May 9, 2018 / 4:04 AM / a year ago

Soccer: Stoke City owners admit 'major overhaul' needed

(Reuters) - Stoke City require a “major overhaul” to address the club’s failings in the transfer market and regain their identity following relegation from the Premier League, owners Peter and John Coates have said.

Stoke’s 10-year stint in the English top flight come to an end following a 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace last weekend.

"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," they said in a statement on Stoke's website here

Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland had criticised the club’s “farcical” recruitment in recent seasons..

“It’s clear that significant errors were made in the transfer market,” the owners added. “There was a desire to improve the quality ... and players were brought to the club that it was felt had the ability to help us achieve our 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.”

Stoke sacked manager Mark Hughes in January as they dropped into the relegation zone and crashed out of the FA Cup after a defeat by Coventry City. They replaced Hughes with Paul Lambert, who was unable to prevent relegation.

“It is right that supporters will question whether we should have made a managerial change sooner. We are inherently loyal people and this loyalty has served us well in business.

“We will always give people that little bit longer than most to prove themselves and this will continue. However, this does not mean that we always make the correct call and again with hindsight, we perhaps should have made an earlier change.”

Stoke are at relegation-threatened Swansea City in their final game of the season.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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