Think back to the gloom and doom on Tyneside just before the Newcastle players returned for pre-season training last July 1st, and the club announced that Chris Hughton would take over the training – on an interim basis – and that Colin Calderwood would assist him on a week by week contract.
Chris Hughton – magnificent rookie season as Newcastle manager
The fans were underwhelmed and most of us were wanting Alan Shearer to take over at the club.
But since then Chris has hardly put a foot wrong and has completely transformed the Tyneside club.
It’s true that he has had a strong accompanying cast in Colin Calderwood and the other coaches, and players like Kevin Nolan, Alan Smith, Nicky Butt and Steve Harper, who have supported him all the way.
But it’s Chris who has been the inspiration behind the club, and an unlikely one at that.
The Newcastle fans’ tears of humiliation and desperation of last May have been replaced with tears of joy and rejuvenation this May.
And it’s hard to think how any manager could have done any better this season.
Newcastle have 30 wins, 22 clean sheets and only 4 defeats for the season, and the 90 goals scored is more than any other Championship side has scored, and the 35 goals conceded is the least.
As we said, it’s hard to know how Chris could have done better with 102 total points from the 46 games in the league.
It’s a time to savor the joy right now, and it’s amazing that it’s still less than a year from the dismal scenes at Aston Villa on May 26th last year, when the club was relegated for the first time from the Premiership.
But the Newcastle club has managed a complete turnaround in that short time-frame – and it’s little short of a miracle.
While there are many we have to thank for this – there’s none that takes more praise than Chris Hughton – the main man.
Well done Chris – you’ve been fantastic for the Newcastle United club – and that’s an understatement.