West Brom manager Tony Pulis has been accused of fraudulently engineering his departure away from Crystal Palace in August 2014. Pulis has been ordered to pay Palace a total of £3,776,000 but It is understood that costs could push that figure to more than £5million.
The judge, Sir Michael Burton, ruled that there was no evidence to support Pulis' claims and he had “deliberately mislead” Palace chairman Steve Parish so he could eventually find a better job and that “his conduct has been shown to be disgraceful”.
Pulis was due a survival bonus of £2 million after keeping Palace up during the 2013/14 season. His contract stated he would be paid at the end of August but the manager asked for it to be paid early because he needed the money to buy a plot of land for his daughter.
The tribunal suggested that Pulis “sought to play on Mr Parish's goodwill by referring to the land as being for his family (Mr Parish having recently attended the wedding of one of his daughters).”
Much to the dismay of the owner, Pulis told him he wanted to leave Palace just a day after receiving the money. The manager cited a heated meeting with the players over bonus payments was the reasoning behind his decision and Pulis claimed this took place the day after he was paid his loyalty bonus. However, it's been found that the meeting took place four days earlier after this meeting Pulis told Parish he remained committed to Palace.
Barry Bannan, Lewis Price and Stuart O’Keefe, all former Crystal Palace players were called to support Pulis' story and gave evidence that they remembered the meeting as having taken place on August 12. However the judge found that Parish was not at the training ground that day and that they must have mixed the days up. Palace additionally had evidence such as, taxi receipts, call logs and rival statements to counter the claim, plus Parish was able to prove that he had a hairdressers' appointment that day.