Ex-Stoke City forward Peter Crouch has revealed the ‘brutality’ of Tony Pulis, but admitted that he had a lot of time for the Welshman.
Pulis has long divided opinion amongst fans, and it seems as though he did the same amongst his players. One of the dying breed of old-school football coaches, Pulis’ most favoured time as a manger came with Stoke City.
He took charge of over 450 games at Stoke in two separate spells, the second lasting from 2006 to 2013 and seeing him achieve Premier League promotion in 2008 and reach the FA Cup final in 2011.
Crouch is also a long-standing Stoke legend – he played 261 times for the club between 2011 and 2019, scoring 62 goals across all competitions.
Speaking to the Stoke Sentinel about his time under Pulis, Crouch revealed the fitness regimes that he had to endure under the Welshman: “He would find the steepest hill in the middle of Austria and you’d be looking at your watch. You’d just got out of bed and you hadn’t had breakfast. 6am! You ride all the way back down then back up it on a constant loop.
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“You get back and have breakfast and you’re playing football at 10am or 11! Then at 4:30pm you’re back out again doing some kind of activity.”
Pulis has long harboured a reputation for running his players into the ground during pre-season, but Crouch went on to share his admiration for him: “Do you know what though, I found him to be one of the best managers I ever worked with. I absolutely loved him. I think he’s one of those managers when if you’re on his side, you’re with him and you buy into what he’s doing he’ll absolute love you for it.
“He was brilliant with me. I remember seeing him after games with Ab, he’d give us a bottle of wine and he was asking how the family was. He had his ways but he was incredibly successful in what he did.”
Now aged 62, Pulis hasn’t been in management since his Middlesbrough exit last summer. After his Stoke departure he had spells in charge of Crystal Palace and West Brom, before spending one-and-a-half seasons with Boro.
An iconic name of the Premier League, Pulis’ Stoke City were different to any team that’d ever been promoted from the Championship. He instilled such a gritty, hard-working team who got the job done, and his managerial achievements are as good as anyone’s.
Although he’s experienced tougher spells with Palace, West Brom and Boro, Pulis’ time at Stoke represents the brightest time in the club’s history, and he’ll long be a favoured name in the game.