Chris Hughton: Rise to Prominence

Since featuring for Ireland at Euro 1988 to achieving promotion to the Premier League with Brighton in the 2016/17 season, Chris Hughton has had a remarkable career, both as a player and a manager. His earliest accolades include two FA Cups and a UEFA Cup with Spurs. On a managerial level, Hughton has achieved two promotions from the Championship and collected the Championship Manager of the Month award on several occasions, as well as being named the LMA Football League Championship Manager of the Year for 2015/16 with the Seagulls.

After his playing days, Hughton was appointed caretaker manager at Newcastle in the off-season before 2009/10. After a small spell of good results, he was appointed on a permanent basis and ultimately gained promotion to the Premier League in his first season at the helm. However, he was the first manager to be sacked in the following year after a defeat to West Brom in December 2010, which caused uproar amongst the Toon faithful. Some accused owner Mike Ashley of being ‘out of touch with the realities of football.’

After a great deal of media speculation, Hughton was named as the new Birmingham City manager in June 2011. Following their League Cup victory earlier in the year, they earned a spot in the group stages of the Europa League succeeding a 3-0 win over Portuguese side Nacional in the qualifying round. Hughton led the Blues to a fourth-placed finish, eventually losing out to Blackpool in the play-off semi-final.

The Irishman moved onto Norwich in the summer following successful talks over their vacant managerial role. In his first season with the Canaries they finished in a comfortable 11th place in England’s top division. However, he parted ways with the club after leaving them 17th and one point above the relegation zone in April 2014. After a short break, he became manager of Brighton & Hove Albion in December 2014 and saved them from relegation after the woeful efforts of his predecessor, Sami Hyypia.

In his first full season, Hughton heroically led Albion to third place, missing out on promotion by only two goals to season-long rivals Middlesbrough. The turnaround in 2015/16 was meteoric considering the struggle of 2014/15. He went one step further in 2016/17, achieving promotion to the Premier League with the Seasiders after a 2-1 win at home Wigan.

From his record, it is evident that he has had an outstanding career and whenever he chooses to retire, he will be fondly remembered as one of the great and perhaps underrated managers of the past few decades.

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