Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Pulis disappointed to leave Stoke

Tony Pulis guided Stoke to promotion to the Premier League in 2008

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 on Tuesday after seven successive years in charge. 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 the club in a much healthier position than when he rejoined in 2006, mainly as a result of the progress made once they were promoted.

"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," he added in a statement released by the League Managers' Association.

"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."

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."

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