Since promotion in 2008, Stoke have had a mixture of views from fellow football fans and at times their long ball game has come under scrutiny.
Francis has been at the club for the past five seasons and despite the fact that European football has found its way to the Potteries, Francis still believes Stoke need to prove they are fully merited for a place among England’s elite.
“It’s not true to say we are established because we haven’t finished in the top half of the table yet,” the former Spurs boss told Staffordshire news.
“It’s the hardest league in the world to stay in. There’s been a lot of teams over the years that have come up and gone down again. And it’s going to be even tougher this year.
“Every year we have to try and improve.”
Francis, who joined Stoke soon after the first time the club got promoted, didn’t envisage still being there today.
“I was only going to come back from retirement for one season.
“But it’s been a hugely successful time and I’ve loved it. It’s been really enjoyable.”
Francis sits in the director’s box, and is in one of the ideal positions to judge the continuing support from the crowds.
“Our fans are the noisiest I’ve heard and I’ve been around a while.
“It’s vital they carry that on. You still need that help and support which has made our home record, in particular, so good over the years,” he added.