NEW Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis says that the chance to work alongside chairman Steve Gibson proved the key factor in his decision to return to football.
The 59-year-old has moved swiftly back into management – just 36 days after leaving West Bromwich Albion – and watched his new side start off his reign with a home win over Bolton Wanderers yesterday afternoon.
After spending time with his family at his south coast home over Christmas, Pulis drove up to Teesside early on Boxing Day to agree a deal with Gibson.
The Welshman believes that he can enjoy a successful relationship with the Boro chief in the same way as he did with Stoke City chairman Peter Coates during his time in the Potteries.
On what convinced Pulis, who revealed that he had been contacted by two other clubs, to plump for Boro, he said: “It is most probably Steve. He sold me the club and sold me himself.
“I have called people about the club, people who have worked here. I’ve also spoken with people who have worked with Steve.
“He has been like a dog with a bone really and it is flattering that someone with his esteem and character wanted me.
“I also come from South Wales and my dad worked in a steelworks and this area has got a similar feeling to that.
“It is a tough, hard-working area and people expect, if they have paid money, to get a day’s work out of people.
“That appealed to me as well and the North East and South Wales are very similar areas with similar people. It will be nice to get my teeth into it and push on.”
Pulis’s previous experience of the Championship came during his memorable stint at Stoke, who he led to promotion to the top flight in 2007-08.
He admits that he is striving to replicate at Boro the same formula that enabled he and Coates to galvanise not just a football club, but an area.
Pulis acknowledged: “It is a very similar situation to the job I took on at Stoke where Peter Coates and the family run the club.
“There were not three or four people that you had to go through to get to the main men to get decisions. I think this football club is very similar.
“They (Gibson and Coates) are local lads who are desperate for the area to be successful, not just with the football team.”
Pulis says he is acutely aware of the desire of everyone connected with Boro to be promoted back to the Premier League at the earliest possible juncture, but equally he insists that he is not a miracle worker either and stopped short of making a declaration of his belief that Boro will go up in 2017-18.
Pulis added: “I know it is not going to be easy and I am not going to turn water into wine.
“I will make sure I have a good look at the place first before making those (promotion) predictions.
“There has been problems (before) and for me to stand up and make early predictions is too much to ask.
“But getting back-to-back results will hopefully give the lads even more confidence and it is a massive game against Aston Villa (on Saturday).”
Pulis was able to witness a dominant Boro display against Bolton, with his new employers outplaying Wanderers to claim their second victory in the space of four days.
There was no adverse reaction to Garry Monk’s surprise departure, with Boro’s triumph moving them within striking distance of the top six.
Middlesbrough: Randolph, Christie, Shotton, Gibson, Da Silva (Friend 46), Howson, Leadbitter, Downing, Bamford, Braithwaite, Assombalonga (Gestede 70). Unused substitutes: Konstantopoulos, Ayala, Baker, Traore, Tavernier.
Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Little, Wheater, Beevers, Andrew Taylor (Robinson 36), Pratley, Henry, Noone (Buckley 62), Vela, Ameobi, Madine (Wilbraham 77). Unused substitutes: Cullen, Armstrong, Burke, Turner.
Referee: J Simpson (Lancashire).