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Page last updated at 10:39 GMT, Monday, 16 May 2011 11:39 UK

Chairman Peter Coates hails 'best Stoke manager' Pulis

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis
Tony Pulis returned for a second spell in charge of Stoke in June 2006

Stoke City chairman Peter Coates has described Tony Pulis as the club's greatest ever manager after their FA Cup final defeat to Manchester City.

Pulis, 53, won promotion to the Premier League in 2008 and will lead Stoke into Europe next season, despite losing 1-0 to Roberto Mancini's side at Wembley.

Coates told BBC Radio Stoke: "He's had five fantastic years at the club. He's Stoke's best ever manager."

Yaya Toure's goal secured Manchester City's first major trophy for 35 years.

Pulis took charge at the Britannia Stadium for the first time in November 2002 and kept Stoke in the second tier of English football on the final day of the campaign.

Two further seasons in the Championship followed before a disagreement with Stoke's Icelandic owners led to him departing for Plymouth.

But within 12 months, Coates had purchased the club and Pulis was appointed manager for a second time.

After narrowly missing out on the play-offs in 2006/07, the Potters won automatic promotion to the Premier League, ending a 23-year exile from the top flight.

Stoke have progressed steadily in the past three years, culminating in their first ever FA Cup final on Saturday.

However, the Potters were unable to claim their second major trophy and their first major silverware since 1972.

Coates continued: "We went to win and we didn't win, so that's a big disappointment for us, but we're proud of our achievements this season."

Stoke, currently ninth in the Premier League, face Manchester City in the Premier League at Eastlands on Tuesday, before ending the campaign with a home fixture against Wigan.



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