The presence in the crowd of Gary Megson, that regular port of call for desperate chairmen, may or may not mean that Terry Connor has overseen his last game as manager of bottom-of-the-table Wolverhampton Wanderers.
This game was Connor's seventh in charge, the last six of which have now been lost, but the lack of quality shown by his team was such it would be hard to imagine any manager steering them away from relegation now.
Connor himself remained wearily defiant afterwards, insisting he had been appointed until the end of the season and that he intended to see that contract through. No, he said, he had no regrets about taking on the challenge, but maintaining he had enjoyed every minute was very much at odds with both his demeanour and his tone of voice.
"My contract requires me to look after the team until 13 May, and I'd be very surprised if the club took action before then," he said. "I feel I'm picking the right team for the game, and I'm preparing them to win games.
"In the meantime there'll be no quitting from me, the players or anyone from the club."
In truth it will be something of a surprise if this decent man, who is by all accounts a fine coach, is in charge for much longer after the third defeat in succession Wolves have suffered after taking the lead.
In this case it was given to them fortuitously by Michael Kightly, whose ball into the area was allowed by Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, anticipating an intervention by the stretching Dave Edwards, to bounce past him.
If Connor thought his fortunes had finally turned, however, he was not allowing for the desperately fallible defence which has been a feature of their recent poor run.
Leaving out captain Roger Johnson for the equally ineffective Richard Stearman made no difference whatsoever in that respect, and it was no surprise when Stoke levelled before the break.
A Sébastien Bassong headed clearance was nodded back into their penalty area by Glenn Whelan and chested down by Ryan Shawcross for Robert Huth to half-volley firmly towards goal.
The Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was right behind the line of the shot and should have saved it, but his attempt to block with his feet was clumsily unsuccessful.
Wolves came close to retaking the lead shortly after half-time, but Bassong, throwing himself at Kightly's nicely flighted free-kick, headed just wide.
Peter Crouch, on the other hand, was accuracy personified when he rose to meet Jermaine Pennant's free-kick and head beyond Hennessey shortly after the hour. It might have helped Wolves if Stearman had made a challenge worthy of the name.
Thereafter Wolves worked hard to get back into the game, but they were playing in hope rather than expectation. Stoke, meanwhile, did what they had to. The Potters have now passed the 40-point mark, and have a run-in that suggests another top half of the table finish is well within their grasp.
"It was a tough game in lots of respects and I'm just very, very pleased to get over 40 points and be safe," said the City manager, Tony Pulis, who called off Pennant and another winger, Matthew Etherington, after ankle injuries.
"I have to say it's been a remarkable season, to get to the last 30 of a European competition, to get to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for the third year running, and to have 41 points with six games to go – the players, supporters and everybody connected should be very, very proud."
Crouch, he said, should definitely be part of England's Euro 2012 squad.
"I'd take him – he's a game-changer. European sides don't enjoy playing against him and marking him.
"Technically he's a great player but also he's a massive threat off anything that's played into the box aerially: he can do both, " said Pulis .