Tributes to Albion boss as he joins 1,000 club
SIR Alex Ferguson leads a chorus of acclaim today for Baggies boss Tony Pulis as he prepares to celebrate his 1,000th game in management.
Pulis will reach the milestone on Saturday when he takes the Baggies to one of his former clubs Stoke City for the Premier League derby.
His formal induction to the fabled “1,000 Club” will come at the League Managers Association’s annual awards dinner in May 2017 when he will be the 25th boss to step on to such hallowed ground.
But legendary managerial figure Sir Alex led the tributes to the “real football man” who will be saluted by his peers and contemporaries at the end of the season.
“My heartfelt congratulations to Tony Pulis on reaching this amazing milestone of managing 1000 professional football matches and subsequently entering the League Managers Association Hall of Fame,” said the former Manchester United boss.
“Knowing Tony as I do, and having competed against him on numerous occasions, I can say that without question Tony is a real football man. If you trace his career as a manager you will identify clearly his will to win and his relentless desire to improve all of the teams he has managed.
“It is safe to say that all of Tony’s teams mirror both his character and attitude. Above all that Tony is renowned and respected for his warmth and forthrightness, welcome to the great Band of Brothers.”
LMA Chairman Howard Wilkinson joined the tributes saying: “It gives me enormous pleasure to welcome Tony to the LMA's 1000 Club and Hall of Fame.
“I have known Tony for 20 years and during that time the only significant change in Tony ‘the man’ has been that he has got better and better at what he does. He remains as modest, passionate and committed as he ever was. As a manager and a friend he is Mr Reliable.”
And Albion chairman John Williams added: “Everyone at the club extends their congratulations to Tony for this extraordinary achievement.
“Knowing him, he will be far too focused on the game at Stoke to take any notice of the fuss but in time he will be able to reflect on his terrific career to date.”
1000-UP: Pulis during his second managerial role at Gillingham in 1998
Pulis was in the thick of preparations for Albion’s trip to Stoke but said: “I am very grateful to my wife and family for their support throughout my management career, they have undoubtedly played an important role in enabling me to reach this landmark. The role of a football manager can be both an exciting and challenging one and I am fortunate to have worked with some terrific owners, chairmen, coaching staff and players and met so many supporters who are so passionate about their football clubs.
“The League Managers Association is a thoroughly professional organisation and an integral part of the game, so to be honoured by them and inducted into the LMA Hall of Fame is a very special moment in my career.”
Pulis has managed at every level of English football having succeeded Harry Redknapp at AFC Bournemouth, moving on to Gillingham, Bristol City and Portsmouth the and first of two spells at Stoke which were interjected by a brief period in charge at Plymouth.
A many times winner of Manager of the Month awards, Pulis was named the Premier League Manager of the Year for saving Crystal Palace from the imminent threat of relegation in 2014, the spell which preceded his Albion appointment on New Year’s Day 2015.