Manager Tony Pulis leaves Stoke City
LONDON -- Stoke City and manager Tony Pulis parted company by mutual agreement on Tuesday after seven years in which he established the Potteries outfit back in the top flight of English soccer.
Having steered Stoke to the Premier League in 2008, two years after returning for a second spell at the helm, Pulis has kept them safe amongst the elite and took them to the FA Cup final in 2010-11 when they lost to Manchester City.
However, Stoke's abrasive style of football and this season's disappointing results which saw them finish 13th led to some disgruntlement from the fans.
"Stoke City and Tony Pulis confirm that they have mutually agreed that Tony will leave the club with immediate effect," Stoke said on their website (www.stokecityfc.com).
Welshman Pulis, 55, had three years as manager of Stoke from 2002-05 before a short spell at Plymouth Argyle but returned in 2006 and two years later restored their place among England's elite after a 23-year absence.
Favourites to go straight back down, Stoke finished 12th in their first season back in the top flight and have avoided any serious flirtations with relegation since although this season's 42 points was their lowest total since promotion.
The high point of the Pulis reign was reaching the FA Cup final and a venture into the Europa League in 2011-12.
Despite over-achieving on a relatively small budget, Stoke have won over few neutral fans with their direct style of play and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger once described their tactics as similar to that of rugby.
Pulis's exit continues the managerial merry-go-round that has dominated the end of the English season after Alex Ferguson stood down as Manchester United manager having given them 27 years service to be replaced by Everton's David Moyes.
Chelsea are also close to being reunited with former boss Jose Mourinho, according to media reports, once they have said goodbye to their interim manager Rafa Benitez.
Pulis is the 56th manager to leave his post since the start of the season which concluded last weekend.
Following the departures of Ferguson and Moyes, Pulis was briefly the second longest-serving manager in the Premier League, behind Wenger, who has spent more than 16 years at Arsenal.
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