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May 21, 2013

Pulis and Stoke part company

Stoke City have confirmed that Tony Pulis's seven-year reign as manager has come to an end and he leaves the club by mutual consent. • Pericard backs Pulis to continue Pulis was told he was being relieved of his duties at a meeting with club chairman Peter Coates on Tuesday morning, bringing to a close months of speculation surrounding his future. The club issued the briefest of statements on their official website announcing the news. It read: "Stoke City and Tony Pulis confirm that they have mutually agreed that Tony will leave the Club with immediate effect." The 55-year-old manager attended the meeting hoping for an extensive discussion regarding his position, but Coates had already made his decision to relieve the man he brought back to the club of his duties. Pulis had no intention of quitting and had spoken on numerous occasions in recent weeks about his determination to carry on in his post, despite some concerns regarding the club's transfer budget this season and other off-the-field issues. • Blog: Pulis deserves credit, but time was up It appears he had no idea he would be asked to leave by Coates, who he has thanked many times for the support he has given him during his time in charge.

Pulis will feel disappointed not to be given another season, after leading the club to safety this term. He led Stoke to promotion to the Premier League in 2008 and has established the club in the top flight since then. He also led the club to its first ever FA Cup final, in May 2011, and through to the knockout phase of the Europa League the following season. Pulis' position became the subject of speculation during a poor run of results in the second half of the season. Coates has also been affected by fans' criticism of his manager's style and feels the time is right for a change. Brighton manager Gus Poyet has been installed as an early favourite to replace Pulis, while Phil Neville's name has already been mentioned as a possible addition to the club's coaching staff. Neil Lennon, Martin O'Neill and Arsene Wenger's number two Steve Bould have all been linked with the post. Coates, 75, has ploughed in almost £100 million of his own fortune made from his Bet365 company and has no intentions of reigning back his involvement, despite rumours suggesting he is ready to hand over more control to his son, John.

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