Chris Hughton: The most humble and modest of menby Andy Dillon / 05 May 2017, 09:46Tweet
IT’S BEING hailed as the miracle on the South coast.
For the first time in history there will be three Premier League teams facing out across the English Channel.
As Europe prepares for Brexit, the French can look out across the narrow stretch of water that separates our two countries and on the hazy horizon spot a coastline bristling with football fervour.
From Bournemouth in the west to Brighton in the East and Southampton nestling somewhere in between.
The powerbase in top flight English football is shifting South and Brighton boss Chris Hughton will be the latest and most deserving manager to join the Dorset-Sussex axis.
Victory for Hughton’s team at Aston Villa on Sunday will guarantee them the Championship title. Matching second-placed Newcastle’s result will be enough.
And we can only imagine how sweet it will feel inside should be achieve that and rob his old club of the silverware on the last day of the campaign.
While Hughton is making history with Brighton having already secured promotion to the Premier League he has been there before.
He led Newcastle back to the top flight in his first full season as permanent manager in 2010, defying the uncertainty of Mike Ashley’s turbulent ownership to turn the club around on the pitch.
He was sacked the following December and the top brass at St.James’ Park say it was because Hughton lacked the big-game mentality to take the North East giants any further.
They were unimpressed by the list of transfer targets he handed them in the summer following promotion and it went downhill from there.
To now lead Brighton as Champions into a first season as an elite club by pipping Newcastle to the trophy would underline what a farcical decision that was by Ashley.
Newcastle have a hugely expensive squad, the most expensive in Championship history we’re told. They have the safety net of multi-million pound parachute payments following relegation last season.
And they have the former manager of Real Madrid and Liverpool at the helm in Rafa Benitez.
Hughton comes from Forest Gate in the East End of London and is widely regarded as the most humble and modest of men.
For Brighton to upstage the mighty Toon Army and claim first place this weekend would be a kick in the privates for Ashley and for the mantra that money means everything in modern day soccer.
For Hughton it would be justification of his talents and a nice bit of revenge but also the chance to show he can cut it as a Premier League manager with a club that believes in him.