Newcastle United manager Chris Hughton has talked again today about what it was like when he was asked to take the pre-season training on July 1st last year, when the Newcastle United club was in complete turmoil.
Chris Hughton – Championship manager of month for 4th time in April
At the time of course, the gossip press were having a field day at the expense of the club, and were creating all kinds of rumors and seemingly loving it.
Newcastle were the next Leeds United, and they would be relegated to League Oner in short order – and all that nonsense.
The club was up for sale, for the second time in 6 months, as Mike Ashley tried to rid himself of something he didn’t know how to manage, and there was no direction or leadership at the club whatsoever.
Apart from that everything was great.
So you can see why Chris and the players had no idea what was happening last July, and Chris talked this morning about what it was like in that dark period for Newcastle United:
“In all honestly didn’t know what to expect when I came back for pre-season,” “There was so much happening that summer, the constant speculation about the club being sold. There was so much talk none of us knew what was happening, players, staff, nobody.”
“It was only as we went through pre-season that we found something to focus on. We started to have an idea of what we would have in terms of players for the start of the season.”
“We still weren’t sure, but we started to believe we’d have enough good players to be do well in this division. I think the day the transfer window shut was one of the most significant moments, if not the most significant.”
“I breathed a huge sigh of relief.”
“It wasn’t just the knowledge that no more players would be leaving, it was the knowledge that all the speculation would stop.”
“It doesn’t matter how hard you try to ignore it, when you are constantly seeing things saying this player is going and so and so is interested in this one, it’s difficult. As soon as the window closed, all that was finished and we could get on with focusing on what we needed to do.”
We remember just before the window closed, there was speculation that Steven Taylor would be transferred, and Steven didn’t know what was happening, and seemed worried he would be shipped out of his home town club, which he had supported as a boy.
So Steven let the press know he didn’t want to leave Newcastle, but it’s an indication the players and Chris didn’t have a clue as to what Mike Ashley was going to do, because there was so little communication going on at the club.
When you get back to what it was like last summer, it’s even more of an accomplishment this season that Chris Hughton, the coaches and the players that were left, produced such a memorable season for Newcastle fans.
Whatever happens to Chris Hughton from now on, he’ll go down in Geordie folklore, not only as a hero – but as somebody who actually created a miracle on Tyneside.
He’ll never be forgotten.