Stoke City: Peter Coates urges fans to renew season tickets
STOKE City chairman Peter Coates has taken the unprecedented step of writing to wavering season-ticket holders to try to boost flagging sales ahead of tomorrow's deadline for cheapest prices.
He has appealed in person to their loyalty to try to twist the arms of those in two minds because of recent results and performances.
Many fans have already insisted they will not renew – and sales were sufficiently slow last week for public appeals to be made by Coates, pictured below, and Andy Wilkinson.
But lengthy queues were seen at the Britannia box office yesterday, while the club were also hoping for brisk business on-line.
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Season-ticket sales – an acid test of current unrest among Stoke fans – are expected to fall short of last summer's record of around 22,000
Any slow down will also persuade the club to put on ice plans to raise the Brit's capacity to more than 30,000 by filling in the scoreboard corner between the east and south stands.
In his letter to supporters, Coates tells them they have played a critical role in the club's success since he and his family bought the club back off the Icelanders in 2006.
"A number of factors have contributed to that success," he writes, "not least the tremendous unity throughout the club and the incredible support for the team.
"As a season-ticket holder, you are the bedrock of that support."
He pulls no punches on a run of one win in 11 league games, by adding: "I know that by comparison with some of the good times we have experienced over the past few seasons, 2013 has not been the best of years so far.
"However, I've been in football long enough to know that you have good runs and bad runs and both come to an end.
"It's also clear to me that bad runs generally come to an end much quicker if everyone stays together.
"These are difficult economic times and that is why we do our very best to keep prices as low as possible.
"If you are in a position to renew, I urge you to continue to show your support of the club."
As a further enticement to season-ticket holders, and in celebration of the club's 150th birthday this year, the names of two supporters renewing before tomorrow's deadline will be included in a prize draw for two free tickets for Stoke's next 150 home games.