Since Chris Hughton came in as manager just before July 1st last year, Newcastle have started to get headlines from where they should be getting them – on the field of play.
Chris Hughton – has brought stability and some success to Newcastle
And when things have gone wrong like in times gone by, for example the bust-up between Steven Taylor andf Andy Carroll last March, Chris has circled the wagons and the players have kept their silence.
We may add that did not go over too well in the gossip press, who even came out and criticized Chris because he kept everything under control and everything under wraps – but in retrospect that was possibly the biggest compliment he could get.
We still don’t know just how good Chris Hughton is as a manager, and we’re already surprised at how well he has done as the 51 year-old seems to have grown into the job, drawing on all his previous 15 years of coaching experience to get the job done on Tyneside.
And when he was appointed to a an uproar of silence from Newcastle fans, we had thought that if he can get us out of the second division that would be just great, and his job would effectively be done, and we could bring in a real manager.
Since then Chris has had Newcastle promoted at their first attempt with a massive 102 points and 30 wins in the Championship, and he has matched wits with some of the best managers in the PL already this season, in Roberto Mancini and Carlo Ancelotti, with some success. And yes, we were really hammered at Man United in that first game of course.
And even though we have only 7 points from our first 7 games, most fans would admit that’s a poor return given the way the team has played in those initial games, and we have been a little unlucky so far this season. The team has fought with spirit and courage in every single game, and it’s just great to watch.
Of course losing Ben Arfa for probably the whole season has hardly helped things, but the club seems to have done everything right since last Sunday, in dealing with the unfortunate situation, and are getting some huge compliments from Ben Arfa’s agent Simon Stainrod, with the way they have handled the player, during this critical period.
Exactly where Newcastle will finish up this season is still an open questions, and most fans would be very happy just to stay in the Premier League.
Chris seems to work hand in glove with owner Mike Ashley, and of course Mike made every mistake in the book in his first two years at the helm at Newcastle, but Bobby Robson always thought that Mike had the right ideas, but that it was the people he brought in – that let him down so badly.
And Bobby let everybody know he thought the main culprit was cockney Dennis Wise, and Bobby lay almost the whole responsibility for the implosion at Newcastle in early September of 2008, down to Dennis Wise, whom he just did not like.
Indeed over the last 15 months or so Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias have done most things right, although there are still some problems, to be sure, as they try to increase the revenue streams at Newcastle. The naming rights of St. James’ Park is one such problem with most fans.
The club is not in too bad a shape financially, certainly nothing compared with Manchester United – who still owe over £750M, and Liverpool who owe about £260M. Newcastle are still the 23rd richest club on the planet, and that’s with revenues from the second division of English football, so we will no doubt rise in those charts these next few seasons- if we can stay in the Premier League.
Newcastle’s revenue in the last couple of years in the Premier League was close to £100M, but was less than half of that (£38M)when the club plunged into the second division, so financially it’s not a surprise the club is trying to now increase its revenues.
Manchester United have revenues that are close to £300M, and we’re sure the financial plan at Newcastle is to somehow to get to say £150M (at least) over the next 5 years. Liverpool have the same problem, that their revenues have lagged behind other massive clubs, since Yanks Hicks and Gillett mortgaged themselves to the hilt to buy The Reds.
Chris has come out and said he will not be entering the transfer market in January, but the squad has been improved immensely this year with nine decent players being brought in for a total outlay of around £9M, and most fans would agree Newcastle have struck some great deals this year.
All the club needs to do now is to continue on the track they have laid out, with youth the key ingredient, and we have to hope that Chris continues to be a surprise in that he can get Newcastle into the top half of the Premier League.
If the Londoner can do that by a year next May, he will have done very well indeed, very very well indeed.
But that’s exactly what we think he can do, and then things will certainly be looking up for the Newcastle club and their fans – fingers crossed.
But first things first – since that’s the way Chris thinks and acts – one game at a time – and the only thing that matters right now is that we can get 3 points at St. James’ Park next Saturday afternoon against Wigan – that’s a game we should be able to win – with a little luck.
But certainly things right now are a million mikes better than they were when Chris took over the club 15 months ago – that’s a cast iron certainty, and great credit to him for the job he’s done so far for Newcastle.
Let us know how you think the club is positioned right now?
Comments always welcome.