Locked and Loaded: Mark Hughes Rides Again with Stoke City

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes (Image via Phil Greig/Stoke City Official site)

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes (Image via Phil Greig/Stoke City Official site)

One of the most in and out managers of the last few years in the English Premier League is Mark Hughes. The former forward was most well known in his club years for his time with Manchester United.

However, he is most well known in the managerial world of the English Premier League for high hopes and disappointing results.

He began his managerial career as the custodian of his former Welsh National team and looked to be off to a promising career by nearly leading his nation to the 2004 UEFA European Championship with a hugely impressive victory over Italy, but a heart breaking defeat at the hands of Russia in the qualification playoffs saw his side forced to sit the Euro’s out.

Hughes moved on to his first Premier League appointment with Blackburn Rovers. His leadership talents continued to shine at Ewood Park as his first season in charge saw the club finish fifth and qualify for European football. He would lead them to three FA Cup semi-finals and into the round of 32 in the then UEFA Cup and never did his side finish out of the top ten.

In 2008 he was offered a chance to take the step to Manchester City. At the time the club were in crisis over club owner Thaksin Shinawatra and he would hit the transfer capital jackpot when Abu Dhabi United investment group took over the club and injected major funds into Hughes transfer bank account.

However, a year’s worth of bank breaking over spending and massive wage packages only saw City struggling under Hughes. They finished tenth in 2008-09 and then were on course for another massively underachieving season in 2009-10 when he was sacked in December of 2009.

From there Fulham came to call, and despite a tough first half he led them to an eighth place finish and a fair play spot in the UEFA Europa League only to see Hughes resign over the summer and alienate Fulham owner Mohamed Al-Fayed who believed he had, “rescued,” the manager from obscurity after his sacking by Manchester City.

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