it is anything to do with Johan Boskamp, John Rudge or Jan De Koning.
Gunnar added, 'I think there might be a number of other factors at work. I can point to the fact that we lost a few games over Christmas that might have had an impact on the confidence of the players.
'I can also put it down to having Sammy Bangoura in Africa and Mamady Sidibe being injured.
Concluding, 'But looking on the bright side, having Clint Hill back has given us a boost in defence. It's not all doom and gloom.'
I have to agree that Clint Hill seems to be working quiet miracles in defence. Since he returned to the starting line-up on February 14th against Plymouth, we have only conceded four goals and had two goalless draws compared with the previous month when we conceded nine goals (excluding the penalty shoot-out against Tamworth).
There is no doubt that lack of confidence is at the heart of Stoke's current problems. Yes, a couple more wins under our belt will boost confidence for fans and players alike, but there is no getting away from the fact that the main topic of conversation is who is going to be the manager next season. Players are just the same as the rest of us (whatever they may say in public), until they know whether it's Boskamp or someone else then they don't know if their contracts are safe or not.
Gislason has promised us a decision by the end of this month. The cynical amongst us will know that Stoke will have announced the new season ticket prices for next season by then and they will not want fans sitting on their hard earned cash waiting to see who will lead the club next season.
Having said that, we can all remember last season. Tony Pulis's contract was renewed at just this time last year and yet he was sacked at the end of June.
Date:Thursday March 9 2006
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