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Gillingham chairman Paul Scally delighted for Crystal Palace after their High Court victory against Tony Pulis

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally wasn’t sorry to see his old foe Tony Pulis being hit with a £3.77million High Court bill.

Pulis and Scally were involved in a bitter courtroom battle following the manager’s sacking by Gillingham at the end of the 1999 season.

The former boss claimed then that he was owed money from bonuses and his share of player sales but eventually settled out of court.

Gills chairman Paul Scally Picture: Ady Kerry
Gills chairman Paul Scally Picture: Ady Kerry

It’s an episode Mr Scally won’t ever forget.

Reacting to this week’s news that Pulis had been found to have deceived a Premier League managers’ arbitration tribunal, in relation to a £2m bonus he received, time clearly hasn’t healed any of the rift on Mr Scally’s part.

He said: “I am not vindictive or malicious, I have never been and I don’t take any joy in other people’s pain, but Tony Pulis is an exception and he kind of got what he deserved.

“He has had his comeuppance I guess. Crystal Palace have hit him where it hurts and it certainly will hurt, with that level of cash.

“I am delighted for Steve Parish (the Crystal Palace chairman). He had the guts to take on Pulis, which is what I also did.”

Pulis was Mr Scally’s first managerial appointment, winning promotion in his first season, but things eventually turned sour and just days after the 1999 play-off final against Manchester City, Pulis was sacked.

He was to face Mr Scally in the High Court, with a claim of around £400,000 against the club. Pulis eventually settled out of court for £75,000, which the Gillingham chairman claimed was a victory for himself and the club.

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally in happier times with Tony Pulis
Gillingham chairman Paul Scally in happier times with Tony Pulis

To this day, Pulis is banned from Priestfield and is only allowed inside the ground when managing opposition teams.

Mr Scally added: “A lot of people don’t understand it and of course a lot of younger supporters in their 20s would have been kids when the Pulis thing happened. I don’t blame them for not understanding. Why should they even be bothered? 

“But the older supporters around the club, they are aware of Tony Pulis.

“He caused much anguish and grief for nearly two years, it was painful. What he tried to do to me personally and the football club, I shall never forgive him for.

“He doesn’t bother me anymore but I shall never forgive him and I shall never forget.”

Since being at Gillingham, Pulis has gone onto become a successful top-flight manager, with two spells at Stoke City and the brief time at Crystal Palace, when he saved them from relegation in the Premier League.

Pulis, 58, had a contract at Palace which promised him the bonus if he kept them in the Premier League - which he did - and stayed in the manager's job until 31 August 2014 – which he didn’t.

Mr Scally added: “It is a great shame because I have never criticised his coaching ability. That was never in doubt.

“I’ll send him a Christmas card. I hope he has a nice one. I don’t send them out normally but I am going to make a point of getting a nice big Christmas card for him.” 

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