Friday 17 November 2017

Hughton insists he's not bitter over sacking

Chris Hughton has revealed his sacking by Newcastle came as a complete surprise, but insists he feels no bitterness towards the club or owner Mike Ashley.

Hughton was dismissed on December 6, despite having attracted widespread praise from outside the club for guiding the Magpies to a strong start in their first season back in the Premier League since their relegation in 2009. Hughton revealed he was sacked in a meeting after training, with no prior indication that anything was amiss.

"I got a phonecall in the morning from the managing director (Derek Llambias)," Hughton said. "He wanted myself and (goalkeeping coach) Paul Barron to meet him at the stadium after training and of course I was told the news then."

Asked if it was a surprise, Hughton added: "It was, yes. And the fact that Paul Barron was with me as well made it even more of a surprise. If the meeting was just myself I might have thought something was going to happen.

"There's lots of emotion. Obviously it's not a particularly nice thing to happen to anybody, particularly at a time when it is unexpected, but that's part of the game, and a part of the game you have to get on with. The reasons why they chose to terminate my contract are their reasons. I've been asked on numerous occasions my views on why, but the reality is I can't say too much. The answers to those questions can only be answered by the chairman, the managing director and the owner.

"It was a very quick conversation, but the club wanted to go in a different direction and of course they are the owners and managing director of the club, and it's their prerogative, their choice on how they want to run things," he said.

The decision to sack Hughton was widely condemned in football, both in Newcastle and much further afield. But Hughton is remaining philosophical.

"There were lots of opinions, certainly for the few days afterwards, and that goes back to what we spoke about earlier -- most people were in disbelief at what had happened, but these are decisions that are made in football.

"It was over my head, the decisions are made by my bosses and in the end there isn't much you can do about that except look forward."

And Hughton insists he is not bitter and still thinks fondly of Newcastle.

"I don't think you can afford to be that way," he said. "It's a wonderful club, and I look forward to going back there and seeing games in the future.

"I had a fantastic time there over nigh-on three years and I enjoyed living in the area. I don't think you can afford to be bitter. These decisions are made and whether they are right or not, they are made above your head so in the end there isn't too much you can do about it.

"There is no point dwelling on it too long, so I look forward. I've had a career in the game and it's a career I want to continue."

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