Sheffield Wednesday Appoint Tony Pulis: How’s the cap loving gaffer previously fared in the Championship?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 13 November 2020, 18:17

Get your favourite tracksuit out of the wardrobe and put on that dodgy cap you used to don when you were in your teens: Tony Pulis is back.

The experienced manager has ended his 18-month stint out in the managerial wilderness after signing a deal to become the new manager of Sheffield Wednesday, where he’s replaced Garry Monk, who was sacked on Monday.

The Owls job is Pulis’ eleventh of a managerial career that started all the way back in 1992. His CV shows that he’s worked in each of England’s top-four divisions, including the Premier League with Stoke, Crystal Palace and West Brom.

But how’s he previously fared in the second-tier? We’ve flicked through his managerial history and crunched the numbers...

Portsmouth

Pulis’ first taste of life in the second-tier came in the opening month of the millennium, when he switched Bristol City for Portsmouth. At the time Pompey were struggling in the relegation zone, but he managed to steer them clear of danger to an 18th place finish at the end of that 1999/00 season.

But, a couple months into the following campaign Pulis was given a leave of absence, and replaced by player-manager Steve Claridge.

Then, in January (2001), his contract was eventually cancelled.

Championship Win Rate: 34.48%

Stoke City 1

His second spell managing in the division was with the club he would become most entwined with during his managerial career: Stoke City.

The Potters first appointed Pulis in November 2002 following the resignation of Steve Cotterill. It was a tough season but Pulis kept the club up on the final day after inspiring a narrow 1-0 win at home to Reading thanks to a strike from his own signing Ade Akinbiyi.

This was followed by back-to-back top-half finishes in 11th and 12th, and then a summer departure in 2005 after tensions with the club’s Icelandic owners.

Championship Win Rate: 36.06%

Plymouth

A few months later and Pulis was back in the Championship dugout after he ventured down to the south coast to take charge of Plymouth, where he succeeded Bobby Williamson.

A 14th-placed finish followed in what was his only season at the club (2005/06).

Championship Win Rate: 29.73%

Stoke City 2

Stoke, now with the Coates family back at the helm, lured Pulis back in the summer of 2006 in what proved to be a masterstroke.

Pulis’ troops agonisingly finished two points outside the play-offs in 8th (2006/07), but he responded by propelling the club up to the Premier League (2007/08) for the first time in their history.

"When he rang me I was at a decent club at Plymouth - they're a good club,” he said after winning promotion. “But if Peter had the nerve to come back and take this club forward I couldn't say 'no'.

"Last time I was here I got criticised on a budget that was a bottom-three budget and there was no way I was going to come back unless he gave me a chance to compete. He said I would be able to compete and he has kept his word. Everything he said and promised he has been true to. This is a great day for this club and an opportunity for us to build and push on for next year."

Pulis would go on to keep the Potters in the top-flight for five successive seasons.

Championship Win Rate: 43.48%

Middlesbrough 

After leaving Stoke, Pulis had Premier League spells at Crystal Palace and West Brom, before he returned to the Championship in December 2017, where he replaced Garry Monk at Middlesbrough.

"I wanted a challenge - a real challenge - and this reminds me so much of Stoke when I went there with Peter Coates," said Pulis upon his appointment.

Pulis took Boro from 9th to 5th but lost out to Aston Villa in the play-offs. Boro were unable to replicate a top-six finish in 2018/19 - they missed out by a single point and a place - and the club decided not to offer Pulis a contract extension.

Championship Win Rate: 44.29%

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