superstar players who has left Stoke City since the end of last seasonof last season
News from the bet365 Stadium as Stoke City have a lot of work to do ahead of the new season
Stoke City are still waiting to start filling their squad for the new season but it is fair to say they have cleared the decks beyond what was probably expected.
This feels like a once-in-a-generation summer – and goes beyond spring clean to mini revolution overseen by manager Alex Neil and technical director Ricky Martin.
Stoke had to sell to stay on the right side of financial fair play rules in January – with youth graduates Joe Bursik and Harry Souttar both departing – but the reward for drastic cost-cutting measures under Michael O’Neill and Neil is a more competitive budget to start again nearly from scratch.
There has rarely been a period in the club’s long history when there have been so many farewells – and more this year than there have been in several years combined. To put the scale of changes into context, since the end of last season:
- Seven loan players have returned to their parent clubs
- A further 15 players, including half-a-dozen who were around the first team picture and four other senior players, have been released
- Behind the scenes, there have been at least eight key exits on the men’s football side on top of Rory Delap’s departure in January
The arrivals or replacements have slowly started to be confirmed, perhaps slower than was anticipated.
Alex Morris has joined from Crewe Alexandra as new under-21s coach with close links to the first team. Jared Dublin, having had to wait for his work permit to be signed off, has been introduced as new head of recruitment. Paul Gallagher is on standby to join as first team coach as Preston North End haggle for compensation.
Dave Hibbert has been appointed as under-18s lead coach and he will be assisted by club legend Ryan Shawcross, who is at the start of his coaching career.
Dr Doug Hammond has been named as new club doctor and a new head of sports science is expected to be confirmed imminently.
Those that have left have started to find new jobs, including head of football operations Andy Cousins, who has joined the recruitment team at Chelsea, and chief scout Tommy Coakley, who has been appointed senior scout at Bournemouth.
Coach John O’Shea is assistant manager of Republic of Ireland, Stoke stalwart Richard Walker left the academy set up to join Wolves. Delap Sr has joined Maccabi Tel Aviv alongside Robbie Keane.
Some of those leaving have played significant roles in Stoke’s history.
Kevin Russell, who was a hero as a player and was a youth coach for eight years, said as he stepped down: “I have had the pleasure to work with some good, honest, hard-working people and made some great friendships along the way. I wish all the staff, players and club every success going forward. As for the fans, thank you for every mile you travelled to support the team at all ages. Now I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my footballing career, excited to see where that will be.”
Jimmy Hunter had been head of academy coaching for 12 years.
He said: “I’d like to thank the club, colleagues and players past and present for making it a fantastic experience, challenging and inspirational place to go to work every day. I wish everyone associated with the club all the best in the future, particularly the young players. I hope they go on to achieve everything they deserve.”
Danny Pugh helped Stoke win promotion to the Premier League in 2008 before eventually returning, via a spell as player and coach across the city at Port Vale, as player development coach.
He said: “I’ve loved working at Stoke these past two years but time to move on. I have some great memories there as a player and now as a coach but all good things come to an end. Not sure what my next role will look like but looking forward to exploring new opportunities.”
Departures since the end of last season
Andy Cousins (head of football operations)
John O’Shea (first team coach)
Tommy Coakley (chief scout)
Paul Walsh (head of sports science)
Kevin Russell (under-21s lead coach)
Rich Walker (under-18s lead coach)
Jimmy Hunter (head of academy coaching)
Danny Pugh (player development coach)
Players released: Sam Clucas, Demeaco Duhaney, Aden Flint, Morgan Fox, Phil Jagielka, Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Nick Powell, Gabriel Adebambo, Jacob Holland-Wilkinson, Tommy Jackson, George Lewis, Dan Malone, Luke Redfern, Josh Roney, Douglas James-Taylor, Mario Vrancic.