Crystal Palace, Stoke City
2015/2016 English Premier League
Previous Clubs: AFC Bournemouth, Gillingham, Bristol City, Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Stoke City
Tony Pulis has a reputation within the game for taking clubs beyond their means and achieving success on a budget, something he was tasked with doing by Crystal Palace following the departure of Ian Holloway after the Eagles' poor start to the 2013-14 season. Pulis had been out of the game only a matter of months after being sacked by Stoke in May 2013.
Getting his first FA coaching badge at the tender age of 19, Pulis was one of the youngest ever professional players to obtain the qualification and followed it up by picking up his UEFA 'A' license aged 21.
His playing career involved spells with Bristol Rovers, Newport County, Bournemouth and Gillingham, and in 1990 he returned to Bournemouth for a second spell as he took on a player-coach role.
In 1992, after Harry Redknapp decided to move to West Ham, Pulis became the club's manager, spending two years there. By 1995, Pulis had the experience behind him to try his hand with another side and Gillingham, struggling at the bottom of the Football League, gave him his opportunity in 1995. In his very first season, he turned the club around and earned promotion to the Second Division; in 1999, he nearly took them a step further, leading the Gills to the play-off final, where they were agonisingly defeated by Manchester City in a penalty shootout.
Despite his success, Pulis was sacked after the defeat amid claims of gross misconduct. Afterwards, he brought court action against the club for unpaid bonuses, and the case was eventually settled in 2001 for £75,000. With his reputation taking something of a blow, Pulis was appointed manager of Bristol City. His previous stint with Bristol Rovers meant reaction to his appointment was mixed, but fans truly turned on their new boss six months into his tenure when rumours of a switch to Portsmouth surfaced.
They had every reason to be upset in January 2000 as Pulis moved to the club Milan Mandaric had recently taken over as chairman. Having not impressed in Bristol, he also failed to win over the Portsmouth fans and lasted only ten months in charge, being replaced by Steve Claridge in October and spent two years out of work.
In 2002, Stoke City offered him a job and he kept them up. The following season saw Pulis lead the club to a more respectable 11th place, but a disagreement over transfer funds between the manager and the club's Icelandic owner, Gunnar Gislason (who claimed he failed to ''exploit the foreign transfer market"), led to his departure in June 2005.
Taking his ability to turn around struggling teams to Plymouth Argyle, Pulis made sure that a side who were flirting with relegation when he took over finished the season in 14th place. However, in May 2006, Stoke offered him the chance to return, and Pulis was keen to work under new chairman Peter Coates.
The Potters finished eighth, and Pulis then lifted the club into the Premier League for the first time in 23 years the following year. With the odds against him, Pulis established Stoke in the top flight over the seasons that followed, and it was a mark of his success with the club that they reached the FA Cup final in 2011. He suffered more Wembley heartache at the hands of Manchester City but nonetheless secured Europa League football for Stoke the 2011-12 campaign.
Managing to balance European football with the rigours of the Premier League, Pulis led Stoke to a 14th-placed finish but despite going one place better the following season, his time with the Potters came to and end as the board opted for a fresh start under Mark Hughes. Pulis dabbled in some media work but when Palace offered him the chance to return to Premier League management he duly obliged, taking the reins at Selhurst Park on November 24, 2013.
Pulis enjoyed a fantastic first season with Crystal Palace; eventually finishing 11th with a club originally tipped for relegation and the Welshman's achievements were recognised as he was named Premier League Manager of the Year.
Strengths: A pragmatic manager, his teams show no shortage of passion which often resonates with supporters.
Weaknesses: His preferred style is not always pleasing on the eye. While his Stoke team were impressively direct, their physicality upset the apple carts of a lot of Premier League opponents.
Career high: Leading Stoke to Premier League promotion on the final day of the 2007-08 season.
Career low: Defeat to Manchester City in the 2011 FA Cup final denied Pulis the first major trophy of his managerial career.
Tactics: Direct football achieved through skilful wingers and set-piece supremacy.
Quotes: "Under Tony we were aggressive in the sense that we pressed teams, we didn't give them a minutes peace on the ball, no space whatsoever and teams didn't like it and fans didn't like it because we were getting results. It was more up-and-at-them definitely, but we played some good football at times." Stoke winger Matthew Etherington on the character of Pulis' Potters.
Trivia: Pulis completed the 2009 London marathon in 4 hours, 31 minutes, 57 seconds. Not bad.
Words: Jonathan Molyneux-Carter