Pulis promises not to splash cash

LONDON - Manager Tony Pulis has promised never to jeopardise Stoke City's future by spending money the club cannot afford.

The straight-talking, no-nonsense Welshman ended Stoke's 23-year wait for top-flight status by winning promotion in 2008 and in their two years in the Premier League has turned them into a force to be reckoned with, finishing 12th and 11th.

"We have got to work this close-season probably harder than we've worked before," Pulis told Reuters in an interview.

"The Coates family run the club, they own it and I get on well with Peter who is a good chairman and very understanding.

"I have a responsibility to the family and I never in a million years want this football club to be in the same state some other football clubs have found themselves in financially, where they are hanging by a piece of string.

"We have to balance incomings and outgoings and we have to do it well."

Pulis, who served his apprenticeship in the lower leagues before returning for a second spell at Stoke in 2006, said the Midlands club were blessed with a wealth of youthful talent.

"We've brought in some good young players," he said. "If we wanted to sell (former Manchester United defender) Ryan Shawcross tomorrow his value would be unbelievable.

"We've got Robert Huth who has been brilliant in defence. We took Asmir Begovic from Portsmouth who is an outstanding goalkeeper and we have (defender) Andy Wilkinson.

"We are trying to improve the squad right the way through and we are also trying to find players who could have a big value (in the future)."

Stoke are a Premier League rarity in that they are free of debt and Pulis said it occasionally crossed his mind he had taken the club as far as he could.

"I think you've always got that in the back of your mind but just looking at the five million pounds training ground we've just opened, I wouldn't be too happy if I wasn't here to see that," he said.


"I have been here for 6 ½ years in two spells and I can remember having to drive to the old training ground, getting absolutely soaking wet, freezing with cold and then jumping in the car and driving back to the stadium to have a shower.

"We have now got state of the art stuff, we've got the training ground pitches (at Clayton Wood) and everything I could ever dream of as a manager.

"I actually walk into the training ground and look at it and think, 'You know, I've managed to put this in place'."

Pulis said the next step for Stoke was to extend the capacity at their Britannia Stadium.

"I really think there's a lot more to come from the club," he added. "We are looking to stay in the Premier League next year and we're looking to extend the ground to try to get the capacity up to 34,000.

"We sell out every week at 28,000 so there is still quite a bit of work to be done yet."

Pulis plied his early trade as a manager at lower league clubs like Bournemouth, Gillingham, Bristol City and Plymouth Argyle before achieving his breakthrough at Stoke.

As a player he never reached the top and he said he always had to fight to make a living in football.

"If you look back to when I started out there were a lot of home-grown managers like Ron Atkinson, Jim Smith and Alex Ferguson who served their apprenticeships at the lower level like I did," said Pulis.

"That was par for the course then but it's much more difficult now to come through the system and get a job in the Premier League.

"I have enjoyed every challenge that's ever been put in front of me...and that's been brilliant, very rewarding," said Pulis.

"No one has ever given me a job for my name or my persona. I have really had to stand up for myself, prove myself every day and I certainly think it's made me a stronger person and a stronger character."

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