Stoke City; New boss, Same as the old boss… 5

Mark Hughes has been unveiled as the new Stoke manager merely a week after manager Tony Pullis departed the club described at the time as by mutual consent, but all signs show that, if he was not outright sacked; he was definitely pushed.

New Stoke City boss Mark Hughes, shares a handshake with old boss  Tony Pullis in diferent times

New Stoke City boss Mark Hughes, shares a handshake with old boss Tony Pullis in diferent times

Pullis’ sacking marks the end of his seven year spell at the club. A spell that had Pullis guide Stoke to promotion in the Premier league in the 2005/06 season after narrowly missing out the previous year. Under Pullis’ reign Stoke established themselves as a legitimate Premiership side finishing 12th in the league. To add to his success he took Stoke to their first FA cup final in 23yrs. Although they lost to Manchester City 1-0, they were rewarded with Europa league football, where they had a good extended run before being knocked out by Spannish giants Valencia.

However, the Stoke hierarchy felt that Pullis had taken the club as far a he could and were not particularly enamored by his style of play. Under Pullis’ reign Stoke were labeled as an overly aggressive and physical team that played an old fashioned “uncultured” type of football. The epitome of their stlye of play was the long throws of Rory Delap into the opposing teams penalty box aiming for the “big boys’ up front.

The man charged with the duty of transforming the club, is Mark Hughes. Hughes, who has been out of work since being sacked by QPR, comes in with a background of mixed success. His first foray into a management, after an illustrious and impressive playing career that saw him represent the likes of Manchester Inited, Chelsea, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, was at the helm of the Welsh national team. He had a successful spell where, against all odds, he guided them to World Cup qualifying spot. He then moved onto Blackburn where he continued his success by bringing them European success.

His subsequent high profile move to Manchester City under their billionaire Saudi owners proved to be less successful. After spending over $100 million he was sacked less than 18 months later, after not bringing the club their desired results quick enough. His last spells at Fulham and QPR were mixed. He takes over a Stoke side that have established themselves as a “legitimate mid table premiership club. He is charged with the task of taking them to the next step.

The Stoke – Pullis situation evoke amazing similarities of the Charlton – Alan Curbishley affair. In which, Charlton, a club of similar size and popularity, punched above their weight and achieved “mid-table success”.  They to wanted more and parted company with their manager. The new man, not only was he unable to take them on to the next step, Charlton began a slide that ended in relegation and saw them drop as low as England’s third tier.

The move from Pullis to Hughes, is  crucial one. As with all of these mid table teams,  they are in earnest only one bad manager appointment from relegation. It remains to be seen. Let’s hope it doesn’t follow the same path as Char