Why 'Outstanding' Manager Tony Pulis Should Never Get Another Premier League Job If He Leaves West Brom


Try and stifle your cheers, but if Tony Pulis does leave West Bromwich Albion this summer there’s every chance he won’t get another Premier League job.

We’ll hear a lot about how the 58-year-old stay-up specialist ‘won’t be short of offers’, and I understand why people will say that, but can you realistically see another top-flight club signing up to his stodgy, lets-win-ugly brand of football?

I can’t.

With every money shower that pours down on England’s elite division, tolerance levels are evolving in the stands and boardrooms.

Producing football that’s a means to an end, sacrificing entertainment, just doesn’t sit as easily as it has in the past.

The unrest and empty seats at the Hawthorns are testament to those changes in attitude - and given the cost of ticket prices there’s nothing wrong with expecting more bang for their buck.

Baggies supporters follow a team that regularly starts with seven defensive players, that sees less of the ball than anyone else, producing the fewest shots. Their most talented and exciting player is frequently left on the bench.

All West Brom fans want is something, anything, to get excited about.

So as it is, staying up under Pulis and gaining the opportunity to suffer all over again next term, feels like it will be scant compensation for their continued investments.

Would West Brom fans rather pay to watch exciting, attacking Championship football, than spend their hard earned wages on witnessing the dull, survivalist philosophy inflicted on them right now?

In their shoes, I would.

Fun is in virtually non-existent supply, and I don’t think we should ever lose sight of the fact people go to matches in search of a good time.

Financial rewards don’t make supporters happy, goals and winning football does

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the principles of hard work, discipline and steely resilience – all great virtues – smaller clubs are capable of delivering more than just the basics these days.

Leicester City’s success stands out as a beacon of course, but the likes of Watford, Swansea, Bournemouth and Norwich are all more attractive to watch, and no less successful than the Black Country side.

Pulis’ former clubs Crystal Palace and Stoke City have also proved that additional success can be achieved by trying something a little more ambitious. Playing the percentages isn’t the only way to prosper on a slim budget.

Attracting top-class footballers might also be a problem in the summer window, if Pulis stays on.

Any skillful, attacking player worth his salt would be reticent to commit two or three seasons to a manager that openly prefers efficiency to enterprise. Reputations stick.

In the 13 months he has been in charge, winger Callum McManaman is the only player of that ilk to join on a permanent basis, and he hasn’t been a regular. Arsenal loanee Serge Gnabry wasn’t given a sniff, and fellow flair men Berahino and Sessegnon have found themselves out of favour, more than in.

West Brom are currently as big a turn-off for gifted players, as they are to the fans.

This isn’t a crusade to disparage Tony Pulis. He’s proven himself to be an outstanding manager during the last 23 years, and his record of never being relegated is something he is right to feel enormous pride in.

The trouble is, his philosophy is not a modern one, suited to the modern player.

The strong characters and natural leaders he relies upon to follow his instructions are growing ever harder to find. The latest generation has been brought up in a different way. Pampered and much softer, they will find his methods ever more of a chore.

Premier League football is changing, and to put it bluntly, West Brom’s way of playing is beginning to look old fashioned.

Survival would be great once again this season, but at what cost might it come?

The fans have a right to be unhappy. If they have their way, Tony Pulis’ days as a sought-after Premier League firefighter are coming to an end.