Happy new year Albion fans. And happy new manager.
Chris Hughton will be unveiled as our new boss this morning. After what felt like half a season of despairing at the club’s previous choice Tony Bloom has chosen my preferred choice of boss on to replace him. Why was he preferred? Simply because of the number of boxes he ticked when compared to the others on the shortlist. Now was not a time for another risk. Tony has been successful enough in poker and business to know when to keep on and when to change strategy,
We needed Championship experience and a man with contacts in the British game. We needed someone who will be up for a fight. Having got a club the size of Newcastle back up (albeit with one of the best squads ever seen in the Championship) Hughton certainly has guts. He is well respected in the game having recently appeared on Goals on Sunday and the Radio 4 Today programme and he will bring a level of interest in the club not seen since the Poyet days, though unlike Poyet he knows what to say and when to say it.
Of the other contenders Tony Pulis had two main stumbling blocks for me (though he was the choice of many long term fans). Firstly his clashes at Palace over budget and recruitment. Yes, David Burke was removed but there is not an open chequebook here yet and that is a good thing. Secondly the combative style he would employ would not suit a squad that still looks a little powder puff. An overhaul of players and style would have represented as much risk as an unknown from Spain.
Tim Sherwood meanwhile attended the Gus Poyet Finishing School of Opening Ones Mouth To Change Feet. That in itself wouldn’t be a show stopper but his lack of Championship experience and desire to bring in his own back room team would have been. And that gillet? That salute?
No, if anyone is unlucky here it is Nathan Jones who did a brilliant job as caretaker with a two point average and the passion restored to the stands and dressing room. I would have been perfectly happy to see Nathan continue but my reservation would be around recruitment where he lacks experience. With Burke gone any new manager would need to be able to secure “his” players.
We’ll see how Chris gets on over the coming months but I feel like a dark cloud has lifted from the club and it is onwards and upwards from here. Happy New Year Tony and thank you.