Having finished in 16th place in the Championship last season, Stoke’s then-manager, Nathan Jones, planned a host of summer transfer activity to improve the Potters’ squad for the following season.
Tommy Smith, Liam Lindsay, Lee Gregory, Adam Davies, Nick Powell, Stephen Ward and Jordan Cousins would all eventually arrive on permanent deals, in addition to Scott Hogan, James Chester, Mark Duffy and Cameron Carter-Vickers on loan.
However, after just 10 matches in the 2019/20 season, the most expensively assembled Championship squad sat bottom of the table with just two points – their worst start to any league campaign for over a century.
Four games later and Jones was on his way out of the club, leaving with an abysmal record of seven wins, 13 draws and 18 losses in his 38 matches as Stoke boss, and the club still rock bottom of the league table.
However, despite the upturn in form since O’Neill’s arrival, Stoke remain just one point above the relegation zone, and fans have taken to Twitter discussing who would be to blame should the Potters be relegated.
If we do go down, this will be the reason why. pic.twitter.com/KqiZ7JH1j9
— Jon Owen (@Jon19861) February 27, 2020
There’s no arguing with that is there.
Throw in the fact that Jones never delivered on a single one of his promises (reducing the squad nrs, only bringing in great characters, players better than we had, giving us a team to be proud of) – he really did a number on us didn’t he.
— Stokie’73 ?????? (@potter2207) February 27, 2020
There’s two reasons why. The abysmal, utter joke summer transfer business (who we blame for that is a question) and not sacking Jones after we lost to Birmingham, never mind Huddersfield
— Andy Thorley? (@AndyMaxVolume) February 27, 2020
If we go down the reason will be Nathan Jones.
— Nicholas Johnson (@NichJohn1991) February 28, 2020
Pretty much gave the rest of the league a ten game start! ?
— Bis (@bisson72) February 28, 2020
The reason will be that we had an arrogant manager who refused to accept the diamond formation didn’t work, either that or he didn’t know how to set up any other way
— Gary (@Moody4Life_) February 28, 2020
If we stay up,this will be the reason why. We are going places under this man. pic.twitter.com/SCVP9BWD2f
— Si Bo (@_SiBo) February 28, 2020
What do we think?
Despite Stoke’s awful start to the campaign, their fate is still well within their hands, as over their next six fixtures, they face all three of the league’s bottom three clubs.
In addition to this, over their previous ten games, Stoke rank 6th in the Championship form table, a sure sign that things are moving in the right direction under Michael O’Neill.