The Potters' costly dream
Stoke City have revealed that last season's failed promotion push has cost chairman, Peter Coates £3m.
With the club's annual general meeting due next week, they've released the accounts for the 12 months up until the end of May 2007. These show that the club went heavily into debt in mounting last season's promotion push by taking on the likes of Lee Hendrie, Andy Griffin and Salif Diao.
These debts will have to be paid by Peter Coates. The owner, who is also chairman of Stoke-on-Trent based internet gaming group Bet365, has also pledged to continue the investment in the squad for this season and into the future.
I'm sure that the more hardened anti-Coates 'fans' will find something to moan about, but I feel that at least the club has one benefactor that is prepared to put his sizable fortune where his mouth is. Although it's not clear from this statement what the other directors have put into the club (if anything) over the past year. But Coates did confirm that all the existing directors' loans to the club have now all been turned into shares.
After the sales of Higginbotham, Russell and Hoefkens at the start of this season which has brought in around £4m, the club's transfer coffers are at least filling up with Coates promising that all this cash and some more is available to the manager should he need it. With Leon Cort's £1.2m transfer from Palace seemingly already agreed for January (less the fee for Clint Hill if he goes the other way), it still leaves a reasonable amount in the kitty for more new players.
In related news, many fans have commented on the apparent downturn in attendances this season but Chief executive, Tony Scholes told a meeting of the Potters Foundation last week that although attendances were indeed down on budget, it was only in the region of 700 per game (including away fans) and that their records show that attendances normally rose throughout the season, peaking in April as the season reaches it's climax. He felt that it was not accurate to compare the gates at the end of the previous season with those at the start of the following season.