Stoke exit disappoints Pulis

Tony Pulis is disappointed by his Stoke exit but accepts chairman Peter Coates' decision.

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Pulis: Left Stoke after seven years in c

Pulis: Left Stoke after seven years in c

Former Stoke manager Tony Pulis is disappointed by his exit but accepts chairman Peter Coates' decision to want to take the club in a different direction.

The 55-year-old parted company with the Potters by mutual consent after seven years in charge, ending a decade-long association either side of one season spent at Plymouth.

Pulis had come in for increasing criticism from supporters for his 'long-ball', physical style and Coates decided after five years in the Premier League it was time for a change.

"I have enjoyed some wonderful times at Stoke City and nobody was prouder than me when, after 23 years of exile from top-flight football we gained Barclays Premier League status," said the Welshman in a statement.

"Over the past five years we have created history by being the only team in this club's 150 years existence to remain out of the bottom six in top-flight football for five consecutive seasons.

"Within our five-year period in the Barclays Premier League we have featured in four major cup quarter-finals, an FA Cup semi-final and final.

"Further, we have encountered, progressed and reached the later stages of a major European cup competition, only to lose out to Spanish giants Valencia.

"Peter, his family and I have enjoyed every inch of the journey; he has been truly a fantastic man to work with.

"Although I am disappointed I do understand what he means when he says the board feels a need to take the club in a different direction."

Pulis believes he leaves Stoke in a much healthier position than when he rejoined in 2006, mainly as a result of the progress made once they were promoted.

"Of course, having reached the top you then have to find a way to stay there and develop a strategy for a club that had no infrastructure in place to compete with the top Championship clubs we had left behind, never mind the top Premier League clubs," he added in a statement released by the League Managers' Association.

"During this great run of success on the pitch the club has also been involved in the building and development of a training ground that now compares to any in the Barclays Premier League.

"Also, the Britannia Stadium has been revamped and now hosts and looks after virtually full-houses of the club's great supporters every other week.

"In leaving I am very proud of what we have all achieved.

"My immediate staff led by David Kemp, my backroom staff and all the training ground staff have been absolutely wonderful.

"To the supporters who have, and rightly so, been congratulated for their outstanding support especially at the Britannia and finally to all the players who have worked under me during the seven-year tenure I give my thanks for what has been a wonderful adventure."

Richard Bevan, chief executive of the LMA, praised Pulis for the work he did at Stoke.

"Having joined the club for his second spell as manager in the summer of 2006, Tony achieved eighth place in the Championship with 73 points in his first season and followed that with automatic promotion to the Barclays Premier League the following year," he said.

"Since then the club has comfortably maintained top flight status, finishing no lower than 14th over the five-year period.

"This is an exceptional record, during which Tony has very evidently played a major part both on and off the pitch in executing the vision he shared with the chairman and which has seen a sound infrastructure installed for taking the club and the team forward and the Britannia Stadium developed into a leading venue for Premier League football.

"Overall, the added value Tony has brought to the club is immense and he is to be applauded for a very successful tenure."

Although the speed of Pulis's departure appeared to take many within the club by surprise the former manager appeared to know the writing was on the wall.

In an interview prior to his departure Pulis said he was well aware a vociferous minority were agitating for change.

"There are a lot of people out there who are really pleased. At times the minority make the noise," he told BBC Midlands Today.

"You have to accept criticism. I've taken it before and you have to take it again,

"The fact we've had such a wonderful five seasons gets lost in the wash, especially if you have a bad run.

"When things go wrong it is magnified 10 times more in the Premier League.

"I'm not dismissing them (the fans) because some are genuine supporters who want the club to do well, others do it for different reasons.

"But if you are a little bit affected by criticism the one thing I would say is don't get into management.

"I don't think answering my critics is the answer, the answer is to try to do your best."

Pulis also felt the period of stability in the Premier League had raised expectations unrealistically.

"It gets harder because expectations become more demanding. That is life," he added.

"If you keep giving people things they keep taking it and in the end they want a little bit more.

"We are never going to be in a position to compete with the top five or six clubs unless you have the budget they use.

"I think we've done well at the club with what we've got."

Coates expressed his thanks for the work Pulis had done.

"The last seven years have been some of the best in our long history and I would like to thank Tony for his huge contribution in this," he said in a statement.

"I personally regard him as a great friend and will hugely miss working with him.

"We will now begin the difficult task of searching for a successor to Tony.

"This will be done in private and the club will make no further statement in respect of this search until an appointment is made."


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