Chris Hughton – Zero to Hero for Newcastle

Cast your mind back to May 24 2009, a day most Newcastle fans would like to forget. It was the day their 16 year stay in the Premier League was ended. Newcastle’s season was a catastrophe from start to finish and showed what can happen to a football club if incorrect decisions are made at the top of the club.

During the season the club had three managers, Kevin Keegan left after the sale of James Milner. Joe Kinnear was brought in much to the surprise of the football world however the magpies struggled under his tenure. After health problems Kinnear was unable to continue, so the call came from Newcastle fans for Alan Shearer to return. He did return but was unable to save Newcastle from relegation on the last day of the season. The club was left in limbo over the summer, unsure whether Shearer would return, Mike Ashley put Chris Hughton in charge of first team affairs.

Most Newcastle fans accepted Hughton would be in caretaker charge until the club found a permanent replacement for Shearer. However a 6-1 defeat to Leyton Orient put doubt into the minds of the fans and the footballing public that Hughton was the right man to keep the magpies stable over the long summer months. Newcastle started their Championship campaign well with a well fought draw at West Brom. The magpies picked up their first win of the season in the second game against Reading. Many pundits believed Newcastle would drop like a stone into the lower depths of English football like Leeds and Charlton. Their good start to the season proved the doubters wrong, they would remain unbeaten until the middle of September when they lost to Blackpool. Chris Hughton won manager of the month awards for August, September and November leading Newcastle to the top of the Championship. The Newcastle board awarded him a new deal making the Magpies boss permanently.

Since then the Magpies have not looked back and have dominated the league since the turn of the year. They have taken apart nearly every team in who have faced them in 2010, and have managed to remain unbeaten at home all season which is a record in itself. In his short time as boss Hughton has shown all the credentials of a good manager. So far he has managed to get the best out of players such as Shola Ameobi, Kevin Nolan and Fabricio Coloccini, turning them into heroes on Tyneside. He has also shown intelligence in the transfer market buying Wayne Routledge and Danny Simpson, players who were integral in their push for promotion. Hughton has achieved what seemed to be the impossible, he has turned round the fortunes of a team, the city and its supporters when it seemed all was lost.

There are doubts whether he is good or charismatic enough to lead the team in the Premier League. The Newcastle board and fans must give him time and the chance to prove he is up to the challenge because they would certainly not be in the situation they are in without him.

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