Mark Hughes is the 7th highest scorer in the history of Manchester United, spending a total of 13 years with the club. He joined us as a teenager and was a fans’ favourite early on.
Hughes won the FA Cup with us in 1985 before leaving for Barcelona the following year. He didn’t do too well in Spain and was loaned to Bayern Munich for a year, only to return to United the following season.
He saw out the peak of his career with us, staying at the club in to his 30s. In this time, he added to his honours, winning two league titles, two more FA Cups, a League Cup and European Cup Winners Cup.
Hughes was much loved by our fans, mainly due to his ability to spice up a game and score truly wonderful goals. His skill wasn’t just recognised by United though, as Hughes claimed the PFA Player of the Year award twice, first in 1989 and again in 1991.
His most important goals came in the European Cup Winners Cup in 91, goals in the 1990 and 1994 FA Cup final wins against Crystal Palace and Chelsea. He scored the goal that helped us in to the FA Cup final in 1994 against Oldham in the semis, with just seconds remaining on the clock.
So how are we expected to feel now, knowing that Sparky is likely to take the manager’s job at our local, bitter rivals, City?
Hughes is a player a lot of reds tip to be the man to replace Sir Alex Ferguson in a few years time, following successful stints as Wales and Blackburn manager. He understands the United way, he has the support of the fans, and would be a much needed familiar face after Fergie is to depart following over two decades at the club.
However, news today suggests that Hughes’ next job will be down the road at the Council House, not Old Trafford.
Dr. Death booted out Sven Goran Eriksson today after months of speculation, despite earning City their highest ever points total in the Premier League years.
The official Blackburn website today released a statement saying, “Mark has made it clear to the board he would like the opportunity to talk to Manchester City. In view of this, the board have decided reluctantly to give him permission.”
Aside from my preferences over Hughes’ future, even the neutrals would have to think he is mad to leave his post at Blackburn, who finished two places above Eriksson’s team this year. City owner, Shinawatra, clearly has no idea what he is doing, meaning Hughes has very little job security. If Sven can improve City by 5 places in just one season, as well as guiding them to the UEFA Cup, and still be kicked out, what guarantee does Hughes have over his future, regardless of the success he may bring?
Some reds might say his status as a United legend will be tarnished somewhat if he takes on the position at City, and talk of a future with us will certainly be diminished. It’s a no win situation now. If he fails to make City successful, then he won’t get the backing to take over at United, as the Glazers certainly don’t hold the sentimentality for him that we might. If he does well at City, then questions will be asked over whether we want the man who turned City in a decent side as our manager.
If Hughes takes the City job, would you rule him out of the running for future United manager?