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Cold Night In The Potteries
October 17, 2011 8:47 AM   Subscribe

There is one argument that has taken the soccer world by storm: Can Barcelona win on a cold, windy, night at The Britannia Stadium, home of Stoke City? Conceived by Andy Gray (talked about on the Blue before) when he said: “I don’t know if Barcelona have ever gone to a place like the Britannia Stadium and suffered the kind of onslaught from Tony Pulis’ team of long throws and free-kicks or been up to a place like Blackburn and been beaten up by their long ball into the box.” There has certainly been analysis of this thorny question. Of course, Stoke is in the Europa league this year. If they were to win the competition and advance to a Champions league spot, we might actually see this fixture.
posted by josher71 (42 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
They played in Kazan, Russia and Copenhagen in the group stage last year, and they're going to be playing at least one game in Borisov, Belarus in December. Compared to those, Stoke-on-Trent is a pretty hospitable place.
posted by deadmessenger at 9:02 AM on October 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


This isn't remotely an argument. Assuming that the ref didn't let Stoke illegally kick Barcelona off the pitch, Stoke would barely get a touch of the ball. The fact that this is even been talked about is just a resurfacing of the old English distrust of technical ability, and their tendency to confuse honesty with low intelligence.
posted by kersplunk at 9:04 AM on October 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


There is one argument that has taken the soccer world a few English fans by storm

There is also rain and wind outside Britain, you know. It's a fair bet, for instance, that Dutch footballers are somewhat acquainted with such meteorological phenomena. And even in Spain, Barcelona has been known to play (and win) in the notoriously windy stadia of Cadiz and Valladolid.
posted by Skeptic at 9:06 AM on October 17, 2011


They might choke on the oatcakes.
posted by Abiezer at 9:06 AM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Compared to those, Stoke-on-Trent is a pretty hospitable place.

Yes, but it's full of British steel! Don't you understand Messi is a foreigner and thus will collapse as soon as he sees a pair of British boots on a wet pitch?
posted by yerfatma at 9:07 AM on October 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Having been born in Stoke, I think you may be discounting the particular numbing, soul destroying property unique to British rain. It destroyed the Grande y Felicísima Armada; surely a mere gaggle of giggling goateed metrosexual latin footy players would stand no chance. Up the Potters!
posted by felix at 9:07 AM on October 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


Hello! Mourinho here, genius level IQ, come to talk on your MessiTalk which is website. Some say to me, "Hey Jose, can Barcelona cope with cold night at Stoke, or are they nancy boys who are UEFA's special girlfriend?" I say: No, and Yes. That is why I have pushed Stoke City manager in the eyeball and will be taking his job as manager. Please don't call me arrogant. God thinks I'm a great guy, because otherwise He would not have given me so much. I have a great family. I work in a place where I've always dreamt of working. Now, He must give me Stoke City. Or, I will push him in eyeball. So.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:10 AM on October 17, 2011 [32 favorites]


Or what if they get off the coach, an old lady says 'Ay up, duck', they misunderstand her and pull a muscle bobbing down too fast?
posted by Abiezer at 9:10 AM on October 17, 2011


This thread looks like it is written in english, yet I understand nothing that is being said.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 9:17 AM on October 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


There is also rain and wind outside Britain, you know.

Yes, but Barcelona is right on the eastern coast, and as we all know, the rain is Spain doesn't fall there that much.
posted by Edogy at 9:17 AM on October 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


This thread looks like it is written in english, yet I understand nothing that is being said.
It was American English. That might be the problem.
posted by josher71 at 9:20 AM on October 17, 2011


The whole thing rests on the assumption that (a) Stoke would be able to gain possession and then (b) be able to keep it and do something with it.
posted by carter at 9:21 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Barcelona at Stoke would be like a bull in a china shop.
posted by Flashman at 9:23 AM on October 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Having been born in Stoke, I think you may be discounting the particular numbing, soul destroying property unique to British rain. It destroyed the Grande y Felicísima Armada; surely a mere gaggle of giggling goateed metrosexual latin footy players would stand no chance. Up the Potters!

OK, I reckon you have reason to hope that Stoke's weather will beat Barcelona because God knows its players won't.
posted by Skeptic at 9:24 AM on October 17, 2011


Here in Colorado, I'm probably the largest only Stoke fan1 within 500 miles, and this "argument" still strikes me as stupid.

1: technically untrue. I've met one other.
posted by 7segment at 9:39 AM on October 17, 2011


The fact that this is even been talked about is just a resurfacing of the old English distrust of technical ability, and their tendency to confuse honesty with low intelligence.

It's more of a joke based around what an ignorant fucking idiot Andy Gray is and others of his ilk are.

The whole thing rests on the assumption that (a) Stoke would be able to gain possession and then (b) be able to keep it and do something with it.

Oddly, since Stoke got promoted to the premier league in 2008, there has been only one match out of the 120 or so they've played where they've had the majority of possession. Their average possession for the whole of last season was less than 40%.

Maybe they really would be the ultimate test of Barcelona's game after all.
posted by dng at 10:06 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kicking a ball in stoke? That's a glassing.
Walking down the street in stoke? That's a glassing.
Drinking a glass of beer in a pub in stoke? That's a glassing.

Questioning the nature of football as practiced by Stoke City, In the City of Stoke (even with snark and sarcasm) by a team of foreigners? That's most definitely a glassing.
posted by lalochezia at 10:08 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, Stoke couldn't actually get into the champions league by winning the UEFA Cup. They'd have to finish in the top four of the Premier League to qualify.

What they really need is for Barcelona to inexplicably finish third in their Champions League group, which would result in Barcelona being put into the UEFA Cup in January. This is pretty much even less likely than Stoke finishing fourth in the league though.
posted by dng at 10:11 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, I think we've settled this one. What about the Galaticos versus Port Vale on an unexpectedly balmy September evening in beautiful Burslem?
posted by Abiezer at 10:12 AM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Aha, our mighty rivals! Will their divine glory be tarnished if they faced a test that we designed just so that it will probably never come to pass! Aha!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:13 AM on October 17, 2011


Can they do it wearing stovepipe hats?
Can they do it while juggling cats?
Can they do it in Kingston Town?
Can they do it upside down?

Can they do it without a ball?

Without a ball where is your sorcery now Messi
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:16 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The ultimate test of a football team is surely beating the glorious Southend United, the only team in the whole of England who have beaten Manchester United more than Manchester United have beaten them (number of times played: 1).
posted by dng at 10:16 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thinking about it, this is kind of a Stoke Sweet Stoke, with Barca as the Marines ...
posted by carter at 10:17 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The ultimate test of a football team is surely beating the glorious Southend United
They certainly gave us a good going over last week, the grotty shrimp-fishing so-and-sos.
posted by Abiezer at 10:19 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have just decided the "But could he do it on a wet, windy night in Stoke?" is a far better meme than "Kaka belongs to Jesus" because there are more situations where it is apropos, whereas people always look at you funny when you tell them Kaka belong to Jesus.
posted by hoyland at 10:37 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's 5 degrees in Dublin, it's just stopped raining, several flights have been grounded today due to high winds, and I'm off to play soccer in an hour. It's not a Tuesday though, so the cliches don't apply.
posted by kersplunk at 10:44 AM on October 17, 2011


Compared to those, Stoke-on-Trent is a pretty hospitable place.

According to Google, that is the only time those words have ever been used on the internet.
posted by reynir at 10:47 AM on October 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Give those chippy Catalans hell, kersplunk! And get your knee in on Messi early doors, 'just to let him know you're there'.
posted by Abiezer at 10:48 AM on October 17, 2011


Then there is Carles Puyol to deal with. Remember this.
Viva Barça.
posted by adamvasco at 11:03 AM on October 17, 2011


23 Oct. 1997, Chelsea lost 3-2 against Tromsø. They were probably unprepared for the Norwegian snow.
posted by iviken at 11:26 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can we get The Finn on loan to this thread?
posted by fullerine at 11:33 AM on October 17, 2011


The fact that this is even been talked about is just a resurfacing of the old English distrust of technical ability, and their tendency to confuse honesty with low intelligence.

When I read this back, it seemed a bit unfair, and I was going to retract it, but then I rememebred toss like this. I mean, this is a young creative midfielder in the most continental-style club in the country and the best he can manage is "get in their faces".
posted by kersplunk at 11:43 AM on October 17, 2011


To dng's point - I know that the very-not-corrupt-and-totally-respectable UEFA people are thinking about allowing domestic cup (rather than league) champions of some of the more highly ranked nations qualify for the Champions League, but I've not heard that winning the Europa Cup (Formerly known as the UEFA Cup) would get you in. That would be patently ridiculous, and not at all like coming in 3rd or 4th in your domestic league and still qualifying for something with the word "Champions" in it.

And don't get me started on my Liverpool finishing 5th in their league, but still qualifying as holders of the trophy back in 2005/2006......
posted by Sk4n at 11:51 AM on October 17, 2011


Ha, I've almost posted an AskMe several times to find the origin of this meme. I read the Guardian football page all the time, and again and again in the comments you see the "But could they do it on a cold, wet night in Stoke?" joke. Thanks for this!
posted by JenMarie at 12:13 PM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's more of a joke based around what an ignorant fucking idiot Andy Gray is and others of his ilk are.


Quoted for truth. The # of individuals that take this as an actual "argument" is vanishingly small, and the line ("but could they do it on a cold night in Stoke?") is instead used as a winking shorthand for pointing out a "little Englander" mentality and all its associated stupidity.
posted by modernnomad at 2:42 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


If any Americans are struggling to understand this joke, allow me to put it in college football terms:

Sure, Alabama seems like a pretty good football team, whatever. But have they ever played at Northern Illinois, just an hour outside Chicago, The Windy City????

No! They haven't! And the elements, and NIU's tactics relating to the elements, would RIP THE CRIMSON TIDE TO SHREDS!
posted by mreleganza at 4:01 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have just decided the "But could he do it on a wet, windy night in Stoke?" is a far better meme than "Kaka belongs to Jesus" because there are more situations where it is apropos, whereas people always look at you funny when you tell them Kaka belong to Jesus.

That's because he really belongs to Zoroaster.
posted by asterix at 8:35 PM on October 17, 2011


Rain will not stop the magnificence that is Barca.

Suck it, you limey bastards.
posted by bardic at 9:11 PM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Considering the relative levels of talent, a better American analogy would be something like Georgia Tech vs Cumberland a hundred or so years ago.
posted by kmz at 1:50 AM on October 18, 2011


Suck it, you limey bastards.

Nobody in England thinks Stoke would beat Barca. This is a joke. We know it is a joke. An unemployed Scotsman said it and no-one agrees with him. When we bring this up, we do so in order to laugh at his stupidity and at our own ineptitude. Being able to laugh at yourself is a big deal in England.
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 4:37 AM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


And, let's face it, we're not short of material.
posted by Abiezer at 4:47 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


*rimshot*
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 4:56 AM on October 20, 2011


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