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Farewell Tony Pulis

 


Tony Pulis - We thank you

For many the 2002/ 2003 season was to be a difficult one. 

Steve Cotterill's resignation early into the season led to even more uncertainty surrounding the club and relegation looked almost inevitable. However then came one of the most important appointments in the club's history. The appointment of Tony Pulis.

His first job as Stoke boss was to save them from relegation. This a job completed on the last day of the season thanks to one of TP's first signings, striker Ade Akinbiyi. The forward scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 victory over Reading at The Britannia stadium to secure the Potter's safety.
Pulis rates survival in 2002/ 2003 as one of his greatest achievements in football.

The following season Pulis again secured Division 1 survival, guiding the club to an 11th place finish. However from then on friction grew between Tony and then chairman Gunnar Gislason and on the 29th June 2005, Pulis was sacked. The predominant reason being 'failure to exploit the transfer market'. 

A continued argument throughout his second tenure at the club by many supporters.

In May 2006, Tony was to rejoin Stoke City after just 11 months away from the club following the takeover by Peter Coates. 
The prospect of playing top flight football was then a distant thought for many Potters fans, however in 2007/ 2008 Pulis did in fact manage that mammoth feat. 

It was again (In typical Stoke style) left to the final day of the season, a day every Stoke fan will remember forever.

It was a rollercoaster of emotions on that final day for the 26,609 fans inside the ground, particularly for those supporters from Leicester whose transistor radios were tuned into the extraordinary events taking place at St Mary's between Southampton and Sheffield United.

The tide turned many times for Foxes fans, but ultimately Southampton's 3-2 victory ensured they would be frequenting League One stadia next season. By contrast, Stoke's promotion was all but sealed when news filtered through midway into the second half that Hull were losing at Ipswich.

On the field Stoke dominated the first half but could not manage to break the deadlock and the visitors almost took the lead when Gareth McAuley headed a corner onto the right post in the 61st minute.

With 10 minutes remaining Leicester twice came agonisingly close to scoring the goal that would have saved them. Stoke keeper Carlo Nash kept out Hume's half-volley before he athletically tipped Stearman's header over the crossbar from the resulting corner.

The game was held up by a pitch invasion during injury-time but it merely postponed the inevitable as both teams left the Championship, but in different directions.

Since this miracle day in 2008 Tony Pulis has guided Stoke City to 6 consecutive seasons in the Premier League, including an F.A Cup final AND a stint in Europe.

Not only did this great Welshman deliver top flight football, he took The Potters to Europe. Playing alongside world beaters such as Valencia and putting The Potteries back on the map, and for that, we thank you.  

 



By Jonty Sargeant 21/05/2013

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