Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Tuesday May 23 2006
Stoke City have today confirmed the appointment of Peter Coates as the new chairman of the club after he completed the purchase of all the shares from the previous Icelandic owners and outgoing chairman, Gunnar Gislason resigned yesterday.
There is going to be an press conference this morning, but the official website has said that Coates has paid £1.7m to the Icelandic consortium for their shares and he is paying £8.3m into the club to 'stabilize the club's finances, clear existing debts and provide funds to move the club forward'.
Coates, who returns to the role he gave up in 1999 says that he is 'delighted to have the opportunity to help move the club forward'.
Adding: 'The investment will transform the club's finances, clearing all shareholder loans and stabilizing what was a precarious financial position.
'The club will be largely debt-free and have a fresh start with a unified Board of Directors and a Senior Management Team.
'It's a return to local ownership with local decision-making and I am excited by the prospect of working with everybody at the club to try and bring success on the pitch. Our first task is to build a side capable of challenging for the play-offs with, of course, the ultimate dream being making it into the Premiership.'
In addition, it was also announced that all three remaining shareholders, Keith Humphreys, Phil Rawlins and Peter Coates will convert their existing loans to the club into shares.
After the turmoil of the last 18 months regarding the ownership and the obvious reluctance of the Icelanders to pump more cash into the club, we do now have a chance to move forward under Coates. It must be an advantage having the club under local management again. Let's hope Coates does not squander this chance.
He now has the opportunity to push forward, the first and most important action is the appointment of a new manager. We apparently know who that is. If it is to be Tony Pulis, then let's hope that it is the correct choice and we can, at last, begin to seriously challenge for re-admittance to the top tier of English football.
Date:Tuesday May 23 2006
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