Ex-Stoke and Sheff Utd striker compares misunderstood Tony Pulis and Neil Warnock


Carl Asaba can look past the red and white stripes and see a lot of similarities between Stoke City and another of his old clubs Sheffield United.

Asaba played just over two seasons at Bramall Lane, reaching the semi-finals of League and FA Cup and the play-offs in his last under Neil Warnock before moving across the division to join Stoke.

He would spend another couple of years being worked hard by Tony Pulis – who he had played for previously with Gillingham – before winding up his career at Millwall in 2006.

It probably says a lot about his attitude that both Pulis and Warnock, two of football’s more demanding managers, were full of praise for what he gave to their teams.



The Stoke City squad in 2004/2005.
The Stoke City squad in 2004/2005. Back row (l to r): Clint Hill, Wayne Thomas, Ade Akinbiyi, Michael Duberry, Jermaine Palmer, Gerry Taggart, Richard Keogh, Gifton Noel-Williams, Marcus Hall, Paul Williams. Middle row: Giff Thorley (kit man), Colin Dobson (chief scout), Ronnie Sinclair (goalkeeping coach), Gareth Owen, Carl Dickinson, Darel Russell, Steve Simonsen, Ed de Goey, Ben Foster, Karl Henry, Jay Denny, Carl Asaba, Dave Watson (physio), John Hudson (asst kit manager), Winnie Hudson (kit manager). Front row: Lewis Neal, Dave Brammer, Dave Kemp (coach), John Rudge (director of football), Clive Clarke (capt), Tony Pulis (manager), Lindsay Parsons (asst manager), John Halls, Chris Greenacre.

“United and Stoke, they’re two different clubs but they have similar personalities,” the 48-year-old told the Sheffield Star before this weekend’s meeting between the two sides.

“Particularly back then I think, with Neil and Tony in charge. I was sulking when I left United, I didn’t want to go but what made it worse was that I understood the reasons – the gaffer wanted to move to the next level and he wanted to bring another forward in.

“I always played my best at places where it was all about the team, and that’s what Neil and Tony encouraged. They’re both very different to how people perceive them.

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“Everyone always asks me if Neil was constantly giving us a rocket. The answer is ‘no’. The only time he got annoyed was when he thought you weren’t producing what you were capable of, because he’d put his name on the line to sign you. But if you think about it, doing that was actually a form of praise because he believed you could do better. And he would praise you a lot.

“Tony was actually the same. I’m really proud of the fact he signed me twice, because he knows what he wants from you as a person as well as a player.

“I know Tony wanted me to do my badges and be part of his coaching set-up eventually but that aspect of the game never really excited me to be honest.”





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