Mark Hughes has always been an interesting figure wherever he’s gone, both as a player and as a manager.
Back in the days when he was a force to be reckoned with on the pitch many people saw him as one of the best players in the country, however, that talent hasn’t really translated into his current career. He’s good, but he’s never been good enough to succeed at the top level in the managerial world.
In his playing career, the Welshman excelled for a number of quality sides such as Manchester United, Barcelona and Chelsea. He has two Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and two European Cup Winners’ Cups under his belt as well as being the first man to win the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award twice.
I know what you’re thinking. “This has nothing to with his managerial career” – except it does. He carried all of this momentum with him through into his managerial transition, and interestingly enough his greatest successes on the touchline came within his first few jobs.
Hughes managed to improve the fortunes of the Welsh national team, however he was still unable to help them qualify for a major tournament. That’s the big issue here – failure is still conceived as success depending on who you are and what your reputation is within the game.
if Hughes mismanages Bojan into leaving Stoke I will never forgive him and then just start supporting Bo's new club
— Zach (@NOLAStokie) October 6, 2016
After that, Hughes went to Blackburn where he secured a sixth place finish in the Premier League with the club. That seems pretty impressive, right? Wrong. For the four years he was in charge the team finished top of the disciplinary tables and were constantly labeled “over-physical” and “dirty” by supporters and media alike.
His next position at Manchester City should have been the catalyst for his rise into becoming a top manager, or atleast it should’ve been if you listened to the hype surrounding him. The now-52-year-old lasted just a year in the position as his attitude continued to get worse and worse.
It got to the point where you would start to expect every press conference and post-game interview to be littered with him complaining or making excuses. If you turned it into a drinking game you’d be carted into A&E after about 90 seconds.
He was gradually becoming more and more disgruntled and that was obvious. In his next two positions he lasted less than 12 months, as his reputation took an even further beating. At Fulham he actually made the following statement about leaving the club.
“As a young, ambitious manager I wish to move on to further my experiences.”
The bloke even admitted that he sounded like a pretentious prick just a few months later. For some reason Mark Hughes feels as if he is owed something within this game, and the sense of entitlement that he has would make you think he was Sir Alex Ferguson.
In the present day, he has been at Stoke City for a few years and in all fairness has done a pretty solid job. Not great, not even noteworthy, just solid. Even now the club are in trouble down the bottom of the Premier League after such a poor start to the campaign, and all those big names Hughes bought just aren’t working out.
It’s all well and good throwing money around, but being able to turn a team into a cohesive unit is the real task. That’s something he can’t do, and is one of the many reasons why he will never reach the pinnacle of this profession.