Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Pulis' Potters pride remains strong

Tony Pulis, pictured, has been hailed as the 'best-ever' Stoke manager by chairman Peter Coates
Tony Pulis, pictured, has been hailed as the 'best-ever' Stoke manager by chairman Peter Coates

Tony Pulis' pride at being Stoke manager has not diminished since he was first appointed to the post 10 years ago - nor has his determination to keep pushing the club forward.

The Staffordshire outfit, hovering just above the second tier relegation zone when Pulis was named boss on November 1 2002, are now in their fifth successive Barclays Premier League season, with appearances in the 2011 FA Cup final and last term's Europa League under their belts.

Speaking on Thursday afternoon at a press conference to preview Saturday's away league clash with Norwich, at which he was presented with a cake in recognition of his landmark, Pulis said: "It has been tough, but obviously I'm very proud of what we have done and achieved."

During his decade in charge - which was punctuated by a spell at Plymouth after he was dismissed by the Potters' Icelandic owners at the end of 2004-05, only to return a year later following Peter Coates' takeover - the Welshman has overseen a considerable transformation at the club.

Pulis added: "I can remember sitting in the Waddington Suite (at the Britannia Stadium) on my first night with the Icelandic directors saying I was very proud to manage Stoke City, and I still am very proud to manage this football club.

"It has been a fantastic time here. It has had ups and downs and it is difficult - football clubs are not easy to manage. But I've enjoyed it, and I hope people will look back and feel I've played my part in what we've done over the last 10 years.

"It has been very, very good, but the biggest thing in life and in sport is that you can't rest on your laurels. You have got to keep driving forward and pushing forward. I know you are always three or four games away from taking a lot of stick, so you have to be on the front foot as much as you can."

Potters chairman Coates has hailed Pulis - who has guided Stoke to 12th, 11th, 13th and then last season 14th-placed finishes in the Premier League - as the club's greatest manager.

Coates told www.stokecityfc.com: "He has done a remarkable job to establish the club in what is widely recognised as the most competitive league in the world, where the top teams and top players are world class.

"That is why I believe that he qualifies as our best-ever manager."

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