Tony Pulis fears toxic abuse could see a manager physically assaulted

The veteran coach has been speaking about a worrying rise in abuse towards managers amid recent episodes involving Steve Bruce and Nuno Espirito Santo prior to their sackings

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Tony Pulis believes the level of abuse that managers are experiencing is off the scale – and that he fears it could get to a point where someone is physically abused.

In the past month Steve Bruce and Nuno Espirito Santo have been axed from high-profile jobs at Newcastle and Tottenham respectively, with both coming in for huge stick from supporters both on social media and in stadiums.

Pulis, 63, fears that the line between fair criticism and personal abuse is close to being crossed.

Speaking to the BBC , Pulis said: “I do think that the way we’re going, I think there’s got to be a red light somewhere.

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Tony Pulis believes abuse of managers has gone too far

“Someone’s got to say ‘stop, that’s enough’. We’re getting very close to that point.

“That professional criticism, I think you have to accept, never mind how hard it is or how tough it is.

“You do worry that some idiot somewhere might, in the wrong place at the wrong time, do something that could endanger a manager.

“There’s got to be some way of being able to control this in a way that if they step over the line, you can actually take them to task, because you never want a situation where it gets to a point where there could be physical, not just verbal abuse.”

Pulis, whose last role saw him sacked by Sheffield Wednesday after barely seven weeks in the job, also took aim at some portions of the media for hyperbole punditry.

Tony Pulis’ last managerial role saw him last barely seven weeks in charge of Sheffield Wednesday, departing last December

He claims that “nasty” comments only add fuel to the fire when it comes to managers copping abuse.

He added: “I think some ex-players and ex-managers go over the top for their own benefit, to up their profile, to be controversial and outspoken. They say stupid things, they say nasty things.

“There’s other people and I know they’ll be constructive with their criticism.

“The phone-ins after games… some of the people haven’t even been to the games and get on the radio and they abuse managers. The world’s changing, there’s no middle ground anymore.

“There doesn’t seem [to be] that coming together, the media that surrounds our industry has done exactly that. They’ve moved to an area where you think ‘now that’s gone too far’.”

Bruce, who was dismissed by Newcastle’s new owners just weeks after a takeover was completed, opened up about the impact that constant abuse and criticism from United fans had on him and his family.

He said that it had made him consider whether it was worth continuing his managerial career.

“I think this might be my last job,” he said.

Steve Bruce admits the abuse he received whilst boss of Newcastle took its toll on him and his family

“It’s not just about me, it’s taken its toll on my whole family because they are all Geordies and I can’t ignore that.

“They have been worried about me… especially my wife Jan. What an amazing woman she is, incredible, she’s just a fantastic woman, wife and mother and grandmother.

“She dealt with the death of my parents, hers have not been very well. And then she had me to worry about and what I’ve been going through the last couple of years.”

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