Now and then in life, a bloke comes along that everybody likes and has time for, not very often but it does happen sometimes, in 2008 Chris Hughton joined Newcastle United as first team coach.
He settled in quite nicely, but within months the club were in turmoil, after the constructive and unfair dismissal of Kevin Keegan.
Chris stayed on at the club during the calamitous short tenure of Keegan’s replacement, Joe Kinnear.
On April Fool's day in 2009, the joke was on Alan Shearer when he agreed to become Mike Ashley’s third manager of the season, on a deal until the end of the season.
Newcastle were deservedly relegated and it was bye bye Big Al.
In a cruel summer dominated by the sad news of the death of Sir Bobby Robson, and Ashley apparently willing to consider selling the club to the Billy Bass / singing fish bloke, Barry Moat, it went almost unnoticed that Chris Hughton had been handed the managerial reins at the Toon on a temporary basis.
This turned out to have been an inspired choice and Newcastle United got off to a flyer in the Championship.
Chris Hughton was soon confirmed as our manager on a permanent basis, a Newcastle United side that contained the talents of a young Andy Carroll and a rejuvenated Kevin Nolan never looked back.
By May 2010 we had won the Championship at a canter and a relieved Toon Army relished the opportunity of a fresh start in the Premier League.
We couldn’t have got off to a better start in August, when we literally crushed Aston Villa 6-0 at Gallowgate (even to this day the Villa Fans still seem to enjoy their opening day tonkings off us).
Within months we had slaughtered the mackems 5-1 in the ‘Demolition Derby’ and beaten Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, courtesy of an Andy Carroll looping header.
After a solid start to life back in the top tier, Chris Hughton’s stock and popularity on Tyneside couldn’t have been any higher.
Early in December, I was with my brother in snow-covered Corbridge, when Radio Newcastle announced that Chris Hughton had been sacked.
Both shocked, we had to pull over into a lay-by.
The news bulletin went on to say that “the club would like to thank Chris Hughton for all his efforts, but it had been deemed neccessary to replace him with a more experienced manager.”
It seemed that a new manager had already been lined up and it didn’t take us all long to all find out who that “experienced manager” was.
Derek Llambias’ mate Alan Pardew was soon appointed and to say most of the fanbase were underwhelmed would be an understatement.
Flabbergasted would have been probably more appropriate at the time.
Since leaving Newcastle United Chris Hughton has held managerial positions at Birmingham City, Norwich City, Brighton and Hove Albion and Nottingham Forest.
He’s had his ups and downs but did lead Brighton into the Premier League for the first time in their history.
Chris is currently the manager of the Ghana men's national side.
This is the second article in the last couple of years that I have done regarding Chris Hughton and it was instigated by some banter in The Mag’s comments section yesterday.
One of the lads had suggested that we needed an upgrade in the coaching department, to ensure more young players had a pathway into the first team.
I countered by saying that if such a position ever did become available, then I wouldn’t hesitate to possibly bring Chris Hughton back to Newcastle United after he had finished his commitments with Ghana.
Chris Hughton is probably one of those ex-players who is more cut out for day-to-day coaching, than the all-out cut-throat business of management.
And nobody should ever forget that he was an exceptional player himself.
Whether we ever see Chris back on Tyneside again remains to be seen, but one thing that is guaranteed is that this nice man will always have a place in our hearts as an ‘honorary Geordie’.