Has Mark Hughes put the playing career in his rearviewmirror to become a manager that could take the OT hotseat?
SOMETHING became very apparent to me when watching United versus QPR recently, and no it wasn’t how ridiculously awesome I looked in the steward like bright yellow jacket…it was this, Mark Hughes is becoming quite the manager on the quiet (and loud sometimes too, admittedly). He seems to be gathering up experience like a managerial kleptomaniac.
Make a big noise to distract and while everyone is looking right, the real action is happening left. It’s as old as time and as clever as Eric’s pass to Denis Irwin. It is a course of action that is very Manchester United; remember, whilst everyone was talking about Frank Lampard and possible United targets, the club started and concluded negotiations to bring Paul Scholes back. Who is everyone talking about as replacement for Sir Alex; Jose Mourinho? All the time without the same fanfare and Mark Hughes is almost sneaking under the radar.
With all due respect to Michael Appleton, could a case be made to say he’s the best candidate?
Steve Bruce is only considered for mid to lower table jobs and I don’t see that changing, Amongst Newcastle fans he was known as Secret Agent Bruce and he duly obliged in his ‘mission’ by losing to them on most occasions. Hell, he lost against a lot of teams. Ole Solskjaer is ripping up trees…in Norway. Roy Keane decided to buy a few Man United youngsters (that he did so is funny perhaps, given his famous interview doubting the quality of Old Trafford young uns). Keane of course quit Ipswich, in part because he seemed to struggle working around players who were not as gifted as he had been.
Some managers are specialists when it comes to achieving particular goals. If you are looking to win promotion from the lower leagues for example, go for Harry Bassett and sack him before the Premiership season because there, history dictates, he will only get a team relegated. I wouldn’t give Roy Keane any Premiership manager job; outside of a few good quotes at press conferences it is yet to be seen if he has any managerial quality at all. He may well have served under Brian Clough but even Clough wasn’t much without a number two by his side (arguably); he did give good copy at Press conferences though.
Hughes seemingly doesn’t care about his playing loyalties now and nor should he; he’ll take any job that furthers his experience with any team he feels that he can add to. He will think nothing of pissing Fergie off in the name of Citeh or Blackburn and he has no problem being pissed off at the amount of extra time played when it leads to a goal. * It was correctly applied though, Mark. Sorry. Hughes makes no claims of greatness, has no inflated managerial ego and he knows that he left legendary at the player exit door. He’s never even claimed to be the best man to replace Ferguson, which means he’s surely a big candidate to do just that.
If he is given the stage, the time and the support he may surprise people, or perhaps it’s more a case that he won’t surprise at all, he’ll just get on with the job.
Don’t forget, ideally we have to put up with the new manager for twenty four years or so (as if) and Jose Mourinho wouldn’t stick around for that long. He might be waiting for the job offer, but you all know he’ll win everything in sight for two or three years and then leave to milk some other team and fatten his own trophy CV. He’s like the worst parts of Championship Manager if you play it the proper way; that is turn off and restart every time you lose. What? Don’t pretend you didn’t do that, 97-98 is the best year for that because you didn’t need the CD for that season but I digress…
Sparky has become quite the grumpy sod as a manager, and he impressively separates what he achieved as a player and the reputation he is building for himself in management. Roy Keane got a lot wrong in his time in charge of Sunderland and Ipswich, but he correctly asserted that being a classy legendary player guaranteed nothing when an ex player took charge of a team. It is a clean slate. We understand Sparky taking the City job; his United legend was player based and it could not / will not be tainted or removed by any employment given; national or International.
Legend is a fickle thing. When a player is given the keys to the kingdom he used to rule, he can perhaps expect more time to succeed than someone with no ties to the club, but at the same time if it isn’t working out he runs the risk of not knowing when to remove himself; for more on this study Kenny Dalglish. Some are onto a winner regardless of what happens when they take over, because such is their status at the club, or the state of the club when they take over, that they are above all blame and fall into that category of trying valiantly for each and every fan despite their tactical ineptness and inevitable failure; see Alan Shearer.
Mark Hughes won’t be considered today or tomorrow, this season or next, and he hasn’t finished gathering experience but I could have seen him given serious consideration at Chelsea had Robbie Dominic Matteo not worked his way into first place for that hot seat .
It’s going to be hard enough to follow Sir Alex, perhaps we might as well take a chance.