Matthew Etherington has hit back at the Stoke City fans who wanted Tony Pulis to be sacked, warning them they may live to regret their wishes.
Pulis returned to the Britannia Stadium for a second spell in charge in 2006, and led them to the Premier League two years later. Since then the Potters have established themselves in the top-flight, reached the FA Cup final and played in the UEFA Europa League, but there have been a growing number of fans who are unhappy with his style of football.
Widespread reports suggest the 55-year-old met with chairman Peter Coates on Tuesday for their end-of-season briefing, during which it was decided that a change of leadership is needed. Although this has yet to be confirmed, winger Etherington has told talkSPORT that there could be plenty of regret at the Britannia Stadium in the near future.
“A lot of fans were grumbling and saying they wanted him out, and – though it hasn’t been confirmed yet – it looks like they’ve got their wish,” he told Drive Time. “You have to be careful what you wish for in football sometimes. You look at Charlton [Athletic] under Alan Curbishley and look where they are now. Hopefully it won’t go that way for us, hopefully we’ll get someone in who will push us on and make us into a top ten team.”
Curbishley spent 15 years at the Valley, towards the end of which a number of Charlton fans were keen for him to make way for a new manager with fresh ideas. When they finally got their wish the Addicks soon lost their place in the Premier League and tumbled down to League One, although they have since climbed back up to the second-tier under Chris Powell.
As for Stoke, they have endured a difficult 2013, having avoided the drop by just six points. There are suggestions that Pulis has actually been sacked, but the club will instead insist his departure is by mutual consent. Gus Poyet, who has been suspended by Brighton & Hove Albion, has been named as a potential successor, as has Celtic’s Neil Lennon. Mark Hughes, sacked by Queens Park Rangers earlier in the season, is also likely to be a candidate.