Peter Crouch believes the wrong characters were brought in at Stoke City and that led to their relegation from the Premier League.
Stoke were an established top-flight side under Mark Hughes, regularly finishing inside the top 10.
But it all came crashing down in the 2017/18 season when they were relegated to the Championship.
Speaking on talkSPORT, the veteran striker believes the warning signs were there.
Crouch said: “Stoke is the prime example of where fans and people wanted a different brand of football. We finished ninth three seasons in a row in the Premier League.
“We were tough to beat. People were coming to the Bet365 Stadium and not wanting to be there. The cold wet windy night in Stoke on a Tuesday was a thing.
“We tried to change for the better. We started passing and got different players in.
“We lost an identity that was Stoke. If you look at it now I felt like every season we would lose a character and bring in the wrong type of character.
“With every character you lose, you lose something. At around Christmas time we were getting found out year in year out.
“We escaped a couple of times but if you keep doing that and trying to play attractive football and bringing in continental type players and it culminated in relegation.”
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The 38-year-old spent seven-and-a-half seasons with the club, scoring 62 goals in 261 games, before leaving in January to join Burnley for six months.
Crouch also spoke about how difficult managers would make it playing against them and how the cold, rainy night in Stoke was a thing.
“It could be horrible,” he added. “Having played for the Tottenhams, Liverpools and Englands, and playing the right way, it was so funny playing for Stoke and watching the Arsenals turn up, Tottenham at times, and you could see the moment they got off the bus how they were beat already.
“It was so funny. The way that Tony Pulis had us wound up, with the throw-ins, we were piling into the box, and you could see the life draining out of the opposition.”