By Tony Attwood
Maybe before matches we ought to do manager previews as well as referee previews. Especially when it comes to Tony Pulis.
Tony Pulis. I’m embarrased to share a Christian name with him. But here goes.
As a player
|1981–1982||Happy Valley (Hong Kong)||13||0|
As a manager
|2015–||West Bromwich Albion|
Pulis we will remember as the manager of Stoke. But before that he was promoted to the position of manager with Bournemouth in 1992, following the Redknapp decision to leave the club for West Ham United (subsequently renamed).
Pulis was later out of work for two years before getting the Stoke job. Then he fell out with the owner, got sacked, and then came back for a second bash and made Stoke what we know today. He got into the Europa League (the competition Tottenham love so much they had to go their this season even though the Champs League was on offer) with Stoke through losing a cup final, and got knocked out by Valencia.
Very curiously Pulis was named manager of the month for April 2007, after Stoke picked up eleven points from five league games and eventually he took them up. But eventually even the bizarre and appalling supporters of Stoke had had enough and so had the chairman and kicked Pulis out.
There then followed a period in which Pulis circulated the TV networks particularly being feted and loved on Sky who talked him up and up and up and up as the most wonderful manager in the history of football. Match previews, talk shows, he did the lot.
And then on 23 November 2013 Pulis was appointed manager of Crystal Palace on a two-and-half-year contract taking over from Ian Holloway. Really? That was the question on the lips of most people. Did Palace actually want Pulis????
But as we predicted and contrary to the love-in with Sky, he let them down. Just before the start of the 2014/15 however, Pulis suddenly left the club claiming it was “by mutual consent”, just 2 days before the start of the season, adding that it was because he was not being backed in the transfer market by the Palace board.
A dispute broke out and then after a court case, the Pulis character’s “mutual consent” was found to be not “by mutual consent at all” and he was ordered to pay Palace no less than £3.77m after he was found to have deceived a Premier League managers’ arbitration tribunal.
The dispute was over a £2m “survival” bonus he was due for saving Palace from relegation. Palace agreed to pay Pulis the bonus more than two weeks before it was due but demanded he return it after his sudden and unexpected departure two days later.
In March the Premier League’s mediation panel found in favour of Palace, and Pulis was ordered to return the bonus and pay a further £1m in legal costs and damages for breach of contract.
Pulis as you might expect (given what we know about how he approached football with Stoke) always believes he is right, and so appealed, but a ruling from the commercial court ordered him to pay damages for £1.5m as well as £2.276m damages for “deceit”. He is as far as I know the first manager to be ordered to pay costs for deceit.
Judge Sir Michael Burton rejected Pulis’s appeal after upholding the panel’s verdict he had made two fraudulent misrepresentations.
The first related to a claim Pulis had assured Parish he was committed to the club and would be staying until at least 31 August 2014, when the bonus was due to be paid. He had told Palace he urgently needed the money early so “he could buy some land for his children” but Sir Michael found there was a “lack of evidence” to support this claim.
Pulis had also alleged a “heated players meeting” happened on 12 August; but the mediation panel ruled it had taken place on 8 August – four days before he received the payment. In short the court said Pulis was lying. Steve Parish part owner of Palace said that Pulis had not been at the training ground, and it then turned out that Pulis had acutally been at his hairdressers when he said he was at the ground.
Steve Parish even went so far as to give evidence of taxi fares, of telecommunications evidence called as expert evidence.
The panel added that Pulis was “not willing to concede the heated players’ meeting did not occur on 12 August because he otherwise had no explanation for his departure”.
The original ruling found Pulis’s standards of conduct had “been shown to be disgraceful”. Sir Michael’s final decision effectively agreed.
The judge said he had analysed Pulis’s complaints about the arbitrators’ decisions and concluded his challenge should be dismissed. He said he would enforce the damages awarded by the arbitrators. He added that he had also analysed Pulis’s challenge at a private hearing – in line with judges’ normal policy but thought it appropriate his ruling should be made public.
So there we are. The great favourite of Sky, his sins against football in terms of Stoke’s approach always ignored by the media, but now we see a little more as to what the courts and the arbitrators think of the man. Mind you seeing how Stoke played under him, it is not really surprising is it? What reasonable man would ever get a team to play like that?
Untold Arsenal: what a goal by Brady
23 December 1978. Tottenham H 0 Arsenal 5. The Brady goal from this game has regularly been used as part of the pre-match entertainment at the Emirates. John Motson’s commentary has also become famous as he said, “Look at that, oh look at that. What a goal by Brady!” Sunderland got a hattrick, Stapleton the other. The result left Arsenal in 4th and Tottenham in 11th place.