DOES anyone still want to argue that Tony Pulis is anti-football, or a poor manager or any of the other nonsense spouted about him?
For so many years castigated as some kind of Luddite halting the progress of the beautiful game and who “can only play one way,” Pulis has always been given a very rough ride by many sniping critics.
In a world of Brendan Rodgers’ and Andre Villas Boas’, clipboard managers who are more interested in social science than social clubs, Pulis is viewed as some sort of throwback who would make ‘beautiful games’ proponents like Brian Clough and Danny Blanchflower turn in their graves.
And as I’ve argued in this column many times, it is and always was total and utter rubbish. If you want to see a long-ball merchant, go and visit Bobby Gould or John Beck. If you want a terrific manager who understands the game brilliantly, talk to our Tony.
Of course there is an element of bias here in Newport for one of its prodigal sons and certainly, I can’t deny that regular contact with Pulis over the years has influenced me; he’s someone I can’t help but like and admire.
However, no amount of bias, nor indeed, any level of hatred towards Pulis for those at the other end of the scale, can cloud assessments of the job he is currently doing with Crystal Palace.
The facts, as they say, speak for themselves.
Crystal Palace, a club many stated were already relegation certainties when Pulis took control, are currently outside of the bottom three.
A club who looked shambolic at the back and incapable of scoring are now routinely winning, especially the crunch clashes against rivals at the bottom, like Stoke on Saturday.
Pulis was rightly heralded by every fan at Selhurst Park on Saturday and it is so thoroughly deserved, having transformed the Eagles in just a few short weeks.
If Palace stay up then Pulis’ legacy is absolute and unquestionably secured. Because Newport’s favourite son is nothing more or less than a quite brilliant football manager.