Chris Hughton played for Spurs over 300 times, won the FA Cup twice and the UEFA Cup once. Despite these achievements, his reputation was somewhat undermined by his spell as a coach at Tottenham.
As he rose from youth coach to the assistant manager, Hughton worked under Ray Clemence, Doug Livermore, Ossie Ardiles, Gerry Francis, Christian Gross, George Graham, Glenn Hoddle, David Pleat, Jacques Santini and Martin Jol. He was also twice called upon to become caretaker manager at the club, as we chopped and changed coaches with gay abandon.
Towards the end of his time at Spurs, people started questioning Hughton. How did he manage to keep his job every time a manager got sacked? As a former defender, people also wondered we were always so poor at the back. If it wasn’t his responsibility, then just what was he doing?
Eventually Hughton departed from Tottenham when Martin Jol was sacked. He ended up as a coach at Newcastle under Joe Kinnear and even that appointment drew a few laughs from Spurs fans.
Now I don’t happen to know how good a coach Hughton really is, or what he contributed on the training ground, but I do know this. Hughton wouldn’t have been kept on at Spurs under so many different managers if he had nothing to offer. He wasn’t being kept around just because he’d played lots of games for us and was a nice bloke.
The mess at Newcastle has seen Hughton become the caretaker manager this season and now it looks as if he will be given the job full time. This might sound more like a punishment than a reward, but I for one am glad that Hughton is being given the chance to rebuild his reputation.
Even if he gets Newcastle promoted, you have to wonder as to whether a new buyer would keep him in the job or bring in their own man. Hopefully though, whatever Hughton achieves at the Barcodes will be enough for him to find further employment somewhere else. I’ve got a funny feeling that this won’t prove to be a problem.