When it comes to footballing passion, Aaron Hughes believes that Edinburgh and Newcastle are very similar places.

The former Newcastle United defender says it is great to play for clubs in cities where football is ‘their life, that is what they love’.

One of Graeme Souness’ many disastrous transfer decisions, 25 year old Aaron Hughes was allowed to leave for a pittance (a reported £2m), whilst at the same time Souness oversaw the recruitment of Luque , Boumsong and Owen for a combined cost of almost £40m.

Whilst those three hardly lifted a leg for Newcastle, Aaron Hughes went on to be one of the highest appearance holders in the Premier League, playing over 450 top tier games for Newcastle, Villa and Fulham.

Joining Hearts and former Newcastle coach Ian Cathro mid-season, Hughes has just been awarded a new one year contract despite turning 38 this coming November, a great tribute to his professionalism and fitness levels.

Returning from a calf injury, Aaron Hughes hopes to be involved on Sunday when Hearts take on Aberdeen.

Aaron Hughes:

 “Newcastle is a good example to compare Edinburgh to.

“It’s a city where the people are just so passionate about their football.

“That’s a great thing because you know you are playing for a team with a fanbase that cares – they are not just turning up to sit and watch.

“You speak to people and they want to talk about football, it’s their life, that is what they love.

“The atmosphere at times means the fans can get a bit frustrated but I have found the atmosphere to be good.

“You appreciate the fact they are going to voice their opinions, good or bad, and you’d rather play in situations like that, than play for a crowd that doesn’t care.

“I see that from both sides of the city.

“When you have two teams in the city and there’s a rivalry there which is great too, both sides are so passionate about their team and you want to be involved in those occasions and rivalries.

“I just enjoy playing my football here.”

  • Alex

    Aaron Hughes – 38??!! God, I feel old now!

    • Jezza

      I would have thought he’d be older than that. Seems like a very long time since he played for us.

      • Lord

        He should be still with us (in some capacity). Great squad player. For all the Allardyce, Pardew, McClaren and Carver haters out there, Souness was my least favourite manager of the Premiership era. His squad dismantling was worse and damaging than Dalglish.

        • Jezza

          Agreed, Aaron Hughes was allowed to leave St James’s Park at a time when he was still capable of doing a decent job for us.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    Nothing against Aaron Hughes in what he is saying but they are not comparable imo.
    Yes Hearts and Hibs have their hard-core supports but if you combine the attendances of both clubs together it would still be nowhere near the crowd for a home game at St James’ Park.
    This also takes place in a city which is nowhere near the size of the capital city of Scotland in Edinburgh.

    A lot gets made about Newcastle and it’s fans but when you put it into context here it is testament to the passion of Geordies for their home town club.
    I’m not having a go at the fans at Hearts & Hibs respectively but this is one in the eye for all those so called pundits who have an opinion on all things Newcastle United.
    They say they are deluded and in a way they must be for 52,000 fans to turn up to watch a side in “The Second Tier” of English Football who have not won a trophy since Nelson lost his eye !

    If that is delusion then they are certainly guilty of that, But in a good way…

    • Leazes Ender

      Tyneside population is bigger than Edinburgh last time I looked… despite having lost 3000 souls each and every year to the south since the end of the second world war.

      • Jezza

        Yes if you add in the population of greater Gateshead area, Jarrow, Hebburn and Shields etc to that of Newcastle you will have more than the half a million or so people who live in Edinburgh.

      • X,WHY,Y MAN.

        Yes it is if the boundaries ever get changed and they done away with North Tyneside, Then the population of Newcastle would be half a million.
        As it is though we only have something approximating 300,000 at the moment.

    • Jezza

      It’s a completely different situation in Edinburgh. I’m not saying Edinburgh people aren’t passionate about their football because they truly are but the situation there is that it is a city where the support is divided amongst four different teams. Not only Hibs and Hearts but also Celtic and Glasgow Rangers. Sadly and in common with all Scottish towns and cities, half the population of Edinburgh are old firm supporters.

      • X,WHY,Y MAN.

        I think it makes the achievement of Newcastle fans all the more because they follow their home town club.
        You yourself are saying a lot of people from Edinburgh follow the “Old Firm” teams instead of Hearts or Hibs.

  • HappyToons

    On the other hand if Glasgow had one team and came into the Premiership they would average 100,000, think about that. Other cities became one club then Manchester 100k, Liverpool 100k, Edinburgh 50k plus. Sheffield 50k plus. Birmingham (Villa included) 50k plus.