Sometimes it’s the quiet ones that need the most support – quiet ones such as Mark Hughes, who no one seems to looking out for right now even though he’s enduring an unending slump at Southampton.
It was the same at Stoke too – month after month of sub-standard results with Mark seen in his technical area each week, staring vacantly into the distance, seemingly hoping that someone, anyone, would come along and make it all go away.
Following their lack-lustre performance at Wolves on Saturday, something needs to change if Mark and Southampton aren’t going to follow Stoke down into the thick, tangled weeds of the Championship.
In short, Sparky needs a spark – and here’s some suggestions of how we can do it.
1. CHANGE THE SOUTHAMPTON KIT
He had red and white stripes at Stoke and now he’s got the same at Southampton – and it’s not doing him any favours. A fresh colour scheme always perks up a dreary, lifeless house and Mark has probably lost any semblance of motivation through looking at the same-coloured stripes day after day.
Or, as an alternative, Mark could always embrace the misery and angle for the red and white surroundings at Sunderland – where abject failure comes as standard.
2. SEND HIM TO BARCELONA
He only spent a year playing at Camp Nou, and yes, it DOES seem faintly absurd, but then again they were still desperately trying to find someone who could adequately replace Diego Maradona, and Terry Venables was the manager and he reckoned Hughes would do a job.
The experiment only lasted a year but he came back a better player so why not send him back there for a fortnight of Catalan autumn sunshine and the chance to watch some players who are superior to what he’s got at St. Mary’s.
What’s that? Barca are on a three-match winless run themselves? Maybe not then…
3. CALL HIM LES
Perhaps a new image will perk Sparky up a bit. It’s well known that Mark is his middle name and that Leslie is his first name, so maybe he should admit that he’s getting on, switch to Les and behave more appropriately.
Slick back the greying barnet, don a baggy grey cardigan and eat pickled eggs straight out of the jar. Because no one is uptight when they’ve f***ing given up.
4. TIGHTER SHORTS FOR ALL
Hughes was in his pomp when he and his Manchester United cohorts all wore tighter shorts back in the 1980’s. It was the kind of fashion statement that literally sorted the men from the boys.
It helped that Sparky had the kind of thighs that you could easily smash up a Transit van with. Sadly they weren’t detachable so we’ll never truly know.
Give his struggling Southampton lads the tighty-whiteys that Hughes sported and we’ll see a return of South Coast pride, as well as some x-rated meat and two veg photography for the meme-hungry followers of Football Twitter.
5. GIVE HIM THE MAN U JOB
Kill two birds with one stone – bring an end to Jose Mourinho’s Old Trafford agony and return Sparky to the scene of his greatest years. Perhaps it’ll give the Red Devils the requisite boost they need to rise to that Premier League ninth place which they’re so desperately craving right now…