Kick It Out event honours Newcastle manager Chris Hughton
Chris Hughton was last night honoured by Kick It Out for his exceptional achievements as Newcastle United manager this season.
Former Republic of Ireland international Hughton took control of the Magpies at the beginning of the season and brought them back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. Hughton is currently the only black manager across all four divisions.
Hughton was joined by Garth Crooks, Sol Campbell and Ian Wright at Paramount in London, where he was presented with a special trophy by Kick It Out chair and founder, Lord Herman Ouseley.
Lord Ouseley said: “Chris Hughton is a pioneering figure whose achievements we hope will be recognised for years to come. As the first black manager to achieve such heights, we feel this is worthy of recognition.”
On being asked the most pivotal part of the season, Hughton pointed to the trip to West Bromwich Albion on the opening day. “Apart from one major hiccup (a 6-1 defeat to Leyton Orient), we’d had a good preseason.
“When we got to the opening day of the season it was an opportunity for the lads to put something right that had gone wrong the season before, to turn that into a good feeling on the first day.
“One thing we’ve always tried to have is a good environment at the training ground and that makes it easier.”
Hughton has acknowledged a change in attitude from the club’s fans after this season’s success. “As the season’s gone on the feelgood factor has come back, and that goes for everyone involved in the club. When things are going well at the club, it’s a lively and busy place.
On the board’s announcement that there will be no capital outlay for the foreseeable future, Hughton responded: “Things have changed in the game and there won’t be the money to spend that there has been previously.
“Looking at teams like Wolves and Birmingham, who spent wisely last season, gives us confidence.”
On the lack of black managers in the game, Hughton explained: “We still have an imbalance between those playing and those going into coaching, but it’s important that anyone who gets there is there on merit.
“If me being the only black manager in the league can be a positive influence on anyone coming through, then great.
“Going back over the years, you rarely saw black faces in the boardroom. Although there’s been an improvement, there’s still room for more.
“For me, as someone who played in the 70s and 80s, seeing the racism around on the terraces then, things have improved dramatically, and Kick It Out has played a massive part in this. A lot of this is to do with cultural barriers as well, which are reflected in the changing room.”