Mark Hughes is a big name in Football, both as a player and manager. Sparky, as he is affectionately known as by all who adore him, has a CV that most players can only dream of. Over 700 first team appearances for Manchester United (twice) Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Southampton, Everton and Blackburn Rovers, scoring almost 200 goals in the process is some career.
As a manager he’s been in charge of Wales, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham and nowadays, QPR.
Thinking about his current side’s relegation battle had me wondering what the future would hold for Sparky, should QPR be relegated back to the Championship. After replacing Neil Warnock in the Loftus Road hot seat, which many found strange considering Rangers had given themselves more than a fighting chance of staying up, some sections of the media believe that QPR haven’t progressed. With an ambitious, but demanding board, the writing was on the wall for Warnock. Mark Hughes was hired to take the club places.
I write this just 24 hours after their impressive 3-0 home win against Swansea which has lifted them out of the bottom three. Hughes described it as “the best performance since he took charge”. But I read an article looking into reasons why Hughes left Fulham. Apparently they couldn’t match his ambitions.
Fulham owner Mohammed Al-Fayed said this was nonsense and Hughes was “expecting be elsewhere”. What did he mean by this? I believe that he was banking on the Aston Villa role, before Alex McLeish was appointed. With Gerard Houllier too ill to carry on his job at Villa Park, owner Randy Lerner made it clear he was looking to replace him with the “right man”. Bookmakers all over stopped taking bets on Hughes taking over the second city club. But then, McLeish was hired.
The talk was that Villa wanted permission to speak to Hughes via the correct channels. Fulham were not keen on this, so Hughes, twigging that he may be denied permission to speak to Villa, resigned. He claimed he was “a young and ambitious manager” who “wants to grow my experiences”.
Following on from this, Randy Lerner was said to be unimpressed by Hughes turning his back and being so disloyal to the club who saved him from the management scrap heap. This and the fact it would have looked like a “tap-up” affair are to blame for the talks not going ahead.
QPR believe Hughes is the man to take the club forward. But the only way he will do so is by staying in the top flight. Should QPR stay up, the backing in the transfer market will be evident, as it was in January. However, if they fall through the Premier League’s trap door, will he remain so loyal?
Imagine, QPR go down and Hughes is approached by a top flight team. Avid Rangers fans would love to believe that he’ll stay put, I wouldn’t be so sure.