Brexit was still an implausible concept. Donald Trump just a reality TV star. Johan Cruyff, George Michael, Prince, and Muhammad Ali were all still with us.
That was the way the world looked when Saido Berahino last scored a senior goal. Until Tuesday night. Until he reacted sharpest to a shot by James McClean that hit the bar and bounced out in the 53rd minute.
Berahino planted his forehead to the ball and despite Hudderfield’s attempts to clear off the line the striker had finally opened his account for Stoke.
Stoke players congratulate Saido Berahino after the striker ended his lengthy goal drought
Berahino found the net as Stoke beat their Premier League opponents to make it through
The striker will hope that he will now be able to start scoring goals with more regularity
Huddersfield’s Juninho Bacuna scored an own goal late on as Stoke’s progress was secured
Berahino is congratulated by manager Gary Rowett as he is substituted in the closing stages
His last goal came for West Bromwich Albion in February 2016, a barren run stretching back 913 days and 47 games.
In that time Berahino has seen his application questioned, his ability doubted. But perhaps, at last, was the signal he is ready to resume regular scoring.
Gary Rowett said he would give Berahino a chance when appointed in the summer. He would take the 25-year-old as he finds.
Privately, Stoke’s manager has been pleased with what he has seen and he’s remained true to his word. This was Berahino’s fourth start of the season and Rowett has been rewarded without too much delay.
Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl rushes out as he seeks to thwart Berahino
Stoke striker Benik Afobe attempts to get the better of Huddersfield’s Christopher Schindler
Stoke: Federici; Martina, Williams, Martins Indi, Pieters (Bauer 78); Diouf (Bojan 64), Etebo, Fletcher, McClean; Berahino, Afobe.
Subs not used: Haugaard, Allen, Adam, Campbell, Bojan, Souttar.
Goal: Berahino 53
Huddersfield: Lossl; Smith, Schindler, Stankovic, Durm (Lowe 79); Williams (Mooy 69), Bacuna; Kachunga, Mbenza, Sabiri (Pritchard 46); Depoitre.
Subs not used: Diakhaby, Quaner, Jorgensen, Schofield.
The whole Stoke team submerged Berahino with prolonged congratulations after his goal and the crowd cheered enthusiastically. This is a club eager to accept him back following an ill-fated spell under Paul Lambert when he was dropped to the Under-23s for bad time-keeping.
Should this Carabao Cup winner be the start of something more, Stoke will be firmly in contention for promotion. Berahino’s finishing is too good for them not to be.
Each manager saw this game differently. Rowett judged it a chance to build momentum off the back of a first win of the season. For David Wagner, it was an inconvenience to Premier League survival.
So Huddersfield’s line-up was entirely different to the one that drew 0-0 with Cardiff, 11 changes a crystal clear sign of Wagner’s priorities.
Rowett altered only four of his players after beating Hull 2-0 so it was no surprise Stoke were on the front foot for the majority.
Huddersfield’s Isaac Mbenza looks to control the ball under pressure from Erik Pieters
Berahino created his own chance inside a minute when latching onto Juninho Bacuna’s misplaced pass. But his protracted search for a goal seemed to cloud his judgement and he shot over from 20 yards rather than roll in Peter Etebo who was charging into the area free.
The Stoke pressure sustained and saw Berahino working hard in tandem with Benik Afobe.
On the half hour, Erik Pieters slid in to intercept and in the same motion released James McClean down the left. McClean drove into box, hit his shot hard and low, and Jonas Lossl saved with his legs.
Jon Gorenc Stankovic finds himself closed down by Berahino during the first half
Huddersfield manager David Wagner was left frustrated as his team were knocked out
Darren Fletcher then put Berahino through but again the finish was wayward. Berahino was on target after with his next, however.
Huddersfield did press back late on, with Wagner sending on Alex Pritchard and Aaron Mooy. Isaac Mbenza drew a fine save from Adam Federici with a cutting drive.
But Ashley Williams was a defensive rock, vastly improving on the performance on his last display against Wigan when he was sent off.
Huddersfield goalkeeper Lossl went close with a header when up for a corner in stoppage time but Stoke held firm.
Indeed Stoke extended their lead in outrageously comical circumstances when Bacuna got an attempted back pass from 50 yards horribly wrong. Bacuna didn’t see goalkeeper Lossl had advanced for a free-kick and volleyed Charlie Adam’s clearance into his own net.