Tony Pulis Sums Up The Two Sides Of Alex Ferguson

Tony Pulis Sums Up The Two Sides Of Alex Ferguson
By Arthur James O'Dea Updated
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Tony Pulis is in his 26th year of football management; the last 10 have been at Premier League level.

Speaking to The Times this week, Pulis revealed his first lesson to younger managers who come seeking the secrets to his longevity:

I [just] don't give a damn ... don't read the papers, turn the TV off, and focus on what you think is right. Be your own man. There's no great secret in this game.

Having never been relegated as a manager, what Pulis thinks 'is right' is clearly working.

Renowned for creating teams that operate with a level of togetherness often impossible to rupture for opposing teams, Robert Huth, a title-winner with Leicester City and former charge of Pulis' at Stoke, commented that the team spirit under Pulis surpassed that which propelled Leicester to their remarkable league triumph.

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Although the eventual Caesar-esque removal of Claudio Ranieri shortly thereafter testifies to some low-lying issues therein, it remains a remarkable vindication of Pulis' work at Stoke.

Upon being promoted in 2008, Pulis located an inspiration of his own in Manchester United's Alex Ferguson.

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During an era where Ferguson's Man United turned Old Trafford into a fortress, his advice to the Welshman was to adopt a similar approach at Stoke's then Britannia Stadium.

In typically Fergie fashion, he told Pulis not to,

give a damn what the big clubs say about it. Because they'll all talk you down. They'll slip things into the papers, they'll do this and that. They'll try and make you soft. So don't take no notice. ... Do what you've got to do.

A lesson Pulis has taken with him from Stoke to Crystal Palace and now West Bromwich Albion, how did Ferguson react to such a relentless experience in the part of England now synonymous with testing the resolve of flashy, foreign stars?

He used to come down to the Britannia and moan like a drain: "The grass is too long. The pitch is too small."

Little surprise there then.

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