In a league where executive drawing boards are so often dotted with potential managerial replacements, the name Chris Hughton deserves to be bandied around a lot more among clubs.
Of course, Hughton’s low profile, which ultimately benefits him in dressing rooms, would be the very thing that doesn’t grant him a lot of airtime in discussions about new jobs.
The thing is – Hughton’s job is more important to him than his own profile in the media, and that’s probably why he has become the forgotten man in the Premier League.
A generation of PR nonsense being spouted by agents and Sky to further enhance the over-the-top cults of personality associated with managers has forced others to be outspoken.
They’ve forced managers to go out on a limb, to make seemingly impromptu television appearances to appease the masses and we’re not miles away from being able to buy managerial merchandise.
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But 59-year-old Hughton goes about his business with a quiet dignity and his tenures, all told, have seen him last longer in jobs than the majority of his branded colleagues in the LMA.
There’s no doubting that Brighton and Hove Albion adore him because, not only does he speak well and represent the city and club, but he does it while achieving results.
His Newcastle dismissal was one covered in controversy. It’s very hard to enthuse the Toon given the ownership issues that plague the club and while Hughton certainly didn’t go on any Keegan-esque rants, he carried the club in the way he felt it should have been, in spite of Mike Ashley’s indifference to his reign.
It’s also easy to forget that the Essex-born Irishman had a stint in the Europa League with Birmingham City.
After Alex McLeish left following the club’s relegation, Hughton picked up the pieces, but also benefited from a Carling Cup success that saw his new side face Nacional for a chance to land in the group stages.
They beat them comfortably over two legs and recorded a historic win in Brugge. He drew at Stamford Bridge in a cup tie and got Birmingham to the playoffs despite a clearly bloated schedule.
The Blues played close to 60 games that season and would ultimately fall short – losing out to Blackpool in the playoff semi-final.
But he wasn’t sacked – he was poached. Norwich came calling and he guided them to memorable win after memorable win – lying in 17th spot when he was parted company with them.
In hindsight, it doesn’t appear the wisest of decisions.
His achievements with Brighton speak for themselves and he became the first black manager to win Manager of the Month back in February 2018.
He has achieved everywhere he’s been. He’s hardly ever fallen short of expectation and that’s unheard of in the modern game.
Given the quickfire reactions so many have to a slight dip in form, the only logical reason Hughton has had so long at clubs is because, at various points, he’s benefited everyone at the club – whether that be in the dressing room, the way he treats staff, his press engagement and his overall respect for footballing values.
So perhaps the only thing keeping Hughton off the radars of bigger clubs is the fact his departures, arrivals and successes are always modest.
Perhaps the only thing he lacks is an obnoxious personality and the only thing he needs to be manager of a bigger club is an Instagram hashtag.
Thankfully, Chris Hughton is above that and while other clubs fall further into the gutter, Hughton stands as a beacon of decency in a footballing nation of self-indulgence.Score your football odds at PaddyPower.com