Coates: TP right to criticise

Pulis has been charged with improper conduct by the FA following

his criticism of referee Lee Probert after last month’s 2-1 Carling

Cup defeat to Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium. The Welshman

questioned Probert’s decision to disallow a Jon Walters effort in

the first half of the game and felt there had been a foul on Peter

Crouch which should have seen Stoke awarded a penalty. He was also

unhappy that a Jamie Carragher tackle on Matthew Etherington did

not result in a red card, and told the BBC: “You have to have a

level playing field – you can’t have it both ways, and he (Probert)

has done that in my opinion. “He has not made the correct

decisions.” Pulis went on to refer to past Potters matches where he

thought Probert had made poor decisions, with the official having

ruled out Stoke goals in the previous two seasons away at Aston

Villa and Everton. He has denied the FA charge, requesting a

personal hearing, and the 56-year-old has the full support of

Coates, who feels it is wrong that referees are protected from

criticism, which he believes in this instance was justified. “I am

surprised and disappointed because Tony made legitimate points

about poor decisions,” Coates told the Stoke Sentinel. “I think

managers are entitled to question poor decisions. I’m not saying

referees can’t make mistakes – we all do. “But why shouldn’t

referees be criticised? Why should they be wrapped in cotton wool?”