Monday, 20 October 2008


Stoke on Tent City Council are today facing an investigation into the sale of the Britannia Stadium to Stoke City Football Club.

The sale of the authorities 36% share of the stadium was agreed by councilors in 2007 for a fee of £5million but councilors are incensed that an agreement to allow Stoke City to pay in interest free installments over three years was agreed by Council officials without their prior knowledge.

Now the Audit Commission has been brought in to look into the deal as some councilors are saying that they have been mis-led.

Some councilors are concerned that the stadium was priced below the market value and the loss of interest on the three year installment agreement. They say that they only backed the deal because they thought that £4.5million would available to use on the development of Stoke town centre and the remainder of the money on other community services.

This deal has baffled a number of people given the fact that Port Vale FC have been charged interest on money that it borrowed from the council.

The complaint to the Audit Commission was made by Councilor Mike Barnes who said "I am very concerned to learn that when I voted to agree the sale of the Britannia Stadium to Stoke City FC, I was not made aware of the installments plan and was led to believe, along with all the other councillors, that all the money was being paid at once.I find this matter very concerning."

The Audit Commission have confirmed that they have received a complaint and that it will be investigated in accordance with the Code of Audit Practice.

I have no problem personally with the sale of the Authorities share in the stadium to Stoke City but it does look like double standards given the fact that Port Vale have been charged interest on monies that they borrowed from the Council.

I also think it is wrong if it is proved that council officials brokered a deal for Stoke City to pay in interest free installments over three years again this to me, would be a case of mis use of public funds!

I tell you what else worries me about this incident. I run a company and a few weeks ago I received a letter from Peter Coates the Chairman of Stoke City telling me how he supports the Elected Mayor and how good the Mayoral System is for our City, of course he didn't just send me that letter, it went to every company in the city. It's not hard to see why he favours the Elected Mayor if that's the sort of deal he can get from the present regime is it? Now I'm not suggesting that there is something underhand in this, but it does leave you wondering doesn't it?
Read the excellent Sentinel article by following this link:

Over to you what do you make of this deal? Comments please...............


Bob Bagley said...

Is Stoke City being allowed to pay this money by installments any different to the soft loan given to Port Vale by the council?

I think the debate we need to have is whether or not people are happy for their council tax to be used to help prop up our two football clubs which, at the end of the day, are businesses here to make profit and not just in the sport for fun. If people are happy for their council tax to be used like this then thats fine, if not then this practice needs to be ended.

warren said...

Bob, I for one am not at all happy that my council tax surporting the local football clubs, I dont even like the ruddy game. If they have to reliy on the council hand outs or give aways and cut price offers, and lets face it £5,000,000 a cut price, its time to pack it in.

nita said...

I say its money well spent.

10/10 to the Council.

Sorry I'm just biased, ha ha.

ian norris said...

Cllr Barnes guess you wish you supported the motion that Councillor James and seconded by Councillor Kent-Baguley, “that the report be deferred for further consideration, a presentation, and answers to the questions raised during this meeting”.


nicky said...

I'm with you Warren, I don't like the ruddy game either!

Dave, Fenton, commented in the Sentinel and took the words right out if my mouth. If they'd had the money in a lump sum it would just be an extra lump stuck in Iceland anyway.

Gary Elsby said...

The Premiership is the richest football league in the world.

So rich is football, that they fund international stadia.

Stoke-on-Trent is a dirt down poor City that is underfunded by the Government.

It is also last in line for regeneration. Geeee thanks, Mr. Mayor, we couldn't have done it without you!

The Stoke-on-Trent Council Taxpayer is possibly the most hard up of all taxpayers.

Stoke-City is awash with money and is owned by multi millionaires.

Stoke City will be GIVEN Millions of pounds by the Premiership, win or lose, stay up or go down.

Stoke City will pump more money into players, in January, than they owe this Council.

Who runs this City, Politicians or Officers?

This is THE question.

What is the reason that I (a hard up council taxpayer) am subsidising a rich football club in the richest football league in the world.

Who made this decision that I agree.

Anonymous said...

see Cllr Peter Kent-Baguley website for some interesting info on this. Cllr Ibbs again showing how to mis handle things!

John said...

gary i think you have hit this nail on its head.

st george said...

Vale may have a soft loan, but they have a loan and pay interest.

They are truly a community stadium, which Stokes was supposed to be but never was.

I don't go to either club, but if I did - it would be the Vale, because of all the good community work they do.

Anonymous said...

Who put this shite in the council. It most certainly wasn't me.