Stoke City: Supporters give their backing to season-ticket freeze
LEADING Stoke City supporters have welcomed the club's decision to freeze season-ticket prices for a sixth successive season.
Fans will be able to watch games for as little as £344, or £18.10 per game next season, providing they renew their seats between February 20 and March 20.
They will also be granted the chance to purchase two matchday tickets for £10 apiece for a designated game by way of a thank you gesture.
Malcolm Clarke, who chairs the recently-formed Supporters' Council which meets regularly with Stoke's hierarchy, said: "I think the price freeze will be welcomed by all supporters.
"The club did consult on the issue with the supporters' council and we gave our view that there shouldn't be any increase. We applaud the club for following that advice."
Bryan Shaw, who sits on the Council and is also chairman of the supporters' club, added: "I think it would have been hard to justify an increase with all the extra TV money coming into the club from next season.
"I think the club appreciates that in today's financial climate, and with all that money coming into football, they had to do the sensible thing.
"It would have been hard to justify an increase in the current circumstances."
He said he expected the number of season-ticket holders to remain around the 21,000 mark as those dropping out would be largely replaced by newcomers.
The club is likely to monitor the take-up rate of tickets ahead of making a final decision on whether to press ahead with spending several million pounds on filling in the corner between the South and East Stands at the Britannia.
Outline planning permission has already been granted, but a final decision on the building work has yet to be made by the club.
Should the new corner be built, one option would be to fill it with those no longer qualifying through age for seats in the adjacent Family Stand.
The freeze on season-ticket prices, meanwhile, means an adult and under-14 season ticket works out to a combined price of just £23 per Premier League fixture for the 2013/14 campaign.
Stoke's chief executive Tony Scholes, left, who sits on the Supporters' Council, said it was crucial every effort was made to not only reward faithful fans, but also maintain a full and vibrant Britannia Stadium on match days.
"What we have here is something very special in terms of the atmosphere," he said.
"Only last weekend for our important win over Reading, we saw once again how the crowd lifts the team and helps to make a difference.
"A crucial part of our strategy is maintaining this high level of support for home matches, effectively meaning most of those games are sold out for home fans.
"It remains as important to us now as it has been throughout our time in the Premier League, so we want our supporters to be a part of the 'team' again next season."