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Goodbye Cold, Wet Nights At The Britannia

Rafa Benitez, Roberto Di Matteo, Gus Poyet, Steve Bould and Phil Neville are some of the names being bandied about as the next manager of Stoke.

The Potters are looking for a new boss after sacking Tony Pulis on Tuesday night.

Stoke’s 13th-place Premier League finish was enough to convince the club that Pulis’ second stint at the Britannia Stadium needed to come to an end.

And while the announcement claimed that the two parties had reached a mutual agreement to part ways, it is clear that Pulis’ rolling 12-month contract was severed prematurely by the club.

Under Pulis, Stoke gained the reputation for being English football’s most agricultural team.

They championed the long throw as a new form of set-piece weaponry, and the notion of ‘a cold, wet Tuesday night at the Britannia’ became the ironic litmus test for any tricky, talented foreign player moving to the Premier League with a big reputation.

By linking managers like Benitez to the Stoke hot-seat, it is believed the club is set to embark on what has become known in the football parlance as a ‘project’, with the ambition of rebranding the Potters in a new, more continental image.

But to shape Stoke into a more sophisticated outfit from where they are now will surely require a rare combination of brute force and artistry, with the likes of Benitez probably more heartened by links to teams like Real Madrid, Napoli and Paris Saint Germain.

Whoever inherits the manager’s job at Stoke, it is likely that a much derided, yet occasionally effective era of muscular Premier League football is coming to an end.

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