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Hello. Tony Pulis once gave me a pat on the back. I’m still not sure whether it made me 10 feet taller – maybe he was impressed with my routine question about Glenn Murray’s fitness – or whether I was worried that he was going to follow it up with a Pulisistic headlock, but the memory has stayed with me nonetheless and it comes to mind now given the way that Pulis has handled the Saido Berahino transfer saga. That story about Pulis coming to blows with James Beattie in the Stoke dressing room in 2009 means that he has sometimes been portrayed as someone who you cross at your peril, an old school disciplarian with a touch of the sadist about him, but perhaps there is more nuance to him than the no-nonsense reputation that has been attributed to him.
Certainly it would not have been a surprise if he had ostracised Berahino when the West Brom striker lost the run of himself on Twitter after his prospective move to Tottenham fell through on deadline day. But Pulis once rehabilitated Jermaine Pennant and Matthew Etherington, and instead of cutting off his nose to spite his face, he lamented the folly of youth and the madness of the transfer window, put an arm round Berahino’s shoulder and was rewarded when the youngster nabbed West Brom’s winner against Aston Villa last week, completing his rollercoaster journey from hero to zero and all the way back again in the eyes of the club’s supporters. Tony Pulis: people person. A caring man. A gentle man. A …read more
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