Tag Archive: Tony Pulis

Time for divers to be banned?

Once again, the Premier League weekend was subject to a little controversy as a number of players were accused of diving to try and win their side a penalty, or get an opposing player sent off.

One of the big examples of this was Luis Suarez for Liverpool against Stoke City on Sunday as the Uruguayan went down far too easily in the second half of the a football result   that ended goalless draw between the two sides at Anfield.

This made Stoke boss Tony Pulis come out and ask for Suarez to be banned, suggesting that too many players get away with doing it and that if they were suspended for diving, it would cut it out of the game.

These days it is almost impossible for a referee to give a penalty as there is always the doubt that a player has tried to con the officials or whether there was enough contact. Someone like Suarez is constantly in the headlines for playacting and it has led to him getting a lot less spot-kicks.

However, he seems to keep on doing it and maybe a ban would be a big statement of intent from the Football Association that they want to get diving out of the game and it would make a player think twice about doing that.

The FA could use video evidence after the match, and if someone has clearly dived to try and win a penalty of having a member of the opposition sent off, then it is them that face the ban.

No one likes to see a player cheating – there is a big difference between winning a penalty and looking for one. If you feel contact in the box, then you have every right to go down, but if you go into the area knowing you are going to fall to the ground – you deserve to be punished.

This is not just a pick on Suarez either, there are players all round England that are guilty of it. When you are successful in trying to con the referee it can have a massive impact on a team’s season – which is really not fair.


By Tony Alvarez

In recent weeks Arsenal play maker and Welsh national team captain Aaron Ramsey has spoke out against the Welsh FA for not consulting any of the senior members of the squad whilst deciding on the appointment of their new manager following the tragic loss of former manager Gary Speed.

The young Midfielder who has already overcame adversity in his career when he battled back from a horrific leg break to become a regular starter in the Arsenal side tweeted “We have just lost our manager and leader through a tragedy and not footballing reasons. Continue reading


By Tony Alvarez

In preparation for the big kick-off Shouts from the Stands is doing a club-by-club preview of all 20 teams.

However, instead of the usual alphabetical order of Arsenal to Wolves, we’re doing things the other way around to give fans of clubs that usually have to wait until the end of a season preview the chance to focus on their teams first. Then on Saturday, the SFTS lads will be revealing their predictions for how the table will look come the end of May.

Yesterday we begun with: New Welsh boys Swansea, Top-four chasing Spurs, the ever-improving West Brom, and Wigan and Wolves sides that look to kick on after their successful relegation battle last time around.

Today is the turn of Sunderland, Stoke, QPR,NorwichandNewcastle.


Last Season: 10th

Summer so far:Sunderlandhave easily been the most active Premier League club in the transfer market which could see them naming almost a completely different side to the one that finished last season. Although the signings do look to of massively improved the squad many predict that it will take the squad time to gel together which could see them performing under expectations for the first couple of months of the season.

Transfers In: Ahmed Elmohamady, David Vaughan (Blackpool) Wes Brown (ManchesterUnited) Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham) Keiren Westwood (Coventry) Craig Gardener (Birmingham) Connor Wickham (Ipswich) Dong-Won Ji (Chunnam Dragons) John O’Shea (Manchester United)

Transfers Out: Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) Jean Mvoto (OldhamAthletic) Michael Kay (Tranmere Rovers) Robbie Weir (Tranmere Rovers) Steed Malbranque (Saint Etienne)

Manager: Steve Bruce – The 50 year-old has had a mixed spell in charge atSunderland, at times the squad have been flying and Bruce has received major praise, on other occasions the club have been in a huge slump and his sacking has been called for.

He has always been generously backed by his board in terms of the transfer funds given to him in each transfer window.

Bruce has had a odd career as a manager in his early days he could never seem to settle at a club and was changing jobs all too often, this seemed to continue until he found himself at BirminghamCitywhere he gained promotion to the Premier League then guided the club to a 13th placed finish in the League. He kept them in the league for a further 2 seasons before suffering relegation in 2006.

Bruce andBirminghambounced straight back but Bruce left his position in the November to take over the hot seat atWigan.

He guided Wigan to safety and then mid table the following year before departing to becomeSunderlandmanager.

Key Man: Assamoah Gyan – The club have signed many re-enforcements at the back with not only title medals but Champions League winners medals. No matter how well the club keep other sides out they will always need to score goals and looking at the strikers in the squad this responsibility will fall largely on Gyans shoulders. 

With an unproven Connor Wickham, Frazier Campbell and new boy Dong-Won Ji the other options upfront Gyan is the only one with a goal scoring record.

There is talk ofSunderlandlosing Gyan, if that’s the case and he is not replaced it could be a long season for the Black Cats.

Stoke City

Last Season: 13th

Summer so far: Manager Tony Pulis is readying the squad for a European Campaign having qualified forEuropeby being runners up in the FA Cup.

The club have successfully negotiated the first round of Europa League qualifiers and look set for a extended season.

Pulis has not added to his squad as much as he would of liked and it is believed Stoke are close to a few more signings with Tottenhams Peter Crouch and Wilson Palacious believed to be in the clubs sights.

Transfers In: Jonathon Woodgate (Tottenham) Matthew Upson (West Ham)

Transfers Out: Eidur Gudjohnson (released) Ibrahima Sonko (released) Abdoulaye Faye (West Ham)

Manager: Tony Pulis– Pulis had been some what of a journeyman manager before landing the Stoke job for the second time in June 2006.

In 2007-2008 Pulis guided Stoke to promotion to the Premier League for the first time in the clubs history, Stokes direct style of play ruffled a few feathers and got the club a few surprise victories.

He guided Stoke to a 12th placed finish and improved on that the following season by finishing 11th.

The next season was Stokes most successful despite finishing 13th (the clubs lowest ever Premier League finish) they reached the FA Cup final as earlier mentioned, a defeat did not dampen the spirits of Chairman Tony Coates who labeled Pulis Stokes greatest ever manager.

Key Man: Matthew Etherington – The former Tottenham and West Ham winger is one of the most underrated players amongst fans in the Premier League.

He consistently provides dangerous crosses and finds himself with a healthy sum of goals and assists next to his name.

Stoke are traditionally a big side who are very strong aerially his delivery allows the players with the aerial prowess to get their name on the score sheet.

His pace and direct running is also a constant thorn in the side of opposition defences.

 Queens Park Rangers

Last Season: N/A

Summer so far: Considering who owns QPR the club have had a quiet and udnerstated summer so far with the main worry having been whether or not they could hold onto mercurial talent Adel Taarabt a battle they look to of won.

Neil Warnock is readying his men for a tough Premier League season in which many fans and book makers believe that QPR will be returning straight back to the Championship.

Transfers In: DJ Campbell (Blackpool) Jay Bothroyd (Cardiff) Danny Gabbidon (West Ham) Kieron Dyer (West Ham)

Transfers Out: Peter Ramage (Crystal Palace-loan) Mikele Leigertwood (Reading) Pascal Chimbonda (Released) Gavin Mahon (Released)

Manager: Neil Warnock – the outspoken Neil Warnock is another Premier League manager who was at many clubs  prior to his appointment atLoftus Road in March 2010.

In his first two months in charge he safely avoided relegation for theWest Londonclub.

In the 2010-2011 season Warnock changed the clubs formation which focused the team mainly arouynd playmaker Adel Taarabt, the system worked and the club topped the table for much of the season and eventually won the Championship title.

Warnock has previously had 1 year in charge of a Premier League club, after he guided to Sheffield United to promotion in 2005-06 the club had a huge battle to try and stay in the Premier League, this battle was lost on the last day of the season, however the club fared better than many had expected.

Key Man: Paddy Kenny

Many would expect me to name Adel Taarabt as the key man but no team ever comes up and scores there way to safety, it has to be a blend of attack and defence as Blackpool found out last season.

Paddy Kenny is the clubs last line of defence and a good one at that, you have to assume that in many games QPR will be pended in their own half and face more shots against than they will have shots for meaning Kenny could gain more points for QPR than Taarabt will.

Kenny’s value is also recognised by the club as I believe I am right in saying he won the clubs player of the year award last term.


Last Season: N/A

Summer so far: After another successful campaign which saw the club gain the second of their back to back promotions thanks to a second placed finish in the Championship,Norwichare readying themselves for a crack at the Premier League.

The club have looked to keep hold of the squad that gained promotion as well as adding some quality to the side.

Manager Lambert has used his knowledge of the Football Leagues to add to his squad, Whether the Football Leagues best and brightest talents and young Premiership loanee’s can do enough to keep Norwich up remains to be seen.

Transfers In: James Vaughan (Everton)  Kyle Naughton (Tottenham-loan) Bradley Johnson (Leeds) Anthony Pilkington (Huddersfield Town) Steve Morison (Millwall) Elliott Bennett (Brighton)

Transfers Out: None so far.

Manager: Paul Lambert

Lambert started his managerial career in his nativeScotlandwithLivingstonbefore moving south of the border to take charge of Wycombe Wanderers.

He guided Wycombe Wanderers to the League Cup semi final it was the first time in over 30 years a club from the 4th tier of English Football had reached this stage of the competition.

After Wycombe Lambert took charge of League One Colchester United, despite flirting with promotion the club finished just outside the play off spots.

Colchester started the following season in empathic fashion destroyingNorwich7-1 atCarrow Road, just days later Lambert Left Colchester to take over atNorwichwho put the 7-1 defeat behind them to gain promotion to the Championship.

Despite it being the clubs first year back in the Championship Lambert again guided his side to promotion.

Key Man: Grant Holt-

Many would struggle to argue that Holt’s goals are the main reason Norwich have gained promotion from both League One and the Championship.

Many doubted Holt could keep up his goal scoring record once the club were promoted to the Championship but he did, the doubters will be out again and to be honest I am one of them.

There is no way Holt will get 20 odd goals in the Premier League however if he can carry on his level of performance and grab 10-13 goals for himself then it could go a long way to securing a Premier League future for Norwich

Newcastle United

Last Season: 12th

Summer so far:NewcastleUnited have had a mixed summer with many names coming in rumours of players going out and off the field problems with a certain Mr Barton.

 Although manager Pardew hasn’t done particularly badly in the transfer market unfortunately all the press focus is on the off the field situation with Joey Barton and the likely departure of star left back Jose Enrique.

I personally think the club are set well for the coming season although they are still a striker short and have never really replaced Andy Carroll after his January departure toLiverpool.

Transfers In: Gabriel Obertan (ManchesterUnited) Demba Ba (West Ham) Sylvain Marveaux (Rennes) Yohan Cabaye (Lille) Mehdi Abeid (Lens)

Transfers Out: Kevin Nolan (West Ham) Ben Tozer (NorthamptonTown) Daniel Leadbitter (Torquay) Patrick Mclaughlin (YorkCity)

Manager: Alan Pardew

Pardew has been a manager since 1999 and Newcastle United are his fifth club, the crowning moment of his managerial career to date is a run to the FA final with West Ham United which his side cruelly lost on penalties toLiverpool.

Pardew took over inNewcastlein 2010 to the dismay of theNewcastlefaithful and much to the surprise of the press.

Former manager Chris Houghton was sacked for what appeared to be no apparent reason and Pardew appointed despite the fans belief that chairman Mike Ashley was trying to improve the club and bring in a big name.

Pardew’s side didn’t perform too badly for the rest of the season and has made some good signings so far this summer, the amount of French speaking players Pardew signed led to him being labeled Alan Pardeaux.

Key Man: Cheick Tiote

 With so many of the Newcastle midfield an unknown quantity in English football it will be down to Cheick Tiote to lead by example and keep up the form he displayed last season which led to him being linked with moves to Champions League clubs such as Chelsea.

Cheick Tiote was arguably the Premier League signing of last season, he and all of the Toon army will be hoping that he isn’t hit by second season syndrome, as midfield generals go he is one of the leading performers in the Premier League and he will be looking to maintain that status this year.

So what do you think? How will your team fare this season? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts

By Tony Alvarez

In our final piece before our end of season close down Shouts From the Stands will look into who the Premier League clubs need to sign in the current transfer window in our opinion.

Our views on the teams who finished in positions 1-12 in the league in the season just finished can be found on the links below and today is the turn of the 5 remaining survivors and the three new boys.




Stoke have had a successful season finishing 13th thus not getting dragged into a relegation battle and reaching the cup final losing out toManchesterCity.

Although manager Tony Pulis generally sticks with the same type of players, big strong powerful or quick he often does add a touch of class to his side in every transfer window and I don’t expect this one to be any different.

Jon Walters has shocked everyone with his level of performance and goal return the level of Walters debut season will mean that it will be unlikely that Stoke enter the market for a striker although they may pick up John Carew who they had on loan from January on a free transfer.

I think they may add a body to the midfield to give the squad greater depth, someone in the ilk of Scott Parker would be perfect for Stoke although he is not big in stature he covers every blade of grass and gives his all, however if rumours are to be believed Parker has a host of bigger clubs queing up to sign him, Stoke could do a lot worse than looking at his team mate Mark Noble.

Pulis sofar hasn’t shown a good knowledge of the European market but has a great knowledge of the lower leagues and it wouldn’t surprise me if he finds another gem from there.


 With the loss of Johan Elmander Bolton massively need a striker, they would love to be able to sign Daniel Sturridge after his hugely successful loan spell at the club, however due to this Chelsea are very unlikely to let the young Englishman go but there may be a possibility of another loan spell for the former City man.

Boltonmay have set their sights higher than picking up the best of the players from the relegated sides but I believe DJ Campbell would be worth a look at, he would be ideal to run onto Kevin Davies flick ons and knock downs and knows where the goal is. He also wouldn’t cost too much which is always an added bonus.

At the back it is strongly believed that Gary Cahill will not start the season in a Bolton shirt which means a replacement will be needed, it would be easy to link Bolton with someone like Matthew Upson who is available but with the season he has had a don’t think Owen Coyle will go near him unless it was for a real basement price, I believe Coyle will be tempted to enter the market for Roger Johnson as he is the type of no nonsense defender that would suit Bolton’s style of play.

It is my personal believe that Bolton also need a lefty back as for me Paul Robinson is worse than average however last time I said that Bolton fans were not best pleased so maybe there happy to stick with him.


I can see this being a difficult summer for Rovers, they have a manager that does not really inspire me or anyone else there owners seem to be out of control and the club only survived relegation on the final day of the season, on top of that it looks as though they will lose at least 2 big name players in captain Chris Samba and youngster Phil Jones.

Should these two leave as expected the club will need to spend heavily to fill the void left at centre back, Nelsen and Givet are not bad defenders but they are also not great and it would also leaveBlackburnwithout cover at centre back.

Depending on how much the new owners want to invest in the playing squad will define what type of player the club can try to attract.

In January it was rumoured that world wide super stars Ronaldinho and David Beckham were targets for theLancashireclub.

I wouldn’t like to put a name to that defender as I always seem to end up quoting places from the relegated sides.

Many fans forums link Rovers with moves for both Seb Larsson and Ruud Van Nistelroy I cannot see either coming off, would either really want to a move to a club that seems really unsteady and if they carry on in the same direction will be Championship sides this time next year


 Wiganhave a big battle on their hands, it is expected that they will lose the services of star man Charles N’Zogbia as well as striker Hugo Rodellega and possible midfielder James McCarthy.

Although if these three go it will bring some much needed funds in the club will struggle to replace them as no disrespect to the club butWiganisn’t exactly an attractive proposition for players on the continent.

Manager Roberto Martinez will no doubt try and use his knowledge of the Spanish market as well as his knowledge of the lower leagues inEnglandto try and bolster his squad.

It was quoted during Mondays play off final thatMartinezwas inSpaintrying to tie up some potential deals so we could see some exciting European talent at the DW stadium come August.

I have a decent knowledge of the Spanish leagues but don’t know enough to put names to the playersMartinezis likely to target.

One thing is for certain if the club don’t replace N’Zogbia they will be in trouble and to be honest it will be difficult to find some one with his creative talent with Wigans budget, however Connor Sammon appear to be a find.



Wolves are on odd one for me because I actually think there a really good side but the final league table doesn’t lie.

They clearly have a good bunch of players as they have taken points off Man United,Chelsea, Tottenham andLiverpool.

Mick McCarthy is a great man manager and gets his teams playing well as a unit so its hard to judge the individuals.

They have a couple of players who I feel are a bit out of there depth such as Ronald Zubar and George Elokobi, it appears all there fragilities are at the back as most of their attacking talent is more than good enough.

At the back the club have been linked with Roger Johnson who I have linked with many clubs during this article but also Matthew Mills who scored in yesterdays play off final and from what I’ve seen of him looks to be a very good defender whetherReadingwill let him go is a different matter.



  QPR are another team with an odd situation, despite winning the Championship Neil Warnocks position as manager is apparently under threat, as well as this despite being owned by some of the World’s richest men the club appear reluctant to spend money.

This makes them impossibly hard to predict as you do not know what sort of markets theLondonclub will be shopping in.

They have been linked withWatford’s prolific marksman Danny Graham but he is not the type of player that is going to propel them up the Premier League.

Again QPR have been linked with a whole host of players from the sides that have been relegated, players such as Liam Ridgewell and Roger Johnson are believed to be target

In my opinion the main issue for QPR is keeping hold of the star men they already have, Taarabt has been linked with many clubs but there has been no formal offers for the Algerian, they will also hope to sign wide man Wayne Routledge on a permanent basis after he impressed in a loan spell in the second half of the season. Finally keeping goal keeper Pay Kenny Is a must, fortunately he has always been loyal to Neil Warnock and there are no signs of that changing.



Norwichas a whole do not appear to be ready for the Premiership and the promotion could of possibly came a year to earlier for the Canaries.

However they are I n the Premier League on merit and Blackpool were getting many of the same doubters this time last year and so wereHullbefore them.

I know I have linked a lot of clubs with the players from relegated teams but it appearsNorwichwill be wholy shopping in that market as well as fringe players form bigger teams and the better players from the lower leagues.

Manager Paul Lambert moved quickly to snap up Everton forward James Vaughan, the striker has always looked promising but has struggled with injury problems, I once remember an Everton fan telling me his talent was unrivalled but his time on the pitch was bettered by everyone.

In the middle they have  battlers such as Croft but I feel to survive they will not some better Footballers along side the “engine room men” in a similar situation to what Blackpool had with Charlie Adam, a few clubs have tried to sign him in the past and personally I would try to prize away Darren Ambrose from Crystal Palace he has Premiership experience an eye for a goal and is an all round good footballer.

At the back you can get away without getting in big names as long as they all work well in a unit together, due to this it makes it anyone’s guess who Lambert is going to try and sign if he tires to sign anyone at all.



 Swansea gained promotion thanks to a thrilling victory overReading at Wembley in the play off final.

Anyone who saw this game will recognise the danger of their wide men Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer.

Swansea manager Brendon Rodgers knows how to use the loan market a prove with the late addition ofChelseastarlet Fabio Borini to his squad I would not be surprised if he tries to acquire the young forward again.

In all honesty I don’t know much aboutSwansea’s financial position so I don’t know how likely they are to spend.

They have a decent spine however I fear with Darren Pratley no longer a started they lack size and physical presence in midfield.

At Championship level they were a better Footballing side than most of the teams they came up against I am afraid in the Premier League this will not be the case.

Due to this I think they should look to sign a midfield general a towering presence, givenRogersuse of the loan market I will not be surprised if he looks at Arsenal’s youth man Frimpong he may not give the added height but he is a tenacious tackler and then gives the ball simple to the passing machine.

Personally if I was Rodgers I would look for someone with more experience than young Frimpong but this is a notourisly hard position to fill the ideal candidate would be Owen Hargreaves but I very much doubt they can afford his wages and also doubt they would want a injury prone player when they need to dig deep and get stuck in.

Pulis has transformed the fortunes of Stoke during his second spell in charge

By Laurie Fitzgerald

History was made this weekend as Stoke City clinched a place in their first ever FA Cup Final in dramatic style.

Their 5-0 hammering of a hapless Bolton Wanderers side was the biggest winning margin in an FA Cup semi-final in over a century.

It also marked a new peak for a Stoke side guided by a manager that doesn’t get the credit he surely deserves.

Tony Pulis is approaching his fifth anniversary in his second spell at the Britannia Stadium, and the Potters have come a long way in that period.

When the 53 year-old took over in the summer of 2006, Stoke had finished in 13th place in the Championship, well off the pace of a promotion push.

Pulis knew that the squad needed improving, and after bringing in the likes of Rory Delap, Danny Higginbotham and Ricardo Fuller, the side made huge strides in his first season back in charge.

They finished just two points off the play-offs in eighth position, compared to the 20 points that they were adrift from the top six only 12 months prior.

The Welshman needed to utilise the transfer market well to push Stoke up to the next level; a young Ryan Shawcross was brought in, while the likes of Andy Griffin joined to give the squad the necessary experience.

The changes paid off; Stoke gained automatic promotion to the Premier League and Pulis had completed the transformation from Championship mediocrity to the promised land of the top-flight.

Now a new test was to come, and Pulis had to find a way of establishing them in a division they fought so hard to get to.

Over the past three seasons in what many believe to be the most difficult league in the world, Stoke have consistently grown in stature.

They finished 12th in their debut PL campaign, and followed that up with an 11th placed finish the next season.

Now they find themselves in 13th place, and although they are not safe from relegation, they only need one or two more wins to secure their status and give themselves of improving their points tally from the previous two years.

Maybe the reason that Pulis doesn’t get the recognition for his considerable efforts is the style of play his side have adopted.

They have utilised the astonishing throw-in ability of Delap and the constant threat from set-pieces to provide the goals to keep them amongst England’s elite.

Another reason that might have prevented any due praise is the physical nature that has been implemented within the team.

While they have a big, strong presence against anyone, there have been times when they have appeared over exuberant to neutrals, best demonstrated when Shawcross broke Aaron Ramsey’s leg in a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal last February.

However, Pulis should be commended for getting the best out of his players. The likes of Jermaine Pennant and Matthew Etherington have rediscovered meaning in their career’s under his guidance.

Alongside the likes of Robert Huth, Kenwyne Jones and the flourishing Jon Walters, there is a good squad of players at the Britannia.

The comparison to where Stoke were when Pulis took over and what he started with is startling.

Maybe when people look back on what he’s achieved over the past five years, they will see that he is long overdue for some credit.

So what do you think? Does Pulis deserve more credit for what he’s achieved? Has the style of play affected any incoming praise? Let us know your thoughts.

By Tony Alvarez

With reports suggesting Aston Villa’s John Carew is on the brink of a move to Stoke following Darren Bent’s high profile move, Shouts From The Stands looks into whether this is a good move for club or player.

Sky sports have reported that Carew passed a medical ahead of a loan move until the end of the season, which is when his contract at Villa runs out.

While there is very rarely a bad loan deal I personally don’t see this as a good move for Stoke City. Although the move will never be a flop because they are only going to be covering his wages which I doubt are excessive.

I should elaborate I don’t see Carew being a flop and may notch a few goals and add to their game but he is not as good as Kenwyne Jones, he may be better in the air but is no where near as mobile and not as much of a handful for defenders.

Whilst he will be a good squad player I find it unlikely that he will be happy to come and sit on the bench, I would be very shocked if he played alongside Jones as they are too similar and do not have enough goals between them.

I think should this deal be complete it will stop Tony Pulis going into the transfer market for a real goal scorer as he will think they have enough options upfront but for me a real goal scorer or a poacher is what they need.

From Carew’ point of view I think this is a great move. For whatever reason he was not getting enough game time at Villa which would of only been lessened by Bent’s arrival

This move provides Carew with the opportunity to get some game time under his belt, if the move is a relative success Stoke will sign him in the summer if the move is a huge success he could attract the interest of some bigger clubs in the summer ( no disrespect to Stoke).

It is also clear that Stoke play to Carews obvious strengths they like to hit the target manarly and hope he can flick on or hold up the ball both of which Carew is very good at, they also get some good deliveries (from crosses, contrary to popular belief they don’t only throw the ball into dangerous areas)  which they will hope Carew can latch on to.

Carew is the obvious winner in this move but should his performances prove a success he could be a massive bonus for Stoke City.

What do you think? Are you happy to be taking him on loan? Do you think he will cut it at Stoke? Villa fans are you glad to see the back of him or would you of preferred to keep him? Would you of signed Carew If you were in Pulis position? Let us know

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