Training, tickets, fixtures, next steps – Stoke City response to the coronavirus shutdown



The `Keep Off The Grass’ sign has been erected at the bet365 Stadium until further notice thanks to the coronavirus.

But has the club gone into hiding, or is there still plenty going on behind the scenes we can’t see?

Here’s a few questions and answers…

What are Stoke’s training arrangements?

Michael O’Neill has understandably given his players a few days off in the wake of Saturday’s game at Reading being postponed.

He has three weeks to keep his players amused, and healthy, before there is any semblance of further competitive action.

What are the club doing about tickets and refunds?

No announcements as yet.

But the club’s hierarchy is discussing all kinds of scenarios for the rest of this season and they will range from the optimistic – matches resuming on April 4 – to the pessimistic – the season being declared over.

There is also the possibility of games being played behind closed doors, or waiting until the summer to play remaining fixtures.

If the remaining games are scrapped, or played behind closed doors, then the club will have to consider some kind of refund to supporters and certainly to those with hospitality packages.

Can Stoke withstand the financial hit of substantial refunds?

Figures for last season showed that home games were worth around £255,000 each to Stoke’s coffers.

If season-ticket holders were to be refunded in full, then you are looking at a similar figure going down the plug hole.

And with four home games still to play, that is just over £1m.

The good news is that the club has owners who can quite comfortably stand that kind of loss, providing Financial Fair Play doesn’t intervene, but that is a whole different argument. 

What fixtures have Stoke already missed – and what is their next scheduled fixture?

So far, the trip to Reading, the home game with Middlesbrough and the visit to Wigan have been shelved and will need re-scheduling if the season does resume.

If it resumes on April 4, it does so for Stoke with another huge home game, against fellow strugglers Barnsley who could close the gap to Michael O’Neill’s men to five points with a win at the bet365.

What else have the club said about the situation?

So far, the only person to comment publicly has been chairman Peter Coates who admitted the whole situation was messy.

Like everyone else, he had no idea when or if the Championship season would resume, but doubted it would be on April 4.

And he was pretty certain that this summer’s European Championships would have to be postponed, probably until the  summer of 2021.

How has the club kept itself amused?

Well, yesterday it launched into a game of Connect  Four and claimed a home win over Spartak Moscow via its twitter feed.

And it later accepted a challenge from Leyton Orient to sign up for a FIFA 20 tournament.





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *