So long, Tony Pulis, man of the people and Newport’s finest. Of all the Premier League sackings thus far, the loss of TP has hit me the hardest. Ever since his arrival in the top flight, gallantly riding the proverbial dragon that was Stoke City’s 2008 squad, TP has inflicted many a cold, rainy night upon top-class opposition. I’ll miss the stern interviews, I’ll miss that iconic tracksuit/cap combination, and I’ll miss that distinctive brand of long-ball football.
After West Brom’s two clean sheets in the opening two games of the season, I believed that once again the Welsh magician would deliver the goods for the West Midlands side; ‘the goods’ in this case being an array of goalless encounters; signings big in size, if not in name – Danny Rose would not approve; and a comfortable lower-mid-table-but-never-in-danger-of-going-down finish. Alas, the Baggies haven’t won a league game since – which admittedly doesn’t sound great – however if you don’t count the losses to City and Chelsea (which were to be expected), they’re technically unbeaten at home. Not the strongest case to get a man his job back but it was worth a go.
So where next for TP? The Wales national side need a coach, and if Big Sam got a shot at the England job it seems only fair that another long-ball enthusiast is given the go-ahead with a nation at his disposal. Imagine the schemes Pulis could plan with Ashley Williams (let’s ignore the goings on at Everton for now) and big James Collins at the back, the sizeable Joe Ledley in midfield and Sam Vokes up top. The only downside I can see is potential awkwardness between TP – in my opinion, Newport’s 2nd finest export behind ‘Goldie Lookin Chain’ – and his former West Brom colleague Robson-Kanu, given the former Baggies manager claimed he never wanted to sign the centre-forward.
It’s odd really; you’d have thought that Robson-Kanu was born to play for West Brom, what with a surname derived from Baggies’ legend Bryan Robson and Baggies’ serial ‘misser of open goals’, Nwankwo Kanu. There can’t be many instances in which fate has gifted the world such a beautiful coincidence; imagine Sheringham-Janssen signing for Spurs, or Delia-Smith-Van-Wolfswinkel lining up for Norwich City. The stuff of legend.
Anyhow, moving swiftly back to Tony Pulis’ career prospects – an avenue I had no idea I was so passionate about – if Everton are on the hunt for a man to change the fortunes of Goodison Park, they could do a lot worse than a man who’s never been relegated. And so, I feel as if my main point this week is that Tony, if you’re reading this, keep your chin up, son – football is not done with you yet.