Minutes of Fans Forum
and Stoke City
7th August 2007
FANS FORUM MEMBERS
TERRY HUGHES, BRYAN SHAW, TONY TAMS, PAUL BARKER, MALCOLM CLARKE.
LAURENCE KING, SHAUN
FYNN, JULIA ZUK, JOHN SLANEY
STOKE CITY: PETER
COATES, TONY SCHOLES
The meeting opened with
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
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
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
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
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.
ROCHDALE AWAY TRANSPORT
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
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
PREMIER/ LEGENDS CLUB
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.
SMITHS UPPER TIER
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
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
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