Stoke City have confirmed the appointment of Mark Hughes as their new manager and the Welshman will take the reins from Tony Pulis, having signed a three year contract.
Whilst the Stoke fans were pleased to see the back of Tony Pulis, they certainly have not welcomed his successor with open arms and protests have followed the announcement from the Stoke board. Pulis may have turned Stoke City into an established Premier League side and one of the main attractions , but he produced a team with a reputation for playing dull football, relying on their strength and size at set pieces and, after seven seasons of Pulis, the Potters’ fans will be glad of some entertainment….they just hoped that it would be provided by a bigger name than Hughes.
Is all of this criticism of Hughes a little unfair? In a word, no. Hughes’ longest spell as a club manager was at Blackburn Rovers between 2004 and 2008 and during this time he threatened to turn the club into a Premier League force, qualifying for the Uefa Cup in 2005-06 and reaching the FA Cup semi-finals three years in a row but he left Rovers to take over at big-spending Manchester City. At City he invested heavily in the likes of Roque Santa Cruz and Emmanuel Adebayor but was still unable to deliver any silverware and was sacked after just 18 months.
Having left City Hughes took over at Fulham where he delivered Europa League qualification but then resigned bizarrely after just eleven months in charge. Following the Fulham debacle Hughes was appointed manager of QPR but after narrowly avoiding relegation in his first season he was again sacked, this time after 11 months, leaving his successor, Harry Redknapp, to take his Rangers team down.
Stoke finished last season in 13thposition in the Premier League. The appointment of Hughes will give their fans little confidence of finishing any higher next year but, depending on the type of players that ‘Sparky’ is able to attract to the Britannia, they may at least deliver a more entertaining product on the field. Whilst Hughes’ reign promises to be more exciting than Pulis’ expect it also to be far more short-lived.