A model of success

Stoke City Chief Executive Tony Scholes believes Premier League investment has a vital impact on and off the pitch.

Seven years ago we won promotion to the Premier League. Playing in the Premier League, the success and the funds that brings, enables us to invest in areas of the club which arguably have not had appropriate levels of investment, historically.

Our business model is all about having a successful Premier League football club but in a self-sustaining manner. Success on the pitch enables us to invest in facilities, infrastructure and development off the pitch, which in turn delivers success on the pitch. Our aim is to be in that ‘virtuous cycle’ and stay in the Premier League – the best league in the world, in our view.

Being in the Premier League also enables us to invest in our Youth Development and in the community, through our Community Trust.

A stoke fan stands in front of and I am Stoke sign

Also for the city itself, having a club in the Premier League is a massive economic boost to the local area. It’s great for the fans of this club, as well, in terms of helping the morale of the city – and the fans are key to us. We try to sell the stadium out every single match and that ‘sell-out atmosphere’ helps the team, of course. And we do that by keeping prices as affordable as we can.

Stoke City's Clayton Wood facility

One of our principles is to keep football as affordable as we possibly can for everybody, so that price is never a factor in supporters deciding whether or not to come. We’ve done that here at The Britannia by keeping prices as affordable as possible for the last seven years. We also decided, two seasons ago, to put on free travel for every single Premier League away match. It was very popular and they’ve voted with their feet. Our away form has also gone up and I suspect that’s partly to do with that.

We recognise that anything we’ve achieved has been achieved by the greater collective, including all the fans.Tony Scholes, Stoke City Chief Executive

Four years ago we decided we were going to apply for and try to achieve Category 1 status in our Academy. We achieved that and have invested a lot of money into it. We have invested approximately £7m into our training facility at Clayton Wood and we also spend around £4m a year on the Academy. That’s a long-term investment and hopefully in time we will see the fruits of that. We have a 16 year-old who made his debut this season, so that’s a very positive sign.

We try to treat it that we are all in it together: players, staff, directors, management and, critically, the fans as well. And we try to do the right thing by all parts of the group. We recognise that anything we’ve achieved has been achieved by the greater collective, including all the fans. Wherever we can, we try to keep the fans on board, consult them on all the big decisions and make sure that football here remains as affordable as it can be.

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