Date TimeSeptember 18, 2019
VoiceStoke have the most expensive squad in the Championship but have endured their worst start for more than a century
We didnt expect this: where is it going wrong for Nathan Jones and Stoke?
Nathan Jones, a devout Christian, has several tattoos, from praying hands and the crucifixion on his left arm to Jesus Christ on his right bicep, and Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam across his back. Faith means a lot to Jones and a belief in the methods that have brought him this far is equally unwavering, despite six defeats in seven Championship matches this season. “I don’t know if I’ve trod on a black cat or something, but everything seems to be going against us,” Jones said, stumped, after losing to Bristol City last Saturday. At the final whistle, he briefly bowed his head and held his palms aloft to supporters in the Boothen End as if to say sorry, and thank you for sticking by him.
The most expensively assembled squad in the Championship – at more than £143m – sit bottom of the pile with one point. “I don’t ask for a ride in his [the owner’s] helicopter,” Jones said recently, “I ask for time.” Jones and the club’s hierarchy are confident the tide will turn but something has to change at Brentford on Saturday. Stoke, who have endured their worst start to a season for more than a century, have forgotten how winning feels; the last time they got three points was on 6 April and it is 200 days since victory before their home crowd. They have not won successive matches since October, when Gary Rowett was in charge and Dean Smith was still to replace Steve Bruce at Aston Villa.

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