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Newcastle Sack Manager Chris Hughton: Let the Circus Recommence

Football - Newcastle United v Arsenal Barclays Premier League - St James Park - 21/3/09..Newcastle assistant manager Chris Hughton Photo via Newscom

There are certain happenings, namely with regards to managerial shuffling and cup wins, that live in infamy among and around a club’s supporters and grounds. The 6th of December, 2010 is another one of those dates Newcastle United can attach to an already incalculable list of calamities. It’s the date when Newcastle United’s owner sacked manager Chris Hughton.

Chris Hughton might well have been knighted in the eyes of most Geordies and Newcastle supporters the world over for his thankless heroics last year, saving this club from the beckoning depths of the Football League and in turn, putting them back on a reasonable, realistic pace at which to start challenging for top honours again.

“Deluded” had, in the recent past, been an adjective brandied about trying to most reverently describe the hopes and ambitions of Newcastle United supporters, though it would be hard nowadays to find any particular supporter who would not have been in jubilation had, after the last round of fixtures this year, Newcastle managed to be nestled comfortably at seventeenth or higher.

Handed the reigns last October amid a solid run of results in the Coca-Cola Championship that eventually saw his Newcastle United side top the Championship with a points total of 102, managing to go unbeaten in every match at St. James’ Park, coach cum caretaker cum manager Chris Hughton was nicely en route in regards to the club’s Premier League survival, putting in some stellar performances along the way, though apparently it has not been up to par with Mr. Ashley, the Newcastle owner’s unfounded expectations.

And if there was ever one to defend the inane workings going on behind the scenes at St. James’, their rebuttals would fall short of proving the board’s sanity upon review of the club’s confirmation of the sack, posted to their official website:

“Newcastle United Football Club have today parted company with manager Chris Hughton. Goalkeeping coach Paul Barron also leaves the club today.

The board would like to place on record their thanks to Chris for his considerable efforts during the club’s transition from Championship to Premier League football.

Chris has shown exceptional character and commitment since being appointed manager in October 2009. The club wishes him well for the future.

Regrettably the board now feels that an individual with more managerial experience is needed to take the club forward.

The task of appointing a new manager now begins. An announcement will be made shortly regarding transitional arrangements pending the appointment of a successor.”

And as Chris presumably packs up his belongings from Newcastle’s Benton training headquarters, a certain Joe Kinnear, whose name for some reason or another has failed to go away, waits in the balance for the chance at a second coming to lead Newcastle United…….somewhere.

Fifteen games into the new year and Newcastle’s ambition to become an ever-present in England’s top flight has inadvertently called upon the soap opera that is Newcastle United to continue once again. A star striker still up against potential jail-time, a crumbling confidence and team moral, Steven Taylor’s contractual dispute and now, they’re manager-less. Move over, Manchester City, ’cause Newcastle just got a whole lot more exciting- and just in time for the January transfer window.

There’s only one question now: “What will Mike Ashley do next?”

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  1. Smokey Bacon

    December 6, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Unless they have a big name already lined up (e.g. O’Neill) this really is a poor decision. There are far worse teams than Newcastle in the league this year. To bring them back up in one season and get them playing above themselves, Hughton must be gutted. Hopefully he lands another job soon with a decent employer rather than the shower that runs the barcodes.

  2. rob60817

    December 6, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Thanks for everything Chris,you did an excellent job-I know of no Newcastle fan who wasn’t 100% behind you.Good luck for the future-at least you’re rid of Ashley and Lambias now,unfortunately we’re stuck with them

  3. Dave

    December 6, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Martin Jol resigned from Ajax today and is now linked with Newcastle. Wonder if anyone will be upset with the Hughton firing if Jol is the next manager. I might have too much faith in Ashley.

    • The Gaffer

      December 6, 2010 at 4:19 pm

      I’ll take Martin Jol any day of the week purely for the entertainment factor!

      The Gaffer

  4. Jason

    December 6, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I wonder if the bookies odds for Newcastle getting relegated just decreased? I would love to see Newcastle in Division 2, but even I recognize how insane this firing is. Hughton will be hired again soon belive me.

  5. Trevor

    December 6, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Puzzling move by Ashley. Not worth sacking Hughton just to bring in a re-tread like Pardew or Curbishley. I hope the Toon get relegated

  6. Dave

    December 6, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I’m fine with Ashley’s decision as long as he brings in an experienced manager with a good track record of bringing players in. Newcastle played great/over their head in big matches and against strong opponents, but dropped too many points against lesser opponents. If you take away the points earned against Villa, Everton, Chelsea & Arsenal, Newcastle’s at the bottom of the table.

    I think Barton’s absence has shown the offense is too one dimensional – getting the ball to the wing and crossing it into Carroll & Ameobi. I’m hoping that Ashley has realized this and wants to bring in a few midfielders during the transfer window. I’d like to see someone who can lead the attack from the center of the pitch (too bad Ben Arfa got DeJong’d; maybe Gosling is the answer), someone other than Barton who can provide consistent quality service from the wing, and an upgrade at backup defensive central mid.

    As long as Ashley’s rationale for getting rid of Hughton is that he wants an experienced manager to spend money in January, I have to no problem with the decision. Assuming the replacement is named soon, it allows the manager about a month to assess the squad before making purchases.

    I think Hughton did a decent job this season, but let’s not get carried away. He lost a lot of points he should have won, and won a lot of points he should have lost.

    • Sir Guy

      December 6, 2010 at 2:56 pm

      I don’t think anyone’s suggesting that Hughton is SAF, but if what he’s done with a newly promoted team is worthy of getting the ax at this point then there are a lot of established mid-table managers who should be looking over their shoulders.

    • Dave C

      December 6, 2010 at 4:36 pm

      If you take away the points earned against Villa, Everton, Chelsea & Arsenal, Newcastle’s at the bottom of the table

      Ha! So??? That’s like saying “If you look at Arsenal right now, they might be top of the table, but if you take away all the points they had won against x,y and z, they’d be in a relegation place.”

      • Dave

        December 6, 2010 at 10:58 pm

        Guess you missed the point. I see those results as being upsets. At the time, the Villa & Everton victories qualified. There aren’t many teams that Arsenal can beat that are considered upsets. For whatever reason, Hughton was able to get some improbably or lucky points against top teams. Without them, NUFC would be at the bottom of the table and everyone would’ve called for Hughton’s head. He lost too many ‘6pt games.’

  7. dominjon

    December 6, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    He was only ever supposed to be a caretaker until some huge coach, good enough for one of the very top clubs in the world, rides in on his white horse and… Delusionals owners, really.
    However I am hopeful, as they are looking for experience, they are going to make an approach for Hodgson.

    • The Gaffer

      December 6, 2010 at 2:16 pm

      Dominjon, Newcastle should try and snap up Diego Maradona. Now that would be interesting!

      The Gaffer

      • Simon Burke

        December 6, 2010 at 3:45 pm

        Haha, i would pay to see that. Its this sort of stuff (sacking Hughton) that makes neutrals like me want Newcastle relegated. Very unfair on the Newcastle fans all this.

  8. brn442

    December 6, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Unless there is something we don’t know. It’s Ashley and his arrogance again. Ladies n Gents – that is the problem with English Football in a nutshell. If Hughton were foreign or part of the old guard, he would still have a job. Young, promising, British, especially English managers are more expendable than the kit man. And you wonder why the likes of Hughton would bother to blood young English players, if they are judged by 6 month cycles.

    If Newcastle were in West Ham’s position, I would understand but considering Hughton’s only major signing this season had his leg smashed to pieces, the team has been playing fairly decent albeit inconsistent football – as you would expect for a team that just got promoted.

  9. Lyle

    December 6, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Sad for Hughton. I like him. But it will make sense if they can bring in Martin O’Neill.

  10. Athena_

    December 6, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I was so surprised at this I felt the need to blog about it too! The Newcastle board are a shambles. They probably want Shearer and Dowie back because they remind them of younger, stupider versions of themselves. It will be the footballing eqivalent of Cheryl Cole picking that middle class bird over the one from Zimbabwe.

  11. The Gaffer

    December 6, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    This decision shows what a clown Mike Ashley is. The sacking was totally uncalled for and definitely a knee-jerk reaction in my opinion.

    It’s why I predicted that Newcastle would start the season strong but would unravel in mid-season due to stupid decisions by Ashley (I said in August that “Newcastle continue to be cursed by Mike Ashley. It’s only a matter of time before he meddles in the team this season.”). And it’s why I predicted they would end up getting relegated as a result. See

    The Gaffer

    • Sir Guy

      December 6, 2010 at 12:28 pm

      Nostradamus lives! 😉

      • The Gaffer

        December 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm

        I wouldn’t quite say that! But Ashley is a predictable person who doesn’t deserve to be in charge of a club with such passionate supporters as Newcastle United.

        The Gaffer

        • Lab Partner

          December 6, 2010 at 1:09 pm

          He doesn’t deserve to be in charge. But he does deserve to lose as much money as he will end up losing, if not a good bit more.

          By the way, what’s Newcastlese for “Green and Gold”?

        • Adam

          December 6, 2010 at 1:12 pm

          Amen that Ashley does not deserve to be owner. I think (hope/ pray) that they stay up. Surely their good performances and start to the season was not solely due to the manager. With Nolan and Barton back as soon as Liverpool this weekend and Collo & Williamson after that, I think their form will pick back up again. I just pray that Houghton’s sacking does not set off the chain of events that Keegan’s sacking did. Hopefully Ashley (as lousy as a owner that he is) has learned something from the “R” word season.

          I swear this has to be the most difficult team to support in all of football.

  12. Earl Reed

    December 6, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    OK, the ONLY thing that I can come up with is the unseemly personnel issues that have cropped up in the last few weeks and months. .Joey Barton’s typical antics, the two dirty plays vs Bolton by Williamson and Coloccini, and Andy Carroll’s off-the-field troubles have all been a problem for the club. Perhaps when they say, “an individual with more managerial experience,” they mean someone who is going to insist upon more control by the squad both on and off the pitch. One would have to say that the Barton/Williamson/Coloccini troubles haven’t helped their cause.

  13. Sir Guy

    December 6, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    I’m trying to work this out. Newcastle are a newly promoted side. They sit 12th in the table ahead of some really well established teams. Have they looked like they were going straight to the top? Of course not, but they haven’t looked like they are about to return the the Championship, either.

    I don’t get it, unless what you say is true…..“a crumbling confidence and team moral”.A manager is responsible for that.

  14. Martin S.

    December 6, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    I really don’t know if I wan’t to support this club any more.

  15. Rob McCluskey

    December 6, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Chris Hughton will always be a hero in the eyes of the Newcastle fans. All the supporters are deeply upset that this has happened, yet we are not surprised that Mike Ashley would do such a thing. God knows how this man made any money in the first place with such short sighted decisions.

    You can expect a hostile and angry crowd for this Sunday’s game against Liverpool. Rumour has it that Alan Pardew is going to come in, so I guess we’ll be back in the Championship next season 🙁

  16. SantaClaus

    December 6, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Mad Ashley is at it again. What an absolute moron the man is. Not only is Chris Hughton a nice guy but he has proven that he can manage at the highest level. Ashley says he wants someone with more managerial experience. I’m sure Shearer has it. Just when you thought Newcastle were on their way back to repectability they do something really stupid to derail it.

  17. Not Deluded

    December 6, 2010 at 11:39 am

    “Here we go again, Newcastle who seem to think the Almighty annointed (sic) them a “big club” somewhere between Genesis and Revelation, are looking through the want ads for an appropriate “Messiah’ to return them to their rightful status. ”

    Only one person in the world wanted Chirs Hughton fired, and Mike Ashley most certainly is not Newcastle. So what exactly does this moronic firing by a hated owner have to do with the myth that is the Deluded Geordie?

    Newcastle fans want their team to stay up this season–that is the goal. What’s so deluded about that?

  18. Howard

    December 6, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Here we go again, Newcastle who seem to think the Almighty annointed them a “big club” somewhere between Genesis and Revelation, are looking through the want ads for an appropriate “Messiah’ to return them to their rightful status. What this rightful status is, only they seem to know, because a top four club it ain’t. Caught up in this deluded granduer is a really nice down to earth manager – Chris Hughton – one of the nice guys. A bloke who brought them from the brink back into the Premiership and has made a pretty decent start to the season. But of course he doesn’t fit Mike Ashley’s perception of a Messiah. Somebody who will walk across the channel from Holland or Spain or some far flung football giant of a nation like Qatar. And send Newcastle spiralling downward crashing and burning into the Championship and the Messiah will trouser his severence package and be off home. Hmmm can anyone say Sven?

    • Pedro

      December 7, 2010 at 6:36 am

      Hey Howard, I am no deluded Geordie and I am not waiting for the next messiah. 99.9% of Newcastle fans think Chris was doing a fantastic job and don’t really want anybody else as our manager. If you are going to refer to delusion then please use Mike Ashley’s name and not that of Newcastle United as he has f**k all to do with the way any of us think or how we want our club to be run.
      Regarding the issue of the “big club” we have the third largest stadium in England with the third largest attendance! Personally I don’t think we are a big club because we haven’t won anything at all in my lifetime (41 years) but we have proved in the past under Keegan and Robson that we could be!
      We desperately need Ashley out now to give us back the sort of dignity that Chris Hughton achieved for us over the last couple of seasons.

  19. Jleau

    December 6, 2010 at 11:16 am

    What a shame. Is the thrashing of Sunderland even a month old? Ownership is completely clueless.

  20. ecron

    December 6, 2010 at 11:01 am

    This is somewhat familiar of the the season they got relegated Kevin Keegan. The fans were happy with Newcastle’s performance, and definitely pleased with Chris Hughton. Although they did not have the best results, as a die-hard Newcastle fan, I was pleased with their overall performance this season. They spent little money in the transfer window, allowed Andy Carroll to start shining, and signed two new deals with Ranger and Williamson. The only thing left was for them to offer Hughton a contract. Mike Ashley is the one that needs to leave the club forever.

  21. Fernando

    December 6, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I’m sorry but the question has to be asked, if he was white would Mr. Hughton still have his job today? He saved Newcastle from slipping further into the lower levels of English football.

    Is it ok for Blackburn to fire Big Sam now? Level on points with Newcastle, same amount of losses.

    The next manager of Newcastle cannot say they knew nothing about this decision b/c you don’t fire your manager unless you’ve got the replacement in place already.

    Utter foolishness. Avram Grant still has a job but Chris Hughton does not.

    • MiaK

      December 6, 2010 at 10:56 am

      Our minds were at one at the same moment in time. Sadly, the question must be asked.

    • GeordieinChile

      December 6, 2010 at 11:00 am

      Its statements like this which sound more racist than the point you are trying to make.

      • Fernando

        December 6, 2010 at 11:04 am

        If there is no good reason to fire him, why is he out of a job?
        To just write this off as a non-racial issue is totally ignorant.

        I’m not saying he was let go if b/c he was black but tell me how this can’t be viewed in that light?

        • Lyle

          December 6, 2010 at 1:02 pm

          Martin O’Neill is available.

      • MiaK

        December 6, 2010 at 11:11 am

        First, GeordieChile, no one made a statement, a question was asked.
        Second, the question isnt being sprung from a vacuum. Examined in the proper context, it is not as easily dismissed as you would like.
        Nobody likes being called a racist, i get that, but the progress and racial equality never advances where people are afraid to discuss issues.If it is nonesense, I would be the happiest person alive! but if it is not, then it MUST be discussed!

        In a related matter, I had a conversation with a colleague from a southern European country recently (don’t want to call them out), and she tried explaining to me why monkey chanting in the Bernabau, or the throwing of bananas etc. was a “joke” meant to “unsettle” players, rather than pure unadulterated racism. Now that is nonsense!

        • Dave C

          December 6, 2010 at 11:45 am

          Yeah if only Bobby Robson, Kevin Keegan, Graeme Souness etc where white, they would still be in a job too…

          • Lab Partner

            December 6, 2010 at 1:01 pm


      • Simon Burke

        December 6, 2010 at 3:43 pm

        Utter nonsense indeed – if he was fired for not being white, then why was he ever hired? I assume he was never white.
        Some people shouldn’t be allowed near a keyboard.

  22. MiaK

    December 6, 2010 at 10:55 am

    This is an utter disgrace! Is there an elephant in the room here? I dunno, I’m in no haste to rush to such a conclusion. But, when you see such inexplicable decisions taking place, you naturally ask, what have i failed to consider?

  23. Jack

    December 6, 2010 at 10:50 am

    So true. 19 points and llth place are pretty good for a team just up from the Championship.

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