There is almost unanimous outrage at the dismissal of Chris Hughton. From a football point of view it looks unsustainable, all the more so when instability and hysterical appointments have been the reasons behind the decline Newcastle over the past ten years but also because by any same measure Hughton was doing a great job.
It’s easy to think that owner Mike Ashley is just making such a change to keep his interest in the club going, to entertain himself. I think he gets a kick out of upsetting fans and outraging people with insane football decisions. It can’t be for any good football reason, that’s for sure.
It may also be the case that he’s jealous of Hughton, a fellow Londoner who, unlike his corpulent self, is very popular in the North East. Maybe his ego couldn’t bear that. It wouldn’t surprise me.
It seems certain that this will damage a side that had forged itself into a unified, well motivated squad under Hughton’s guidance. It seems certain if Newcastle’s history is anything to go by, to put the club in danger of relegation and of further turmoil.
Perhaps Ashley thinks the team is better than it really is – that it achieved what it has achieved despite Hughton. If so he is grossly mistaken. Newcastle are an unexceptional team that is punching above its weight.
The sadness at Hughton’s departure is all the more profound because he was the very opposite of Ashley, quiet, respectful and classy. He was the lowest paid manager in the league and not even on a contract but he worked diligently and without complaint. You would have thought he was the ideal manager for a club that is the very definition of dysfunctional.
But just when the waters were calmer than at any time in the last 10 years, Ashley had to intervene.
He should be illegal.