Stoke City: 'Major overhaul' needed say club owners

Stoke dropped into the Championship thanks to a 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace on Saturday
Stoke dropped into the Championship thanks to a 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace on Saturday

A "major overhaul is required" at Stoke say the club owners, who believe they may have stayed in the Premier League by sacking boss Mark Hughes earlier.

"It is right that supporters will question whether we should have made a managerial change sooner," said Peter and John Coates.

They also said "significant errors" in the transfer market and a loss of "core values" contributed to their demotion.

Hughes was sacked in January after five defeats in seven league games.

Stoke, who were relegated to the Championship courtesy of their home defeat by Crystal Palace on Saturday, have collected 10 points from 14 games since Paul Lambert was appointed to replace Hughes.

"We will always give people that little bit longer than most to prove themselves and this will continue. However, this does not mean that we always make the correct call and again with hindsight, we perhaps should have made an earlier change," said the cub owners.

"It is absolutely clear that a major overhaul is required. We need to regain our identity and focus and the summer will be spent doing this."

Hughes succeeded Tony Pulis at Stoke in May 2013 and guided them to three straight ninth-placed finishes before dropping to 13th last season.

The Welshman was praised for adopting an adventurous style of play, recruiting players like Xherdan Shaqiri from Inter Milan, Bojan Krkic from Barcelona and Joe Allen from Liverpool.

But a number of recent high profile signings failed to make an impact.

Former Real Madrid forward Jese Rodriguez scored one goal in 13 appearances and has taken unpaid compassionate leave for the remainder of his contract.

Forward Saido Berahino has started just 11 games and has never scored for the club. He is now training with the under-23s, as is defender Kevin Wimmer, an £18m signing.

Record signing Giannelli Imbula, who cost £18.3m from Porto in 2016, has spent this term on loan at French side Toulouse, while former Barcelona forwards Ibrahim Afellay and Bojan have both been out of favour.

"Hindsight is a wonderful vantage point, however, it is clear that significant errors were made in the transfer market," said the Coates.

"Unfortunately the squad became unbalanced and perhaps we lost some of the core values that have served us so well and are so crucial when you have a bad spell."

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