I burst into a spontaneous laugh when I read the latest comments attributed to Tony Pulis, the man who will go down as one of the greatest Rugby coaches of all time – after all, he’s taken the sport from a Rugby field to a Football ground. Who could have done more for the game of Rugby? Pulis is a visionary genius and all that.
Here is what he said (I’m assuming in a pre-match press conference),
Wenger is perceived to be a genius but he hasn’t delivered a trophy in six years.
I have exciting and skilful players like Etherington, Fuller and Tuncay and I am sure they wouldn’t have joined us if we were as bad as Wenger makes out.
But his comments are aimed at seeking an advantage with refs.
I don’t think we need foreign managers running the national sides.
I’ve got nothing against foreign managers, they are very nice people. Apart from Arsene Wenger.
Before I go further I must say I’ve not seen these quotes except in that article that I’ve linked to. So I’m not sure about the authenticity but they do sound like comments Pulis would make. We also don’t know the exact questions put to him.
Nonetheless, it’s clear that the Stoke manager is going down the same path as Phil Brown and some others before him. I also feel it’s possible that Potters could get relegated but for that to happen the refs would have to do their job right, something we really cannot count on.
The first thing that strikes me about these comments is the pettiness. In India we have a saying which can be loosely translated as follows,
Don’t spit at the sky, it’ll just fall back on your face.
This seems like a classic example. Pulis tries to play the “no trophies” card but given his own record it seems rather lame. Since their promotion to the Premier League Stoke have spent, net, close to 44M pounds in three transfer windows. I’ve not done the math but I’ll be surprised if Wenger has spent that much money, net, over the last 7 or 8 seasons put together.
In effect, roughly on the smaller budget than Pulis, Wenger is doing so much more. It’s easy to say Arsenal are a big club and Stoke are a smaller club. But why is that the case? I mean Bendtner, Fabregas, Clichy, and others youngsters were there for the taking. Arsenal took them because of Wenger’s genius.
Simply put, Arsenal are bigger and better than Stoke but that’s not down to the money spent. It’s down to vision, knowledge, and hard work by everyone at the club. Stoke could have developed some youth talent while they were fighting for promotion, it’s not that expensive. But they just didn’t have it in them.
Blackpool and West Brom are shining examples in this regard. They’ve not spent crazy amounts. In fact both those teams put together haven’t spent as much as Stoke. Still they’ve done wonderfully given their resources. These clubs show smaller teams can do it the right way. It’s not easy but it can be done.
Then Pulis defends his playing style. It’s laughable to list names like Etherington, Fuller, and Tuncay to say that your team has skilful players. The Potters’ boss ends up making a mockery of his own point. It gets worse when we add the fact that Tuncay is considering leaving the club because he isn’t getting games!
I will stay to January and try to get myself into the team. But if I cannot, then I will ask the club to let me go. I have to think about my career and about Turkey.
I wonder if it has anything to do with his lack of Rugby skills.
Even the rest of his comments are just an attempt at deflection and while he’s tried to cover up his dislike for foreigners (it could simply be because they’re better than him and not a racial or xenophobic issue), there is no doubt Pulis is bitter.
I think, apart from the inferiority complex, a large part of this resentment is simply down to the fact that Arsene saw they’d started fouling the keepers blatantly and mentioned it in public. Once the matter was out in the open it took away their biggest attacking threat. Blackburn and Stoke are two teams that have made an art out of fouling the keeper but by bringing the issue in the media Arsene has left them exposed and vulnerable. Is it a surprise that there has been more spotlight on these teams and even shows like MotD are talking about these tactics?
Even when they expressed outrage at Wenger’s comments about Shawcross, the Potters never complained about his comments on Huth or their general tactic of fouling the keeper. They knew the video evidence was clear enough and even the most biased of observers would not back their story. So they decided to put the focus on Shawcross as it seemed, in a case of mistaken identity perhaps, Arsene mentioned the wrong name. It was a nice deflection tactic to focus on an irrelevant detail so that the real problem gets swept under the carpet.
Now Stoke will have to wait for a few weeks till the matter cools down before they can use this trick again and that could be costing them vital points. In the meantime Pulis is fuming as he’s running out of ideas. I’m sure Arsene has no time for such meaningless, vile comments as he focuses on his job but from a distance, I’m just loving it.