Often Partisan

Keeping Hughton

It’s emerged that the contrary to what most of the London-based media would have had you believing over the last few months, WBA manager Roy Hodgson is likely to take over the England manager job. If that happens, it will mean the Baggies will be on the lookout for a new manager, and Hughton has quickly become a favourite amongst their fans as the man to take over.

The problem with success at Blues is that the manager responsible becomes a desired quantity; Hughton has by all accounts had a fantastic season as manager of Blues and his stock right now is very high. He’s achieved quite a lot with some incredible constraints – all the time getting his side playing with a positive attitude, being a respected persona in the press conferences and an admired coach on the training ground. It’s only natural that other clubs will be looking at him with interest.

Before anyone states it, I don’t believe giving Hughton an extended contract would change the situation much from the current position. I’ve had the chance to talk about that sort of thing with people “in the know” within the game and the upshot is long contracts don’t actually do much – they almost always have a release clause inserted into them which would rarely amount to much more than a year’s salary – so in short, we wouldn’t gain any more money and I doubt we’d do anything more to fend off interest by giving him an extended deal.

Having seen Hughton at close quarters giving his speech at the Player Awards Dinner last night, it’s clear to me that there is a strong bond between him and the players – Chris was adamant in the way he said that he didn’t deserve all the credit for the season . He paid tribute not only to his players but to the backroom staff on and off the pitch, saying that the club itself was one of the best run he knew. If anything is to keep Chris at Blues, it has to be this.

Then there are the fans. I’ve never a heard a manager’s name sung so loudly, so often as I have heard Chris Hughton’s name this year. Whilst I’ll readily admit that money and prestige are powerful draws I wonder how hard it would be to leave somewhere where you are almost universally acclaimed by the fans. Hughton is onto a winner at Blues almost whatever happens at the moment because fans are enjoying the football again; everyone knows he’s had massive constraints and I think everyone admires how he’s just got on with it and let the football do the talking.

Tom Ross said it all for me. After the awards were handed out, the congratulations given and the manager had said his piece, Tom led a round of applause within the hall. He then finished off with saying that despite it probably getting him into trouble, that he thought it was important that the owners of Blues did what they could to keep Chris at the club. I hope that message will be fed back to Hong Kong, for all the fans who sing Chris’s name.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials


36 Responses to “Keeping Hughton”

  • Graham Woodward says:

    I sincerely hope he stops for next season at least. The question is how much will not being able to work in the transfer market impact him? I heard we were still able to sell players and replace them but not spending and more than we got in the sale, not sure how accurate that is. It doesn’t appear that the Albion have a whole heap of cash to play with so I doubt he’d be lured by that.

    • almajir says:

      You heard wrong.

      Did no one read the rules I put on here the other day? We can sell players, we can only register new players or contracts at the league’s discretion.

  • Macc lad says:

    I’ve said it before, but surely he’s better than Albion.

  • Reuben says:

    I suspect he’ll take a view a la Martinez and Villa: Won’t see Albion as a big enough step up to justify starting all over again at a new club. Hes probably going to wait for a club such as Everton to change.

  • onlyme says:

    I really think it will boil down to if we go up, or not, if WBA want CH they will wait untill the playoff outcome is resolved, if we go up we should be able to keep hold of our better players, even if we dont get to add much, but if we dont go up, I would bet a few of our star players will go, CH included.
    All speculation of course and just my opinion.
    CH has galvanised this club, I believe that, in his own way he has done as much magic off the pitch as on the pitch.
    I find it hard to see beyond CH atm, I feel that strong about it.

  • kingy says:

    I’ve always said that for every good thing that happens to the Blues, it seems 10 bad things are just around the corner. If this club could just stabalise and have a sustained period of good management we could establish ourselves in the premiership in the mould of a team like Fulham who work within a realistic budget and play decent football with decent players. The most heartening thing from the awards last night was Hughtons comments about the club being one of the best run that he knew, perhaps the much lambasted Mr Pannu deserves a little more credit than he actually gets….If he persuades Chris to stay for even 1 more year the fans will almost certainly embrace Mr Pannu as credit to thye club instead of a pantomine villian…..As always though….KRO.

  • mitchell says:

    I agree with Onlyme – if we go up he’ll stay, if not then we can’t grumble.

    If we had a decent and transparent baord we wouldn’t be in this mess; Pannu’s excuses about technical issues re the accounts are complete garbage. All of which could result in us losing our best manager in years – thanks Carson!


  • Blueboy88 says:

    There should be a sign as the players run out –

    This is St Andrews..If it can go wrong it will..

    But I agree about Pannu , deserves a little more respect here,
    He appointed CH , & has kept the wheels on bus going round , round, round..

    Nobody would have dreamt about having a season like this , in the middle of last summer ,
    so while we fear the worst, were’s there’s life theres hope.
    Birmingham City FC will never lie down


  • Subber says:

    We’ll take him to Villa when you lot go to the wall.

  • DoctorD says:

    Chris – if you’re reading this, please stay mate.

  • Glosbigblue says:

    I’m not Pannu’s greatest fan by any means but my take on it is this…..

    CH could probably jump for a number of jobs in the close season. However, he has started a project at Blues, has achieved remarkable success and is starting to get the recognistion he deserves. He has repeatedly stated he has a good working relationship with Pannu and has now been quoted as saying he has never been given any nasty suprises, believes the club is well run and expects the difficulties we currently have “to be resolved soon”. I think all things being equal he would probably prefer to stay.

    Reading between the lines I think CH is expecting a much better working environment in the short/medium term. Whether that is because of a takeover or, more likely IMO, new investors into the club I guess only time will tell. What is clear however is that he is being kept fully briefed by Pannu and he seems reasonably relaxed about our situation.

    If play-off failure really does mean financial meltdown then I would expect CH to resign as soon as play-off failure is confirmed as he will know the true situation at Blues better than any of us.

  • Reeboh says:

    I very much doubt hughton will be leaving. Strongly doubt it.

    Curbs has overtaken him on odds yesterday. But I see someone else there.

  • Spotlight Kid says:

    Given how underestimated (and put upon) Chris was at NUFC, I’m sure he’s very happy to finally be given the respect his talent deserves. At the Toon many of the blogs turned on him long before he was sacked, some were constantly muttering darkly about his lack of Prem experience being an issue long before he lifted the Championship trophy. All conveniently overlooked the wealth of experience he had with Spurs (which was the primary reason Blues had such fun in Europe this season, ironically performing far better than even Spurs managed). Tellingly none got solidly behind him when the gibbet was being constructed. It was embarrassing, moreso as Pardew continues to build Glass Conservatories on Hughton’s concrete foundations…

    In that sense I think Almajir could be right this time about Chris staying, but it’s not a done deal, far from it. Leaving aside the rolling contract argument (as there’s ‘six o’ one, ha’dozen o’ t’other’ in that one) Chris’s mistake at NUFC was not kicking Ashley’s door down immediately after promotion and getting better terms and more long term day-to-day control. As a result of his reticence he had no real Prem spending money to strengthen a weakened squad, and was scrimping around after free transfers until Ben Arfa (briefly, before injury) and Tiote arrived.

    If Blues do get promoted, you can be sure the error will not be repeated. If Pannu can’t give Chris the necessary Prem related assurances he WILL walk. Why would he hang around at Birmingham just to be hung again for the crime of a winning Championship squad not being a winning Prem squad?

  • Atahualpa is a Content BluetNose says:

    CH does not look or seem like an individual to make rash decisions.

    Just because the Albion board and fans wish to have him as their manager, does not necessarily mean they will get him. They had an opportunity before appointing Hodgson but decided against it. CH would probably not hold such things against anyone, but the central point is; is going to WBA a step up from BCFC – regardless of the current climate and conditions??

    Realistically, most would answer ‘No’. Whereas the funds available for team building would be slightly more, would that alone sway someone like CH?? Again ‘No’. After the January transfer window, RH was already making noises to the WBA board about whether the club wished to remain a ‘yo-yo’ club and team, or whether they wanted to take a step – up. The room for manoeuvering is probably not too advanced from what Blues might be able to achieve once (fingers crossed) promotion back to the EPL has taken place.

    The only moot point that may go against staying, would be Blues not going up, and whether this would lead to a sale of some of our integral players. Perhaps he may not wish to take part in such proceedings.

    Regarding PP and our elusive board members, they are practical and PR savvy enough to realise that on top of all the financial dramas being played out, the one and only reason the vast majority of fans have not truly raised the banner of revolt – is purely and simply Mr CH and the team, style, feel – good factor and promising future direction he wants to take the club in, has abated any bad feeling taking over towards them. They will have to give assurances on certain matters which could help CH determine where his future lies.

    All in all Bluesnoses, we do not really have much to worry and concern ourselves with. I hope, if approached, the club give CH the chance to talk to WBA, because either he will turn it down or after having spoken to them, decide that BCFC is a much better prospect for the future. He has started to lay the foundations of a project with us and surely will wish to complete his task before being tempted by a larger institution which is evidently more resourceful than us, as oppose to merely moving sideways.

  • NooBloo says:

    I know CH very well and he is one of the most loyal men in football.

    There is also the fact that WBA rejected him just over 12 months ago. That will stick in his throat a bit; however, ultimately, he played at the very top in football most of his career and I would imagine his management ambition matches that. So I suspect he wants to manage in the premiership.

    Money means absolutely ”Jack shit” to Chris. He is the type of guy who would take a 50% cut in salaray to be sucessfull on the pitch, whereby you have others who would sacrafice success on the pitch for a pay rise.

    I have a feeling that if B/ham get promoted he would turn WBA down and stay at Birmingham but i wish the press would leave this story well alone for now because Chris wont want these sort of stories to distract him or his players of the job in hand which is winning the play offs

    I know most fans want to talk about it on these forums but trust me it doesnt help the teams planning for the play off matches because ultimately, a lot of it starts to trickle back to the players and the staff

    • Blueboy88 says:

      15 years as coach at Spurs shows CH is very loyal..
      And I am equally sure if everything was equal nobody would now be talking about him moving on..

      However , regardless of what league we find ourselves in next season, if he can’t be positively active in the transfer market until August , its a thankless task.

      Loyal or not , the calmer financial waters of WBA , Wolves , & dare I say the Vile..
      will be very attractive in comparison..

      • NooBloo says:

        Wolves and Villa could be in the Championship and Birmingham in the premiership. However, i can gurantee you this much, he wont discuss it with anyone until after the play off are over for Birmingham

    • blue says:

      not only did wba reject CH, but the way it was done as well,with them insisting on having Michael Appleton as his number 2,instead of CH picking his own team to work with.

      unlike the ginger one, i reckon CH will show loyalty to his backroom staff,players and fans,and build on what he’s started. if not Que Sera,Sera.


  • MartbluenoseDalt says:

    Got to agree with NooBloo.

    CH knows all the bad boys out there and will not be going into any spiders webs, We are all seeing for ourselves how much are loved game is so being destroyed by the rich and contentious! Most people who have worked in environments that pay high do not always achieve, Stability any day.

    Thank’s Chris Hughton for showing us Brummies that with the right sights you can hit the targets.


  • Oldbluenose says:

    As a Bluenose through and through,!! Along with all other fans of our club, We all pray that Chris, will stay with us, — I feel that if things pan out our way for a change, THEN,- He will stay,?.
    Peter Pannu, ;, I am revising my attitude towards him, at long last, — Throughout this last season, We have finally gotten through all the heartache and turmoil of the change of manager, [ How lucky were we there ], The selling of talented players, [ and there were ], No extra cash coming from the ” board ” So we had to have these ” fire-sales ” which have carried us through this traumatic season, with much prudence by P,P. to keep us afloat,!!
    Results;, — A fairy tale romp in the Europa Cup, [ Where we came so close to the next stage with meagre resorces,] Twice we have embarked on mini unbeaten runs, and ended up in the Play-offs where the story has NOT ended yet,!!.
    Summation being, £, cheers for Chris and his dedication, — 3 Cheers for P,P. and his steering of our ship,!!.

  • GoodyBlueShoes says:

    I agree that Pannu deserves some credit. To keep the business together over the last months with a very significant wage bill allied to other considerable overheads and dwindling gate receipts will not have been easy. Running any business with the Banking fraternity crawling all over you takes a lot of doing believe me. Yes we as fans should have been allowed a little more transparency regarding the finances of the club. After all it is us that pay the vast majority of the bills for the club. However in the world of commerce it is sometimes beneficial to keep ones cards close to ones chest. Will CH leave?? Knowing that he is a man of integrity I cannot seeing going to Albion given the rejection last time. Is there another Premiership club (other than Blackburn who are going down and Villa) worth moving for? Outside of the top flight it’s more of the same isn’t it. That said, if we haven’t cash in the bank come September then nobody is going to stay around.
    Lets get through the play offs and see if we have any money forthcoming after the Yeung debacle to keep us up. Only time will tell. Keeping my fingers crossed for a Billionaire with a love for Baltis, Smallheath and passionate football supporters of the Blue and White persuasion to appear from somewhere in the next couple of months.

  • Blueboy88 says:

    Here’s the title for the next post –

    Peter Pannu – Renaissance Man..

  • Trevor Honnor says:

    I think that football is riddled with mercenaries and absolute pigs. We are all so used to ‘the same old story’ where already-rich people making more money is more important than playing and winning.
    We’ve met a few of them ourselves in recent times.

    However, in CH, we have possibly the most genuine person in British football at Blues right now.
    His loyalty is not in question for one second. He would never have accepted this job if being so restricted was an issue, our finances were no secret after all. He knew that things wouldn’t magically get good over night, even if we do get promoted. He has got our team enjoying and playing real football. He has also got them winning games. The players must love this environment, so must the manager.

    I think CH will stay (I definitely hope so), he obviously relishes a challenge and seems the kind of man who will earn his Premiership place instead of jumping ship to the highest bidder.

    He was a player from a different time when football was more important to footballers than getting an extra few thousand each week.

    I can’t wait for Friday night !!!!

    • NooBloo says:

      That was a perfect summary of CH and very accurate of him but if he does stay loyal to Birmingham, then Birmingham need to reciprocate. Managers salaries dont vary quite in the same way that players salaries vary(Except for the Barcelona’s and Man City’s and Man Utd’s), so it would not cost Birmingham that mutch to match what WBA could offer.

      That said, money will not be what determines the outcome of this saga

  • paul says:

    well we have one more game at st andrews,next wednesday,it’s already going to be an electric atmosphere so how about we let chris know just how we feel about him staying???
    and why is there a vile on here?someone should delete his comments!

  • eric says:

    Hope you stay with us Chris. Thanxxx for a wonderful season. Your commitment and integrity shines through.

  • Paul says:

    Its just a sad fact of life. If Blues don,t go up Houghton will go to Albion, and you can,t blame him for that and he will always be respected for what he has done for the Blues unlike Mc Shame.
    But he will be focused on the Blues getting promoted and the Albion board will be quite until then too. COME ON YOU BLUE BOYS !!!

  • Ted says:

    Calm down guys!

    Chris a has NEVER said or done anything to suggest that he is anything but committed to Blues.

    We cannot complain about having the most appealing manager in football.

    Scarlett Johansson’s boyfriend, for example, fully expects guys to be lusting after his treasure.

    Of course the Baggies, the Dingles, the Vile and many more want him… Great!

    Enjoy it.

    He’ll be there at the end of the road.

  • blue says:

    i’d have thought steve bruce was favorite for the west brom job? however CH speculation certainly suits the London centric media,if only to throw a spanner in our play-off preparations?

    come on baggies do us a favor and make an approach to big sam !!!!

  • bluenose08 says:

    I agree with paul when blackpool come to st andrews lets give ch the biggest cheer so that he knows how much we want him to stay at our club, as i have said before he is the best manager blues have ever had.

  • Jay Sidney says:

    I wonder about people like Subber – anybody would think he (or she) would have enough to worry about at the vile before coming onto the chatsite of a rival club.

    Horrible rumours about Chris Hughton are probably inevitable given the dodgy, sensationalist way the sporting media works. However, if the worst happened and Blues finish up losing two managers in twelve months or so to their nearest two rivals, irrespective of what many think of McLeish, it would surely be one more uneviable thing that everybody connected with BCFC could do without because it would take a lot of living down.

    Of course, Mitchell was right when he argued the BCFC board’s lack of decency and transparency (where I would add dishonesty and incompetence) is largely responsible for this situation.

  • bluenoseneil says:

    Are we all really THAT surprised that the (London based) media are pushing this down everyone’s throats just days before the play-offs?

    I wouldn’t be shocked if Karren Brady hadn’t gotten her Guv’nor Lord Sugar to put a word in with his “mates” at the papers to ensure their beloved ‘ammers get a leg up in proceedings.

    YES I know he’s a Spurs fan but it’s more local derbies for him, isn’t it?

    Plus he owes Brady a favour after making her pull all those stupid faces on The Apprentice, and she needs to pay for her new teeth somehow….

  • mitchell says:

    It all adds up to a very nervey 2 weeks for us! The ectasy or agony will be very extreme dependant on what happens – either way it’s been a fantastic season and if we do go up I can see CH doing a great job, even with the transfer embargo ( I truly beleive he can walk on water).


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