Project Stokealona has gone to pot.
Chairman Peter Coates should have got the hint when the players did a half-hearted lap of honour in front of thousands of empty seats following the final home game last season.
It was stick or twist with manager Mark Hughes – sack him or back him.
The decision was to stick with Sparky, despite the bright red flashing warning lights that appeared throughout the entirety of last season.
11 wins all campaign, including five against teams that plummeted to the Championship.
The other three points came against Burnley, Swansea, Watford, Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and a dead rubber last game of the season at Southampton.
Stoke conceded four goals on seven occasions last season.
Once a side that used to terrify the ‘big six’ at their own ground quickly became the whipping boys.
A hugely underwhelming season, topped with third round defeats in both domestic cups against Wolves’ reserves and Hull, meant the Potters finished on their worst point tally under Hughes with 44.
But still Hughes remained, a safe option taken by Coates it seemed with the huge financial gain to remain in the richest league in world football.
It is a decision that could spectacularly backfire following another dreadful start to the season.
A once tight-knitted defence has become the joint second worst in the league despite the summer arrivals of Kurt Zouma on loan and the £18million addition of Kevin Wimmer.
Square pegs in round holes spring to mind with striker Mame Biram Diouf now Stoke’s first choice right wing back and winger Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting leading the line.
Erik Pieters has also consistently struggled to adapt to his wing back role on the left side of the defence.
What’s most worrying is Stoke’s lack of plan B and reliance on 36-year-old Peter Crouch – Stoke’s top scorer with four goals.
Hughes believed the team’s scoring woes would be over when he finally landed Saido Berahino for £12m last January.
Once a huge prospect for club and country, he has gone 639 days since his last top flight goal which came in a West Brom shirt.
The bad signings go on. Giannelli Imbula, Stoke’s record £18.3m signing from Porto last January, is now struggling to get into Toulouse’s team during his loan spell.
And Potters fans can almost hear the laughter of Spurs chairman Daniel Levy with the £18m in his back pocket he received for Wimmer.
Nearly £50m on three major signings which has produced little to no return.
Stoke’s last minute defeat at rock bottom Palace on Saturday was the final straw for a large section of supporters – they’ve seen enough.
In their last 66 matches, Stoke have won just 19 and have lost 29.
In their last 30 they have won just six – it’s form that sees them sandwiched between West Ham and West Brom with both axing their managers.
Stoke have been on a downward spiral for 18 months, it’s time Coates did the same before they are dragged deeper into the relegation dogfight.