TONY Pulis has paid a fulsome tribute to his long-time assistant Dave Kemp after his decision to stand down.
“Kempy” and Pulis first came together in 1999 and, aside from a short interruption when the much-travelled former striker left to manage Oxford United, established one of the Premier League’s most recognisable double acts.
But Kemp has decided to step back and enjoy his home life in Sacramento, California and Pulis has recruited former Albion manager Gary Megson in his place.
Pulis says: “I was desperately disappointed that Dave said he was leaving but I understand his decision.
“Obviously, his family home has been in Sacramento, California and travelling back and forth three or four times a year with just the summers at home has been hard for him.
“He has been a wonderful ally. We’ve worked with each other a long time and have great memories and had great moments. We’ve achieved things as a pair, not just me . . . Dave Kemp should take equal credit.
“I wish him all the best. We’ll probably speak twice a week and have been in touch with each other throughout the summer. I was hoping to persuade him to come back but I understood his reasons.
“We could fall out and remain the best of friends and that’s what you need – somebody who is going to be honest and straightforward and say it as he sees it.
“Dave was always very good at that. He was careful about what he said in public and didn’t give much away. But privately, what he said was priceless and I can’t thank him enough.”