Who Is Tony Pulis?
Just who is Tony Pulis? Stoke City want him, Plymouth Argyle wanted to keep him, so what does Pulis have that makes him so popular? Just what has he done during his football career?
We take a walk down memory lane and look at the highs and lows of the Tony Pulis story.
Born in Newport, Wales on the 16th of January 1958, Tony Pulis was capped by his country at youth level and then became qualified as a FA coach at the age of 19, followed by his UEFA 'A' licence aged 21 - one of the youngest players ever to have obtained the qualification.
As a player Pulis won his only major honour, the Division Three title, which he won with AFC Bournemouth in 1987.
His career began at Bristol Rovers as a defender, where he made over 150 appearances, before a brief spell at the Happy Valley Club in Hong Kong in 1981. He then returned to Britain and signed for his hometown club of Newport where he changed from a defender to a tough tackling midfielder and then had two spells at Bournemouth, the second beginning in 1991 as player/coach and assistant to Harry Redknapp, before taking over the managerial reins a year later following Redknapp`s departure to West Ham United.
Pulis left Bournemouth in 1994 and then a year later joined Gillingham as manager. He guided the Gills to promotion as Third Division runners-up in 1995/96, collecting the Third Division Manager of the Year award on the way, established the club in Division Two, then mounted a promotion challenge which ended in play-off final defeat to Manchester City in 1999.
Pulis was then sacked by Gillingham in July 1999 and was replaced by Peter Taylor, but just 4 days after his sacking Pulis found himself in charge at Bristol City, although he found time to take Gillingham to court over his dismissal.
Pulis stayed just 6 months at Ashton Gate before moving to Portsmouth as manager, earning himself a 3-and-a-half-year contract. He was granted a 4-month leave of absence on full pay by Portsmouth to fight his bitter court case with Gillingham.
Just 9 months after joining Portsmouth, Pulis was sacked for underachieving.
Over 2 years later in November 2002, Pulis jumped back on the manager merry-go-round by taking over at Stoke City from Steve Cotterill. Pulis` main task was to keep Stoke in the first division, which he did on the last day of the season courtesy of a 1-0 win against Reading.
The following season Pulis led Stoke to a very respectful 11th position in First Division and then 12th position the season after before being sacked by Stoke in June 2005 for not signing foreign players.
Pulis then took over at Plymouth Argyle in September 2005 with the club poised just above the relegation zone. Under the stewardship of Pulis, Plymouth slowly climbed the league and away from relegation trouble to finish in 14th place, just one place below his former club Stoke City.
Pulis is now wanted by Stoke City again following a take over of the club by former chairman and Pulis sympathiser Peter Coates. Plymouth initially issued a hands-off warning to Stoke but after reaching a compromise Pulis will finally return to Stoke City in the next few days.
Tony Pulis managerial career:
Plymouth: 23/09/2005 to Present.
Stoke City: 01/11/02 to 28/06/05.
Portsmouth: 13/01/00 to 12/10/00.
Bristol City: 05/07/99 to 14/01/00.
Gillingham: 31/07/95 to 01/07/99.
Bournemouth: 09/06/92 to 05/08/94.