TONY Pulis has left Middlesbrough after the Championship club announced his contract would not be extended.

Puli's current deal was due to expire on June 30 so an amicable parting of the ways was always on the cards after Boro's failure to secure promotion to the Premier League.

The former Stoke City boss has had 18 months in charge and he had hoped to steer the club back to the top-flight, but missing out on a play-off spot was another blow to his reign.

Pulis had frustrated supporters with his team's style of play, although he has argued that he had to try to guide his team out of the second tier following a drive to reduce costs.

Middlesbrough will now begin the search for a new manager. First team coach Jonathan Woodgate is one name who has been under consideration, while it is understood ex-boss Aitor Karanka would welcome a return.

Chris Hughton, who has just left Brighton having guided them to the Premier League and kept them up twice, is another who has been mentioned. 

Gibson had talks over dinner with Pulis on Wednesday and the decision was confirmed this morning via the club's website, which then crashed. 

The Middlesbrough chairman must now come up with a way for the club to move forward and there is support from within the hiearchy for a change of approach, with a long term outlook rather than a short term appointment a strong possibility.

Pulis guided Middlesbrough to seventh in the Championship, a point behind sixth-placed Derby County who are heading to the play-off final at Wembley. Last season Boro lost to Aston Villa in the play-off semi-final under him.

Gibson, whose club will not be due any parachute payments next season, said: "I'd like to thank Tony for his hard work and commitment over the past 18 months. He has been a joy to work with and a complete gentleman.

"Two years ago we invested heavily in the squad in terms of transfer fees and salaries in an attempt to regain our Premier League status. This happened before Tony's arrival.

"Over the past 18 months Tony has been proactive, not only in the ambition to win football matches and promotion to the Premier League, but also in addressing our financial position in order to comply and respect the Championship fair play criteria.

"He has ensured that the club is stable and strong for the future. He leaves us in excellent condition."

And Pulis, who boasts over 1,000 games in management, is now looking for a new job after stints with Stoke City, Crystal Palace and West Brom before taking over at Middlesbrough.
He said: "I thoroughly enjoyed my time up in Middlesbrough and the club now needs to get itself back in shape financially. I hope I’ve played a big part in that and hopefully soon the ship will be pointing in the right direction.
“Everything like pre-season is in order so the next man who comes in won’t be picking up the pieces. I had a great night out with Steve where we discussed the future – his wine selection is absolutely first class. He has been a friend and I think our friendship has got stronger.”
He added: "I'm still fit enough and young enough to get out there and keep working. There is plenty of petrol still left in the tank and I'm already looking forward to the next challenge. I'm looking forward to a break but I still feel I've got something to offer."