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Clubs Enquiring About The Services of Experienced Top-flight Manager Tony Pulis


It’s not a good time to be a manager in football if your name is Nigel. Nigel Atkins has been sacked as Reading manager whilst Nigel Pearson, if reports are to be believed, is clinging to his job at Leicester City.

There is one name that has been linked to the Reading, Leicester and other struggling clubs, Tony Pulis’. His shadow, cap and all, looms large over those managers whose teams are fighting a losing battle to stay up or in some cases challenge for promotion.

In all fairness it is understandable that Pulis’ name has been linked with various clubs. He has proven his top flight credentials, shown that knows how to build a club and has famously never experienced relegation as a manager. Pulis has credit in the bank and is conveniently unattached.

He is perfectly set to take up any offer that comes his way and should have a strong enough hand to dictate the terms of his role. In truth, he can pick and choose his next job as his stock is still high.

With that in mind should he accept the first offer that comes his way? Pulis is in a position where he can burnish his reputation with his next job rather than needing to save it so from his point of view it may be wiser to wait for a vacancy at a more established club to progress his managerial career.

He has already successfully taken Stoke City to the Premier League and cemented their positionas a top flight club leading them to an FA Cup final in the process. He has also demonstrated his fire-fighting skills by achieving the seemingly impossible in keeping Crystal Palace in the Premier League, quite comfortably as it turned out.

Pulis may be the right man for Leicester City or Reading but are they the right clubs for him? What Pulis needs to avoid is pigeon-holing himself. If last season’s Manager of the Year takes up positions where he needs to save clubs from relegation or get them promoted he runs the risk of being viewed as someone whose skill sets are confined to avoiding the drop or gaining promotion.

In a sense it’s already a bit unfair on Pulis that the only jobs he seems to be linked with are with struggling Premier League teams or Championship sides looking to move up. If anything Pulis has shown signs that he’s capable of more.

His tenure at Stoke City did come to a less than satisfactory end but at the same time he had achieved a huge amount at that club and it was difficult to see how he could have pushed them on any further. If anything Pulis was trapped in the prism of the style of football he developed at the Britannia.

At Crystal Palace not only did he save them from relegation but at the same time got the Eagles to play dynamic football. Not a bad achievement for man labeled with the long ball tag.

Pulis has the opportunity to take his managerial career to the next level. To do that he needs to demonstrate that he can consistently get teams into the top ten, a feat he was unable to achieve at Stoke and Crystal Palace, and win if not challenge for trophies. In order to achieve that he will need to pick the right club.  That’s easier said than done though.

Of the teams in the Premier League only a handful stand out as clubs that seem suitable for Pulis to further enhance his standing in the game.

Sunderland seems an intriguing prospect and though they have a capable coach in Gus Poyet there have certainly been huge lows to go with some memorable highs during his tenure at the club. Sunderland though operates with a sporting director so it would be unlikely that Pulis would accept working for the Black Cats unless they sideline or even let go of the man who currently holds that position, Lee Congerton.

Newcastle United are another club with huge potential but there is a Mike Ashley sized stumbling block. Financially, Newcastle have been doing relatively well posting profits for the past three years but it’s the politics within the club that would dissuade Pulis from taking charge at St. James’ Park. That said it seems like Alan Pardew will stay in the job for the foreseeable future and only his resignation would open the door for Pulis in Tyneside. How the Geordie faithful would take to Pulis if he succeeded Pardew would be interesting too.

Aston Villa is have long been perennial sleeping giants who have hit very fallow times over the past few years. The lack of investment is hamstringing the club and Paul Lambert is struggling to get the Villans beyond the lower reaches of the Premier League. Could Pulis be the man to drag Aston Villa kicking and screaming up the table? Naturally, Pulis would probably wait for the ownership issue to be sorted out first before even considering the role. If Randy Lerner does manage to sell the club the new owners may not even think of Pulis as their top choice but the former Stoke manager’s reputation could help sway things in his favour.

The so-called bigger clubs in the Premier League may not gravitate to Pulis as they may not consider him, at the moment, a ‘big’ enough name. His transfer record has been hit and miss too so clubs who may be keen on bringing him in will take that into consideration especially as he’s likely to demand full control of whom comes in and out of the club. However the former Stoke manager should be considered more than just a relegation escapologist.

There’s always the danger of being out of the game for too long but at the same time Pulis should not just take the first offer that comes his way. If he waits the right offer may just fall into his lap or should that be cap?

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Iancransonsknees

    December 19, 2014 at 12:46 am

    Surely whoever he joins has to accept being considered scum and lower than low by the majority of know nothing football fans, the way we were during his tenure. It’s only fair.

    Wherever he ends up the hypocrisy spouted from the mouths of their supporters will be a treat to savour.

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