The hypocrisy of Tony Pulis

“Someone has just asked me what the difference was – I said about £220m”

Those were the words of Stoke manager Tony Pulis following his side’s abject defeat to Manchester City on New Year’s Day. He continued by saying “They’ve [Manchester City] got a bit of a head start on clubs like us”. The hypocrisy of Pulis knows no bounds. He frequently moans about topical issues such as refereeing decisions and diving yet when the shoe is on the other foot and his club get the rub of the green, Pulis’ smug shit-eating post-match grin is nauseating. A prime example is in the previous fixture between Stoke and Manchester City back in September where the Potters secured a 1-1 draw – their goal coming through a handball by Peter Crouch. Asked about the decision, Pulis said he was “delighted”, “It’s lovely for us, a smaller club getting a decision against a big club”

What Tony Pulis would like us all to believe is that Stoke are this small club that have been built on a shoestring budget, which is insulting. The Potters’ starting eleven vs Manchester City cost £35m: Asmir Begovic (£3.5m), Andy Wilkinson (academy), Robert Huth (£5m), Geoff Cameron (£2.5m), Ryan Shawcross (£2m), Cameron Jerome (£4m), Jon Walters (£2.75m), Charlie Adam (£4m), Glenn Whelan (£500k), Steven N’Zonzi (£3m) and Kenwyn Jones (£8m). If you include Stoke’s bench, of which their record signing Peter Crouch (£10m) sat then the cost of the matchday 18 rises to £55m.

Naturally, the money spent does pale in comparison to that of Manchester City, but only City and Chelsea have had a higher net spend than Stoke City’s £75m over the past five seasons. Pulis’ side have spent an average of £15m per season over the last five years during their time in the Premier League. The club’s transfer record has been broke six times since 2008. Pulis may have not had the magnitude of money that City or Chelsea but he has had significantly more to spend than a lot of other managers in the Premier League.

Defeat against City was only their fourth of the season, their other three defeats have come against table toppers Manchester United, fourth placed Chelsea and Norwich. They are the only side yet to suffer home defeat in the Premier League in keeping with the cliché that the Britannia Stadium is a tough place to go. Pulis, who has never been relegated as manager nor have Stoke been ever sucked into a relegation battle have finished 12th, 11th, 13th and 14th respectively with points totals of 45, 46, 47, 45 over the last four season. Steady progress? Hardly. Yes, Stoke have reached an FA Cup final and played in Europe over the past two season but for Pulis to suggest that the reason for defeat to Manchester City comes down to money is belittling to footballer watchers out there. His side showed no ambition and didn’t register their first shot on target until near the hour mark.

Even on Wednesday, as Ryan Shawcross signed a new long term deal, Pulis was quoted as saying: “We’re not going to do what Manchester City have done, we’re not going to do a Chelsea,” What, spend money? “we have to build gradually and steadily, and that’s what we’ve done over the last five years.” Perhaps, Tony. But you’ve done it by spending a significant amount of money. The players didn’t just arrive at Stoke.

This might seem like a rant against Tony Pulis and in some respects it is. But it is Pulis’ small time mentality that has irritated me the most. Stoke are by no means a ‘small club’, they attract near enough to 27,000 for the vast majority of their Premier League home games. Pulis has had money to spend, his side wasn’t build on small change scrimped together from down the back of a sofa. Questions can certainly be raised as to whether the money has been spent wisely enough. Should Stoke be getting more bang for their buck?



  1. Net Spending…..Yes you are right but are you a total idiot. Think about it. Do your homework.
    We are relatively new to the Prem league and when we were promoted our existing players were relatively very low cost. “Net” means “Buy minus Sell”.
    We had to bring in, bit by bit, some quality to survive in the league which we have done, season on season. In some cases the players were relatively expensive. Problem is we only had “lower league” players to sell…..relatively cheap. Result = large net spend.
    We dont have the luxuries (yet) to be able to sell a player for 30m, 50m or even 80m (Ronaldo) that the bigger clubs like Man U can….thus significantly reducing their “net” spend.
    No go away, get your calculator, think again and right a decent intelligent report!!

  2. What hypocrisy? He says the same stuff all the time! He obviously doesn’t think of such a small time club. He’s keeping the fans close. If he admitted stoke are a massive club he’d not have so many fans on his side. PLUS… Net spend = Money out – money in. I wonder how much stoke sold championship players for. PLUS. They famously have a tight wage budget. Do your research. From an ARSENAL fan. And yes stoke are physical but at least they’re not diving and spending £50m on bench warmers and rubbish players (like man city and Chelsea, the teams you discussed)
    I don’t know why I’ve written so much for a pointless article about another club. All this new year’s energy…

  3. Spot on. Pulis seems to think the financial gulf is a ready made excuse to deflect attention away from his teams’ gutless performance against City. Timewasting from the 10th minute onwards, no change of tactics when they conceded the first goal and the amazing spectacle of players who were being substituted strolling off the pitch to eat up more time when they went 2-0 down.

    Tony, you keep making the excuses, Manchester City will continue taking the points.

    1. Boris
      You have a good point. We (Stoke) were dire at your place recently. Very poor, negative, unacceptable display….. But Im sure every club including yours has the odd game thats “unacceptable” to the fans.
      The issue with this report tho is the “net spend” issue….. and the writer is totally inacurate with his comments if you really think about it and analyse it.

  4. Clearly written by some anti-Stoke moron that knows little about Pulis or the club. And no, I’m not a Stoke fan. I’m not really fond of the club myself, but this article is so poorly written and is obviously just another lazy blogger wanting to moan about a team that an awful lot of people could actually learn from.

  5. It’s true, Pulis is a c*nt. He is a completely blinkered, small-minded, small time manager. Imagine if Pulis got a job at a big club, he’d be out in no time because his tactics are tantamount to rugby over football. Stoke can only go so far under his tutelage. Fair play for getting Stoke to where they are, and keeping them there, regardless off the atrocious ‘football’ on display… However, Stoke have two glass ceilings to contend with, one being the fact that they are a relatively insignificant club with little pulling power for any player of note, and secondly, and more importantly, Pulis’ blatantly obvious shortcomings as a tactical manager mean that whilst Stoke may be hard to beat, they will never win anything playing that dour sh!te they call footy.

  6. Why dont we start slagging off Ryan Shawcross as well, thats the only thing missing from this article. No progress? The author of this article even goes on to say that we reached an FA cup final and Europe. For a club who at the time had only been in the premier league for a few seasons I think that is fantastic progress. How many other newly promoted teams could you say the same thing about in terms of entering Europe and getting consistently far through the FA cup each season. Yes we were negative against Man City and should have been more attacking but thats sometimes how Stoke play. In terms of progress, if you actually watched us each season you would realise that we are consistently improving each season. Granted this progress may not be as quick as the likes of Norwich or Swanseas’ instant ability to adapt but we are changing and getting better each season. We will now that we have a solid foundation move on. I think that people in general who write negative comments about Stoke base their opinion on blogs written in 2009. Get your facts straight!!!

  7. Comments like this can come back and bite you in the arse. Stoke will be up for the cup again but what will Pulis say if they come unstuck at Palace, a club who have spent about £2m over the last 4 years.

  8. I see the “author” hasn’t put his name to the semi retarded article. So what you are bleating about is that pulis said that Manchester city has spent more than stoke city? Well guess what, they have.

  9. Most managers are hypocritical. Pulis is no different in that respect. And to his credit, the likes of Wilkinson aside, he has tried to evolve his club from the dirty hoofers they were 3 or 4 seasons ago, when they played an overtly intimidatory style akin to Wimbledon. They still play fairly rudimentary stuff much of the time, but there is more variety and less injured opponents.

    Where Pulis is full of shit is the poor bullied small club crap. 2 separate studies, one scientific, one by journos showed that over the last 2 full seasons they had more incorrect decisions in their favour than any other team in the Premier League. And Stoke fans, the net spend is obviously related to adjusting to the EPL, but that doesn’t make it less factually correct. Teams like Swansea and Norwich are fantastic because they show another way, that is more progressive and economical. He also cleverly plays into local resentment of soft southerners or affluent big city teams in order to justify failings or enhance the local vocal support.

    Pulis has been good for Stoke, but shouldn’t bleat about his lot too often, as his board have been fantastic for him as have the fans. I look forward to when he goes that Stoke can cement themselves as a top division footballing side as they were in days past. He is a good manager for a small club, and he has a small club mentality. The question is, can Stoke move beyond that into a Premier League fixture. The challenge is a difficult one, so I sympathise.

    And before I get posters telling me I know nothing of Stoke, I lived there for over half a decade, went to some bloody awful games at the Brittania and have chatted to Peter Thorne amongst others, as well as doing a couple of press gigs there.

    1. Thanks for reading and for your comment. I think you have more or less added and backed up some of the points that I made. I agree on the point about Pulis himself, he is a good manager, but if Stoke want to move forward and make further progress, then they need to move him on.

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