The highs and lows of no-nonsense manager Tony Pulis
Things have gone a bit sour at West Bromwich Albion this term, with Baggies fans becoming somewhat disgruntled with life under Tony Pulis.
The Welshman has been in charge for 13 months now, and though there’s always the caveat that you won’t (future seasons pending) get relegated under Pulis, you probably aren’t going to play like Barcelona either.
Speculation has increased lately over the former Stoke manager’s future in the Midlands, and Aston Villa were linked as a potential option for the summer.
A lot like Marmite, some people (mainly in the Stoke area) will praise Pulis until the cows come home, while some will wish he never takes charge of their club.
So while he’s a reasonably topical point of discussion around the water cooler/across the bar/in the gym, we’ve had a look back at some of Pulis’ highs and lows in more than 20 years of management…
Getting Stoke into the Premier League
No qualms here. Getting Stoke into the Premier League, keeping them there, reaching an FA Cup Final and getting them into Europe cannot be underestimated.
Pulis saved the club from dropping into the third tier in his first spell at the Britannia, and in seven years during his second stint, Pulis made Stoke Premier League regulars while also giving Arsene Wenger frequent nightmares.
In five seasons under Pulis in the top tier Stoke never finished higher than 11th or lower than 14th. Talk about stability.
Mark Hughes has built upon the groundwork laid out by the Welshman and the Potters now boast a host of European stars among their roster.
Keeping Crystal Palace up
It’s easy to forget Pulis was even at Crystal Palace, as he only lasted little more than half a season, but his arrival had a major impact on life at Selhurst Park and across the Premier League.
After losing nine of their opening 10 games, Palace ditched Ian Holloway and Pulis’ impact was immediate.
Having already secured survival with games to spare, Pulis reduced Luis Suarez to tears as Liverpool blew a 3-0 lead in the last 12 minutes at Selhurst Park to draw 3-3 in a Premier League classic.
A career-reviving hero
Pulis is pretty fearless when it comes to buying players who seem down and out.
Ade Akinbiyi had scored five goals in 45 league games, before Stoke came calling and he helped the club ease their Division One relegation fears.
Peter Crouch too, was down and out at Tottenham before Stoke handed him a new lease of life, netting 22 goals in two seasons under Pulis, including that stunning volley against Man City.
And then there’s Ryan Shawcross, who after failing to make the first-team at Man United, headed to the Britannia as an unknown talent to most of us. Not Tony though.
Nine years and 300 appearances later, Shawcross is Stoke skipper and even has an England cap.
Having played for Bristol Rovers, Pulis’ arrival at Ashton Gate in the summer of 1999 didn’t go down terribly well.
His spell with the Robins wasn’t too great either, despite spending a fair bit of cash, just six wins in City’s opening 25 league games meant Pulis was packing his bags by mid-January.
Dealing with Saido Berahino
West Brom weren’t short of offers for their wantaway striker, but while Pulis’ point that no player is bigger than the club was pretty much spot on, when the likes of Newcastle and Tottenham dangled a £20m carrot for the Englishman, Pulis didn’t sell.
Whilst refusing to regularly play Berahino throughout this campaign, many thought the Baggies boss could use the sizable income to improve West Brom in other areas.
Early struggles with Bournemouth
Pulis’ first managerial gig saw him replace West Ham-bound Harry Redknapp at Bournemouth in 1992.
Things started off pretty slowly with four wins from the Cherries’ opening 18 games under Pulis, and in two seasons on the south coast Bournemouth finished 17th in the third tier each time.
His win ratio at Dean Court of 28.97 per cent is Pulis’ worst of his entire career. Both man and club would go on to better things, however.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.