London. Climb every mountain, sang the Reverend Mother in the 1965 film “The Sound of Music,” and Stoke City manager Tony Pulis seems to be taking the character at her inspirational word.
The Welshman, who served a long apprenticeship in the lower divisions before scaling his own peak in 2008 by taking Stoke into the top-flight for the first time in 23 years, will next week begin a seven-day expedition to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania for charity.
Pulis and television personality Nick Hancock, a Stoke supporter, will lead two teams up Africa’s highest peak in a bid to raise at least 100,000 pounds ($150,000) for the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice.
It is not the first time Pulis has given up his time for the charity.
“The hospice is only about a mile away from the football ground so we’ve had a connection with them for quite some time,” the 52-year-old said.
“Last year everybody was feeling the pinch a bit financially and they asked if I could do something for them, so I ran the London Marathon.
“Afterward, I told them, ‘Don’t be afraid to ask if I can ever help you again,’ ” said Pulis, who has performed wonders to establish Stoke as a force in its two years in the English Premier League and was touted as a candidate for the 2009 Manager of the Year award.
Pulis is wary about going into the unknown for his Kilimanjaro trek and will certainly need more protection than the signatory tracksuit and baseball cap he wears when he patrols the touchline at Britannia Stadium.
“I’ve never been asked to climb a mountain before, but I know it’s going to be pretty treacherous,” he said with a nervous laugh.
“I’m a little bit wary of the weather conditions and I’ve never slept rough before. As for the altitude, I’ve never been that high up, apart from flying.”
Pulis is lean and trim and said he had always tried to keep himself fit.
But he acknowledged the day-to-day demands on a Premier League manager had made it difficult to devote enough time to train properly for his expedition.
“I will turn up and do my damnedest to finish it,” the former Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Bristol City, Bournemouth and Gillingham manager said.
“Nick and I are looking to raise at least 50,000 pounds each — if we can do that we’ll be absolutely delighted.”