Stoke City’s owners have this afternoon promised a “major overhaul” of the way the football club is run, following their relegation to the Championship.
They have also admitted they should have sacked Mark Hughes sooner in the season.
In a statement released on the club’s website, the Coates’ said: “The 2017/18 season has been a bitter disappointment to us all. Everybody at the club, including ourselves, are deeply hurt and frustrated at relegation.
“Hindsight is a wonderful vantage point, however, it is clear that significant errors were made in the transfer market.
“There was a desire from all of us at the club to improve the quality of the football we played, both in terms of entertainment and league position, and players were brought to the club that it was felt had the ability to help us achieve our collective aim.
“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
“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.”
As well as admitting to errors in player recruitment, the Coates’ have also conceded they should have replaced Mark Hughes as manager sooner.
The statement has raised some doubts over the future of Paul Lambert at the club, however, because there is no specific mention in support of his continued role at the top.