Why Tony Pulis must step aside and leave Stoke City

by Alex Richards

Tony Pulis StokeThere comes a time in every man’s life when he must walk away. From a woman, from a job, from a friend, or foe, at some point everybody must choose to depart. For Stoke City manager Tony Pulis, that moment is surely close.

The Potters form has nosedived in the second-half of this season and Pulis has come in for considerable flak from supporters, who have become increasingly disappointed with their sides seeming inability to progress, both in terms of playing style and league position, over the past 12 to 18 months.

That Peter Crouch and Jon Walters both scored in the recent 2-0 win over QPR to all but secure Premier League football for another season is pretty much irrelevant. Likewise, that a win at home to Norwich on Saturday would cement their safety for a fifth successive season. As Batman proved in ‘The Dark Knight’, if you stick around long enough as a hero, you’ll only become a villain.

It would be doing a disservice to his entire second tenure at the Britannia Stadium, for that to happen to the 55-year-old. The Staffordshire club were nothing more than a middling Championship side on his return in 2006, replacing Johan Boskamp for a second spell as manager.

That Pulis led them to promotion two years later, and his since retained his record of having never been relegated, is nothing short of admirable. Throw in an FA Cup final appearance and a Europa League run, and it’s been borderline marvellous.

However, recent difficulties have led to supporters wanting a new direction for their club. When Pulis’ rudimentary style of play was yielding positive results fans didn’t mind it. Now that it isn’t, it’s another stick to beat him with.

And given how poor recent results have been, perhaps it is rightfully so.

A run of two wins in 15 league games isn’t good enough at any standard, nor is the dreadful return of 30 goals in 34 matches. Mix in Pulis disappointing record in the transfer market – Charlie Adam and Wilson Palacios to name just two who have signed for considerable fees and struggled – and the fact that only Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool have a higher net spend in the past five years, and Potters fans will argue they deserve more. Perhaps they do.

But that shouldn’t take away the excellent job that Tony Pulis has done in taking what was a run-of-the-mill second tier club and establishing them in the top-flight. Stoke City are without a shadow of a doubt in a far healthier position on the pitch now than they were pre-Pulis.

But the man himself would be doing his legacy more harm than good if he continued at the Britannia Stadium into 2013/14.

1 Response

  1. Steve says:

    Humm .. lets take this one at a time

    “to all but secure Premier League football for another season is pretty much irrelevant”

    Really … for a team like Stoke who have had to spend to make sure that they have established themselves – £60m next year is hardly irrelevant. Chelsea, Man City both spent big to move to the higher levels of the Premiership, Stoke had to get there first – so same method different level.

    Two wins in 15 isn’t good enough – not enough goals – ditto but do we really want to go down the revolving door policy of managers that get a short term fix .. Leicester, come readily to mind.

    Adam was in the team constantly until the death of his Dad just before Christmas – it coincided with the best run of the season 10 games unbeaten. He’s only recently got a starting place back and .. back to back wins. “Struggling” .. well death affects people that way.
    Palacios – was part of the deal for Crouch and I’d agree that he has been underused but where you would put him at the moment ??? In place of N’Zonzi … probably our player of the season.

    To come from a mid table Championship outfit to mid table Premier league most of us would have taken it. T

    hat some have lost sight of that or are mischievous enough to add their weight to an Internet campaign where many are speaking first and engaging brain afterwards is disingenuous.

    A more logical way of looking at it is to add up all the points the team would have got IF they had scored a single goal more in games – an additional 31 pts !!

    http://stats.football365.com/dom/ENG/teams/StokeCty.html

    Its a stunning stat which tends to reflect what you’ve identified – we need to score more goals .. but that’s hardly rocket science is it.

    In such circumstances is changing the manager the right option or do we accept that the club will also know this and that they are in the process of making sure that next season that issue is rectified.

    Stability is everything you only need to look at the rapid turnover of staff at clubs like QPR to work that out.

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