The sign of a great coach is just how much he can get out of the players he already has.
Chris Hughton – proof of top class coaching at Newcastle United
It’s OK going to a club willing to spend millions and millions on players, such as Roberto Mancini has done at Man City, and which Jose Mourinho did a few years back at Chelsea, but the real sign of coaching competence and skill, is to get the very best you can out of what you have.
That’s one thing you could always see in the great Bobby Robson, and when he took over Newcastle they were then second bottom of the league, but Bobby transformed Newcastle, pumped confidence into his players, and got them 52 points by the end of the season, with just one or two new players.
That was a miracle from Bobby – to be sure – and after a hiccup due to too many injuries in the following season, he had Newcastle in 4th, 3rd and 5th place in the Premier League.
Of course Bobby had already shown that class at Ipswich Town, when he never had much money to spend at all on new players, but brought the youngsters through the ranks, and had Ipswich in the top six in the old League Division One time consistently.
And Chris Hughton has shown he is a great coach, in the way he has revived footballers at the Newcastle club, who had been under-performing.
The first example is Kevin Nolan, who is now the captain of Newcastle, and having one of his best seasons ever, and has already scored 25 goals for Newcastle in just 69 appearances. That’s a rate of goal scoring that he’s never ever approached before, after scoring only 50 goals in 345 appearances for Bolton Wanderers.
But Chris saw the goal scoring that was there in Kevin, and in the last 16 months has taken advantage of that skill, by often playing the Liverpudlian as a withdrawn striker. Yes, we know 18 of those goals were scored in the Championship.
Joey Barton seems to have finally got his life in order off the field of play, and he’s been absolutely great for Newcastle so far this season, and looks what he is – an experienced, seasoned and very skillful player.
The third player we present for the case for Chris Hughton is Shola Ameobi, who has never really fulfilled the massive potential he has always had, but last season at the beginning, and this season so far, he’s arguably been in his best form ever for his home town club, whom he made his debut for a full 10 years ago under Bobby Robson, who always liked the player.
And then there is Andy Carroll who has scored 24 goals in the last two seasons, is on the verge of the full England team, and is still only 21 years old, but is looking like a new star number 9 for Newcastle.
All four of those players are English, and they all played great on Sunday, with Kevin and Shola getting the goals in the 5-1 mauling of Sunderland, and they must have impressed watching England Assistant Manager, Franco Baldini.
So there are four players, all of whom were superb for Newcastle on Sunday, when Hughotn’s game plan was spot on and helped to demolish Sunderland 5-1, and the Magpies were simply the far superior side on the day.
If that’s not world class coaching from Chris Hughton, then we don’t know what is.
And we haven’t even mentioned Jonas Gutierrez, Fab Coloccini, Mike Williamson or Jose Enrique, or three of our younger players in Shane Ferguson, Haris Vuckic or Nile Ranger, who are all playing excellent football right now at the Newcastle club.
As a new manager, it really helps when you already have 15 years of top coaching experience in the game, working under some great managers, as Chris has, and Hughton seems to know just exactly what he’s talking about. What’s that saying about practice makes perfect, and the more you do something, the better you will become.
And does that mean that Chris Hughton will become better as a manager at Newcastle over the next few seasons – probably – if he remains at the club that long.