It was no surprise that West Bromwich Albion moved for Tony Pulis when Alan Irvine was sacked in December.
Pulis has impressed in the Premier League with his stints at Stoke City and Crystal Palace. At Stoke, his side were renowned for being tough to beat and specialised in scoring goals from set pieces. Although it wasn’t always easy on the eye, it was effective.
Pulis took Stoke from strength to strength and developed the team into an established Premier League side. However, his old-fashioned approach eventually meant that Stoke outgrew their manager, moving to a more stylish brand of football under the leadership of mark Hughes.
His next job in the Premier League would be at Selhurst Park. Crystal Palace were struggling at the bottom of the league under Ian Holloway and Tony Pulis was the ideal candidate to lead the club to safety.
Not only did Pulis manage to keep Palace up, he did it comfortably, with the South-London side finishing on 45 points in 11th place last season. Their final position in the league would have looked unattainable earlier in the season but Pulis showed his class by turning Palace’s fortunes around.
Although Pulis’ renowned style was expected at Palace, the Eagles played some very attractive football at times. Not only had Pulis proved his Premier League pedigree at Palace, he was showing English football that he had evolved, modernising his tactics to suit the squad at his disposal.
One of the biggest surprises of the summer was the fact that Pulis left his job at Selhurst Park. He was a massive hit with the fans and his enthusiasm to lead the club forward was there for all to see. However, the lack of a cash injection into new transfers at the club in the summer of 2014 led to his departure. Pulis’ next move was always going to be interesting as he clearly wanted a job that matched his ambitions.
Step in West Bromwich Albion. A team who do not seem as doomed as Palace were last season, but nonetheless, a team still struggling at the wrong end of the table. Clearly, Pulis felt that there was potential in the long-term running of the club to take the post.
Pulis himself has stated that it will be the toughest job he has had but you get the sense that his decision was strategic and well planned. Rumours of a huge £30 million budget in January would have undoubtedly swayed Pulis’ decision to take charge at the Hawthorns. Star striker Saido Berahino’s future could be in doubt but a bit of around £20 million for the striker will add a further financial injection to the transfer budget.
Having said that, Pulis will hope he can persuade Berahino to stay and the increased optimism now surrounding the club could sway the striker’s decision.
West Brom will feel like they’ve acquired the best man for the job and their Premier League survival is almost guaranteed now that Pulis has entered the frame. He is only just settling into his new job but it hasn’t taken long for the former Palace manager to add Paul Jewell and Dave Kemp to his staff.
The wealth of Premier League experience in the coaching setup will only aid West Brom’s push for survival. Pulis was a shrewd appointment and his managerial expertise will hopefully bring success to the West Midlands club. The Baggies may very well be bouncing again in the near future.