When Chris was asked by owner Mike Ashley last June, to take the training starting July 1st, we’re not sure Chris Hughton was particularly delighted.
Smith with Chris Hughton during training
Chris had been in charge last season at least 3 times, as the club lurched from one disaster to the next, and the club was put up for sale a year last September.
In June the club was again up for sale, players were being sold, and fans still wanted Ashley to appoint Alan Shearer as full time manager at the club.
Just think back to that time – the journalists were having a field day criticizing the club and the “experts” were predicting immediate relegation to League One.
But Chris has done just great, and today Alan Smith, whose had a good season, is hoping that the Londoner gets the credit for what he’s done this season.
Alan was asked whether he thought Hughton was a good candidate for manager of the season, and Smith told the Evening Chronicle today:
“I don’t see any reason why not.” “Chris has been good for us.” “People probably don’t see what he’s like. He’s a gentleman.”
“When he speaks, he speaks confidently and sensibly, and he won’t let us get carried away with anything he’s doing, which is nice.”
“Chris has done a good job in that sense.”
It’s hard to think how Chris could have done any better, given that we are a full 5 points ahead of second placed Nottingham Forest, have the best goal difference in the league, and have most wins (19) of any team in the Championship, and are so far unbeaten at home this season.
And of course the Newcastle United manager job comes with its own challenges with the best supported club in the land not having won anything for 41 years, and the fans are frustrated not just by that, but because we are now in the second tier of English Football.
All the concentration outside of Britain on English football is on the Premier League, and there’s hardly a mention of the Championship.
Alan continued about the Newcastle manager position:
“It’s a job that probably not many people would have wanted at the start of this season because of the situation the club was in.”
“On the other hand, it’s probably one of the biggest jobs in the country, which makes it very strange.” “It was a bit of a poisoned chalice.”
“He’s put faith in his players. He’s played his own way, and he’s got results, so full marks to him.”
“It’s pretty strange, for a club of this magnitude, that people were a bit apprehensive about taking this job because of the situation this club was in and the uncertainty that surrounded it.”
“But full marks to Chris, because he took it upon himself along with Colin Calderwood to take the reins, and hopefully we can pay them back by getting them promoted.”
We have to think that Chris has a good chance of being the Championship Manager of the season – given the terrible and confused state of the club when Chris took over last summer.
Chris is an unlikely character to be in charge of Newcastle, but facts are facts, and the man has simply done a magnificent job for Newcastle United Football club this season.
For that we are really indebted to this man!