Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Thursday June 7 2007
Stoke City chairman, Peter Coates has agreed a £6m deal to buy the City Council out of the Britannia Stadium.
For the last ten years the Potters have jointly owned the ground with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the developers, St Modwen after they assisted the club with the original development. The club owned 49% whilst the council owned 36% and St. Modwen had the remaining 15%. This joint ownership has often been quoted as standing in the way of the football club's growth and the previous Icelandic owners made an unsuccessful bid a few years ago to buy the other partners out.
Peter Coates made it a stated aim to reopen negotiations when he bought the club last summer and it now seems that this has borne fruit with today's announcement. This must be seen as good news for the club as it gives them full independence and provides some financial comfort now that they own a sizable physical asset. In the past the club have complained that the club only saw half the profits from sales of catering and hospitality on match days due to the shared ownership of the stadium.
The club are also still in negotiations with the Michelin Tyre company to purchase the training ground in Trent Vale which they have rented for the past ten years. If they can complete the purchase they are hoping to develop proper training facilities for both the first team and the Academy.
All this should be seen as good news for the club and they were at pains to point out that this money will not come at the expense of next season's player budget.
Date:Thursday June 7 2007
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