And so, the Premier League is done for another year. Celebrate/console yourselves with a quiz about the connections between the teams playing this weekend...
How did you get on?
Premier League 14th; Europa League Last 32; FA Cup Quarter-finals; Carling Cup Fourth round
Manager Tony Pulis (since June 2006) Odds on being first out of his job 33-1 (15th)
Transfers in Jamie Ness (Rangers), Michael Kightly (Wolves), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo)
Transfers out Andrew Davies (Bradford), Danny Collins (Nottingham Forest), Jonathan Woodgate (Middlesbrough)
Stoke and Tony Pulis have been proving people wrong since promotion in 2008 and it is a fool's errand to tip them for relegation but...
You cannot hope to retain your placing in the Premier League without improving, because the influx of money means the trend is for the standard of clubs in the division to rise continually, regardless of the odd blip. And until the acquisition of Michael Kightly Stoke had failed to strengthen.
Fourteenth looks respectable enough but 45 points is only a couple of wins above the traditional safety mark. The lack of improvement could be the difference between holding on to those wins - or more - and losing them. And Stoke's points totals have been 45, 47, 46, 45 - tightly packed, diminishing slightly of late, like their league placings: 12, 11, 13, 14. The odds are against their doing that much better and sooner or later they will surely do a touch worse.
To Pulis's advantage, we have all six teams promoted since 2011 plus Wigan as obvious candidates for the drop, and bookmakers price Villa, Fulham, Sunderland and West Brom too as short as 8-1. They also have self-belief and experience of pulling clear of previous mid and early-season struggles.
But not all experience is positive. It can have a wearing effect, on the manager and the players and the support - the sensation "Oh no, not again" is never healthy. Or there can be the assumption that because a team have pulled clear in the past they will do again.
Stoke do not conform entirely to their stereotype; only two goals came from throw-ins and Peter Crouch's strike against Manchester City was wheeled out for Pulis on TV appearances so he could make sarcastic cracks about his team's alleged limitations. Brilliant as Crouch's goal was, though, it only counted for one and no one scored fewer than Stoke last season. And Opta stats say that City attempted 243 more long throws than any other side, for a total of 522.
Fans are understandably grateful to Pulis for returning them to the top flight and even taking them to an FA Cup final and thence to Europe. A couple of decades in the lower divisions have suppressed questioning of his methods. At some point, though, you start to ask whether things could ever be better, whether the grass would be greener if you tried playing football on it rather than above it.
Last season's Europa League campaign suggested the question: "Is this it?" For Pulis, the extra games seemed to provide an excuse for a poor end to the season; if the club's greatest success in 40 years is a reason for subsequent failure then what is the point? Only four sides fared worse in the second half of their campaigns.
There is no European football this season but you would still hope for the squad to be strengthened and transfer activity has been limited. Then again, Stoke have spent in recent years and sales have not brought in much. Kightly brings a lot of talent but also the stain of Wolves' relegation.
With Arsenal (away), Manchester City (home) and Chelsea (away) among their first five opponents, the opening day trip to Reading and that on 1 September to Wigan take on extra weight if Stoke are to avoid a poor start to the season. There will be chances to recover but the squad may well need shaking up in January.