Stoke City's CEO Tony Scholes is not complacent about future funding for league
According to Martin Spink in the Sentinel, Stoke City will never fall into the trap of taking their Premier League status for granted, fans have been told.
The club have just emerged from an early-season scare after spending seven weeks in the drop zone before their autumn revival hoisted them up to 12th heading into the current international break.
But Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes has insisted that the club's hierarchy approach every season ready for any possible hiccups during a long campaign.
Scholes was addressing a networking event for the football industry and was initially asked if TV revenues would ever start contracting in the Premier League.
“Football, like many things in life, goes in cycles," he stated. “We are in a period where, for a number of years, the English league has been the best and, truthfully, looks like remaining so
“Every time we do a TV deal you ask have we reached a peak? But the answer is no, not yet.
“My concern is less about how long that is going to last because I think it will last for at least another five years or more.
“Of more concern is that we have been in the Premier League for nine years, but all clubs outside the big six arguably have half-an-eye on what if things don't work out and what if we go down? You have to have a contingency plan in place.
“That's the bigger concern because there's a huge financial gap between the Premier League and the Championship."
Scholes was at the bet365 Stadium addressing representatives from various clubs at an event organised by the Football Trade Directory, whose managing director John Booth spent three years as Stoke's commercial manager.
When asked about foreign ownership in the top flight, Scholes observed: “In the Premier League, I think I'm right in saying, we are one of four clubs that is British owned.
“We are not just British owned, but locally owned. We are Stoke owned and we recognise how lucky we are in that.
“We are owned by a family born in the area and who are the largest private employer in the area and contribute hugely to the economy in the region. They are football fans as well and are very, very good owners.
“The key in terms of new owners, wherever they are coming from, is not where they are from, but what kind of owners are they going to be?
“Are they going to be good custodians of a very good asset for the community? That's the more important thing.
“You can then get onto the more general point of is it good, bad or indifferent that so many clubs are becoming foreign owned now?"