Ex-Stoke and Portsmouth boss Tony Pulis wouldn't have a civil conversation with me - Andy Petterson

Andy Petterson started Tony Pulis’ first match in charge of Pompey.

Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 7:00 am
Andy Petterson is disappointed after being beaten by Blackburn in a 3-1 defeat in April 2001

Yet despite that January 2000 opener against Wolves, the Australian has revealed the pair’s fractious relationship behind the scenes.

Pulis quit Bristol City to arrive at Fratton Park as Alan Ball’s replacement under Milan Mandaric.

His own Pompey tenure would last just nine months and 35 matches – and Petterson has lifted the lid on his difficult connection with the future Stoke boss.

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The former Pompey keeper told The News: ‘I started Tony Pulis’ first match in charge, but he had no choice at the time.

‘Following Bally’s sacking, Bob McNab came in as caretaker. I was on the bench at Swindon and they made us run afterwards – and I did something to my calf.

‘Then Aaron Flahavan was out, so Knightsie had to play at Norwich the match before Pulis arrived, with Chris Tardif on the bench.

‘For Pulis’ opening game against Wolves, I was fit and in the team. Mind you, he only came in on the Friday, so really I was in by default.

Andy Petterson directs his defence against Wolves in August 1999. Picture: Richard Thompson

‘I had a decent game and we were leading 2-0 at half-time, but Wolves scored twice in the final five minutes to win the match 3-2.

‘At the start of the following week, I turned up for training on the Monday or Tuesday and Russell Hoult turned up. Pulis didn’t even talk to me and that was that – Hoult was in.

‘I probably had two or three civil conversations with Pulis the whole time he was at Pompey, the rest of the time he wasn’t a fan of me.

‘He wanted me to go on loan to Scunthorpe, but at the time I was stupid enough to have lost my driving licence. While my then wife and two kids were living in King’s Lynn, so i couldn't do it at the time.

‘He got the hump with me that I wouldn’t go on loan there.

‘Instead he was making me go to reserve games at Bristol Rovers as number three goalkeeper on a Tuesday night. I was also down the seafront every Saturday and Sunday morning, running with the youth team – he was doing his best to get rid of me.

‘I ended up going on loan to Wolves for the remainder of the season, although never played there.

‘He never really communicated with me. He knows the sort of player he wants and I guess I wasn’t that sort of player.’

Petterson eventually outlasted Pulis, who departed in October 2000 following a bitter fall-out with chairman Milan Mandaric.

The goalkeeper would make just two more Blues appearances, both under Graham Rix in April 2001.

Meanwhile, the Australian admitted off-the-field personal problems were also a factor during his time at Fratton Park.

He added: ‘I was in the middle of getting divorced from my wife at the time and the kids were there.

‘Sunday morning involved me getting on a train from Portsmouth to London and then King’s Lynn. I’d then spend three or four hours with the kids and do the whole thing over again.

‘It was hard, but my own fault. Unfortunately I’d had a few too many drinks and, after going out one night, drove the car home.

‘We had a midweek Worthington Cup game and I didn’t play. I joined the lads for a few drinks afterwards and left the car at a hotel, but went back and thought it was okay to drive home.

‘It was a dreadful decision. I had a crash and it’s something I still deeply regret.’

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