Skip to content

Stoke City’s away coach travel initiative

Jul 19, 2013, 5:35 PM EDT

Stoke

From billionaire owners to players making weekly salaries well in excess of six digits to massive television broadcast deals, the Premier League is dominated by one thing: money.

Yet while all the major players surrounding the Premier League continue to get richer and richer, fans continue to be saddled with increasing ticket prices. It’s a system that most agree is broken, not to mention inherently unfair.

Amidst the outcry, however, clubs have been reluctant to step up and protect those who keep them afloat. Until today that is, when Stoke City announced the unprecedented step of offering their supporters free coach travel to every Premier League away game this season.  

The plan emerged after representatives from all Premier League met to discuss the steep decline in the number of away fans attending matches. The Potters idea of free bus travel was submitted to the other clubs but “didn’t get universal approval,” said Stoke chairman Peter Coates.

Despite the resistance, however, Stoke is pushing forward with the initiative for a year long trial period. “We think that the cost of travel is very expensive these days. We are going to try this experiment for 12 months, and we think it will be appreciated by our supporters,” Coates said.

Coates wasn’t upset by other clubs failing to adopt his idea, saying “I am a great believer in not telling other clubs what to do.”

For the chairman, the away coach project is his way of ensuring the game doesn’t lose the fans who brought the game to prominence. “I have always been of the view that everyone in the community should be able to go to football,” Coates said. “It’s traditionally a working-class sport and we want people on modest incomes to be able to come.”

For a club typically panned for its lack of on-field innovation, Stoke City and Peter Coates deserve huge applause for this simple yet cutting edge initiative.

 

Latest Posts
  1. VIDEO: “I Was There” visits LA Blues and LA Red Army for Chelsea’s win over United

    Apr 21, 2015, 9:03 PM EDT

    If you’d like your supporters group to be featured on future episodes of ‘I Was There’ simply send pictures/video to @NBCSportsSoccer or on NBC Sports Soccer on Facebook using the #IWasThere hashtag.

  2. UEFA Champions League roundup: Bayern Munich and Barcelona walk into the semis

    Apr 21, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwe2ymq2mgvlzdu1owi2mjvkzmiwogy1ztfinwfjy2q5 AP

    The first spots in the semifinals have been determined as two of Europe’s top clubs made light work of their opposition today.

  3. Luis Enrique off to the best start in Barcelona history

    Apr 21, 2015, 7:25 PM EDT

    Paris Saint-Germain v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: First Leg Getty Images

    Enrique has won 42 of his first 50 games in charge at Barcelona, and has his side gunning for a treble.

  4. Yaya Toure hints at departure from Manchester City

    Apr 21, 2015, 6:37 PM EDT

    AP

    Toure: “No amount of wages will make me stay at a club if I feel that I no longer belong there or if no challenge exists for me.”

  5. VIDEO: Bayern Munich’s second leg comeback the best in UCL history? Here’s a few contenders

    Apr 21, 2015, 5:48 PM EDT

    Deportivo La Coruna v AC Milan Getty Images

    Time to take a trip down memory lane and look at some stunning UCL comebacks.

  6. Bayern Munich 6-1 (7-4, agg.) FC Porto: Bayern obliterate Porto to reach UCL semifinal

    Apr 21, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT

    Thiago, Xabi Alonso Thiago, Xabi Alonso

    Guardiola’s boys batter Porto to reach the final four of the Champions League.

  7. Barcelona 2-0 (5-1, agg.) Paris Saint-Germain: Neymar brace eases Barca into Champions League semifinals

    Apr 21, 2015, 4:39 PM EDT

    AP

    Barcelona reaches the semifinals for the seventh time in eight seasons as the Catalans eliminated PSG from Champions League play.

  8. LIVE — Champions League, at the half: Bayern Munich bags five, will they ever stop scoring?

    Apr 21, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptyzzjc1yzvjmdfknzi4nty4ntyynzbhzdlhmduzmznk AP

    Bayern Munich has put in FIVE first half goals against FC Porto, while Barcelona tightened it’s grip on a semifinal berth.

  9. Report reveals Premier League spenders and gainers with financial breakdown

    Apr 21, 2015, 2:33 PM EDT

    VanGaal Getty Images

    Manchester United spent the most money in the Premier League, while Tottenham made the most.

  10. FOLLOW LIVE – Champions League: Bayern Munich, PSG aim to overturn 3-1 deficits to Barcelona, FC Porto

    Apr 21, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT

    Javier Mascherano, Zlatan Ibrahimovic AP

    Two UCL quarterfinals will take place on Tuesday. Follow them both live, right here.

  11. Wolfsburg, already down 4-1, will be without De Bruyne and Schurrle for Europa League 2nd leg vs Napoli

    Apr 21, 2015, 12:36 PM EDT

    DeBruyne Getty Images

    As they look to mount a dream comeback on the road, the Bundesliga club will be without two of its best attackers.

  12. Report: Arsenal one of four teams in for young Palermo star Paulo Dybala

    Apr 21, 2015, 11:41 AM EDT

    Dybala Getty Images

    Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini has dubbed him the “new Messi” in an attempt to boost his value.

  13. Chris Smalling signs new Manchester United contract through 2019

    Apr 21, 2015, 10:23 AM EDT

    Smalling Getty Images

    With the most goals of any defender in the Premier League, Chris Smalling has emerged as a solid member of Louis van Gaal’s lineup at Old Trafford.

  14. Internal turmoil swirling at Leeds, with transfer lawsuit the latest incident

    Apr 21, 2015, 10:01 AM EDT

    Redfearn Getty Images

    Manager Neil Redfearn is dealing with countless off the field issues, while the club’s legal team now has a new task with problems piling up.

  15. Tim Sherwood may have convinced Ron Vlaar to stay at Villa

    Apr 21, 2015, 9:12 AM EDT

    Vlaar Getty Images

    A player whose departure many thought was a foregone conclusion appears to be reconsidering.

  16. Franz Beckenbauer: Der Kaiser weighs in on Klopp, Dante and Bayern’s CL hopes

    Apr 21, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    franz-beckenbauer-nyc

    NBCSports.com’s Managing Editor Randy Kim spoke with Der Kaiser, as the German legend visited NYC.

  17. Karim Benzema the next Real Madrid attacker to go down injured

    Apr 21, 2015, 7:42 AM EDT

    Benzema Getty Images

    Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, and Marcelo are all already out for tomorrow’s 2nd leg with Atletico Madrid, and now their striker is unavailable as well.

  18. Mourinho: Chelsea will promote a handful of youth players to first team next year

    Apr 20, 2015, 11:27 PM EDT

    Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Chelsea FA Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Chelsea FA

    Mourinho says Chelsea will look to the club’s stacked youth academy for reinforcements, as well as the transfer market.

Featured video

Hazard seals victory for Chelsea