Tony Pulis has thanked Stoke City’s fans for their role during his time at the club.
The Welshman’s seven-year tenure ended on Tuesday and Pulis, who guided the club to promotion from the Championship in 2008, said the fans played a major part in helping Stoke become an established Premier League outfit.
In a letter published in The Staffordshire Sentinel, Pulis said: “I’d like to think I put out a competitive team that represented your club with the kind of pride you yourselves had in Stoke City and I’d like to think I brought in players who will remain some of your favourites for ever and a day.
“To see Stoke City players representing their country, especially when Ryan Shawcross pulled on that England shirt, must have given every Stoke fan out there the most tremendous thrill.
“Our journey together has taken us far and wide in cup competitions as well.”
One of the highlights of Pulis’ reign at the Britannia Stadium was an FA Cup final appearance and while they ended up losing on the day to Manchester City, it secured his side a place in the UEFA Europa League.
“I cannot tell you what it means to have people come up to me and say that the 5-0 win over Bolton in the FA Cup semi-final two years ago was the greatest day of their lives supporting Stoke City,” Pulis continued.
“The result didn’t go our way in the final, but to have reached Stoke’s first-ever FA Cup Final is an achievement we can all be proud of.
“Who could then have dreamed – back in the dark old days at Walsall and the like – that we would one day be travelling to places like Israel, Ukraine, Croatia and Turkey in something called the Europa League?”
Pulis also explained that, while he was disappointed to be leaving the club, he felt he had left it in a good position.
“I believe the spirit I have always tried to nurture at Stoke City has shone through again as we survived and finished 13th in the end,” he continued.
“It is all over for me now and, believe you me, I wish the club all the best in the future.
“Of course I am disappointed I cannot carry on in a job I have loved from first minute to last but I accept the club’s decision to move things in a different direction because that is the right of any owner.”
A replacement for Pulis has yet to be decided but, whoever it turns out to be, Pulis believes it is vital for the fans to back him.
“I urge you (for one last time) to get behind the new manager just like you got behind the old one,” he explained.