Drawing us away from the shores (and laboured irony) of Northern Ireland – and thank heavens for that – John McCormick assesses the appointment of Chris Hughton as Norwich City manager …
I’ve just heard that Chris Hughton has been appointed manager of Norwich and I have to ask, how long will he last?
It’s not because I think he’s bad, rather the opposite.
After a successful career as a loyal club player he has conducted his managerial career with dignity as well as success. If anyone can maintain Norwich’s presence in the Premier surely he can.
But will that be enough for the club? Will they expect more and sack him if they don’t get it? I hope not, and I think Delia and her husband will have enough sense to play a long game.
However, it’s not so long since Delia and her hubby’s shares were on offer. There was interest but it came to nothing and there were Board changes not long after. I don’t know why but it could be that a certain level of investment was expected, opportunities to make a quick buck evaporated, someone had straightened circumstances…
And those phrases bring me to my point. How many clubs are bought these days because someone who loves the club with a passion wants to make things better? We at SAFC are lucky with Ellis Short – such owners are in short supply – but even we have to agree that our chairman is no Steve Gibson. How long will it be before Norwich and the other middle ranking clubs of the premiership are all picked off by sovereign funds or trophy-hunting egoists with short-term goals?
Which brings me back to Chris Hughton and premier managers. How many changes have there been since the end of the 2011 season? Not including Houllier, where ill-health was a deciding factor these gentlemen have lost or gained managerial positions, and some of them have done both: Ancelloti, Villa Boas, De Matteo, Hughes, Bruce, Warnock, McCarthy, Lambert, Connor, Dalgliesh, Rodgers. I may well have missed others, and if we include promoted teams we could add Sam Allerdyce.
A surprising number of clubs have made multiple changes, ourselves included, and only 3 managers have been in post for more than 5 years. Where’s it going to end? My fear for Hughton is that once the club is established it will become attractive. Someone will make an offer and sugar it with promises they won’t keep -does anyone remember “a spade in the ground within 90 days”, and is my memory that the Glaziers promised not to load debt onto MUFC correct?
The reality is that 80 per cent of clubs in the Premier cannot qualify for the Champions league in any season and not more than three can win anything. The majority will have to accept they’ll get nothing. Fans manage this, year after year, and see a trophy as a bonus. Some even see survival as a real achievement. But will new owners have this mentality? I doubt it.
Chris Hughton, welcome back to the Premier League. I hope your stay is a long and productive one. But I have my fears.