Stoke City Make Huge Managerial Decision

Stoke City have decided to part company with manager Alex Neil, with an announcement set for the next 24 hours, according to journalist Alan Nixon.

The Potters are enduring a miserable campaign and yesterday’s 1-0 reverse against Sheffield Wednesday at the bet365 Stadium looks to have been the final straw. It is a result which saw the teams below them close the gap and they now sit just two points above the relegation places following Queens Park Rangers win over Hull City.

It’s been six games and over a month since Stoke recorded their last victory, with their last four all ending in defeat. It’s also the second successive fixture which has seen them concede in added time, furthering the frustration amongst the supporters.

Neil took over at the Staffordshire club in August 2022, shortly after guiding Sunderland back to the Championship with a play-off final win over Wycombe Wanderers. His first season in charge saw him finish in a disappointing 16th and there was a hope that this season would see them challenge for a top six finish.

It looks as if the former Premier League side face a fight to maintain their second tier status though, and it is claimed that a decision has been made to put the 42-year-old out of his misery. Speaking after yesterday’s defeat, the ex-Preston North End boss was in a sombre mood, saying:

“When people describe it as a lonely place being a manager, that probably epitomised it today.

“When you’re doing well and you’re winning games – and I’ve been fortunate enough to experience that in my career – everybody is with you, everybody’s part of it, everybody feels as if they’ve put something towards it getting to there.

“When it’s like that, and it has been like that in the last three matches, you’re on your own. That’s just the way it is. You’re on your own. But that’s the job of a coach, that’s the job of manager.

“What I said to the players after the game is that it’s on me. I’m going to take responsibility. I won’t shy away from that.”

Nixon states that his tenure is now over and Stoke have already set their sights on former Birmingham City manager John Eustace.

Writer’s View

This has been a long time coming and Stoke have done well to keep their patience for this long. However, they were desperate to land Neil in 2022, which appears to have bought him extra time.

We’re now entering the most hectic part of the season and the Potters will know that this period could prove crucial in their fight to avoid relegation. Defeats against Queens Park Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday have handed the pair a lifeline in their own venture for survival and with games against teams in and around them in the division coming up, it’s a decision which makes sense.

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