Tony Pulis confirmed as new West Bromwich Albion boss
Premier League strugglers West Bromwich Albion (15/8 to be relegated this season) have confirmed that Tony Pulis has taken over the reins as new head coach, after much speculation.
The former Crystal Palace and Stoke City boss replaces Alan Irvine, who failed to convince ruthless Baggies chairman Jeremy Peace that he was the right man for the job, after they succumbed to seven defeats in their last nine Premier League games. Pulis also becomes their fourth manager for them in a year.
West Brom said on their official website: “West Bromwich Albion are today delighted to confirm the appointment of Premier League Manager of the Year Tony Pulis as the club’s new head coach.
“Pulis has agreed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Baggies and will take charge after today’s Barclays Premier League fixture at West Ham [United].”
Upon the announcement, Pulis was obviously pleased to be back in management, after quitting Palace in the summer. “I’m absolutely delighted to accept the job and I do so with a simple but important message for the Albion fans and everyone at the club,” the Welshman said.
“Every successful club is built on unity and that is what I shall strive to help bring to Albion. We need everyone together from top to bottom – the supporters, all the staff, the players, everyone who has an interest in the club’s welfare.
“With that, we can go forward together and hopefully take this club up the Premier League.”
But what of Pulis’ philosophies, and how will the be a help to West Brom?
During his long tenure at Stoke, he built up a reputation for building a team with brute force and dominance in the air, to intimidate the opposition and play a long ball game. Despite never getting the Potters into the top 10, he did steer them to promotion from the Championship and make them a solid Premier League side.
Pulis was expected to carry on those methods when he joined the Eagles just over a year ago, and was tipped for the drop. However, he led the London club from the relegation zone to an 11th place finish with Palace playing impressive football, thus claiming the Premier League Manager of the Year prize.
It is the second time that West Brom have appointed a boss who held that prize, with current England coach Roy Hodgson being the other back in 2011.
Welshman Pulis has already been linked with the likes of his former player from Stoke, Peter Crouch, but only time will tell if the manager will continue to adapt to the Baggies style or go back to his Potters philosophies.
Newspaper reports suggest that the club are looking for a complete overhaul of players, with the likes of Sebastian Blanco, Jason Davidson, Georgios Samaras, Chris Baird and Brown Ideye set to be sold.
Wingers Ben Marshall of Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic’s Callum McManaman are being tracked, but they are said to be looking for another striker and right back.
But one player West Brom will be hoping Pulis can get the best out of is academy product and prize asset Saido Berahino. The Burundi-born forward has been a revelation for the Baggies the last two seasons, but has been mooted with a move.
Pulis will hope the Three Lions senior squad call-up stays in January, to help him save another club at short notice.
What Pulis does have on his side this time are points and position. West Brom are in 16th and a point above the drop zone, which former side Palace currently lead.
He will not be in the dugout for the New Year’s Day match away to West Ham, who they are 7/2 chances to beat, but will be in charge for the FA Cup third round tie with Gateshead on January 3rd.