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Minutes of Fans Forum and Stoke City
 7th August 2007





The meeting opened with introductions.

For the first item on the agenda Peter Coates was invited to give his opinions and views of last season and also his views about the current situation regarding possible signings and his expectations and ambitions for the coming season.

Looking back over the last twelve months, Mr Coates thought that Stoke City had had a good season, but he was really disappointed that the team had failed to make the play offs, he also felt that on the day, Stoke were every bit as good if not better than the teams in the championship. Echoing the same feelings of regret that all supporters had experienced when the team had relinquished valuable points to lower teams at vital times during the run in to secure a play off place.

He accepted that the arrival of the ‘loan players’ had ‘ignited the Club’, but he also stated that there was a lesson to be learned regarding too many loan players. The reason for so many last season was because he felt Tony Pulis had arrived too late at the Club to make the necessary permanent signings.

Mr Coates then went on to explain his expectations for the coming season. He said that the Manager had been given a competitive budget to make new signings to strengthen the team and that everyone was determined to improve on last seasons position in the league. He also expressed his feelings that he thought that the new season would or could be much more competitive than last season and that he was personally disappointed at the lack of signings that the Club had made. He also pointed out that the opportunity to sign players was getting harder and harder with the increased influence of agents and the very inflated wage demands that were being demanded.

He went on to say that the Club were genuinely expecting to make 7 more signings before the end of August 2007, three first team players as permanent signings and one as a loan player and also three very promising youngsters that would be the start of the ‘investment’ for the future.

Mr Coates then said that Stoke City did have a very competitive wage structure compared with the majority of the other teams in the Championship but unfortunately the individual demands and eventual size of the salary available to players that the Club would have wished to sign or retain were outside the realms of maintaining a realistic salary budget. 


When asked about the purchase of the stadium, Mr Coates said that everything was making ‘good progress’ and should be completed shortly.

At this point Mr Coates was asked if a clause could be included in the final purchase agreement/ deeds which would give the supporters the added security that the stadium would remain as a the secure home of Stoke City Football Club. At which point, everyone present was assured by Mr Coates and Mr Scholes that the matter would be pursued prior to completion of the proposed purchase of the stadium.

It was with great interest that Mr Coates then informed everyone that the purchase of the Michelin training ground was at the ‘contract stage’ and once the sale had been confirmed there was a two year time scale to build a brand new complex on the existing site. Consisting of a fully equipped gymnasium, changing rooms and showers and the building of an administration complex, this was seen as the Clubs ‘way forward’ to attract top quality established players and promising young players of the future!


When asked about the recent building on the South car park

Mr Coates explained that there were two plans!

The short term plan was to utilise the land opposite ‘Pets at Home’ which would mean many supporters having to walk an extra 300 yards and disabled supporters using bays 7 and 8( in the remaining part of the South Car park) resulting in an extra walking distance of approximately 50 yards, to get to the stadium.

The long term plan was to realistically identify car par parking requirements around the stadium and to provide further facilities properly marked and surfaced parking for supporters. Stoke regeneration would retain the ownership of the South Car park and Stoke City would maintain a long term lease on the facility.


Tony Scholes explained that he had been in consultation with representatives of Staffordshire Police, and that their view was that they were totally against any relaxation of the scheme! but they were prepared to meet members of the Fans Forum and representatives of the Club to discuss the matter further. ( a date for the proposed meeting has yet to be arranged)

Malcolm Clarke then raised the issue of the racist chants that  occurred at the Stoke pre-season friendly at Macclesfield, which the meeting was informed by Tony Scholes, was followed by an equally deplorable incident during the pre-season trip to Austria.

Everyone, given the facts, had to concede that these sort of incidents really do put a very big question mark over the desired move towards relaxing the away card regulations.

Everyone was reminded that the Members of the Forum had pledged to review the scheme each and every season. The Club have steadfastly helped in their efforts to ease the regulations of the scheme, but incidents such as those mentioned, really do question the wisdom of any major moves forward to relax the scheme.

It was expressed that once again! the majority of supporters are likely to become the ‘victims’ of  an undesirable minority!


Tony Scholes confirmed that the stadium would be totally ‘no smoking’


A general discussion took place and overall it was agreed that the day had been a success. However, it was felt that lessons could and would be learnt from certain experiences of how the day and the development of the structured events and provision of facilities could have been better organised and been much more constructive in their implimentation.


Following the Supporters Club comments that no official coach had been booked, by the time of the meeting, the Club had reviewed the situation and official transport was now being organised for the game.


Tony Scholes explained that the ground floor of Delilah’s had been completely re-vamped and would be fully open for the Charlton home game.

The upstairs hadn’t been upgraded.

Tony was then asked why the Supporters Club had been told that they couldn’t hold their programme faire in Delilah’s? He said that he couldn’t see any reason why that was so, but he did say that the caterers may well charge for the use of the facility.


Tony Scholes confirmed that there were no plans at the present moment in time for the two schemes to continue beyond the original 10 year tenure of the schemes.


Tony Scholes confirmed that work was in progress to improve the concourse of the John Smith’s upper tier in the Northern part of the stadium, and would be completed in time for the first home game against Charlton.


Members of the Forum explained that in previous meetings with the then elected Mayor of Stoke on Trent, Mr Mike Wolfe, that he expressed  that if any eventual sale of the stadium took place then he would be anxious for the supporters of the Club (Stoke City) to, in some way, safeguard the use of the stadium as the ‘home’ of Stoke City  for the Club and it’s supporters.

This topic was actually referred to in Mr. Coates’ opening talk.

Mr. Coates was asked to consider the viability of the supporters purchasing the football playing area of the Britannia Stadium. Both he and Tony Scholes promised to report back on the request.

Tony Tams (supporters Club representative) pointed out that ‘pay on the door’ turnstile was advertised as block 26 instead of block 19! Tony Scholes said he would look into situation.

Paul Barker (SCWIM representative) was concerned that the lowered servery areas of the various concourse refreshment and bar facilities were not being opened for the use of disabled supporters. Tony Scholes agreed that for at least the first three home games of the season, the lowered serving areas would be opened and staffed and that the usage would be assessed following the 3 match trial.

Terry Hughes  explained to the meeting that he had received via the Oatcake Fans Forum website a request to find out about the non arrival of a lift pass for a disabled supporter so that they could access the John Smiths Upper Tier and get to their seat. John Alcock had also been contacted. Tony Scholes said he would look into the matter.


It was agreed that a meeting of Fans Forum representatives and Mr. Coates would take place at least three times per season and that monthly meetings between the members of the Forum and Club representatives would continue throughout the season and close season each and every year.


11.30AM  Monday 10th of September at the Britannia Stadium