GREENACRE RELEASED BY STOKE
Greenacre Shown The Door
By Gareth Cooper, Date: 20/5/2005
Chris Greenacre has been let go by Stoke City today, bringing to an end an unsuccessful three year stint at The Britannia Stadium. The former Mansfield forward has struggled to hit the same goalscoring heights that he displayed at Field Mill
Chris Greenacre's on-off future at Stoke City has been decided today. The club have released the former Mansfield Town forward after a three year stay at the Britannia Stadium. Chris originally joined The Potters in the summer of 2002 when he became Steve Cotterill's first and only permanent signing. Captured on a free transfer from Mansfield, he'd scored 49 goals in the previous two seasons for the Stags and his arrival caused plenty of excitement amongst supporters vying for a prolific goalscorer following promotion to the First Division.
Chris had a mixed pre-season which teetered from one extreme to the other. A dream debut in the annual fixture against Newcastle Town had him net a second half hat-trick during a 7-1 win at The Lyme Valley Stadium. Disaster struck soon after in another friendly against West Bromwich Albion. Our new player twisted his ankle after sixteen minutes, an injury that would keep him out of the first team until the Autumn. He made a goalscoring comeback as a substitute in a defeat at Bramall Lane in late October, scoring then almost grabbing an equaliser late on. He was on the scoresheet again soon after, getting a consolation goal in another away defeat against Walsall.
An injury to Andy Cooke over Christmas left Pulis fielding a forward line of Chris Iwelumo and Chris Greenacre come the New Year. In January the Big Chris, Little Chris partnership showed some promising signs, particularly in our FA Cup run, Greenacre netting twice against Wigan Athletic while Big Chris scored that memorable first time volley. Greenacre's final contribution to the season came with a late winner in the big relegation six-pointer against Brighton & Hove Albion. Along with an earlier consolation in a home defeat to Derby County he finished an injury interrupted season with six goals.
Chris started the next season alongside summer signings Gifton Noel-Williams and Carl Asaba as part of a new look three man attack. Despite netting in the opening day win at Pride Park his stay in the team was short-lived, Pulis eventually ditching the formation following the return of Ade Akinbiyi. Chris found himself reduced to the substitutes bench, netting one more goal - a 90th minute equaliser at home to Crewe Alexandra (pictured above) - before finishing the season on the treatment table.
This season hasn't been much better for the ex Manchester City trainee. At the April 2005 Meet The Manager Night Tony Pulis as good as stated that he didn't think Chris was the kind of player to use as a forward in this league, hence the majority of his appearances coming either in the wide midfield roles or from the substitutes bench. He scored just the one goal in the home win over Millwall (twelve months on from his last Stoke goal against Crewe)
There was talk of Stoke making a u-turn and offering Chris a new contract this summer, although as of today he will be looking for a new club. Despite all his running, willingness and effort it can't be overlooked that he was originally bought to the club to score goals. His return, nine in three seasons, 51 starts and 32 substitute appearances, just hasn't been good enough. Mansfield Town have expressed an interest in re-signing him before now, so a return to Field Mill may not be out of the question.
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