Stoke City fans’ forum – Michael O’Neill, John Coates and Tony Scholes on recruitment, finances, CEO’s salary and past mistakes

What changes have been made to the vetting of potential signings after so many poor signings?

MON: One of the people I brought to the club, Andy Cousins, ,worked on recruitment for me with at Northern Ireland but also had a dual role with Manchester City.

So he brought a lot of knowledge, but in this transfer window we were operating within the knowledge we had and we knew we wouldn’t be spending £3m or whatever it might be.

Our league position damaged us in persuading a Liverpool or Man City in giving us one of their younger players and we did make a pith for that scenario.

Going forward, between now and the summer, we need to build a department which is robust and identifies the right talent.

The main thing is, we have learned from situations in the past and use that to build the right structures going forward to minimise the risk, because there is a risk with every player you sign, and hopefully we’ll get ,more right than we get wrong.

Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill (right) with Andy Cousins before the Barnsley game. (Image: Dave Howarth/EMPICS Sport)

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