Stoke’s owners have admitted they made “significant errors” this season, in the wake of the club’s relegation from the Premier League.
Goalkeeper Jack Butland and midfielder Charlie Adam questioned the club’s signings and players’ mindset following Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace which sent Stoke down.
And a statement released by Peter and John Coates on Tuesday admitted an “unbalanced” squad will require a “major overhaul” ahead of next season.
The statement on the club’s official website read: “When things go wrong, it is inevitable that a great deal of soul-searching goes on.
“You ask yourself the question, what should we have done differently? What mistakes did we make? It is important that we ask these questions in order that we learn and improve.
“Hindsight is a wonderful vantage point, however it is clear that significant errors were made in the transfer market.
“There was a desire from all of us at the club to improve the quality of the football we played, both in terms of entertainment and league position. 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.
“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.”
The owners also admitted they possibly showed too much loyalty to Mark Hughes and that he should have been replaced as manager before Paul Lambert was appointed in mid-January.
But they stressed their ongoing commitment to the club and desire to lead them back to the Premier League.
“It is right that supporters will question whether we should have made a managerial change sooner,” the statement continued.
“As a family we are inherently loyal people and this loyalty has served us well in business. However, this does not mean that we always make the correct call and again with hindsight, we perhaps should have made an earlier change.
“Our core focus is now on the future. We are absolutely committed to continue our significant emotional and financial commitment to this club. We will be doing everything we can to help us secure a return to the top flight of English football as soon as possible.”