The game tomorrow will mark Chris Hughton’s second anniversary at the Tyneside club – with everything that’s happened on Tyneside in the last two years it seems like 10 years at any other club – but this is Newcastle.
Mike Ashley and Hughton – do you think Mike likes him?
Just think back – it was late February 2008, and Kevin Keegan was managing the club for the second time, and there was great enthusiasm at the club regarding the future.
But since then, Kevin left in September, 2008, and Chris has managed the club three times since then on a temporary basis and then since last October has been full time manager of the club.
You have to give it to Chris for being loyal to the cause, with all that’s happened and he’s worked under Kevin Keegan, Joe Kinnear and Alan Shearer while he’s been on Tyneside.
Chris was always an excellent coach, very well thought of in the game, but he’s turned out to be a successful manager, at least in the Championship.
Chris is nothing, if not a gentleman, as Alan Smith clearly showed in his interviews yesterday.
Chris’ calm demeanor and class has helped to calm things down on Tyneside, so the headlines now are related to how the team is doing on the field, and we’re doing well.
Chris seems the type of guy who gets on with anybody, and we learned recently he even gets on well with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, and they talk regularly.
Ashley has to think the world of the man, because Chris could well save his bacon on Tyneside, if Chris can indeed get the club promoted this season.
This is what Chris said today about the anniversary:
“Have I enjoyed being the manager? Yes, I’ve enjoyed it to whatever extent you can,”
“There’s the pressure and stresses and ups and downs that go with the job. I’ve enjoyed the challenge. I’m fortunate we have a challenge and something we can go for.”
“Early in the season it was week by week because I didn’t have the job (permanently) initially. Probably the most pleasing part is the challenge.”
“I’m not sure what I expected. What I’ve been blessed with is a talented group of players in this division.”
“We started to answer a few questions early on in the season when most people weren’t sure what they weren’t going to see – a team in freefall or one that responded really well.”
Hughton brought in 4 players permanently last month, Williamson, Routledge, Best and Simpson, and at least initially the lads all look like decent buys.
They were brought in on fairly low wages in comparison to the daft money we were giving out to our players in the PL. And that seems to be the new approach at the club.
But we learned yesterday the club is still losing £500K a week, and that’s just not sustainable for any length of time.
So there’s pressure on Chris to get the club promoted in May, otherwise we’ll have to cull the squad once again of some high wage earners.
Comments very welcome.