Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Wednesday May 17 2006
Reports indicate that Peter Coates should be confirmed on Friday as the new majority shareholder of Stoke City FC and his first decision as Chairman will be to reappoint Tony Pulis, who was sacked by the Icelanders in June 2005, to the Manager's post.
If this all comes to pass, then it seems that Coates has put himself on an instant collision course with the rank and file fans who see this move as a retrograde step and a return to the 'kick it up front and hope' tactics that characterised the 2004/5 season at the Britannia Stadium.
Coates last tenure as Chairman came to a sorry end in 1999 when he sold out to the Icelanders after angry comments from fans who had demanded all season that Coates go.
Most people had hoped that Coates would be looking to build bridges with fans this time round in a bid to bring back the crowds that have plummented from an average of 16,500 in 2004/5 to around 13,000 last season. From comments on our forum and others, it is clear that any attempt to bring back TP will be met with a possible further erosion of core support (unless TP was to prove the doubters wrong).
With all the turmoil of the last 12 months, the club really needs some sort of 'feel good factor' to bring in the crowds and help push the club on next season. Tony Pulis does not seem to generate that feeling in fans at present.
Let's hope either all these reports are incorrect, Coates sees the light and changes his mind or that the fans are proved wrong and we are challenging for promotion by Christmas.
If not, this editor of Vital Stoke is going to have to think very hard for different ways to describe 0-0 or 1-0 scorelines.
Date:Wednesday May 17 2006
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