Chris Hughton may not have the worldwide stellar reputation Rafa Benitez has got but when it comes to the Championship, the former Newcastle boss surely has few equals.
A spectacular first full season in management saw Hughton lead Newcastle straight back to the Premier League with 102 points as champions, despite Mike Ashley selling & releasing a host of players and not giving the Manager a penny to spend in summer 2009.
After his ridiculous sacking, the next job for Chris Hughton was newly relegated Birmingham City – a club who looked set for collapse as they had the extra demands of Europa League football as well as coping with the devastation and the demands of the second tier. Despite this they finished fourth in the Championship, only to lose out in the play-off lottery.
Norwich then headhunted Hughton and took him away from Birmingham, in his first season he guided the Canaries to 11th in the Premier League The following campaign was a relegation struggle but Norwich were one place above the relegation zone when sacking the manager in early April, his replacement only getting one point from 15 and the club were relegated.
Next stop Brighton and taking the job on 31 December 2014, the south coast club had only won four league games so far, Hughton managing to avoid relegation.
Getting his feet under the table, the next two seasons have been nothing short of sensational for the former NUFC boss.
In that time his record reads:
Played 78 Won 45 Drawn 24 and Lost 9 – A points total of 159.
Last season saw Brighton cruelly lose out on automatic promotion on goal difference and all the pundits predicted a bad reaction to that devastating near miss but Chris Hughton has marshalled his troops superbly. That included fighting off bids for all his key players, with Newcastle making approaches for Lewis Dunk and Anthony Knockaert.
Rafa Benitez has a more than fitting competitor in this promotion/champions battle.
Brighton striker Sam Baldock (scored both goals on Saturday in win over Barnsley) talking to The Argus:
“I think you will struggle to find many better (than Chris Hughton) in the Championship or outside the Premier League. All the boys like him, he treats everyone the same.
“He doesn’t have favourites, he speaks to everyone the same.
“There’s so much respect for him. He doesn’t demand it, he’s earned it for what he has done for us over just over two years now.
“He is a big figure as to why we are where we are.”
Saturday’s results and current Championship table below:
Barnsley 0 Brighton 2
Ipswich 1 Leeds 1
Forest 1 Sheffield Wednesday 2
(Mon: Newcastle v Villa Tues: Huddersfield v Reading and Sheff Wed v Brentford)
68 Brighton (GD +28) – Played 32
66 Newcastle (+35) – Played 31
61 Huddersfield (+7) – Played 31
60 Reading (+6) – Played 32
58 Leeds (+11) – Played 33
58 Sheff Wed (+11) – Played 32
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])