Date: 24th March 2008 at 7:56pm
Written by:

Simon Grayson and Tony Pulis show the differing styles of management in the media, or is the Stoke way a trait around The Championship?

Free-flowing football, nice stadia, decent crowds. Three brilliant things people looked forward to last August as we embarked on our first season in the second flight for decades. But where in the script did it say we had to contend with jumped-up managers? Now that’s not very pleasant, is it!

On listening to Tony Pulis’ comments after Blackpool’s credible 1-1 draw away at league leaders Stoke City I was left angry, but not at all surprised. The Championship fixture was delayed by half an hour because of traffic problems on the M6, which left the Blackpool team bus and referee Mike Pike late. An unavoidable occurrence, you’d think? Not according to Stoke manager, Tony Pulis. Pulis vented: ‘The referee turning up late is very unprofessional. He’s come from Cumbria on an Easter Bank Holiday when you know the roads are going to be very busy. He should have stayed overnight. We warmed-up for a three oclock kick-off but then we had to sit around in the dressing room and wait for the delayed start. We don’t get muscle injuries at this club but we lost both Salif Diao and Leon Cort due to those problems and it certainly affected us.’

So the referee perhaps should have stayed overnight nearby Stoke, but where does this leave The Seasiders? Simon Grayson`s men (according to the Stoke City official website) arrived at The Britannia Stadium at ten past two – did they have enough time to prepare for a three oclock kick off? Did they ‘eck! Mike Pike and the officials were correct to delay the match, which still put The Potters in an advantage, because of their extra preperation time. Yet instead of embracing this extra time with his squad (which maybe should have gone towards learning how to deal with routine balls into the box!) Pulis chose slag off the referee. Is the Stoke gaffer tuning himself into the greed league managerial mentality already? Nothing is ever their problem; it is always somebody else’s.

But where else have we seen witnessed this over the course of the season?

?where do I start?!

The division is full of teams and managers who believe simply that they don’t belong here – that The Championship is beneath them. Glenn Roeder has been the worst for bemoaning bad decisions, but our manager has risen above all that, with Saturday as a prime example.

Larry stated to the media: ‘I can understand Stoke’s frustration but we started off from Blackpool at 10am for a 75 minute journey and it took over four hours. I told the players I wouldn’t accept our problems as an excuse for a poor performance – they rallied to the call. It was a very good point and we could have got all three.’

Tell me where the excuses are there? Many managers would have blamed the traffic for surrendering a lead. Did he launch a tirade at anyone? Many would have launched one in Pulis’ direction! The most level headed official in The Championship belongs at Bloomfield Road, and after years of Hendry, McMahon, Worthington and Megson, Larry has been a breath of fresh air, and I just hope we can keep him in the close season. Hopefully he won’t turn into a media monster like the rest of the managers!