Football: That was the weekend that was - Stoke chairman faces fans' red card protest

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The Independent Online
THERE SEEMS no stopping the militant football fans of the Potteries in their desire to make the public's voice heard loud and clear.

After the flat-cap march organised by Port Vale supporters in protest at the sacking of the club's manager, John Rudge, fellow sufferers at neighbouring Stoke are going into the demonstration business on a still larger scale.

Encouraged to vent their wrath by the Oatcake fanzine, Stoke fans are to launch a campaign to oust chairman Keith Humphreys with a massive show of red cards at tomorrow's match against Second Division leaders Fulham at the Britannia Stadium.

The Oatcake plans to distribute up to 5,000 cards before the game, to be brandished towards the directors' box.

Oatcake editor Martin Smith hopes it will show the three-man Stoke board that fans nurse a growing anger over poor results and the lack of transfer funds for manager Brian Little to invest in a team that several times led the division before Christmas but has since fallen away, despite Saturday's win at Luton.

"We have had 15 years of gradual decline," Smith said. "But now what we have is terminal decline.

"People look at the new modern stadium and a high-profile manager and assume everything is fine, but there are real problems here and we need to find someone out there who can help us.

"It is 27 years since we last won a major trophy and the danger now is that we are sinking in to the lower leagues for good."