Cherries: Fletcher's a big fan of ex-boss Tony

19 April 2011 07:00
STEVE Fletcher the first signing of Tony Pulis's managerial career is backing his former mentor's pursuit of FA Cup glory with outsiders Stoke City.[LNB] Former Cherries manager Pulis guided the Potters into the showpiece final with a resounding 5-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers on Sunday.[LNB] The Dorset-based football boss will bid to spring a major surprise when his side take on Manchester City at Wembley next month.[LNB] And the Britannia Stadium club will have an extra supporter for the match, with Cherries legend Fletcher keen to see Pulis get his hands on the famous trophy.[LNB] He told the Echo: It is going to be very difficult against a top quality Man City side but, in a one-off game, he has got half a chance.[LNB] It would be a shock but FA Cup finals are always about shocks.[LNB] He will need a bit of luck along the way and Man City to have a bit of an off-day as we know the quality they have got.[LNB] I'm sure the bookies will have Man City as favourites and, probably, rightly so.[LNB] But in cup games or in any game really, it doesn't work like that.[LNB] I would like Stoke to win for Tony. I haven't got any affection with Stoke as a club but because Tony is the manager, I wish him well.[LNB] I always want Tony to do well because he did well for me.[LNB] Fletcher admitted he owed a lot to Pulis after the then Cherries manager paid £30,000 to take the teenage striker from his hometown club Hartlepool.[LNB] Now player-assistant boss and a club legend at Dean Court, Fletcher still remembers meeting Pulis, who quickly persuaded him to make the move south.[LNB] Fletcher said: I drove down with my father and it took us about seven hours.[LNB] I met Tony on the night and he put me up in the Royal Bath Hotel.[LNB] As a Hartlepool lad, to go in there was a bit of an eye-opener for me![LNB] He looked after me and met me the next morning and took me around the training ground at Chapel Gate and really sold the club to me.[LNB] He made me feel really welcome.[LNB] Within four or five hours, I had decided to move from one end of the country to the other.[LNB] I'm indebted to Tony. If it had not been for him, I wouldn't have been at Bournemouth for the past 18 years and I wouldn't have had all the happy times that I have.[LNB] If he had not taken a gamble on me buying me from Hartlepool I wouldn't be at Bournemouth now.[LNB] Looking back at Pulis's Dean Court reign, which ran between 1992 and 1994, Fletcher added: We did not do brilliantly in the league but we sold the majority of our best players.[LNB] When I look back now, I always think we didn't achieve what we wanted under Tony, but he made the club £2million in sales.[LNB] When you sell your best players like that, it is so difficult.[LNB] With me being in the position I am now, I can understand how hard it was for him.[LNB]

Source: Bournemouth_Echo