It’s no secret Mark Hughes was a remarkable player. Not always the most likable fellow, his career spanned some of the biggest clubs in Europe: Barca, Man U, Bayern, and Chelsea. It was in particular at United and Barca where he made his name.
As a manager Hughes has been successful also. The Welsh National Team got closer to qualifying for a Major Tournament under Hughes than any other Manager. He also kept Blackburn in the Premier League and playing at a high level for several years even though their talent would indicate relegation struggles each season.
But now Hughes is facing the challenge of his playing or coaching life. He’s got a rapidly developing cosmopolitan side: with South Americans, Africans, and several English National Team player. Hughes’ temperament has always been the champion the little guy and to motivate his team to punch above their weight. How that he has a collection of world football superstars, will this work?
Questions remain prevalent about Hughes, but I sense a degree of Hughes’ envy among coaches including Sir Alex Ferguson who coached him and Martin O’Neil. Here is a player that was outstanding and got to play for big clubs now having the opportunity to manage a group of footballers who like it or not will make City a relevant “big club,” in due time. Obviously Sir Alex has the best team in England and one of the best clubs in the world. But his constant needling of City, I believe has less to do with Manchester City (Fergie hasn’t bothered with City for 23 years, why should he care now) and more to do with a former player of his who all of a sudden as a manager can rival his ability to buy top class international talent.
Hughes, has had the best of both worlds as a player and a manager. In England, we’ve seen a succession of good managers at top clubs while former players that were superstars like Tony Adams, Paul Ince and Alan Shearer among others have failed as managers at teams outside the Top 4. Yet Hughes, another significant player of the 80s/90s generation in Britain now has an embarrassment of riches to work with.
All of this leads to, Hughes Envy. Watch for it all year long in the Barclays Premier League.
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