FA Cup Final: May The Best Team Win
Vital Manchester City brings readers the final instalment from our marathon Q&A session with members from Stoke City fans forum, 'Oatcake Fanzine'.
Oatcake Fanzine can be found at oatcakefanzine.com.
VMC: Stoke City FC has reached their first ever FA Cup Final. What does it mean to you as a supporter?
Senojbor: Way back in the early 70's we lost our last two semi-final games in consecutive years against the Arsenal, both after replays. In both ties we lost in the most disappointing of circumstances. We were so unlucky, but we did manage to win the league cup in 1972 which softened the blow a bit. Nevertheless it was heartbreaking at the time.
To say we have a poor record in the FA Cup is an understatement. We have often been knocked out by teams much lower in the leagues and I for one use to hate FA cup games...until recently. As you well know last year we beat City after a replay and we also beat Arsenal only to draw an in-form Chelsea away in the QF.
This season we've managed to avoid the big clubs and had the luck of the draw in the competition. The fantastic semi final win against Bolton for me has washed away those nightmares of those games against Arsenal. The win against Bolton was Roy of the Rovers stuff, you couldn't write a comic book story quite so believable. It means we've finally got there...and we got there in style.
Andrew: Other than reaching the Premier League this is the biggest day in our history since the league cup final in 72 against Chelsea.
VMC: Tony Pulis has had two managerial stints at Stoke. How do you rate him?
Senojbor: I'm a huge fan of his, although it nearly never came to be. TP only got the managers job because George Burley turned the job down at the last minute after earlier agreeing to it. The club even arranged a press conference to announce it only for Burley not to show up. It was deeply embarrassing to the club.
TP then got the job. What impressed me at the time about TP was that he said that he wasn't bothered whether he was 'second, third or last choice' for the job and that he was proud to become the manager of a 'proper' football club. I knew what he meant and I knew he was totally committed. He has taken us from the basement of the Championship to a respectable position in the Premier league in his two stints. It's hard to describe but it's as if TP was made for Stoke and Stoke was made for him. He doesn't get the credit he deserves from some quarters, but knowing TP it only serves to make him more determined and focused.
Andrew: Don't like him as a manager, but can't fault him for what he has done for the club in getting us this far...would be interested in his next 3 year plan!!
VMC: Where will you be watching the FA Cup Final?
Senojbor: Block 507, row 3, Wembley of course!
Andrew: Wembley of course.
VMC: What is the club, if anything doing to mark the occasion? For example, are they putting on large screens and showing the final at the Britannia Stadium etc?
Senojbor: There's no big screen at the ground because it would be difficult to get people to steward it! They have though made plans for an open top bus to tour the city with the trophy on the Sunday.
Andrew: Not much, I hear they may be putting a large screen on at the ground.
VMC: The semi-final result at Wembley against Bolton was truly amazing. Did Stoke play above expectations or were Bolton like rabbits dazzled in a car headlights?
Senojbor: I just think Bolton were overawed and couldn't cope with the pace of the game from start to finish. Stoke tend to get better the longer a game goes on and are a very fit side. On that day we started well, got an early goal and never let up.
Andrew: It just clicked, we were amazing and were unbeatable no matter who we would have played that day...the 12th man did it for us.
VMC: If you were granted two wishes, which two current Manchester City players, if any would you like to see playing for Stoke and why?
Senojbor: I bet everyone who answers this will say Tevez for one! Balotelli would also fit perfectly into our system if he could be made knuckle down.
Andrew: Don't think there many of the Man City team that would get in the Stoke team to be honest. Maybe Da Silva for his pace and passing and maybe Shaun Wright Phillips for his pace too!!
VMC: In general, how do you and your fellow Stoke supporters perceive Manchester City Football Club and their fans?
Senojbor: My first ever away game was at Maine road when Bell, Summerbee, Lee and the rest were playing. That was a truly great side. That day, before segregation, my dad, brother and me stood (unwisely) in the Kippax. We lost 4-2 Nevertheless I've always had a soft spot for City since. Why? Who knows, maybe because of your neighbours? Never had a problem with City, the club or your fans except Helen the Bellringer! She was nuts! Sad to hear though she passed away a couple of years ago.
Andrew: Just another Chelsea...oil tycoons trying to buy success.
VMC: FA Cup Final - Man City v Stoke City. Final score prediction please?
Senojbor: We both had memorable days out in the semis so the Cup Final should be a great day for both of us. I just hope that whoever loses will be able to do so with good grace and applaud the winners on their lap of honour at the end.
My prediction? If it's settled in 90 minutes you may win, if it goes to extra time which I think it will, then we will win. If it goes to penalties, we will definitely win, because we're playing the best penalty saver there is. Oh, this is our fifth game at Wembley where we have never lost...hummm.
Andrew: 0-1 to Stoke
Our thanks go out to Senojbor, Andrew and Oatcake Fanzine.
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