Sport Soccer

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Hughes urges fans to trust owners

Mark Hughes has signed a three-year deal to manage Stoke
Mark Hughes has signed a three-year deal to manage Stoke

Mark Hughes has urged Stoke fans to place their faith in the judgement of the club's hierarchy following his appointment as the Potters' new manager.

Hughes has signed a three-year deal with the Staffordshire side around six months after being sacked by QPR. Some Stoke supporters are unhappy at the decision to bring him in as fellow Welshman Tony Pulis' successor, with one displaying a 'Hughes Out' banner in the Britannia Stadium car park even before confirmation he had the job.

Regarding negative feeling among fans, Hughes said: "I can understand, because for six months they have been told that my ability as a manager is in question. You can understand possibly that there is a little bit of reticence towards the appointment, but I think they need to take comfort from the fact that the ownership that has been fantastic for Stoke has made the decision that I am the best guy for their club."

Hughes acknowledges it will ultimately take winning matches to win over the fans and is eager to "prove people wrong", stressing he will use criticism of his spell at QPR to help motivate him to achieve success with Stoke.

The 49-year-old, who guided the R's to survival on the final day of the 2011-12 season, was dismissed by owner Tony Fernandes after the team failed to take three points in any of their opening 12 fixtures of 2012-13.

Hughes feels many people are basing their current perception of his managerial ability solely on that last sequence, and while he admits he made mistakes at QPR, he has been keen to highlight that he has overseen "something like 270 games at Premier League level".

In his first role as a manager, he took Wales to a Euro 2004 qualifying play-off, and he then earned plaudits for his work as Blackburn boss.

Manchester City came calling in 2008 but he was unable to satisfy the club's owners, who had enabled heavy investment on players, and was sacked in 2009. Fulham offered him a route back into football in 2010 and he led them to eighth before resigning in 2011 - something else he has described as a mistake.

His CV has certainly impressed Stoke chairman Peter Coates, who has revealed Hughes was the club's number one choice and only interviewee following Pulis' departure by mutual consent last week, despite interest in the post from various other unnamed parties.

And on the fans, Coates said: "Supporters will have their own views. There will be 10 managers out there they might have wanted, and I understand and respect that. But I do believe our supporters will back our judgement. Tony Pulis was not universally popular, but it worked out well, they accepted that and I think the same will happen with Mark."

PA Media

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