Chris Hughton, with the help of his assistant Colin Calderwood has guided Newcastle to top of the Championship with just 8 games to play and they have a 10 point lead on 3rd placed Nottingham Forest with a game in hand.
Chris Hughton – guided Newcastle to top of the league
So the chances of Newcastle getting promotion are good, and will be even better of Newcastle can beat Forest on Monday night at St. James’ Park.
The Newcastle club seemed to be in a state of almost panic after being relegated last May.
Alan Shearer had put plans in place shortly after relegation detailing which players could be sold, and targets for the summer transfer market, but those recommendations were ignored by owner Mike Ashley, who had put the club up for sale for a second time.
And indeed those players who were sold seemed to go with no aforethought – and it seemed that any player was fair game for a transfer if the price was met.
Come July 1st when players returned for pre-season training, somebody needed to pick up the pieces to prepare Newcastle for their first season in the English second division for 16 years.
And the man who got the job at the last minute was Chris Hughton and that was the 3rd time Chris had been asked to be caretaker manager of the club in 10 months.
Chris had taken over after Kevin Keegan was sacked a year last September, and then in the following February when Joe Kinnear took sick with his heart problems.
But Newcastle fans were less than overwhelmed with the temporary Hughton appointment, since the only win Chris had as caretaker manager was the 3-2 win at WBA, and that was when Joe had taken ill that morning, so many fans thought that win didn’t count since Joe had prepared the team.
The popular notion in the press was that Newcastle could be relegated from the Champoionship, but Chris went about his job in his usual low key and unassuming way.
But then we had the disastrous 6-1 defeat at Leyton Orient in pre-season, and if that wasn’t a sign that Newcastle would be relegated what was – or so the “football experts” were telling us.
Then the games started in the league in early August and Newcastle were 1-0 down at WBA in their first game, but surprisingly came back in the second half to draw the game 1-1 with a more than decent second half come-back.
And that was the only game Newcastle didn’t win in August, and the side has gone from strength to strength since then, with only a few hiccups, which happens to all teams during a season.
With 23 wins and 80 points from their 38 league games so far Newcastle are on track to equal or better the 96 points Kevin Keegan’s side got. when they promoted as Champions back in 1993.
Newcastle have already beaten the clean sheet total of that side, when they had their 19th clean sheet at Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night.
But the personalities of the two managers could hardly be more different, with Chris Hughton shunning the limelight and asking the Newcastle faithful to applaud and thank the players, and not him.
But if this had been Alan Shearer in charge of the side, many in England would be shouting about a new top England manager in the making.
But maybe the low key, common sense decency of Chris Hughton is exactly what the club has needed and the news about Newcastle is made on the field of play these days.
And even when isn’t, like the confrontation last weekend beween StevenTaylor and Andy Carroll, Hughton gets his players to circle the wagons and the drama dies down quickly.
The bad news about the confrontation broke the last Tuesday morning, but Newcastle still won a tough game at Doncaster that night, and Andy Carroll scored a great winner.
You cannot make this stuff up.
But if Newcastle do indeed get promoted, many Newcastle fans are now willing to trust Chris as manager next season in the Premier League.
And indeed in our poll, 71 % of readers want him to remain as manager at Newcastle United next season if we do get promoted – that poll is still open on our home page, if you haven’t yet voted.
It seems to us that Chris Hughton is just the manager Newcastle needed this season, and he’s done one terrific job for the Newcastle United club under some very tough circumstances.