An interview with a Vital Stoke fan
As you well know, Vital Stoke earlier this week held a competition; whoever sent in the best short paragraph about themselves, and their passion for the Potters would be interviewed by me, Co-Editor Ryan Kalisz. Not only that but they`d also have the chance to ask me some questions and tap into my spacious red and white mind.
The winner was Scott Trafford, to his surprise! So congratulations to you Scott, and let`s get down to the questions…
RYAN KALISZ: How long have you been a Stoke fan?
SCOTT TRAFFORD: I have been a Stoke fan for about 30 years. A friend and his dad took me to my first game, after that I was hooked.
RK: What are you highlights and lowlights during that time?
ST: Winning the Autoglass and the playoff win in Cardiff stick out, however the 7-2 win over Leeds at the old Vic and the 5-2 win the following year were memorable. Also the epic 4-4 draw with Luton when Foxy got sent off and they missed a pen, that was fantastic. As far as lowlights, the relegation season from the top flight with the lowest points tally ever at the time was pretty bad along with all the Alan Ball and Graham Paddon era, I honestly believe they put the club back years.
RK: I know I have to try and contain myself when the thought of Saturday's historical Cup Final fixture creeps into my mind, but describe to me the excitement you're feeling.
ST: This week has felt the longest week ever at work. I keep pinching myself at the thought of watching us in the FA Cup Final. You see, it`s happened again, I have just said it and it doesn't sound real. Please don't tell me I`m dreaming. Just hope I don't get embarrassingly emotional on Saturday.
RK: I'm assuming you're making the trip to see the mighty Potters on Saturday? If so who are you going with? Are they looking forward to it?
ST: I am going with my wife Karen. It`s an early anniversary present (who says romance is dead) and she's as excited as me. I don't think we have talked about anything else all week. Come to think of it I`m not sure we have even remembered to feed the cats. We have decided to go Friday and stay Saturday night to make a weekend of it.
RK: What a fantastic wedding anniversary present! Listen up blokes and take notes!! So how long did you queue for your tickets?
ST: I was fortunate not to queue for tickets, but because I don't have a season ticket, due to playing footy on a Saturday, I have had a real battle to get tickets. At one stage I even emailed the marketing director of EON and the FA direct with begging letters to buy tickets or donate to charity (I have no shame). I think the ticketing system for those who had to queue seemed to solve some of the queuing problems.
RK: Well a Stokie`s gotta do what a Stokie`s gotta after all. Did you go to the semi-final? What a totally unexpected but very warmly welcomed result against the Trotters hey?
ST: No I was unable to go to the Semi so had to settle for the TV. I couldn't believe what I was seeing and still can't bring myself to delete it off the hard drive, even though we have no recording space left. I thought all the team to a man were fantastic, especially Walters and Pennant.
RK: I'll say it'll be a tough task against Manchester City; mind you I said that about Bolton! What are your thoughts on the opposition?
ST: Don't know which Man City we will get, they are either good or bad and don't seem to have an in-between. They will be hard to break down but at the same time they don't really break with any great pace if Barry and De Jong are in the side. Just hope the level of expectation from the press, board and their own fans takes its toll.
RK: Which is exactly why we relish being the underdogs; no expectations, and little pressure. Obviously I believe we are good enough to win, and will go into the match with a focused and determined attitude, but at the end of the day the bookies will look at the two teams 'on paper`. Moneybags Manchester City have spent a ridiculous amount on players, so technically should have the advantage. But it`s the FA Cup, so anything can happen. Plus we are Stoke, so we`ll definitely stir things up for the under pressure Mancini. So just to touch on their players, who would you say out of the Man City side would cause the most problems?
ST: David Silva dropping into the hole and nobody picking him up, also Ya Ya Toure. I am surprised how well he has played higher up the field as he seems to have a knack of getting a goal. Finally, Johnson, as we don't have an out and out left back could cause us problems.
RK: Obviously I'll be hoping that Etherington and Huth recover in time for the Cup, but maybe it's wishful thinking. If to say they weren't available, do you think we have enough about us to fill the vacant positions?
ST: Worried that without Etherington we will rely on Pennant too much as an outlet, and I can't see Faye lasting an hour on that pitch having played so little football this year. Thought Collins was excellent at Cardiff when he played centre half although that was against lesser players (without being disrespectful to Cardiff); he might get the last half hour. We also don't have a forward to change it either with losing Fuller. God I think I'll stop there before I start panicking myself!
RK: That`s assuming the worst, so let`s hope Sir Stan will smile down on Huth and Etherington ready for Saturday! Anyway, so go on; if you were wearing Tony's managerial baseball cap, who would be in your squad?
ST: Sorenson, Wilko, Wilson, Huth, Shawcross, Ethers, Pennant, Whelan, Delap, Jones, Walters. Bench: Begovic, Faye, Collins, Pugh, Carew.
RK: Finally, stick your neck out and give us a prediction please kind sir!
ST: 2 - 1 to Us (God I hope I'm right)
RK: I hope you`re right too! If not, then I hope the Barbary Macaques from Trentham Garden's Monkey Forest have got it right. Thank you very much for entering our competition, and I hope that yourself and Karen lap up the much anticipated atmosphere at the home of football. Enjoy your day both of you and make sure you shout for our lads!!