Stoke City Vice chairman John Coates ended his 90-minute appearance at last night’s Fans Forum with a passionate apology for what has gone wrong over the last couple of years at Stoke City.
Coates in an empathic voice told the audience of well over 100 supporters in Delilah’s Bar that he took his fair share of responsibility following his beloved club’s relegation after 10 years in the top flight.
His words: “We’ve had a bad two years on the football field and I am deeply sorry about that and we will do everything to put that right,” he vowed.
“That doesn’t mean everything we have done is bad. Some of the stuff we do in the community is excellent and is acknowledged throughout football”, he said adding that “There’s a lot of good, diligent people here doing everything in their power to make us successful again.
“But I fully understand that as a football club we have to get the first team right.”
When asked who was to blame for relegation, he replied: “It’s easy to want to blame one person or one thing and hindsight is a wonderful vantage point.
“I’m sure there are things Tony wishes he’d done differently and things I wish I’d have done differently.
“Most of the people making the decisions, to be fair to them, had been there during the 10 previous successful years.
“We asked what have we learnt and what can we do to make us successful again? That’s what I’m focussed on.
“We’ve had 10 very successful years followed by two; frankly, poor years and we have to arrest that decline to make us successful again.”
He continued: “You’ve got to believe me when I say you think of little else but how can we get better?
“How the scouting system works, how they assess, what the manager wants.
“Nathan (Jones) will have a very clear idea for example on what he wants from a right back.
“One of those qualities will be his character and that will only help us get better at it.
“The more detail he can go into the better for our scouting in looking for the right player.”