England goalkeeper Jack Butland tore into Stoke’s big-money absentees as the club went down after ten years in the Premier League.
He effectively said what every Potters fan was thinking.
What happened to all these star acquisitions that were supposed to take the club on to the next level but ended up wrecking it?
We know the people he is referring too, the likes of centre- back Kevin Wimmer an £18million flop from Tottenham.
Striker Saido Berahino, £15m from West Brom, and no goal in 1,206 minutes of league football.
Jese, an on-loan star from Paris Saint-Germain — that quickly went pear-shaped.
Ibrahim Afellay bombed out for ill-discipline.
Club record signing Giannelli Imbula at £18.3m is currently on loan at Toulouse… and on we go.
Butland, 25, said: “I think the whole recruitment process needs looking at to be honest.
“We’ve gone into a game — and over the last few months — with half the squad dotted around the world not even involved.
“Some are on loans, rightly so, you’re allowed to go out on loan — things you can’t knock.
“But then there’s been transfers who aren’t even part of the squad for all kinds of reasons, whether it be discipline, whether it be lack of performance.
“So you have got to look at that — what decisions are being made and the type of characters.
“Look at Badou Ndiaye and Moritz Bauer — two positive signings. But you look at others that have been made and they’re not even here to have an input.
“Too many recent investments have been completely unused and that’s unacceptable.
“So for anyone who has signed, that’s got to be looked at because it’s been farcical really.”
Indeed it has been.
Manager Paul Lambert has not been able to arrest the decline of a great club. One win from his 14 in charge. Saturday showed what they are… lacklustre.
They took the lead through a Xherdan Shaqiri free-kick but crumbled in the second half.
Strikes from James McArthur and Patrick van Aanholt four minutes from time sealed victory.
But Butland believes Lambert is the right man to lead the club back to the top flight having been dealt a difficult hand when he took over from Mark Hughes back in January.
He said: “He’s had an extremely difficult job. He inherited a squad where, unfortunately, there was ill-discipline and players you cannot rely on.
“He’s been limited to what options he has been able to use. Despite those scenarios he’s put together a really competitive side that’s willing to work for him.
“Players have run themselves into the ground for him. But we just lacked that bit of cutting edge when we needed it and that’s not down to the manager, that’s down to other things.
“I believe the manager is the right man for the job. Given the resources and the time to build a squad that he wants, I believe he’s the right man.”
Butland now finds himself as an international goalkeeper in the Championship, or does he? He will not be short of offers. He added: “It’s something that I don’t really want to get into now because it’s far too raw.
“I along with most of the dressing room had visions of playing for Stoke in the Premier League for a long period of time and wouldn’t want the ‘Championship’ word to come into it.
“That’s something that will be addressed but it’s far too early for me to comment on that. It’s a horrible situation we’re in.
“My next focus is the World Cup and beyond that we will have to wait and see.
“I’m gutted that we’re in this situation and hope we get back as soon as we can. Nothing else is worth speculating on because I don’t even know myself.”
Lambert is ready to stay on at the Bet365 and said: “I’d love to. I think it’s a brilliant club.
“I can relate to the supporters because it’s an area where it’s a really hard-working city and I’m from an area like that myself.
“But the club needs rebuilding, without a shadow of a doubt.
“This club’s got an incredibly strong infrastructure. It’s got great ownership, without a shadow of a doubt, and they’ll bring us back.”
That’s the hope.
But as fans filed out before the final whistle on Saturday, all hope had most definitely gone.
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