In the wake of Stoke’s 2-1 defeat at Hull on Sunday, a lot of fans have been expressing their displeasure at manager Tony Pulis, some calling for him to be replaced. Disappointment after that result is understandable; Hull are one of the weakest teams in the Premier League, and to lose from a winning position, particularly to a late goal as we did, is always sickening. I can’t help but think the anger of some fans towards Pulis is a huge over-reaction though. A little perspective is needed. Prior to Sunday, the only teams we had lost to in the league this season were Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea, last year’s top three. We still sit ninth in the league, which in itself reflects huge overachievement from the club that surprised many by getting to the Premier League and even more by staying in it, and were tipped to struggle as second season struck this term.
Generally it’s the managers of underachieving teams that are under pressure. Just look at Hull and Phil Brown. Their win on Sunday was only their fourth in the league in 2009. Another such club is Liverpool, they’ve followed up last year’s title challenge with a paltry slide into mid-table and look set to crash out of the Champions League at the first hurdle, winning just one of their last nine matches in all competitions. Yet Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez and Brown both seem to have the support of their respective chairmen and the assurance of the security of their job. If they can hold onto their jobs, Pulis’s is, rightly, under no threat. Those Stoke fans who aren’t happy with our current situation should sit back, take a deep breath, look at the league table and think where we were five or six years ago. As we know, things can be a whole lot worse.