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Stoke’s 10-year stay in Premier League over

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Stoke City’s English defender Ryan Shawcross (C) and teammates applaud the fans following the English Premier League football match between Stoke City and Crystal Palace at the Bet365 Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, central England on May 5, 2018. Crystal Palace won the match 2-1. Oli SCARFF / AFP

Stoke City 10-year stay in the Premier League came to an end, yesterday, after they were relegated to the Championship by Crystal Palace’s second-half resurgence.

Home fans streamed out of the Bet365 Stadium immediately after Patrick van Aanholt’s winner, with long-time chairman, Peter Coates, looking on miserably.

The afternoon had started far better for the hosts.

Manager Paul Lambert – appointed in January to turn the Potters around – had celebrated wildly with Xherdan Shaqiri after the midfielder’s free-kick opened the scoring just before the break.

But James McArthur skipped clear down the left and side-footed home the leveller, before Van Aanholt pounced on Ryan Shawcross’ under-hit backpass to consign Stoke to the second tier.

The Potters’ players – who finished 13th last season – collapsed to the turf as a first top-flight relegation since 1985 sank in.

Crystal Palace’s Mamadou Sakho was one of a number of visiting players to console their opponents after the final whistle, with goalkeeper Jack Butland in tears as some of the remaining home supporters defiantly chanted their lifelong allegiance to the club.

Stoke manager, Paul Lambert, told Sky Sports: “It is a tough afternoon. I am feeling for everyone connected with the club.

“When teams don’t get results you can be sleep-walking into positions you don’t want to be in. We never had enough. Since I came in, the lads have given everything, but we came short. It is a chance to rebuild.

“It is difficult to come in mid-January to try to assess the team and I had a chat with the players on what went wrong.
“No-one can point a finger at the effort of the players.”


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