Late on Sunday night a decision was taken by the board of Norwich City Football Club to relieve manager Chris Hughton of his duties, opening the door of opportunity for both club and now former coach.
For Chris Hughton, it’s another step in a career and his reputation will still be held in high regard. At Newcastle, fans campaigned to the owner after his departure from St. James Park back in 2010, after he had taken the club back to the Premier League and led them to a 5-1 win in the Tyne-Wear Derby once they returned, as well as managing their first win at Arsenal in five years. His time at Birmingham was a useful one too; it was there that he guided the club through to the group stages of the Europa League and finished the season in playoff position.
At times, manager’s departure reflects the context rather than the abilities of the coach. Certain managers are handpicked or typecast for certain situations. Neil Warnock predominantly will get a job with a team looking to gain promotion from the Championship, as does Ian Holloway, whereas managers such as Tony Pulis or Sam Allardyce suit teams looking for safety in the Premier League. Hughton’s time as a coach is to be respected.
It must be said, many managers have left clubs and proved fruitful elsewhere. After being dismissed by Reading, Brendan Rodgers has gone onto lead Liverpool to potential Premier League glory. Since parting company with England Steve McClaren has resurrected his managerial reputation winning titles with Twente in Holland, and after a learning curve with Nottingham Forest, his Derby side look destined for the playoff places this season. Norwich’s decision to remove Hughton from his managerial post would have been last resort, yet with the club looking for an immediate riposte, maybe it was time for Hughton to depart and look for a new challenge in management.
Walking up the stairs to the open door is Neil Adams. Neil was the first man to guide Norwich to an F.A Youth Cup crown since Dave Stringer 30 years prior, when the Norfolk side’s youth team successfully saw off Chelsea with an 4-2 aggregate score line.
Hughton’s departure comes at a point in the season in which there are five games remaining. It is certainly an opportunity for Neil Adams, and he carries the hope that his young team’s escapades can rejuvenate the squad in the coming games. Four of these upcoming games are against Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.
It has to be said, many managers that have worked at youth team levels have moved into first team coaching roles seamlessly. Some notably examples of this have been Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, Brendan Rodgers after coaching at Chelsea, Steve Clarke, alongside most recently Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after time at Manchester United, the now Cardiff City manager went on to win league titles in Norway with Molde.
Furthermore, like Pulis at Palace, Martin O’Neill at Sunderland, and recently Jose Riga at Charlton in the Championship, the immediate reaction to a manager leaving and then somebody new entering puts the players on their toes. All the sudden, players, who were playing week in week out under the former coach, start to feel the competition for places from those who have been warming the bench.
The decision to call time on Hughton’s Carrow Road experience may well induce this mentality switch in the players and produce increased levels of performances. And with Neil Adams ideas now, the board will be hoping to avoid playing Championship football next season.
For Chris Hughton, it’s a chance to venture a road off of Carrow. Meanwhile a task sits before Neil Adams, with a chance to progress in management and a chance to keep the canaries afloat.
What learning experiences will Chris Hughton take on board from his time at Norwich City Football Club?