Welcome to the third iteration of the Chief Delilah blog, a sad testament to a lifelong obsession that started on 10th October 1990, when a bearded local pet food magnate took his seven-year-old to the Victoria Ground to watch a dead rubber Rumbelows Cup 2nd Round, 2nd Leg tie. Nothing that happened that night, or that season, would make any sane man, woman or child sign up for a lifetime of supporting Stoke City, but a quarter of a century later, here we are.
And it’s turned out alright hasn’t it? Not that I imagined it for one second during an adolescence spent being mocked by gloryhunters and Vale fans, but the golden age, still nascent when I started this blog six years ago, shows no signs of running out of steam. We’ve almost come to take for granted the visit of huge names to ST4, the spending of a few million quid here and there (our record transfer fee was £550,000 at the start of the 21st Century) and a weekly presence on Match of the Day. That wasn’t even a plausible acid trip 10 years ago.
There were precious few Stoke blogs when the appallingly-named Chief Delilah surfaced in 2009. Now, mercifully, the internet boasts several very good Potters blogs – and between them, Peter Smith’s excellent stuff in the local paper, Simon Lowe and two excellent fanzines, The Oatcake (now into a mind-blowing 27th year) and FSF Award-nominated Duck, there has never been more quality writing about Stoke City.
There are no plans to evolve or move with the times here though. Regular readers know the drill – five conclusions on each Stoke match, with the focus on objective analysis (because mindless cheerleading and petty agendas are boring), stupid comparisons, and pointless references to 80s films.
Thanks to the thousand or so Stokies who still read the blog and say kind things about it (and to the ones who say things like “WE DON’T NEED TO READ THIS SHIT!!!”). Let’s hope there are a few more happy endings yet.
As always, the blog is dedicated to my uncle Mick Doolan, who never lived to see Stoke back in the big time. His presence is missed every time we go through the turnstiles.