Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mark Hughes : The Worried Manager...

As Man City go into meltdown, many contentious issues are thrown up: the owner even being allowed to be the owner, the state of the finances, the rumours of loans to pay player wages and, of course, the murmurings of Spurs taking them to court.

The most worrying though is that of Mark Hughes. Some say he has threatened to quit if he doesn’t get control of all transfers, others suggest he threatened to walk over the Corluka ‘transfer’. The big one is that he will quit simply because of what is happening. This would not just be a disaster for the club, but, I believe, for him.

We can all see why Hughes would walk out over this. He was promised players, control, funds, stability and progression. What he has got is shadowy dealings behind his back, massive financial concerns and an owner who goes shopping in Guildford with the wife while his fortune is seized and his lawyers prepare the paperwork for asylum. Lovely.

But he should not resign. This would be a serious mistake by a young manager who has done well at Blackburn and bagged himself a big club who have big support. And this is why he shouldn’t leave, where would he go? None of last season’s top half seem like they are going to lose their manager anytime soon and, of the teams that finished towards the bottom, only Newcastle would be a possibility. West Ham is the only other side who could go for change before Christmas, but would Hughes want to go there? I doubt it.

Hughes could very quickly find himself in Alladyce territory, a successful manager who simply cannot get another job. Big Sam may be slightly different in that he had his chance at Newcastle and was given the boot before he really got going, but the job market in the English top flight has not changed. As even he could go to Blackburn as some players are leaving the club.

The last time this happened was Alan Curbishley, he quit Charlton and his very presence at the job centre caused chairmen to act like idiots. Pressure was piled onto managers purely because Curbishley was in the wings and it was West Ham that jumped first. Hughes could well have a similar effect, but I can only see Keegan being affected by it. Ashley seems like a man who would happily sack Keegan after a draw and a loss put them only in 6th.

Hughes should stick. There is no transfer window for managers and if it all goes seriously wrong he could leave when the season is underway, but to leave now would be to take a huge risk with a very promising career.

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