Tony Pulis 'understands' end of Stoke City reign as owner seeks change of direction

The Welshman was well aware of the disaffection growing among a section of fan

The speed of former Stoke manager Tony Pulis's departure may have taken some at the club by surprise but the 55-year-old admits he knew the writing was on the wall before the end of the season.

Pulis yesterday issued a statement through the League Managers' Association, who stressed the split was amicable, saying he was disappointed but accepted chairman Peter Coates wanted to go in a different direction.

The Welshman was well aware of the disaffection growing among a section of fans but felt his record over the previous seven years was worth something.

"At times the minority make the noise," he told BBC Midlands Today in an interview conducted before his departure.

"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 (in the Premier League) 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.

"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."

In his official LMA statement Pulis confirmed what had been suspected by many - that Coates wanted to take the club in a different direction.

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

"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."

Coates expressed his gratitude 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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