Chris Hughton on his time at Newcastle


"The difficulty was the uncertainty of the club at that moment - everyone was well aware that the owner was trying to sell the club. Players wanting to leave because the club had gone down - there were players who wanted to be playing at Premier League level or wanted moves abroad. The things that always remain are that the team have to train and irrespective of what we say about highs and lows players always want to train. They always enjoy training, and coaches enjoy setting up training and taking training sessions. Things that didn't change; we trained well in that pre-season. The difficulty was determining the players who wanted to stay and fight to get this club back up to the Premier League. That uncertainty was there even going into the first games of the season, and at that stage I was still caretaker manager. It wasn't until we picked up some decent results at the start of the season that the club decided to make it permanent.

"I think by the time we got past the transfer window, when it was determined which players were going to stay fortunately for myself we had a group of players who were determined to come straight back up. We had lost a lot of players, and a lot of good players but we still had good quality, a strong mentality and some strong characters. Without that, I think we would have found it difficult. You've only got to look at some very good teams and players that have gone down and found it difficult to adjust to what the Championship brings - and subsequently have not got promotion. The strength of the team was one of the qualities we had, and the strength of character we had in the changing room.

"That was my first step into management, and to take over at such a great club, and the team we had - it would have come close to favourites to come straight back up again but we've all seen with numerous of other clubs where it hasn't happened. It was a big a season for the club, and for myself. I had no doubt that the coaching experience I'd had during all those years at Tottenham allowed me to step into what was a strong minded changing room and the decisions that you had to make - I think [the experiences before hand] made it easier for me. That set me on the way to a managerial career, and it is something that I've always been grateful for.

"At the time I left we were in a good position in the Premier League. I think what happened afterwards - there was such good will towards me that afterwards it ended up being from bad circumstances, not such a bad feel afterwards. I've always been one who has wanted to look forward as opposed to looking back, and at that moment I made the decision that I was going to look at that experience as a good one as opposed to a bad one, and it set me on my way to management. I felt I would have offers after that. The other way to look at it, is that if I hadn't had done well there, where is that next job going to come from? I think at that stage I was confident I would get other offers and I always wanted to look at it as a good experience."

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