Sunderland v Stoke City Who are You?: ‘Norwich, Palace, West Ham and Cardiff relegation contenders’

Angela: at her favourite haunt ...
Angela: at her favourite haunt …

With games coming thick and fast, time for finding a new Stoke City interviewee ran out. But we had an offer from Angela Smith*, who did such a good job before the game at the Britannia, to help out again. It is an interesting exercise to get someone to update replies to largely the same questions – if fewer in numbers – and Angela makes it worthwhile …

Salut! Sunderland: So are Stoke City as well as Sunderland now fighting a relegation battle?

Yes. Any club from 9th downwards is in a battle. We should both be used to it by now: unless you are one of the big six you may be in a battle!

What did you learn about either team from the game at the Britannia?

That we are short of pace and need a goalscorer and that you needed some of your players to believe in themselves. Which to be fair looks like it is now happening.

Jake: 'dare i say it? This is another must-win game'
Jake: ‘dare i say it? This is another must-win game’

Did you immediately judge the sending off of Wes Brown to have been a terrible mistake or were you satisfied at the time that Kevin Friend had got it right? And has your view, either way, changed?

I probably thought that’s another dreadful decision after the way we have been viewed by refs this season. My thoughts are still that it was harsh.

When you look at the job Tony Pulis is doing at Palace, do you wonder which club has the better manager?

I was and still am a fan of TP. The style of football wasn’t pleasing all the time, but it’s a result and entertainment business. The jury is still out on whether Mark Hughes is a “better” manager, although some of the football is more attractive, the results are not and our goals against column is awful, not at all Stoke like!

However you answered that, and unless covered in the reply, what is Mark Hughes getting right and what is he getting wrong?

He’s trying to be more attacking, but we are more exposed at the back.

If the worst came to the worst – and at this stage we are in much greater danger – would Stoke bounce back like Newcastle (and Sunderland after past relegations) or face a spell out of the Premier League?

I think we would be out of the Premier league for a while. It’s the most difficult league to get out of (upwards) in my opinion and we would struggle to bounce straight back.

Is the close race at the top, and the remarkably narrow points gap for the whole of the bottom half, turning this into a classic Premier season or is that something only neutrals could appreciate?

I think we all appreciate it, except when our own teams lose.

Any thoughts on the big non-Stoke, non-Sunderland issues: Anelka’s gesture, the pros and cons of Suarez, the decline of Man Utd (notwithstanding whatever they do vs SAFC on Wednesday!)?

As for your victory over United, I think most neutrals were pleased for you and now you have a trip to Wembley to take on the might of Manchester, in the form of City. Remember Wigan!!!

Where do you now believe our two clubs will finish this season and how will the top four arrange itself? Back in November you had Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City, Man United at the top, with Crystal Palace, Fulham and Norwich going down ( in case you want to look back)

I think Man City will win the league, and Spurs might now nick 4th spot. I can’t see United getting in to the top 4. I think Fulham, Norwich and Cardiff or West Ham will go down

How will you keep tabs on our game if not going and what will be the score?

I will be watching the game and I think you will sneak it 2 -1

Jake demands answers
Jake demands answers
*Angela Smith on herself: I wish you well after Wednesday as your fans are a passionate bunch and, like us, live on past glory days. Who knows, you may win the League Cup this year!

I am an ex-professional squash player, chair of the supporters’ council and have supported the club since birth. I am co-host of a show called the Sunday Sports Show on Knotfm which goes out on a Sunday night between 7 and 9pm and is just about Stoke City and whoever they play against. I’ve seen good times and more bad. I have been lucky enough to see the team play in Europe and to attend away matches overseas. My weekends are not the same when Stoke don’t have a game and if we lose, well I’m not fun to be around. Just your average football supporter.

After we play you, I hope that you do well and stay up because, like us, you are proud of your team, your support is passionate, in fact we are proper fans, not the new brigade that follow for glory!

Interview: Colin Randall

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