Coates - Fuller won't be sold
Potters chairman felt referee could have used discretion
Last Updated: December 31, 2008 10:39am
Fuller: Has future at Stoke
Stoke City chairman Peter Coates insists the club have not even considered selling Ricardo Fuller following the striker's red card against West Ham.
Fuller was sent off during Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Upton Park after slapping team-mate, and Potters captain, Andy Griffin after the Hammers equalised.
Some Stoke fans have called for the Jamaican to never play for the club again, but Coates says Fuller will not be leaving the Britannia Stadium.
"It hasn't entered our heads to sell him," Coates told the club's official website.
"We're absolutely sure we want to keep him. Ric's a good player and you don't sell your good players.
"He's a big player and important player, he helped to get us here (the Premier League), and he'll stay at the club."
Out of proportion
Coates also felt referee Michael Jones could have dealt with the incident better, saying: "I'm not condoning it, but can't referees use discretion?
"I thought the referee could have handled it better. You see things far worse on the pitch all the time go unpunished.
"Let's not get it out of proportion - it was hardly a punch like Muhammad Ali.
"Little incidents and spats happen all the time, on the pitch and on the training ground, we mustn't forget that."
The Potters chairman also believes big clubs receive preferential treatment after Manchester United duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney escaped punishment, while Stoke full-back Andy Wilkinson was sent off in the Boxing Day meeting between the two clubs.
Coates added: "I'm not excusing Wilkinson, but he was aggravated by Ronaldo just before and I think everyone saw that but the referee did nothing.
"Then Rooney puts in a strong elbow right in front of the linesman, and again, nothing.
"Big clubs get favoured treatment from referees, but it's happened for a number of years.
"We complain through the official channels and we'll continue to complain."