Its seems that Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood are having some success at Birmingham.
Hughton and Calderwood – while at Newcastle
Chris had to wait about seven months after he was surprisingly sacked at Newcastle fourteen months ago, before being appointed manager of Birmingham City.
That was after the Midlands club had been relegated under previous manager Alex McLeish, who surpisingly was appointed manager of Aston Villa last summer.
Why and how he got that job we have no idea, but there’s nothing like failing in one job, and then getting a top job at a top club, and it was especially strange with it was Aston Villa – Birmingham’s bitter rivals.
Alex will be bringing his Aston Villa side to Newcastle on Sunday afternoon, and a win could see Newcastle keep their 5th place in the Premier League.
When Chris Hughton was appointed at Birmingham on June 21st last year, he tried to get Colin Calderwood as his Assistant Manager, but Colin was still manager at Hibs and couldn’t take the position.
But when the former Newcastle Assistant Manager was fired by the Edinburgh club in early November, it was only a few weeks later that Chris had him team up with him at Birmingham, on November 24th.
Not only do the two work so well together, but they are also close frends.
They demonstrated how well they operate together when they took a down-and-out Newcastle side in July of 2009 following relegation, and had the Magpies promoted a short ten month later with a massive 102 points, 30 wins and only four defeats.
But it didn’t help Chris Hughton that Birmingham sold a lot of their good players in the summer, and those that didn’t go, like Liam Riadgewell for example, were sold last month.
Liam joined close neighbors West Bromwich Albion, and he had even interested Newcastle last August, on the last day of the summer transfer window.
So it’s hard to think Chris, who’s one of the real gentlemen in football, could have them challenging at the top of the Championship, but that’s exactly where Birmingham are now.
They have jumped to 4th place, after winning five of their last six league games and hammering Leeds United 4-1 at Elland Road in their last game.
Birmingham have 46 points from their 27 games, and a goal difference of 19 which is second only to Southampton in second place, and they are only 5 points short of an automatic promotion place.
That goal difference has been increased dramatically over the last six games with three wins of three goals and a 6-0 hammering of Milwall away from home.
In fact in the last six league games that goal difference has increased by +16, and that could be an extra point in a close promotion race.
Of course Chris and Colin will know quite a buit about the teams in the Championship after having such a good season there a couple of years ago with Newcastle, and could they get a second team promoted to the Premier League in a short two years?
We wouldn’t put it past them, and we’ll be watching that table, but it must be good for Birmingham fans to see their side come back to life, after being relegated and losing a lot of their best players.
Here’s hoping that Chris and Colin can do it again and bring Birmingham City to St. James Park next season – that would be terrific.
And Newcastle will get a chance to thank Chris (and Colin) for the great job he did on Tyneside, because with him going so suddenly we never really got that chance.