Former Stoke City manager Tony Pulis has admitted that although he is disappointed that his time with the club has come to an end, he does understand that the board feel the need to take the team in a different direction.
Pulis spent seven years at the club until he left on Tuesday, with Stoke’s dismal run of three victories in their last 19 games putting an end to his reign as manager. Although he secured Premier League status for a sixth consecutive season for the Potters, chairman Peter Coates felt it was time for a change.
The League Managers Association has released a statement of behalf of the Welshman following his departure, expressing his gratitude towards his coaching staff, fans and Coates.
“Peter, his family and I have enjoyed every inch of the journey,” said Pulis. “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.
“In leaving, I am very proud of what we have all achieved. My immediate staff lead 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.”
Pulis guided Stoke to the Premier League after finishing second in the Championship in 2008, and he has overseen a complete overhaul of facilities available to the club since he took over.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Chief executive of the LMA Richard Bevan commended the 55-year-old for all he had done while at the club, claiming he should be “applauded” for his achievements.
“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.
“Tony achieved 8th 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. 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.
“Overall, the added value Tony has brought to the Club is immense and he is to be applauded for a very successful tenure”.