Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes has been heartened by the increase in season ticket sales following the appointment of Mark Hughes as manager.
There was a growing feeling of discontent among some fans towards the end of Tony Pulis' final season in charge and Hughes' succession left many supporters unimpressed. However, Scholes has reported increased sales since the former Wales boss was brought in after a recorded drop in the weeks previously, although the club are still below last year's numbers.
"We were 15% down on last year when the Early Bird sales period came to an end," he told stokecityfc.com. "Whilst it was disappointing that we were down at all, to put it into context we had still sold 16,500 season tickets at that point and sold more than many people were expecting us to. Since going back on sale with mid-price season tickets, and following the appointment of Mark Hughes, we've had a very good response and have sold a further 1,000 tickets."
He added: "We normally sell between 500-600 tickets during this period. We're still down, like-for-like on last year, but whereas we were 15% we're now 12.5% down.
"We've been very encouraged by the recent increase in sales and it gives us great reason to be optimistic that once again we're going to be playing in front of sell-out crowds next season."
Hughes is still settling in at the Britannia, having been appointed less than three weeks ago, but Scholes has confirmed the final say on transfers will be the Welshman's even though he is working alongside technical director Mark Cartwright.
"The media started reporting that the club was looking to take a 'new direction' and those suggestions seemed to gather some momentum," he said.
"As far as we're concerned, there is no new direction; we're very clear on how the club should be run.
"Mark Cartwright's job in running the recruitment department is to ensure that we have as much accurate information on the player market and what players may be available, in order to assist us and, in particular, Mark Hughes on what players we should try and recruit.
"Fundamentally, it will be Mark Hughes' decision on what players we recruit within the budgetary parameters that are set but there's no change of direction. Every player that comes into the club will come in because Mark Hughes wants him to."