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“You want the challenges in life.” Hughton on Ashley, Keegan, Shearer, promotion…

Posted on November 22nd, 2009 | 47 Comments |

Last man standing.
Last man standing.
Of course, just when you think that Mike Ashley’s unpopularity with the Newcastle United fanbase has bottomed out and just couldn’t get any lower, it usually does. However the only man who has offered him any kind of lifeline is Chris Hughton, who has resolutely chosen to ignore wherever possible almost everything at Newcastle that doesn’t take place either on a hundred yards of grass or in a dressing room.

In one of his more revealing interviews since his arrival at Newcastle, Hughton has spilled the beans on his time in Toon. Kicking off with the effect his main goal, promotion, would have on Mike Ashley’s efforts to sell the club Hughton commented:

“Of course, it must be a fact that if this club are doing well and if this club is back in the Premier League it is a more saleable asset,”

Moving on to Ashley himself, he continued:

“Does he have a passion for the club most people don’t see? I don’t think you can have the involvement that he has in this club and not be passionate about it, that is an impossibility.

“He could not have foreseen what the last two years would bring. Mike has made mistakes and he has been the first one to hold his hands up.

Speaking on his own relationship with the portly sportswear mogul, Hughton went on:

“My relationship with him is good. I either speak or get some communication from Mike after the game. It is generally by phone call.

“Occasionally he comes down to the training ground. He likes to come and see the players.

“I identify the players”

The Stratford Supremo then touched on the the er, touchy subject of who controls which players come into the club, saying:

“The situation we have here is what happens at any club. I identify the players I would like to bring in and I present that to Derek Llambias and Mike. What I have been told is they are prepared to back me but there are financial constraints.

“I have been told they will back me and I don’t see any reason why they won’t. What will happen at any stage, you don’t know. At this club you get used to working around what could happen at any particular time. It has taken so many twists and turns.

Outside politics.

On the outside politics that have whirled like a storm around Hughton’s dressing room bubble, he commented:

“The issues outside the team, although there are some I have to get involved in, are easier to separate. Those issues are the responsibility of the administration side of the club and the owner. They need to get on with that. My objective is the playing side. You have to distance yourself from it.

“My objective is to get promotion. Where that will lead to with the ownership of the club I do not know.”

“We knew everyone wanted us to get beat in the first game at West Brom, we knew it would determine how the season went. The players gave everything. The spirit was excellent. I thought then we would be okay.”

When it was put to him there were still suggestions that his dressing room is too powerful, and that the club is managed by a committee of senior players more than himself and right hand man, Colin Calderwood, Hughton responded:

“Everybody has their way of working, I prefer to be low key.

Discreet discipline.

“There are some overpowering personalities in the game. The best way to work is within the personality I have got. Discipline is done inside the club and I deal with it.

“If somebody comes away from that you have to deal with it. It doesn’t matter who the player is. You have to do the role. You have to manage the right way and be yourself. If you come outside of what you are, people very quickly see through you.

Moving on to Newcastle United’s king of disciplinary problems, you know who. When Joey Barton was involved in a Benton bust up with Toon’s Argentine dynamic duo, Jonas Gutierrez and Fabricio Coloccini under Hughton’s watch, he was disciplined by Hughton without the usual fuss that attends Barton problems. On this, Hughton added slightly enigmatically:

“If the Joey one is highlighted, I have to make decisions every day, some are bigger than others.”

Special K. and Big Al.

Continuing along the minefield of controversial subjects in Newcastle’s recent past, the subjects of Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer were inevitably brought up. With Keegan, Hughton seems to have had a warm relationship. he says of the mini messiah who first brought him to the club in the wake of the Jol Hughton sacking farce at Tottenham:

“Kevin was everything I expected, charismatic, enthusiastic and humble. When he called me, the answer was yes straight away.”

On Shearer however, Hughton is more expansive, but also, seemingly, slightly more ambivalent:

“It was hard when Alan was here. You are used to doing a certain amount and then you are not. It was difficult. Alan came in for the right reasons. They felt the club needed the spark and the lift.”

Stormy weather.

Concluding at the beginning, his first day at the coaching grindstone at Newcastle’s Benton training ground, Hughton recalled the weather, with a suggestion that it may have provided something of a premonition of what was to come:

“The first day I came here we had to train indoors the wind was that severe. It was apt there was a storm brewing when I arrived.

“There have been very difficult periods. Sometimes you have to be the calmest when that happens.

Finally in sentiments that are somewhat reminiscent of Edith Piaf’s Je Ne Regrette Rien, Hughton signed off:

“Even if I knew everything that was about to happen, I would have come. You want the challenges in life.”

Well you certainly came to the right place for a challenge, Chris!

NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1055 articles on this blog.

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47 Responses

  1. geordie deb says:
    November 22, 2009 at 10:24 am
    Talking about yapping, the politicians have as usual been trying to curry favour with the locals. Wish they would comment when they know what they’re talking about, but I guess that would mean changing habits of a lifetime.

    Their all football fans Deb.  Just because they happen to be politicians doesn’t make them know nothing about footie. 

    Also, they have probably been asked a question while in the area.  I doubt they have just stuck their nose in for the sake of it.

  2. Stuart
    Or they could just be thinking of future votes with a forthcoming general election coming up?
    Quoting Barcelona, when it’s a completley different situation and
    don’t you think it’s a bit laughable telling Ashley to co-operate with NUST when NUST have turned down a request for a meeting with the club?
    “The controversy over the Kevin Keegan affair and the renaming of the ground are just two of the more controversial incidents augmented by Ashley and Co that demonstrate just how out of touch with the fans and inadequate for the task they are and why in the interests of the club they should co-operate with NUST. The fans deserve better, and the conclusion that they will only get it by taking matters into their own hands is one we very much agree with.”

    As MP’s they have a responsibility to their constituents and their backing of the scheme  may encourage more people to plunder their pension pot for what is still a highly dubious scheme.

  3. geordie deb says:
    November 22, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Deb,
    The likely hood is they have been asked an opinion on the situation.  The Home Secretary has commented due to him having experienced a similiar thing in Hull, actually his opinion would be welcome to them I’m sure with his experience of a fans buy out.

    Also I for one think that meeting with Llambias and Ashley’s representitives now would be a mistake.  The only people to gain anything out of it would be the current regime – Why do you think they requested the meet?

    They don’t want to meet them while their still putting things together.

    It won’t happen but I admire them for givin it a go.

  4. Well…that interview has at least cleared up one thing for me – I now fully understand why Stardust has such hatred for Sir Kevin….

    As Hughton points out – Kevin has all the qualities Stardust lacks:

    “Kevin was everything I expected, charismatic, enthusiastic and humble.”

    LOL

  5. geordie deb says:
    November 22, 2009 at 10:24 am

    “Talking about yapping, the politicians have as usual been trying to curry favour with the locals. Wish they would comment when they know what they’re talking about, but I guess that would mean changing habits of a lifetime.”

    Deb, have you ever seen the TV series “Brass Eye”? Where the maker, Chris Morris, persuades politicians and celebrities to back the most ridiculous campaigns imaginable for their own self publicity. One MP was so gullible, he even asked a question in the Houses of Parliament about a drug called ‘Cake’ that was a complete fiction, concocted by Morris himself.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brass_Eye

  6. Hughton talks a load of bollocks and gibberish, this is one in a long line of lengthy interviews where we are none the wiser afterwards, he would make a good mp

  7. Hughton gets yet more abuse purely for the fact he isn’t Alan Shearer or some fancy foreign name.

    Tell me this – Keegan became a legend when he won promotion to the top flight.  Will Hughton get the same treatment?

    I doubt it, his face doesn’t fit.

  8. bigbadbob says:
    November 22, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Hughton talks a load of bollocks and gibberish,

    He’s sounds quite clear to me Bob. Which bits don’t you understand?

  9. Hughton gets yet more abuse purely for the fact he isn’t Alan Shearer or some fancy foreign name.
    Tell me this – Keegan became a legend when he won promotion to the top flight.  Will Hughton get the same treatment?
    I doubt it, his face doesn’t fit.

    he wont become a legend if we get promotion though he might if we get promotion and stay up or atleast become a fans favourite

  10. summerof69 says:
    November 22, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    69, I think that he’s resigned to the fact that many Geordies are very closedminded and prejudiced, and will probably never fully accept him as manager. He’ll probably use his spell here as a platform for a managerial career elsewhere, where he’ll be more appreciated.

  11. worky whats your problem,slagging us geordies off,you want to get off ya soap box and go to a few games,CH good man shit tattics. the reason we are doing so well in the championship is coz our players are to good at this level.well most them
    theres to many people on here who have alot to say who havnt even been to games.armchair fans you got to love them.

  12. 69, I think that he’s resigned to the fact that many Geordies are very closedminded and prejudiced, and will probably never fully accept him as manager. He’ll probably use his spell here as a platform for a managerial career elsewhere, where he’ll be more appreciated.

    he will be appreciated ……………………….in time if he does a good job he”ll be a hero and if he can get us to be a mid table epl side im sure he”ll be a legend and instead of everyone saying he is just a puppet because hes a nice guy people will use the nice guy tag as a term of endearment

  13. Difficult to change minds that are set.
    Why dont you face facts, Shearer was a disaster, even MA recognized that.
    Great credit to Hughton he has consistently picked up the pieces and continued, he`s apparently respected by the players (if not the fans) and so far we are on a course for promotion.
    Would he be my choice as manager ?  No !   but then  I doubt if Gus Hiddink is available.
    One part of the interview confirmed my worse fear, when asked about bringing in new signings, we find the final arbiter`s are MA & Llambias, the blind leading the blind.
    We are desperately in need of someone with a football background to replace  Llambias, how MA cant see that isdifficult to believe.

  14. workyticket says:
    November 22, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Eh? But you wrote in comment 20 that you couldn’t judge a manager on just a handful of games, or does that rule just apply to Alan Shearer?

    I think you just shot the hitman worky! :-)

  15. worky,shearer and ch were both  bad in the prem they didnt have a plan b when it went t1ts up.lets hope ch can make the step up….the diffrence between shearer and big al is ch has been care taker a few times,that was big als first time…

  16. “worky whats your problem,slagging us geordies off”

    What are you saying Hitman – he cant be honest about a significant percentage of our fans.

    If the cap fits and all that.

  17. stardust,just because some fans think that ch isnt the way forward dosnt make them closed minded does it,plus alot of fans thinks hes ashleys puppet.

  18. Hitman @ 15 > theres to many people on here who have alot to say who havnt even been to games.armchair fans you got to love them.
    Does that mean they are not entitled to an opinion ? I suppose next you will be starting your rant that only born and breed geordies should support the Toon the way you used to get on on Eds blog ??  now thats what you call closed minded lol

  19. Hitman I just believe in the principal that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. and their also entitled to support whoever they want and voice what ever opinion they want even ( Stardust ) lol. weather they go to many games or not. ?.
    and no you cant call me a gloryhunter :)

  20. Hitman “stardust,just because some fans think that ch isnt the way forward dosnt make them closed minded does it,plus alot of fans thinks hes ashleys puppet.”

    Hitman – CH should only be judged after his performance not assumed before? Surely? And he has done an incredible job so far in difficult circumstances. He has his integrity – and has earned our respect.

    The assumption he is Ashleys puppet doesnt hold water I am affraid – I see a realist – a man willing to work to parameters and make the best of the situation he is in – A far tougher thing to do than to cry every 5 minutes about needing an extra 10million here and there.

    Re Roeder  – I have outlined my reasons for the total dislike of the man a thousand times – plus he is a snake – ask Harry Redknapp what he thinks of him now. What you can also say about Roeder with 100% certainty – is that on every occasion after promising starts the clubs he manages disintegrate and go headlong toward relegation.

  21. stardust didnt roeder get us into europe,plus if i recall you says on eds blog that roeder was a yes man for FFS thats why you stopped going to matches.

  22. 69, I don’t see how being a “nice guy” and being a “puppet” are connected?

    i never said i agreed with it im just saying thats what people think

  23. No Hitman – youve bit part selected statements I made – I said Roeder was a weak spineless man and was a tool used by FFS to rob the club blind – I went onto explain that it was akin to standing by as a man raped your sister such was FFS’s raping of the club (something we are still paying for today)
     
    Not sure why you continually try to bring it uptime and time again – my stance (formed on evidence of the accounts at the time) were based on evidence and outcome.

  24. Now, now ladies!

    Roeder was a joke like.  Everyone could see it was a bad appointment from the start. 

    I think with Hughton he has split fans right down the middle.

    Personally I don’t think long term he’ll pull up any trees for us, but having said that I don’t think Wenger, Mourinho and Ferguson could make a success in the PL on the size of budget we have had under Ashley.

    Put lets get there first and then moan about th lack of money available – Which I’m sure we all will.

  25. Stardust – Personally, I wouldn’t call someone who recovered from a brain tumour a weak and spineless man? Particularly as he helped us pick up our only trophy in forty years while doing it…

    He was undoubtedly limited but I respect the guy. What would Harry have to say then?

    As for the comments on that other article –

    “… and as BBM slopes back into his cave backtracking all the while – with his face slapped and a lesson learned from forming opinions based on nothing at all. Take it he had to publish this for fear of libel – and the tongue in cheek comments are disingenuous.
     
    Some things never change I guess.”

    You probably owe me an apology but I’ll not hold my breath. ;)

  26. wickywoowoo says:
    November 22, 2009 at 3:41 pm
    Hughton gets yet more abuse purely for the fact he isn’t Alan Shearer or some fancy foreign name.
    Tell me this – Keegan became a legend when he won promotion to the top flight.  Will Hughton get the same treatment?<<<<< well if he gets us promoted as a player and then agen as manager and turns us in too a top 2 club yes he most probably would be classed as a ledgend you half wit

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