• Premier League

Stoke offer free away travel for fans

ESPN staff
July 19, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
The move is to ease the financial burden on fans © PA Photos
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Stoke City chairman Peter Coates has sanctioned free away travel for all supporters this season in a ground-breaking move at the Britannia Stadium.

Coates has come up with the scheme following the increased revenue from new TV deals, in a move to ease the financial burden on fans for the 2013-14 season.

Stoke are confident their initiative is the first time any team in England's top four divisions has undertaken such a move to reward supporters.

Club chief executive Tony Scholes told the club's official website: "As a club we are conscious that following football can be an expensive business, especially at a time when so many people are feeling the squeeze financially.

"We work hard to try and provide our supporters with value for money which is why we have not increased our ticket prices since being promoted to the Premier League in 2008.

"However, we realise how expensive following the club away from home can be for supporters and we're delighted to be able to offer free coach travel and hope it encourages more of them to give us their fantastic backing away from home."

Coaches will leave from the Britannia Stadium for all 19 of the Potters' top flight matches, starting with their Premier League curtain raiser against Liverpool at Anfield on August 17.

Coates has also confirmed that the club are keen to sign Hannover striker Mame Biram Diouf as manager Mark Hughes looks to increase his goalscoring options.

The 25-year-old, who failed to make an impact during a short spell in English football with Manchester United is available for around £5m as he prepares to enter the final year of his contract with the Bundesliga club.

Stoke are among a number of European clubs interested in the Senegal international and Coates confirmed: "He is one of the strikers we have registered an interest in."

Diouf made only nine appearances for United between 2009 and 2012, scoring one goal, but has scored 25 goals 49 appearances since moving to Hannover.

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