Six years ago, Leeds United were in the middle of a run in the European Cup, one that would ultimately end in a place in the semi-finals. Since then, however, disappointment has turned to despair for Leeds fans.
On Saturday, they slumped to another defeat and are left staring into the abyss and the prospect of dropping out of the top two divisions of English football for the first time in their rich and lavish history.
"It is all about rolling your sleeves up," said the Stoke captain, Michael Duberry, the former Leeds and Chelsea defender, who was part of the Leeds squad that made it all the way to the semi-finals of Europe's premier club competition in 2001, and who played alongside the Leeds manager Dennis Wise at Chelsea. "Leeds teams of old have been about rolling your sleeves up and showing their grit.
"In Wisey, they have that sort of manager to lead from the front; whether they take it all on board and show the same sort of determination that their manager showed is a different story. Hopefully at the end of the season they are not relegated."
This result was tough on Leeds. For much of the game they battled to break down an unimpressive looking Stoke side who took the lead through Mamady Sidibe when he headed the opener after 11 minutes.
Leeds remained positive and found their way back into the game four minutes before the break when their striker Ian Moore headed in a corner at the back post.
However, on 54 minutes, Patrik Berger drove the ball from about 25 yards out, and Leeds defender Ugo Ehiogu deflected the effort past his goalkeeper, Tony Warner.
The points were secured when Ehiogu and Tony Warner failed to clear a loose ball between them, allowing Ricardo Fuller to tap the ball into the net.
Goals: Sidibe (12) 1-0; Moore (41) 1-1; Ehiogu og (54) 2-1; Fuller (77) 3-1.
Stoke City (4-4-2): Simonsen; Hoefkens, Duberry, Higginbotham, Hill; Lawrence, Russell, Diao, Hendrie (Berger, 46); Sidibe, Fuller (Pericard, 81). Substitutes not used: Brammer, Sweeney, Dickinson.
Leeds United (4-3-1-2) Warner; Richardson, Ehiogu, Heath, Lewis; Westlake (Kandol, 61), Douglas, Derry; Howson; Healy, Moore. Substitutes not used: Sullivan (gk), Carole, Rui Marques, Beckford.
Referee: A D'Urso (Essex).
Booked: Leeds Westlake.
Man of the Match: Duberry.
Attendance: 18,128.Reuse content