I am not a Crystal Palace fan. Nor am I a follower of Stoke City. And I had no particular favour towards Tony Pulis…until now.
But something has happened to inspire me to write this, and that something is the Eagles’ remarkable turnaround since the arrival of their new boss.
Before Pulis arrived, Palace’s win-percentage this season was 16.7%. They had just seven points from a possible 36, and were three points from Premier League safety.
Yet since the then-55-year-old arrived, the same team’s win-percentage is 40%, and they have taken almost double the amount of points in less games.
Where once relegation looked almost certain, now it is more a worst-case scenario; with the Eagles clawing their way out of the bottom three and looking very much on the up.
In fact that was an interesting sub-plot to Palace’s latest win – that it came against Pulis’s former club Stoke – and that he was hailed as a hero by both sets of supporters regardless.
There is still a long way to go this campaign, and with the relegation fight as it is, any of the bottom half of the table could still be pulled in.
And yet Palace pulled off a masterstroke bringing Pulis to the club. They found a miracle-maker when that was exactly what the London side needed.
Speaking after Saturday’s match, Pulis told the BBC, “Sixteen games to go and we’ve given ourselves a chance from not having a chance, but we can’t get carried away.”
You sense he will not let that happen. Instead he will keep doing what he has been doing since his first walked through the door, because it is working a treat.
image: © Tom Brogan