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Chris Hughton on managing Newcastle United, and being sacked.

Posted on April 17th, 2011 | 16 Comments |

Hughton: “I’m very much a manager”.
Hughton: “I’m very much a manager”.
I’ve been told by by doctor that I must reduce my stress, so I thought that I’d type up a transcript of former Newcastle United manager, Chris Hughton’s recent long interview to Richard Keys and Andy Gray on ‘Talk Sport’. In it, Chris gives some very interesting insights on what it was like managing the club, the events leading up to his sacking for no discernable reason, gives some insight on his signing of Cheick Tiote for the club, his relationship with assistant, Colin Calderwood, and lots of other stuff.

It was a fairly long (half hour) interview, so I will put the transcript in two parts. In this part, he discusses what it was like managing Newcastle United, the fans, being sacked and how he sees his future as a football manager.

Richard Keys: “What’s it like managing Newcastle United? I think you could tell us a story and a half about that, couldn’t you? It’s a wonderful club to be in charge of, isn’t it?”

Chris Hughton: “It’s a fantastic club and I think when you’ve spent the amount of time in the game that I have and you’ve been up there on numerous occaisions, experienced what it holds up there, the supporters, the stadium, I think you have to be there to really realise what it means to the people up there. They have a support that will tell you it as it is, a magnificent support that will get behind you one hundred percent and push the team on. But they’re also a support that if they don’t like what they see, they can be very vocal and they see it as very much their club. You only have to walk around the City centre and you don’t see any other shirts. If you live in Newcastle, you support Newcastle. You feel that and I felt it one hundred percent.”

Richard Keys: “…Is there a Newcastle way of doing things as well?”

Chris Hughton: “Yes, there is, what they want to be is, and I think this perhaps goes back to, there have of course been some very successful clubs, your Uniteds and your Chelseas and your Arsenals over the years, and I think the Newcastle support, after a period of time, and it’s probably not the right thing to say that they got used to not being up there with the big clubs re the amount of success they can have, but what they did want to see was attractive football. Of course, Kevin Keegan was able to do that in abundance, and that’s left a little bit of a legacy, but I think that even before that they’ve, as with most supporters, they want to see a committed team, they want to see players playing for the shirt, but they want to be entertained.”

Andy Gray: “Would they still rather be entertained than win?”

Chris Hughton: “No. It’s a very good question, but I think what has happened in recent years, I think there has been a reality check that has set in. I see a different support there now, one that realises where the club has been over the last couple of seasons of course in the season, more so when we went down, then coming back up. I think when you speak to most supporters, coming up from the Championship this season their priority was to stay in the division. I think probably the Newcastle support, as with most support, as the seasons go on that will change, and at some stage that will change, and at some stage it will be back again to qualifying for Europe. But I think there has been a reality check and you can feel that.”

Richard Keys: “But Dalglish you see up there kept winning 1 – 0, he took them second, people again forget that about Kenny. He had them finish second, he went to Europe, The Champion’s League with them. He was in charge the wonderful night of Barcelona and ‘Tino’s hat-trick, but it was dull. That night aside, it wasn’t what they wanted up there, was it? They wanted someone else to come in there and entertain them, like Kevin had. That’s the legacy I suppose you refer to, isn’t it?”

Chris Hughton: “Yes, and there has been that reality check there, but I still think that deep down they want to be entertained.”

Andy Gray: (referring to Hughton’s sacking at Newcastle): “Do you know what happened to you?”

Chris Hughton: “No”.

Andy Gray: “Still no idea?”

Chris Hughton: “No, and of course, that’s still the first question that people ask me, and still ask me in the streets.”

Andy Grey: “’Cause I was confused. I coudn’t quite work it out, Chris.”

Chris Hughton: “I think on the day that I was told, was it a shock? Yes it was. Was it a surprise to me? No it wasn’t, and I think it wasn’t a surprise because, and I’ve said it a few times, the processes building up to it. There were times when, perhaps I could have got that support from the club. In particular a few weeks before when it had gone out that I was going to lose my job and I was, whatever the odds were, fantastic odds to be losing my job that week, and there was a time then when I could have got that support from the club. I’d lost my assistant manager, Colin Calderwood, who was a wonderful assistant to me some six weeks before I eventually went and wasn’t able to bring in a person that I would have liked to have brought in. So it wasn’t as if the signs weren’t there.”

Richard Keys: “What was the game you played really well, we were there, and I think you (referring to Grey) said afterwards ‘Do it now!’ this is ridiculous, this ongoing nonsense about Chris…?”

Chris Hughton: “That would have been the Sunderland game”

Richard Keys: “Of course it was, course it was. Do it now! And when that didn’t happen, you must have known, like us, that there was something in the offing that wasn’t very tasty.”

Chris Hughton: “Yes, and I think, as they say, the signs were there then. It still came as very much of a shock to me because what we had done was, as with most managers, most teams, you go through your targets at the beginning of the season and what we had done, of course, had surpassed the targets of the season before, and of course, surpassed the targets of that stage of this season. I look back as I think everybody does that will sit in this chair, the next manager, and I think there are some 47 I think that have gone this season, and I think everybody looks back at what they could have done better. But I think that what I’m quite proud of is that if I look from a football front and what we were able to install in the team and the targets that we were able to meet, I’m incredibly confident that certainly from football results and football matters that that wasn’t why I lost my position”.

Richard Keys: “I’ll tell you what there is for you (Hughton) is an awful lot of warmth out there, isn’t there, for the the job Chris did at Newcastle United.”

Andy Gray: “Well I don’t know what Chris’s thoughts are on it, but to me, Chris, it almost looked like as if this was a decision that wasn’t made then. It was almost like it was made almost at the beginning of the season. I just got the impression Chris that you did such a great job getting them up that you put them in an impossible position to do anything, and they waited, almost until you had, I think you had two or three bad results, you’d lost two or three in a row or something like that.”

Chris Hughton: “Well  if I look at the last five games, we’d lost three and drawn two.”

Andy Gray: “Right, that’s what I’m saying. They waited almost until you were in your worst spell of the season and went “See ya!”

Richard Keys: “But it was a great job done, wasn’t it? There is an awful lot of warmth out there for Chris.”

Andy Gray: “Fantastic job. There wasn’t anyone around in football at the time Chris, I don’t think, who could look around and say ‘Yeah, that was the right decision’, and you’ve go that in your favour.”

Richard Keys: “Do you know the worst part about it? They say that management turns you grey, don’t they? Were you aware of turning Geordie grey, one (side) black, one grey?” (laughs all ’round).

Chris Hughton: “Well, I remember my first stay up at the training ground, and of course it was Kevin Keegan who brought me up to the club, and I have tremendous respect for him and for bringing me up there in the first place. But the first day training, we actually had to train indoors because the wind was that severe. So we had a few windy days up there and of course there was Kevin and Terry MacDermott and Arthur Cox that were all very much grey and…”

Richard Keys: “But your’s has gone grey, you’ve still got one side black, and the half’s grey. It’s a Geordie stripe! ”

After a break, the interview turned towards Hughton’s future in football for a while, before returning once again to his days on Tyneside.

Richard Keys: “Are you now a manager? Or a coach?”

Chris Hughton: “I’m very much a manager. I’ve done a long apprenticeship, working under a lot of very, very good managers but the feeling I’ve had over the last year and a half is the best feeling. It’s of course more stressful and it’s a bigger job than what you anticipate with the areas of expertise you need. But there’s no better feeling than doing well, guiding the team to get the results that you need to get. There’s also no better feeling than the relationship you have with other managers. It’s of course more stressful and it’s a bigger job than what you anticipate with the areas of expertise you need. But there’s no better feeling than doing well, guiding the team to get the results that you need to get. There’s also no better feeling than the relationship you have with other managers, and it very much is a ‘union’ as such,a nd it’s one that it’s really nice to be part of.”

When asked by a listener when he would ever manage in the American M.L.S. Hughton replied:

“It’s something that I think anyone might think of at some stage, but no. My priority at the moment is very much to stay here and get back into management at the highest level possible.”

Richard Keys: “Do  you see yourself  as a Premier League manager? Or would you stray for a good one outside the top league?”

Chris Hughton: “I’m very open. I’ve enjoyed management for the period that I have at a top club. I want to sample as much of that as possible and if that means back into the Premier League that’s where I’d be delighted to go. But you have to be open. What I do want to do is I want to get back into work. I’ve been out for a period of time now and watched an awful lot of football but I’m itching to get back into work at the highest level as possible.”

Part two on Cheick Tiote,  Andy Carroll, giving him the number nine shirt and his controversial transfer to Liverpool, Colin Calderwood and lots of other stuff will follow soon.

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

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16 Responses

  1. He did quite well for us but it is interesting that nobody really offered him a gig after that, maybe others still see him as a head coach or assistant manager?

  2. Bleemo says:
    April 17, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    “He did quite well for us but it is interesting that nobody really offered him a gig after that”

    How do you know that they haven’t, bleemo? ;-)

  3. “Well I don’t know what Chris’s thoughts are on it, but to me, Chris, it almost looked like as if this was a decision that wasn’t made then. It was almost like it was made almost at the beginning of the season”

    Or just before the transfer window opened ?

    Having said that I wasnt one of Hoots’ staunchest fans as I recall how many times he’d wait until the 70th minute to change things on the pitch. However, with hindsight, I realise that having the balls to stand up to Laurel and Hardy was one of his finer points.

    If I had the choice of CH, with his tactical faults, or Pardwho with his tactical faults plus his blatant sycophancy then I know who I’d choose every day of the week.

    God bless CH, lets hope we meet again sometime when we’ve got rid of these lamebrains.

  4. AndyMac says:
    April 17, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    “If I had the choice of CH, with his tactical faults, or Pardwho with his tactical faults plus his blatant sycophancy then I know who I’d choose every day of the week.”

    Andy, I’m not saying you’re wrong or right, but wasn’t Hughton accused of being a “yes man” to Ashley for much of his time as manager, especially in the early days?

    Personally, I think that almost by definition, nearly all managers have to be like that to a large degree, don’t you think? Otherwise they end up being ex managers, either walking out in a strop or being sacked. Possible exceptions include someone like Ferguson, but they’re very rare.

  5. Newcastle United Playing in The Championship & Then Back in Top Flight, A spirit evolved within the Team & Fans…For the 1st time in over many years Sir Bobby’s Replica team was being formed ….The Master Mind CHRIS and only CHRIS

    Barton(Solano) Chiek(speed) Nolan(dyer) Guti+Jose(Robert)
    Caroll (Shearer) Ben Arfa(Bellamy)

    Then I Look Up to the Heavens and Say……Mercyyyyy

    Sorry to Andy and Chris ….

  6. worky,wouldn’t suprise me if pardew makes a balls up,they could go back to chris,and offer him the job,because not many will take the chance of working for fatboy.whether or not he would take it,or not different matter.i know it may seem unlikley,but it’s something you could imagine,those couple of nutters,ashley and llambias doing.ie an 11th hour bid for n’zogbia,for 12 mill.

  7. Cheers for the transcript Worky, must have taken some doing that lyk.

    Looking forward to the 2nd part. I didn’t hear the full interview 1st time around, mainly because TalkSport p*sses me right off but it makes for an interesting read.

  8. GeordieDan says:
    April 17, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    “Cheers for the transcript Worky, must have taken some doing that lyk.

    Looking forward to the 2nd part.”

    Nee botha, Dan. Some good stuff still to come. I always think it’s better when you can read a transcript, which is why I did it.

  9. Yeah, I was listening to this the other day. Can’t say I envy you having the listen to Gray and Keys over and over again though.

  10. I knew Chris was a good coach (you could`nt last for that amount of time under a number of managers) while at Spurs.
    However following relegation, i was unsure as to how he would do as a manager.
    I believed he was chosen simply as someone who was already in place and would save the club money, which i still do.
    The big surprise was his success, both for myself, probably the fans and i`m sure to our owner and his lackeys.
    And yes it was probably preordained he would be replaced at some time, whether we gained promotion or not.
    Apart from anything else, he was responsible for reorganizing a club in chaos, with only the well compensated contracts and the lower quality players willing to stay, wielding them into a side that was unbeaten at home and ran away with the league.
    Causing a problem with Ashleys five year plan (the fact it did`nt feature Hughton in charge, why I have no idea)
    It took a spell where the results were not great for them to find the nerve to sack him, it`s not brain surgery.
    However had Gus Hiddink or someone with a track record replaced him, well ok couldda lived with it!
    But Alan f****ng Pardew? defies logic if you ask me.

  11. Fountain of knowledge Richard Keys…

    “But Dalglish you see up there kept winning 1 – 0, he took them second, people again forget that about Kenny.

    Wasnt he in charge from january, his first full season we finished 13th! Barca, Given and Solano turned out great tho!

  12. Phew!
    Yea, thanx for allowing us to read that worky, like others have said: There’s no way i could listen to those 2 tw@s blabber on.

    Jimbo,
    exactly what i’m talking about that keys quote.
    What a total…
    ;)

  13. Oh dear,
    the ‘Jose to liverpoo deal’ (?) is now dumbed down to ‘Spearing coming to the Toon’ in exchange cos the media think he’s alright now too.
    They try anything to make a deal/story stick/run/roll.

    :)

  14. Yeah, Kenny ! eh !
    That the same guy who stabbed Hodgson in the back ? Constantly instigating behind the scenes and eventually ousting him.
    The guy has and will continue to spend big time to rebuild a crap side that Benitez spent two fortunes on (the two Yanks) this will make three.
    One thing you cant deny the Yanks will spend, look at S`Land, Man U.and the fortune MO`N. spent at Villa.
    Kronke @ Arsenal will spend too, look for enormous changes and shakeups in the EPL this summer, as sides like Chelsea and others begin dumping over the hill players.
    Going to be interesting times.

  15. chuck says:
    April 18, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    “One thing you cant deny the Yanks will spend, look at S`Land, Man U.and the fortune MO`N. spent at Villa.”

    Aye, but in the case of Manchester United and Liverpool with the first two, it’s usually highly leveraged debt which leaves the books in a right old state.

  16. Well perhaps, fact is, we are really in the dark about the Glazer empire of baseball, football and other financial interests.
    They (the Glazers) dont appear to be particularly interested in selling the club, even with rumored prices as high as one billion sterling being bandied about.
    The way things are going, looks like the day of millionaire owners may be over, gotta have over a billion now.
    Toys are becoming more expensive.