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Hughton sacking shames Newcastle

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Phil McNulty | 15:38 UK time, Monday, 6 December 2010

Chris Hughton has brought dignity, stability and a respectable Premier League placing to Newcastle United - so it should be no surprise that his reward from owner Mike Ashley is the sack.

It sums up the twisted, madcap logic of a club that seems only comfortable with chaos and a hierarchy that has a vastly inflated sense of Newcastle's standing in the game.

Ashley's unsure touch on football matters has surfaced in the wayward decision-making of the past but, short of pleading with Kevin Keegan to return for a third term of office, few have been as unfathomable as the decision to remove Hughton less than eight months after the 51-year-old former Tottenham and Republic of Ireland defender took them back to the top tier.

Rumours have swirled around Hughton for weeks, the early whispers emphatically silenced by the 5-1 mauling of north-east neighbours Sunderland at the end of October. The delay in offering him a new contract and the failure to appoint a replacement for departed right-hand man Colin Calderwood was an ominous sign for Hughton, however, and his thanks for fine work came with his dismissal on Monday afternoon

hughtontrophy595.jpgHughton gave Newcastle Premier League football and much-needed stability. Photo: AP.

It is a shameful development after Newcastle issued a statement on 27 October insisting: "Chris is our manager and will remain our manager and it is our intention to re-negotiate his contract at the end of the year."

And it has rightly been met with instant and widespread condemnation - most significantly from Newcastle supporters who know their former manager has been badly treated.

Ashley has not been pushed into this by growing pressure and unrest from fans. Newcastle's followers have been loyal and grateful to Hughton for restoring respect to their club and for the calm and measured manner in which he guided them back into the Premier League after only one season away.

Newcastle players, according to those who should know, were behind Hughton, with both Danny Simpson and Jonas Gutierrez taking to Twitter to register their feelings.

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has been lauded for his work at Bloomfield Road, taking the Seasiders into the Premier League and moving them into mid-table this season. Hughton has done the same, admittedly from a game more, but this is not good enough for Newcastle's owners. Nothing, it seems, ever is.

Birmingham counterpart Alex McLeish has been praised for his work at St Andrew's, and yet Newcastle are currently above them in the table. Not good enough for Ashley.

Of course, the Magpies have had poor results this season, two of them coming in successive away games at Bolton and West Brom, the latter on Sunday presumably the final straw for Ashley and his fellow powerbrokers. It should also be remembered a creditable draw against Chelsea was sandwiched between these two results.

Newcastle are what they are - a newly promoted team - and Hughton was bound to experience bumps along the way. This is the way of things. Results can be mixed and heavy defeats come along occasionally but Ashley does not appear to have factored away wins at Everton and Arsenal into his calculations, or the hammerings handed out to Aston Villa and Sunderland at home.

The good news for Hughton is that he departs without a stain on his reputation and character while Ashley will no doubt face further accusations that he is out of touch with football's realities.

The farewell statement that accompanied Hughton out of the door at St James' Park was part-praise/part-insult as it read "an individual with more managerial experience is needed to take the club forward."

More managerial experience? From the club that asked legendary striker Alan Shearer to perform his first managerial task by trying to save them from relegation at the end of the 2008/09 campaign.

Take the club forward? Maybe something has been missed along the way but winning promotion from the Championship and putting Newcastle in mid-table in the Premier League sounds like decent advancement to most observers.

And how many managers with more experience - and not many would get experience if they were treated in the same cavalier manner as Hughton - would relish working at Newcastle after this?

martin595.jpgMartin O'Neill will be linked with the vacancy at St James' Park. Photo: Getty Images

Hughton was getting his experience at Newcastle, although there was always the lingering suspicion that he was not quite high profile enough for those running the club. If you wanted headline grabbing quotes or flamboyant behaviour, Hughton was not your man. If you wanted basic decency and sound managerial common sense on a shoestring budget, then he was.

We should not patronise the former Tottenham defender and sympathise simply because this is unwarranted treatment of one of the game's nice guys. We should sympathise because he has lost a job he was doing perfectly well.

Of course, Ashley could have the last word by pulling a big name out of the bag, allowing him to at least attempt to rescue something from the wreckage of Hughton's sacking, but who would that be?

Ex-Argentina coach Diego Maradona might care for a crack at it but he may feel Newcastle are just a little too dysfunctional a football animal for his delicate tastes.

Predictably, Martin O'Neill, the former Leicester, Celtic and Aston Villa manager, was at the top of the betting but would a man who is fanatical about having control over all affairs sit easily alongside Ashley? Unlikely.

And then come the usual suspects such as former Charlton and West Ham boss Alan Curbishley and Alan Pardew, who has also managed the Addicks and Hammers. Perfectly good managers but they hardly come with a cast-iron guarantee of improvement on Hughton.

There is huge pressure on Ashley and his boardroom cohorts to deliver the right man and ease the mood of unrest his decision to cut off Hughton has created at St James' Park. And Ashley's track record will not inspire huge confidence.

Hughton, meanwhile, can only reflect on what a harsh and illogical profession football management can be, safe in the knowledge that he has more than enough credit in the bank to soon be receiving offers from elsewhere.

For Newcastle, it was further proof that if there is a self-destruct button to hand, they simply cannot resist the temptation to press it.

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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Well as a Chelsea fan I never ever thought that another club could act more ruthlessly than ours,but obviously I was wrong!

    I feel very sorry for Hughton, but this is football today, and even if you don't agree with Ashley, he is the owner, and you have to respect that fact.

  • Comment number 3.

    Surely we must assume that somebody else has already been lined up. It would be ridiculous to fire a decent manager that is doing a hard job extremely well without knowing where to turn. Then again, Newcastle under Ashley's regime isn't based entirely on logic or sound judgement.

  • Comment number 4.

    Bizarre, thought he did a difficult job with dignity, and it's hard to see what more he could have done given the state Newcastle were in when he took over. Ashley shoots himself in the foot again, have to feel sorry for the supporters.

  • Comment number 5.

    I was fully expecting to see the headline, "Avram Grant Sacked" this morning, but it came as a complete shock to see it was Chris Hughton.

    The guy has done a great job there, he got you promoted as champions, then steered you to a reasonable position in the prem, with very limited resources, some injury problems, no asst manager, and a smallish squad.... What else does this idiot Ashley expect from a manager ?

    Maybe he should take a look what happened down the road at Middlesboro... firsly they sacked Southgate, when they were fourth in the championship, and then brought Strachan in, who is steering them on a steady course to League One !!

    Then of course Chelski got rid of Wilkins, and they've crumbled since then.

    I just don't get how a decent guy gets sacked for doing such a great job with the very limited resources he had !

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    I honestly had Hughton pegged for manager of the year. What in tarnation is going on in Ashley's mind?!

  • Comment number 8.

    Interesting Phil, you have raised some good points however I feel you've made some big assumptions here, the biggest being that his sacking was based on Newcastle not being higher in the league/having more points.

    If that's true then I agree with your analysis however there could be many other reasons why he has been sacked and I would hope that you could do some more digging to find out what was going on behind the scenes.

    On the face of it though it is a shocking outcome and I feel for Newcastle fans who may now face a rough ride for the second half of the Premiership and perhaps even longer. Chris Hughton came across as a down-to-earth, likeable, calm and self assured manager. His ability to get Newcastle into the Premiership and into mid table shows he can deliver on the pitch so I would question the perceived justification of his sacking.

  • Comment number 9.

    An absolutely ridiculous decision. Newcastle aren't going to attract a truly world-class manager, so who on earth do they think is available who can do a better job than Hughton did? Seems to me that having just about got into the fans' good-books, Ashley has thrown all that away and bought a one-way ticket to Bizarroland again.

    The likes of Curbishley and Pardew, experienced and capable as they are, will not get Newcastle any higher up the table than Hughton has managed, and will no doubt be wary of joining a club that changes managers more often than most people change their underwear.

  • Comment number 10.

    Newcastle FC Manager - the poison chalice. God help his replacement. What a way to reward loyalty. . Martin put on your running shoes!

  • Comment number 11.

    A truly shocking sacking, After the amply serving of humble pie that was a season in the Championship you would have hoped NUFC & MA had learnt their lesson....

  • Comment number 12.

    utterly confused, baffled, frustrated, angry and despairing at the moment. seems we are destined to always be the premier league's joke team (assuming we dont plummet down the table and get relegated, which seems likely)

  • Comment number 13.

    Ashley hasnt got an idea, what was his thinking sacking one of the top English manager's around. The new manager will struggle to match Hughton, and with that team will he get wins to Everton, Arsenal and Sunderland this season. I think not.

  • Comment number 14.

    The decision to sack Chris Hughton is an absolute disgrace, and says an awful lot about the over-inflated views of the controlling forces at Newcastle Utd. To sack a manager who has just won you the Championship, manufactured several excellent Premiership performances already this season, and currently has a newly promoted club in 11th place at this stage of the season is shameful, no matter what the expectations of the owner. I hope I do not cause great offense to supporters of the club when I say that to expect a high table finish from a club promoted to the Prem last season is utterly daft and unrealistic.

    I hope Hughton comes out of this with as much credit as possible because I believe that he has done an excellent job so far and has shown promise as a manager in his first real position. I struggle to see how the owners of Newcastle hope to attract a so called 'top class' manager to a club with the managerial track record of Newcastle Utd and the utterly misguided views of the manager.

    Good luck to the magpies for the rest of the season (except for when you play Spurs of course)!

  • Comment number 15.

    I'm thourghly ashamed of my club this stinks from top to bottom. I can say with utter confidence that this is not something that the newcasle fans wanted. I'm sure they just as shocked and disappointed as I am.

  • Comment number 16.

    Such a shame to see owners/chairmen once again making the wrong decisions for a football club. I think the timing also smacks of cowardice, it’s quite clear the board wanted him out, and so they have hid behind a couple of bad results. Agree that the “experience” line was a cheap shot as well.

    It is clear to everyone what a great job CH has done, and how thoroughly undeserving he is of a sacking. He really seemed to have the respect of the players, it will be interesting to see the effect this will have on the team.

    Good luck to CH I’m sure there are plenty of clubs where he will be a welcome addition and good luck to Newcastle fans for the rest of the season, I have a feeling that you may now need it.

  • Comment number 17.

    Not a NUFC fan but this must suck for the fans.

    When will they ever learn that this aint the Spanish or Italian league where you get fired for nothing....


    didnt that just happen!

  • Comment number 18.

    i think your assessment at the end of all the candidates, and the uncertain finish of the blog, sums up the situation quite perfectly. why sack him? and what improvement is pardew (bookies' favourite) going to be?? is it really worth all this for alan pardew?!

    the newcastle board had us fooled for a time that they were going to stick with a manager, going to offer the club stability and consistency.

    hughton has hardly put a foot wrong in charge, had the club moving forward and had certainly not taken them as far as he could. what more could the board have wanted from a team in a position like newcastle's?

    this cannot have been based on results, so what on earth is going on at newcastle united?

    and my message now to the hammers board is this: sign hughton up now!!

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    Madness, I honesty thought newcastle were past this but it seems not

  • Comment number 21.

    @ Post 2:

    I don't buy into this thing that you have to respect what the owner does. As an angry Newcastle fan I'll disrespect Ashley as much as I want thank you.

  • Comment number 22.

    Hughton managed to keep samir nasri quiet at the emirates....never mind coming away with the victory.

  • Comment number 23.

    thank you newcastle and mike ashley for relieving my Liverpool as the butt of all premier league jokes this season!

  • Comment number 24.

    Kevin Keegan was a completely unproven manager, took Newcastle into the top tier and into the most successful Newcastle era in premiership football coming second two years running. Chris Hughton had almost copied Keegan's start and yet the board do this. How difficult is it to understand that stability behind a manager, experienced or not, generates success. I hate being a NUFC fan sometimes.

  • Comment number 25.

    I believe Hughton will find it a much easier task to find a new job than Ashley will to fill his vacancy. Who in their right mind would take this job? No money to spend, a reasonable squad in terms of quality and a group of players whose team spirit will be compromised by this awful decision. What really grates is that there is no real reason to sack Hughton. It just doesn't make sense. To me it is as extreme a decision as if United sacked Fergie tomorrow, a decision completely devoid of thought. Mike Ashley claims to be a businessman, but he is in reality a laughing stock. My thoughts go out to Hughton and the Newcastle supporters, I fear we have a new 'boing boing' team.....

  • Comment number 26.

    Utterly devastated. Chris was the best thing that had happened to our club since Sir Bobby.

    We'll miss his ability to spot bargains in the transfer windows, such as Mike Williamson, Danny Simpson, Cheik Tiote, and the coup loan signing of Hatem Ben Arfa.

    We'll miss the stability he brought to the club. And anyone who can get the best out of Joey Barton deserves a medal. For me his greatest achievement was producing a fantastic team spirit which was echoed by the fans.

    What makes my blood boil even more so has to be the thought that Alan Pardew is the bookies favourite to suceed Chris. Diabolical.

    Mike Ashley was on to a winner with Chris, and now having sacked him he's shot himself in the foot once again.

    We were on course to stay up. Now it has thrown any thoughts of that out of the window.

    The repercussions of these actions will have disasterous consequences on our football club. This news will test the patience of this great clubs supporters once more.

  • Comment number 27.

    1. At 6:13pm on 06 Dec 2010, flashpoint999 wrote:
    Mike Ashley is an idiot.

    Agreed, but maybe he may have made a masterstroke and actually have a back up plan.
    Any guess who the next person will join the poison chalice ?

  • Comment number 28.

    Just as I was begining to think the club was stable and Fat mike was keeping his head down he does this.

    I'm ashamed to support NUFC after this, I love the club but despice Ashley and his bunch of clowns.

    You won't find a better manager than Hughton to fit the profile of what is required for NUFC ( low profile,tight budget etc.)

    This season is about staying up an nothing else for us.

    Chris Thank you for everything you've done and would take you back straight away as maanger if I could.

    A truely Gutted Newcastle fan

  • Comment number 29.

    it happened to big Sam.if newcastle are going to attract big names like they want, they have to have at least a season solidly finishing in mid table before then.mike ashley really screws around with fans hearts, they have seen keegan, shearer, allardyce, and now hughton gone.hughton actually has them playing a solid game too, and at times its like they never left the premier league.o'neill is probably the only candidate, except for sven, but i fear for anyone who manages this club with this kind ofowner

  • Comment number 30.

    As a geordie, I refused to believe what I was hearing through the grapevine, until I could get in from on SSN. Devistation and anger is all that I felt.

    He didn't deserve to go, he earnt his place at Newcastle United and made a hell of a lot of fans in Newcastle upon Tyne.

    Non of this made sense, and of course it didn't. It never will under the Ashley regime.

    As to who might take over, god opnly know. Personally I don't think it will be O'neil. It's everything he's against.

    Ashley out.

    Howay the Toon.

  • Comment number 31.

    Ashley has destroyed his last hope of ever having any credibility at Newcastle. Hughton was his appointment and was his only chance to be able to one day say to the fans 'I told you so'.

    Hughton brought dignity back to the club. That has now been shattered by a 'man' who will never understand the meaning of the word.

    Time to go won't be missed

  • Comment number 32.

    Scandalous, but sadly not all that surprising. This sort of decision exemplifies everything that's wrong with the game today and just serves to increase your average fans' disillusionment with the game.

    What the hell did these ignoramuses who made the decision expect, a Champions League place? Maybe Ian Holloway will be sacked next........

  • Comment number 33.

    As a Newcastle fan I think Hughton was doing very well in his efforts to rebuild a broken club. Unfortunately the idiot at the top has struck again, he probably wants one of his has-been useless London mates back.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    #19 - I think everyone on here agrees that this is another in the long line of bizarre Ashley decisions, but let's not start the racial stuff unless some evidence emerges. I'm sure Mr Hughton will have a new job soon and Newcastle will pay the penalty, best of luck to him - he deserves it.

  • Comment number 36.

    Many NHS employees will be losing their jobs so not too much sympathy for Hughton. He didn't deserve the sack but will be well recompensed, and he will probably end up managing a championship side at the expense of another manager, Roy Keane probably. You are quite right Phil no one with any self respect would work for Mike Ashley, but just watch the usual suspects throwing their cap in the ring

  • Comment number 37.

    I reckon Ashley is a mackem in disguise!

  • Comment number 38.

    What did Newcastle want- top 4?
    I thought he was doing a good job- I'm sure Magpies will agree with me. Seems a knee-jerk sacking to me. Anyone agree?

    (Liverpool fan in peace)

  • Comment number 39.

    As a Chelsea fan, I've got used to crazy decisions being made on the whim of an owner, but this has got to be as stupid as anything Chelsea have done in the Abramovich era.
    Hughton had the support of the fans and (so it seems) the players, and Newcastle are doing well in their first season back in the top flight (having won the championship under Hughton).
    For once, they had something approaching stability but that's been destroyed in one act of madness
    There are strong rumours that Carlo is for the chop at Chelsea (which, sadly, wouldn't surprise me given our past behaviour) but this decision by Newcastle is even more bizarre than that scenario

  • Comment number 40.

    Ashley is the biggest numpty ive ever known. What an absolute fool. Why oh why would you sack a decent manager that has led your club from the 2nd tier to mid table in the premiership. Words fail me and I don't even support the magpies. Feel sorry for the fans. Good luck guys. Relegation, here you go again.

  • Comment number 41.

    Just looking around, is there anyone on the planet (with the exception of Mr Ashley) who actually thinks this is a good idea? Anyone? No? Didn't think so. This is one thing EVERY football fan will agree on, United and Citeh, Gooner and Spud, Scouser and Toffee... Sacking Hughton is an offensive and vile piece of idiocy. Fit and proper person? Ashley is fit to tie Hughtons laces.

  • Comment number 42.

    I agree with most of your comments but I don't believe that Mike Ashley expected any more than he is getting out of the present squad.

    Newcastle fans are fanatical but they also understand the current situation regarding the finances and the fact that the owner isn't prepared to spend any more money on the club. He should be able to sell the club now that it is back in the Premiere League. Given that Liverpool was sold for £100 million or so without a half decent stadium then Newcastle is a snip at a similar price.

    One last thing, yes, Newcastle fans do think that they should be at the top of the league, basically in line with their turnover, that's how businesses are ranked. So a top six position should be achievable most years.

  • Comment number 43.

    i said it when keegan came to the helm, even though i thought it was a ridiculous choice, that they needed to give him at least 3 years - to bring some stability back and let the manager build a team. enough was enough for newcastle's chopping and changing.

    well hey that was 3 years ago - and results were even starting to pick up under him when he left - i'm a sort of fan, and the 4-1 drubbing of spurs was brilliant. had michael owen behind martins and viduka, was working great.

    so hey ho he left, kinnear comes in - again was iffy about it but THIS TIME i just KNEW we'd give him the time he needs to build a club. things conspire against us here, but it's still down to the board he doesn't return shearer came in, i said - he needs 3 years. only to find out it was only an 8 week appointment.

    so they go down, due in no small part to the ridiculous chopping and changing and instability provided by the board.

    along comes chris hughton - questionable record as caretaker boss, we're all a bit unsure - but it's a new start. we get promoted. i'm thinking - THIS IS IT NOW - we FINALLY have our man to take us forward, we finally have a real manager! it's taken us 3 years to get one (yes the irony there is huge)


    what now? 3 years of pardew?! much better than 6 months!

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    Mike Ashley - what an absolute clown. He's made a laughing stock of himself and the club again, just a shame a decent man has lost his job as a result of his stupidity.

    Hope they get relegated.

  • Comment number 46.

    Perfect time for NUFC fans to vote with their wallets, spend it in the
    company of someone who cares about your club.This decision be Ashley will
    come back to haunt.

  • Comment number 47.

    This is an absolute joke and a disgrace. Chris has done an amazing job and does not deserve this.When is Mike Ashley going to realise???? Have you ever seen him coaching and standing on a pitch, and encouraging the team??? Hope he has a very miserable Christmas.
    Chris will be snapped up and this will be looked as a blessing in disguise....

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    Appalling decision. I feel very sorry for Mr. Hughton.

  • Comment number 50.

    Mad...mad...mad...mad...carpet knawing, straight jacketed, mouth frothing madness.

    The club has lost stability again when it needs it most (i.e. after promotion.) Hughton's coaching ability is obviously excellent, turning players like Barton, Carroll and Enrique into consistent Premier performers.

    Ken Dodd for manager...diddy, diddy...knaw, froth...

  • Comment number 51.

    would be poetic justice, and would also not surprise me one bit.

    if the fortunes of hughton and newcastle went in opposite directions, the former forwards, the latter back

  • Comment number 52.

    On a day when Mourinho gets his punishment reduced by EUFA nothing should surprise us anymore, but Ashley and co won't be outdone.

    Don't you think he listens to and takes very bad advice, e. g Wise and other nonenties down at the casino? I can imagine them saying to him 18 months ago - "Just hope Hughton can get us back up, or at least steady the ship", then when he's done that, we'll out him and get a big name back in."

    No-one will ever know now what Hughton could have achieved with a fraction of the money wasted at Newcastle in recent years. Newcastle aren't alone in finding that big spending doesn't automatically bring success, but for sure the reverse IS true, that if spending is strictly limited so will your progress have its limits. Even Martin O'Neill whose name is now being mentioned, found his ceiling albeit with a bigger budget than Hughton.

    Goodness knows where the club will lurch next. Supporters must be shaking their heads - a Sunderland fan.

    Oh and DaveLosAngeles - you're excused, cos of where you live but Strachan got the sack a few weeks ago!

  • Comment number 53.

    I believe that the Hughton sacking will prove calamitous for the Geordie Nation, early noises from the likes of Sol Campbell suggest a dressing room bewildered by this most capricious of decisions.

    As a former Newcastle resident however, I recall vividly the clamour on the daily radio phone ins for him to be fired when Blackpool inflicted the 1st defeat of last season on NUFC. My point? The game is fickle, and this laughable decision will be forgotten if the board unveil a 'name' manager.

    As the blog points out, thats a big if. You cant help but think that theres somebody lined up already, such otherwise is the total lack of cogency in the news.

    It is also worth noting that Hughton was the sole black manager in the PL and leaves the division crimially unrepresented in this respect, Hughton having earnt the respect of the footballing community.

    Indeed, shame on you Mike Ashley.

  • Comment number 54.

    As a proud supporter of NUFC I came to this season with head held high and really looking forward to seeing how our manager would fare in the Premiership. In December I was quietly chuffed to be sitting in 11th, with a calm composed and dignified manager, with a set of decent results under his belt. OK so we lost some, but who hasn't?

    Yet again 'The Board' have decided that the best way to steer this club forward is to plunge us headlong into managerless chaos.

    Who will want to walk into this dragons den ? Well it is Christmas coming up perhaps the baby Jesus himself would take the reins.
    There's already a donkey there waiting for him.

  • Comment number 55.

    "For Newcastle, it was further proof that if there is a self-destruct button to hand, they simply cannot resist the temptation to press it."

    That is a terrific quote and completely sums up the whole situation at Newcastle in one complete sentence.

    Good article Phil

  • Comment number 56.

    Absolute shambles - Is it any wonder why Newcastle United FC are a laughing stock? People will want Newcastle to go down because of this just to see the look on Mike Ashley's face.

    Hughton actually bought normality to what is essentially a circus club and this is how they repay him? He is a good coach and has proved it, i hope he can get an PL job if one comes up.

  • Comment number 57.

    i've always had a soft spot for the toon. its the best ground i've
    ever been to in terms of noise and atmosphere you guys create,but i'm
    afraid this debacle is pushing that respect over the edge. as a long
    suffering bristol city fan we've had our fair share of manager merry
    go rounds fiasco but for a club of your size with the fan base you have
    you deserve far better than the morons running the club at the moment,
    maybe you are just a sign of these ridiculous times with idiots
    running clubs with no football brain or feeling for the punters that
    pay their hard earned cash every week, sadly i think these kind of
    scenarios are only going to get worse and turn people away from the game.
    good luck chris,you are a very dignified man and will be back in the
    game very soon. god help the next toon boss,mind you if someone would
    like to give me a three year contract for a few million i'll walk
    away after a few months if they want to pay me up.
    bcfc fan in peace

  • Comment number 58.

    I can't believe this, what the hell does Mike Ashley expect of Hughton? Newly promoted form the Championship (which by default makes us one of the favourites to go down), very little money to spend and despite that we've had some good results, Villa Sunderland and Arsenal, some bad ones as well but you'd expect that, it was never going to be plain sailing. Despite the swinging results we're sitting 11th in the league, which compared to the last two seasons is bloody good. He's managed to get Lee Bowyer playing well for christs sake, and the spirit at the club and amongst the fans is better now than it has been for a while, whay sort of moron would upset that now?

    What I'd like to know though is who Ashley's planning to bring in, who is going to be stupid enough to take the Newcastle job on after this? Someone with more manegerial experience? Who's available and desperate enough for work to get into bed with Mike Ashley? I'd thought we'd finally moved past the stage of playing musical chairs in the dugout that started after Fat-Freddys still inexcusable sacking of Sir Bobby, clearly I have been wrong, clearly the Newcastle job is still a poisoned chalice.

    I am honestly struggling to put into words how outraged I am at this. I'd bet that from here on out we're going to be in a relegation dog-fight for much of the rest of the season, something we looked like we might have been able to avoid.

  • Comment number 59.

    Mike Ashley must be one of the worst owners in recent history! What an absolute idiot! It looks as though he's just been waiting for an excuse to sack Haughton, and as soon as two bad away results come along he's pulled the trigger. He's shown no respect to the man at all. I reckon he's never fancied him as manager but went with him last year because the budget was tight after dropping to the Championship and he couldn't afford to give enyone else a decent contract. With the league being so competitive this year Newcastle could easily end up as relegation candidates again after this...

  • Comment number 60.

    "For Newcastle, it was further proof that if there is a self-destruct button to hand, they simply cannot resist the temptation to press it."

    That is a terrific quote and completely sums up the whole situation at Newcastle in one complete sentence.

    Good article Phil


  • Comment number 61.

    One of the worst footballing decisions i've seen for a while - no surprise that Mike Ashley made it... gutted.

  • Comment number 62.

    sacking Hughton is a poor poor poor choice and i believe he should get a job in the premiership soon (west ham united anyone?). newcastle on the other hand might just regret this stupid decision because Hughton is a fine manager. if i were west ham's owners, i'll be looking to bring Hughton in and get rid of Grant or move Grant further up the ladder into the position of football director because with Grant at the helm, west ham united seem destined for the drop.

  • Comment number 63.

    For once a McNulty blogg I was 100% agree with:-) In any case Hughton has nearly 2 years managerial experience with Newcastle in his 2 stunts as caretaker manager and most of this has been highly successful. He also has at least 10 years coaching experience. I assume Newc are still heavilly in debt so they should just be looking for a season or so of consolidation while balancing the books a little. Hughton was well suited to this consolidation phase. Best manager in the world would not improve on the job Hughton was likely to do this season which appeared to be mid table security.

    From a selfish point of view Ashley was better off letting Hughton do a stable job on the cheap while the finances improved and next season I would imagine the next Abramovic would have been keen to buy Newcstle for a lot of money.

    A word on McNulty's praise for Houlliers appointment start of the season.... I said he would be a disaster and its looking more and more like one as he stamps his mark on the team. Admittedly they have had a lot of injuries but he seems to be falling out with players and making the team even less experienced than it needs to be. Clearly not getting the best out of S Ireland who should be reigniting his career after being handicapped by Man Cs madcap transfer policy.

  • Comment number 64.

    We Newcastle fans are seething (yet you writers and fans will blame us, no doubt) Chris did extremely well, and managed to make some good signings with little money. Hope you get another job straight away Chris. You'll always be welcomed back here.
    But Jesus Christ - PARDEW ??????
    Time for a boycott (again)

  • Comment number 65.

    Disgusting. I'm ashamed to be a Newcastle fan sometimes. Chris, I do apologise on behalf of my malfunctioning club.

  • Comment number 66.

    Until newcastle are rid of the cancer that is mike ashley then they will never become the club they should be,as a liverpool fan i can feel what the supporters are going through after the mess we were in due to the miserable excuse of owners we had and i hope they will one day get the owners they deserve and as for chris houghton he will prosper else where

  • Comment number 67.

    This shows a lot about the current treatment of football managers in our modern game. I'd agree with most of the comments above, Hughton was clearly doing a great job. Just to look at his performances against the current top 3... They lost to a Man Utd team in good nick, but have beaten Chelsea (in the Carling Cup) and drawn 1-1 in the premier league, both of those at Stamford Bridge! They also beat Arsenal away. Just about every manager in the league would be delighted with those stats.

    Okay he has had a few defeats, but lets not forget this is a team which has only just been promoted. No offence to Newcastle supporters out there, this side is pretty average on paper, but Hughton has been able to grind out some fantastic results with what he has got. Notably he has been able to bring the best out of Andy Carrol, who has been fantastic this season - especially when you consider all the personal problems he's had.

    All in all Ashley is an idiot, and he deserves the poor results which are likely to follow (although the players and supporters don't of course).

    I'd have like to seen Jose Mourinho or Fergie do a better job with that bunch of players this season, and I don't see any replacement coming in being able to either.

  • Comment number 68.

    I feel sorry for Chris and the Newcastle fans. The way Hughton has been treated is despicable, but sadly not uncommon in football these days, especially for Newcastle. Makes me appreciate even more the stability we have at Arsenal - despite the media (Not Arsenal fans)constantly calling for Arsenes head because of a lack of recent trophies. I thank goodness the Arsenal board ignore all this, and renew his contract because they can appreciate what Arsene has achieved in the past, and what he is trying to do for the club in the present and future. Shame Ashley couldnt do the same for Chris

  • Comment number 69.

    Ridiculous. Shameful. As has been said. Only great teams beat Arsenal away (haha COYS!)

    You would have to be mad to want to take the job.
    None of the other managers mentioned seem like an improvement.
    I would suspect Ashley would plump for a foreign manager to make him feel flashy: Ranieri or Martin Jol if he could get them. Viali? Zola? Surely there no way Hiddink would take it. ...a Premiership return for Steve McClaren?

  • Comment number 70.

    An outrageous abuse of a fine man's un-swerving commitment to his Club and playing staff. The trusty Fans and players will be devastated,
    I strongly support the comments made by Sol Campbell (Happy 500 Sol !! I saw you on BBCi player Sunday MOTD - don't worry about Robbie Savage he's just a plank) another fine sportsman who has been shabbily treated in the EPL by people with short memories. Even I as an Adler remember his dis-allowed header in the World Cup fighting Argentina which was a fair goal and would have made England 3-2 victors.
    The Bundesliga would cherish warriors like these guys - come and see us.
    The Toon Army came to the Waldstadion a few years ago, they all took their Tricots off in the cold weather and we thought that was good.

    Im Herzen Von Europa & respect from SGE

  • Comment number 71.

    The black and white circus has come back to town !!

    come one come all !

  • Comment number 72.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 73.

    There isn't much more that can be said, i just wanted to register my disgust at the Newcastle regime and wish all the best to Chris Hughton, who from all appearances deserved much better.

  • Comment number 74.

    I think that the 500 plus comments on the 606 website show that Newcastle fans are dismayed about this.
    Sure to begin with we had our doubts about Chris and sometimes his tactical awareness showed that he was still learning on the job: but back in August most of us would have been overjoyed with 11th place mid season.
    Don’t know what to say but sorry Chris: you conducted yourself with dignity and got nowt for it.
    As for what happens next: who in their right mind, with experience, would come and manage us?

  • Comment number 75.

    @ bill no 42,how can you say liverpool havnt a half decent stadium no doubt your one of those armchair fans who wouldnt know a half decent stadium if it hit your pea sized brain.

  • Comment number 76.

    WHY OH WHY did they sack him ?! Utterly ridiculous !!!
    "Hughton gave Newcastle Premier League football and much-needed stability" - Damn right he did, but they still sacked him ... what was their reason ???

  • Comment number 77.

    Oh, and Mr McNulty - this isn't the first time you've launched attacks on Newcastle, is it ? Its every season, isn't it ?
    AND attacking the fans, AND the city....
    You've tried to disguise this as a dig at Ashley, but keep referering to "Newcastle"
    We are angry at this ourselves. We don't need a pompous sneering southerner (OK scouser, isn't it ?) to add to it.

  • Comment number 78.

    Yet again Ashley and co have dispensed chaos from the windows of their ivory towers - any right minded football fan will be left scratching their heads at this development and wondering just who will be next to take the hotseat: Pardew, Lennon, Keegan, Russell Brand??!!

  • Comment number 79.

    Who are they gonna turn to now ? Guardiola ?

  • Comment number 80.


  • Comment number 81.

    Excellent Blog PHIL!!!!!!!!!

    and i agree 100%

    what a sorry state of affairs it is when a manager such as CH has done very well under the circumastances to now find himself no longer wanted.

    he came acrosss as guy of considerable dignity and humilty, manageing a club like NU has not proved easy for anyone, with his resources he has done well.

    as a Gooner i sit in utter amazement at such a desision as i think most surporters of other clubs are as well. 11th in the table?

    best of luck to him in his next job.

  • Comment number 82.

    Newcastle - at times - played superb football under him ... beating Villa, Arsenal, Everton, Sunderland ... where do they go from here ?

  • Comment number 83.

    Phil, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts...

    We all know there was a contract issue with Hughton - what was the situation? Had he been offered an extension, was he told to wait, or was he attempting to re-negotiate a higher wage?

    Are there any known tensions between Hughton and Ashley that could go some way to explaining the situation?

    There are some suggestions another manager was lined up in advance - can these rumours be substantiated in any way?

    I am an Arsenal fan who saw us win 4-0 in the Carling Cup at St. James Park. Obviously that wasn't the best result, but Newcastle played better than that score would suggest and certainly showed a spirit worthy of respect. The point is, Hughton has done something with Newcastle that no manager has done there for many years - restore not only their own pride, but the respect of the wider footballing community. For this reason, I refuse to believe the invalid excuse of results as the consequence of his dismissal. I would gladly take Hughton as an additional Assistant Manager at Arsenal, perhaps he could solve our defensive problems!

  • Comment number 84.

    Is it 1st April today or something?

  • Comment number 85.

    Liverpool at home next for Newcastle - interesting looking fixture ...

  • Comment number 86.

    newcastle fans will do well to remember that the next man (pardew?) will have had nothing to do with the departure of hughton and will probably be worried enough about the board as it is without having the fans needlessly on his back from day 1 just because their rightful manager has been treated as shockingly as this

  • Comment number 87.

    I think this demonstrates an appauling sense of judgement by Mr Ashley, just when the club had some semblance of stability he goes and throws it all up in the air again, surely not the actions of a man with the clubs interests at heart.

    Respect to Chris Hughton...leave with your head held high, a good man that never deserved this kind of treatment.

    It does annoy me that people say Newcastle have sacked poor Chris...Newcastle haven't...Newcastle's self-serving owner has, and Newcastle don't deserve what's probably coming next, the doubt the downturn in fortunes etc...Mike Ashley deserves it but he wont be the one that suffers...Chris Hughton suffers, the players suffer...The club suffers and the supporters suffer.

    Well done Mr Ashley for keeping yourself in the public eye just before Christmas, sales must be slow if you needed to do this to remind us what you were about.

  • Comment number 88.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 89.

    Mike Ashley must have Guardiola or Mourinho in his mind now ...

  • Comment number 90.

    What an absolutely bizzare decision. Newcastle are a newly promoted team and are actually doing well, much outperforming my own Aston Villa for example.

    I can think of a dozen managers who were better candidates for the sack, including our own!

  • Comment number 91.

    All three clubs that arrived at the premiership this season are having a better than expected progress, at the moment. At Blackpool, the manager is next to God. At West Brom, he's God's gift. At Newcastle, he got the sack. It simply summs it up.

    How many managers have Newcastle changed since the start of the premiership?
    What did they expect to achieve without spending on players, right after they returned to the premiership?
    What expectations do they have?
    Do they understand reality?

  • Comment number 92.

    "Ullo all. Big Sam 'ere an ah just want t'say that ahm available. Ah've got summat to prove to th' Toon. Ah want anutha crack at it. Sod Blackburn! Ah've 'ad enough o' that. The'es nowt more to be done there. They're as good as th'll ever be. Time to get shut an' move on. Ah can tell ya now wot t'problem is. Too much messin' about. Fuhget that fancy passin' nonsense. Appoint me and we'll have ball int' box and int' net in no time! Ah know wot them daft Geordies like! Direct football!

    Call me, Mike...........ah'm waitin'!!

  • Comment number 93.

    You have to laugh at Newcastle at the way they love to press the self destruct button. If Newcastle were to go back down, Mike Ashley will be solely to blame.

  • Comment number 94.

    I bet Houghton is gonna come back to "haunt" Mike Ashley

  • Comment number 95.

    I'd just like to take a moment to congratulate Mike Ashley on achieving the impossible, and getting every single person commenting on this blog to agree.

    If I was anyone connected with Newcastle, and you offered me 11th place at the start of the season, I would have bitten your hand off.

    I can only think Ashley hopes to get Martin O'Neill, but I can imagine that one being laughed out of the building if he makes an approach.

  • Comment number 96.

    Wow, Mike Ashley is actually anti-football. Something tells me he's got an eye on a bigger, who wants to own Newcastle if you can somehow land a spot on FIFA's executive committee. I think he's just showing he credentials for screwing over anything good in football that comes within his reach. The parallels are obvious and clear to see.

  • Comment number 97.

    This defies belief. I'm no fan of Newcastle and in truth was actually quite pleased when they went down. However Chris Hughton has impressed me hugely and as a genuine footy fan, I had started to develop a soft spot for both Hughton and Newcastle. Last night I struck up a conversation on the subject of 'the best up and coming manager', and all present agreed it was Hughton.

    I have news for Mike Ashley. With 19 points Chris Hughton has helped you to hold a mid table position - 4 points from a possible Euro place, 4 points from the drop zone. However you may need another 21 points from 22 games to stay up! what looked a certainty this morning now has a little more doubt to it. At a time of uncertainty you have Liverpool, Birmingham, Man City and Spurs for your next four games. Could turn Wigan and West Ham in the new year into six pointers I think.

  • Comment number 98.

    I thought Hughton was doing a pretty decent job. Do a promoted side, even one that has only been away one season, really expect that there won't be ups and downs over the course of a season? Hughton had the support of the players and the backing of the fans, but crucially not that of Mike Ashley. This is the man who appointed Dennis Wise as a 'Director of Football' because 'that's how they do it on the continent'.
    I've never had a lot of time for Newcastle, mainly due to the undeserved belief that they're a 'big club', but I feel quite sorry that NUFC fans have to put up with Mike Ashley. Remember when he hired Dennis Wise as a 'Director of Football'? Genius.

  • Comment number 99.

    "What expectations do they have?
    Do they understand reality?" - WELL SAID !!!!!!!!!

    Is Mike Ashley expecting them to win the league ??!!!!!

  • Comment number 100.

    #92 is that mick mccarthy


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