• Premier League

Pulis backed for another decade with Potters

ESPN staff
November 1, 2012
Tony Pulis celebrates the tenth anniversary of his initial arrival at Stoke on Thursday © PA Photos

Peter Coates believes Tony Pulis is the best manager in Stoke City's 150-year history and wants him to be at the Britannia Stadium for another decade, although the Welsh coach has said he would love the opportunity to manage his nation later in his career.

Pulis is currently in his second spell as manager, but celebrates the tenth anniversary of his initial arrival at the club on Thursday and Stoke chairman Coates is delighted with the transformation achieved by his manager during his time in charge.

Since returning for his second spell, Pulis has established Stoke in the Premier League, taken them to the final of the FA Cup and into the Europa League, arguably outshining his predecessors Tony Waddington and Bob McGrory.

"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," said Coates.

"That is why I believe that he qualifies to be our best-ever manager. There was much more of a level playing field in the days of Bob McGrory and Tony Waddington.

"Clubs weren't spending vast sums of money on players back then and attracting international stars from all over the world to our game. Tony has been operating in a completely different world to them."

Coates admits he could not have imagined being in this position when Pulis first arrived in 2002 and after a spell away from the club, the Welshman's return in 2006 proved the major catalyst in Coates taking full control at the Britannia.

"There was a time when I thought we would never get into the Premier League, but all that started to change when Tony came back. He had a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve at the club and we have made incredible progress in a relatively short space of time.

"The challenge now is to keep moving forward. The important thing is that we have a solid base on which to build and, having achieved so much in the 10 years since he first arrived, we hope that Tony will be with us for many more years to come."

Pulis, meanwhile, has said he wants to continue his project at Stoke and make it the last domestic managerial job on his CV - but would love the opportunity to manage Wales later in his career.

"Down the line I do have an inkling to manage abroad. Then there is the Welsh thing, if that ever came up and it was the right time. That's a possibility," Pulis said.

"I don't see myself managing another Premier League club. I know you should never say never, especially in football, but I can't see past Stoke."

Pulis will celebrate his 55th birthday in January and feels he is still gaining experience, with his managerial skills yet to fully mature.

He said: "I still class myself as young in managerial terms and still learning. People go on about the younger managers coming into the game, but I look at the Fergusons, Redknapps and O'Neills.

"Then I think managers don't become managers until their mid-50s and beyond. So there is plenty still to be done."

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