Peter Coates: Stoke City ticket sales will have bearing on Britannia Stadium expansion
STOKE chairman Peter Coates says season-ticket sales will play a part in the club's decision about extending the Britannia Stadium.
Stoke have outline planning permission to fill in the corner between the south and east stands, but have yet to make a final decision about whether to press ahead with building work.
The club's Early-Bird season tickets for 2013/14 went on sale yesterday and have been frozen at this season's prices until March 20.
Coates is hopeful of matching last season's 21,000 sales and says attendances will be taken into account when the club decides whether to press on with plans to install 1,780 new seats in the 'scoreboard corner' of the ground.
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He said: "We still haven't made a final decision, and that is the case for a variety of reasons.
"But attendances are one of the things that are considered.
"We have been very pleased that attendances here have held up and we want to continue to grow our support.
"We feel there is the opportunity for that to happen."
The freeze on season tickets means adults will be able to watch games for as little as £344, or £18.10 per game.
They will also be granted the chance to purchase two matchday tickets for £10 apiece for a designated game.
Coates admitted next season's improved Premier League television deal – which has risen 70 per cent to £3bn over three years – made it easier to make the offer.
But he says Stoke were always keen to hold prices which have remained the same since 2008.
He said: "We have done it because we want to continue to have affordable football here.
"Considering the very difficult economic climate in the country, attendances have held up well.
"We have also worked hard on encouraging younger supporters and it is very satisfying to see so many want to support their local club."
Meanwhile, Coates says he would love to see Rory Delap back at Wembley after the Stoke midfielder helped Barnsley into the FA Cup quarter-finals.
The 36-year-old appears to have played his last game for the Potters because he is out of contract in the summer and has been loaned to the Tykes for the rest of the season.
He's made an instant impression at Barnsley who have won all four of the games he has played in, including Tuesday night's 2-1 home win over Wolves which lifted Barnsley out of the relegation zone and sent Dean Saunders' team third bottom.
The Tykes are into the FA Cup quarter-finals after Saturday's win at MK Dons, but face a tough tie away to Premier League champions Manchester City.
Coates says Delap will always remain a huge favourite in the Potteries.
He has played 208 games for Stoke despite breaking his leg in his second game after initially signing on loan from Sunderland.
The chairman said: "I remember going to see Rory when he had broken his leg and telling him not to worry about his contract here.
"He has certainly repaid us over the years with his commitment to this club.
"He is an excellent professional who has also done a huge amount of things off the field to help others.
"Everyone knows how highly he is thought of here, he has been one of my favourite players."