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Stoke City FC Partner Club Feature Part 3 – Tony Pulis

In part three of our Stoke City Partner Club feature, we hear from Stoke City FC First Team Manager, Tony Pulis who has been in charge of the club for 11 years, over two spells between 2002-2005 and 2006-Present Day.

Following Tony’s second spell at the club, he was hailed as Stoke City’s greatest-ever manager by Chairman Peter Coates after masterminding a remarkable upturn in the Club’s fortunes following his return to the Britannia Stadium for a second spell in charge.

Following promotion to the Premier™ League during the 2007-08 season, the club have subsequently been in the division for the past five successive seasons, finishing a club record 11th in the league during the 2009/10 season. In addition to this successful spell in the Premier League™, the club reached the F.A. Cup final for the first time in their history during the 2010/11 season taking on Manchester City in the final.

During the 2011/12 season, the club competed in the UEFA Europa League for the first time, making it to the last 32 of the competition having finished second in their qualifying group that included seasoned European clubs, Besiktas, Dynamo Kiev & Maccabi Tel Aviv. Stoke were eventually knocked out over two legs by top Spanish club, Valencia CF (see below image, Striker Peter Crouch and Valencia CF’s Angel Ibanez).

Few could argue that Stoke City are now an established Premier League™ club and this stability has allowed the club to invest heavily in areas such as the academy and facility development. The development of the academy was high on the agenda at the club as they prepared to put foundations in place to apply for Premier League™ category 1 academy status which was granted in July 2012. As part of these plans, it was Tony who initially wanted to implement Coerver® into the club through the Partner Club programme which subsequently launched in July 2011.

Tony Pulis said of the Coerver programme “It’s a system that not only improves the player’s techniques but you have to think as well. It makes you think, it makes you concentrate on the movement as well as the ball control. As a young coach I got to know about Coerver, got to know about his work and I think it has really improved people.”

“The game has progressed so much and teams are now so organised that you need leg beaters, you need people to take people out of the game a lot of the time to get the opportunities and chances to score. That will never change and this, if it’s an improvement and it is an improvement with players technical ability, especially in one on one situations, we will want it and were desperate for it, like I said at the beginning, I’ve tried to get it implemented in because I think it is a way to teach people to take people out of the game, especially in one on one situations.”

Tony added “It’s a great tool to use and it’s an interesting one, and something that stimulates the mind and I think the different drills that you can do, can be implemented also into the shape and pattern that you decide to play with on a Saturday so again I don’t think it would do any harm with the first team doing it and working on it.”.

Coerver® UK Director, Scott Wright said “One of the things that really interested us in working with Stoke was the clear, long term vision for youth development right throughout the club from the owners, to the manager, to the youth development director, the academy manager etc. Having the first team manager on board and involved so closely in the philosophy of the academy is great and not a situation you see at a lot of clubs”.

“The manager believes in the Coerver programme and he sees this as a way to develop, young, local players that have all of the attributes needed to play first team football for the club in the Premier League. Game effective technical excellence is what we are striving towards. Players that are comfortable with both feet, that can receive in tight spaces under pressure, that can run with the ball, that can dominate in 1 v 1 situations, that have the ability to hit the killer pass, that can combine quickly in 2′s & 3′s and that can rotate positions with fluidity and speed. Underpinning all of this is the the work ethic that Stoke is well known for and that is something we are working hard on to instil this in the players from the youngest age. It is also important to highlight that these attributes are not just for attacking players, these are the attributes for all players.”

“Player’s with these attributes can make the difference when games are tight and can create something themselves out of nothing. This is our goal with the Partner Club programme and I firmly believe we are well on our way now and have the blueprint and investment in place for future success”.

“I have been lucky enough to work with the current first team squad here at Stoke (see above and below images) which includes many international players and the recent signing of Michael Owen and the signing of Peter Crouch last season shows that the club are now, year on year improving and progressing which is great to see. This is a really exciting time here at Stoke City whether you are a fan, a player, parent or member of staff with all of the developments that are taking place both on and off the pitch”.

“Ii is great to hear the managers’s views on Coerver as I know from working here that he is very hands on with coaching the player’s day in day out which again is not something you would always see at this level. It was also interesting to hear his views on how Coerver fits into working with senior professional players and integrating the work into the patterns of play you are working on, in the build-up to match day. This for me dispels the myth that Coerver work is only for young kids, your technical skills can never be good enough, even if you are a senior international player, with appropriate modifications our work is definitely beneficial at this level as the manager said”.

Make sure to check out our fourth and final part of our Stoke City Partner Club Feature tomorrow with coaches, players and parents from the club discussing the impact of the Coerver® programme to date.

To view the Coerver® Coaching / Stoke City FC Partner Club video www.coerver.co.uk/partnerclub
Read part one of our Stoke City Partner Club feature http://ow.ly/evKDh
Read part two of our Stoke City Partner Club feature with Peter Crouch http://ow.ly/extqI






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