That’s right – Pulis’ four-year tenure on the Potteries has propelled him into the top ten of football loyalty.
That statistic reflects badly on the game. Outside the top three (Sir Alex Ferguson, Aresene Wenger and John Coleman of Accrington) every manager has been at his club for less than a decade. Brentford boss Andy Scott has only been with the club for two years, but he’s already 23rd on the list!
Loyalty is a two-way thing, of course, and I’m not criticising the managers at all. On the contrary.
Let’s look at this week’s sackings – or ‘mutual terminations’ for compensatory reasons – of Phil Brown and Gary Johnson.
Less than two years ago, the two faced off in the Championship play-off final after unlikely climbs up the table. Who’d have thought they’d both be sacked less than two seasons later?
Brown, in particular, may not have been the most likeable character, but the impact he had on Hull as a football club was phenomenal.
When he arrived on Humberside Championship survival was the order of the day and Premiership football was a million miles away.
So for him to lose his job because the Tigers are struggling in the nation’s top tier – having never reached such a lofty perch in all their history – is unjust.
Johnson’s sacking leaves even more of a bitter taste in the mouth. He took Bristol City from League One to within 90 minutes of the Premiership, so you’d think he could be afforded a season of consolidation.
But football is plagued by short-term memories and it makes the game even further removed from reality. Sure, it’s a results business, but no one in life can ever claim to always be successful – just look at Real Madrid’s continued recent failure to make the Champions League quarters.
It’s time for a sense of perspective. The reason Wenger is still at Arsenal, despite four trophyless seasons, is because of the impact he’s had on the club.
Brown and Johnson each had similar, albeit lesser, effects on their clubs.
I’m sure both will soon be in employment again, and I wish them both well.
Lee Price is the editor of Football-Previews