Sunday 4 December 2016

On the verge of 1000 games in management, Tony Pulis says he's moved with the times

Sean Taylor

Published 22/09/2016 | 16:42

West Brom manager Tony Pulis
West Brom manager Tony Pulis

Tony Pulis feels his ability to adapt has been key to his longevity in football as the West Brom head coach prepares to celebrate 1,000 games as a manager.

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Pulis will reach the milestone on Saturday when his Albion side travel to face his former club Stoke in the Premier League. He will become only the 25th manager in English football to achieve the feat in the modern era, joining an illustrious list of names which includes the likes of Sir Matt Busby, Brian Clough, Sir Alex Ferguson, Dario Gradi and Sir Bobby Robson.

The 58-year-old will receive a special award at the 25th League Managers Association (LMA) Annual Awards Dinner in May next year when he will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame.

During a managerial career spanning two decades, Pulis has seen a lot in the game but he thinks the biggest change has been the emergence of the "film star" footballer.

"Everything has changed, life has changed," said Pulis.

"I think football is a reflection on life and society and you have to move with the times. I've moved with the times, I've had to. People are different now to how they were 20 years ago, that's for sure, and there are different priorities.

"There are lots of good things that have happened but there are also things that 20 years ago I wouldn't change even now. There are things I've kept in place in my management and my repertoire and I want those things to stay in place.

"Discipline and respect and hard work are not bad words. I expect that from everybody - especially the players who are in fortunate and very lucky positions. Players live a different life. They've been blessed. They live in a bubble and they live in a world where they get everything really. They've become film stars.

"But you have to change with it. Players are different to manage now, I wouldn't say they are more difficult to manage. Everything has changed, and I mean everything, but you have to manage if you want to stay in it and you have to change your whole perspective really."

As fate would have it, Pulis reaches the landmark at Stoke where, during two spells, he amassed 464 of his 999 matches as a manager to date.

He said: "(The landmark) dropping like that, at a club where I had a wonderful time, is amazing really. I have a lot of respect for (Stoke chairman) Peter (Coates) and his family and the football club.

"I'll go there and I'll enjoy it. I'll be nervous before, as I always am, and I'll be nervous during the game but I'll have a glass of wine after it.

"It'll be a tough game because they've got some good players and we will have to go there and play well."

Meanwhile, Pulis confirmed that neither Marouane Chamakh nor Momo Sissoko will be signing for the club. The free agents have been on trial at West Brom but Pulis felt he could not guarantee either of them first-team football.

"They've moved on," he said. "We've had a look at them and we've decided against taking them.

"They came in, and obviously I have more of an association with Chamakh because of the time at Crystal Palace, and he was fantastic for me. But there are other clubs out there who want the two lads and who can guarantee them more opportunities than we can."

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