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Pulis: In Profile

25 November 2013

Tony Pulis was officially named as Crystal Palace’s new manager this weekend on a two-and-a-half year contract.

As the former Stoke City boss prepares to be paraded in front of the media this afternoon, takes a detailed look at his career so far. 

Tony Pulis may have spent 17 years playing for the likes of Bristol Rovers, Gillingham and Bournemouth, but he had set his sights on going into coaching from a very young age.

The Welshman obtained his FA coaching badge at the tender age of 19, followed by his UEFA 'A' licence aged 21 – making him one of the youngest professional players ever to have obtained the qualification.

His first shot at management came at Bournemouth, where he was promoted from player/coach in 1992 to become successor to Harry Redknapp, who had swapped the south coast for West Ham. 

After overseeing two successive 17th place finishes at the Cherries, Pulis moved on to Gillingham in the summer of 1995, leading them to promotion from the Third Division in his first season in charge. Three years later he took the Gills to the Second Division Play-Off Final, where they lost to Manchester City on penalties after infamously conceding a stoppage time equaliser from Paul Dickov. 

Pulis then had spells at Bristol City and Portsmouth ahead of his first stint in charge at Stoke, where he spent a total of 10 seasons by the time he departed the club for a second time earlier this year. 

His first period at The Britannia Stadium began in November 2002, following the resignation of Steve Cotterill. Pulis led the club to First Division survival after a 1-0 win over Reading on the final day – thanks to a goal from on-loan Palace striker Ade Akinbiyi.

After spending the 2005/06 season at Championship rivals Plymouth Argyle, Pulis returned to the Potteries and finished just outside the play-offs in his first season back at the helm.

The following year, Stoke finished second to secure promotion to the Premier League for the 2008/09 campaign – which would be the club’s first season in English football’s top flight for 23 years.

Despite being tipped for an instant return to the Championship, Pulis led Stoke to 12th place and the club went one better to finish 11th in May 2010. 

A year later, Stoke reached their first ever FA Cup Final after thrashing Bolton 5-0 at the semi-final stage, only to be beaten to the famous trophy by Manchester City. 

With City already guaranteed a Champions League place, finishing as runners-up was enough to see Stoke qualify for the Europa League and they became the first team in the club’s history to win a two-legged European tie, when they knocked out Hajduk Split in a qualifying play-off. 

Pulis led Stoke into the knockout stages, advancing from a tough group that contained Besiktas, Dynamo Kiev and Maccabi Tel Aviv, before losing to Spanish side Valencia.

At a domestic level, three more safe mid-table Premier League campaigns followed, with Stoke finishing 13th in Pulis’ final season at the helm.

The 55-year-old departed The Britannia Stadium in May this year, having maintained an impressive record of never being relegated in his time as a manager.

He will be hoping to retain that statistic having taken over at Palace, who currently lie 19th in the Barclays Premier League following the 1-0 win over Hull City at the weekend.

Check out and Palace Player this afternoon for more from the new Eagles boss.  

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