Chris Hughton has time on his side to help push Norwich City forward
- Credit: PA
Manchester City’s dismissal of Roberto Mancini was seemingly unavoidable if all the stories of dressing room unrest coming out of the Etihad are true – but that just makes it all the more of a missed opportunity.
Ahead of a season where Chelsea, Manchester United and Everton will have new men in charge, a little bit of stability at City could have worked wonders in their recovery from some big disappointments this term.
Now they – or probably Manuel Pellagrini – will simply have to ride out a similar period of transition as David Moyes at Old Trafford, Jose Mourinho (almost certainly) at Stamford Bridge and the lucky incumbent of Moyes’ vacated throne at Goodison Park.
How some of these clubs fare under their new stewardship will be fascinating to see play out – so much so, it almost tempts you into wishing away the break. Almost.
Stoke are in the mix for a new boss too of course, following Tony Pulis’ unsurprising exit – and it may be more clubs follow, depending on who gets what job where. It’s not called a merry-go-round for nothing.
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In the end, it all brought back memories of Norwich City’s own summer of upheaval 12 months ago.
It was June 7 when Chris Hughton’s reign at Carrow Road began – and the current City boss has not even had to celebrate a full year in charge to sit seventh in the Premier League’s list of its longest serving managers.
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Admittedly, I’ve not included Cardiff’s newly promoted Malky Mackay. On the flip side, Brendan Rodgers and Paul Lambert were appointed earlier in the same week last year at Liverpool and Aston Villa respectively.
By the time you are having to digest the season’s end, it can be tough to remember the opening. Having watched DVDs of the previous season, Hughton had pre-season to investigate what his video versions looked like in the flesh.
The chat over the opening weeks of the campaign was reasonably straightforward – it was taking time to work out the best way of utilising what was at his disposal, never mind trying to figure out who and what to bring in to improve things.
Well this time around, all that groundwork has been done.
As it stands, only 10 Premier League managers are about to start their second pre-season at their current top-flight club. That is a frightening statement on managerial job security.
In fact, only Martin Jol at Fulham, Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and Alan Pardew at Newcastle United will go into next season with more Premier League games at their current club under their belts than Hughton at Norwich – a stat you can also apply to Rodgers and Lambert, of course.
But in terms of these parts, from here on in this really is Hughton time for the Canaries.
Yes he built a renewed backline over the season, and I’m not sure you can argue it wasn’t more his team than anyone else’s come the end of it. But from here on in, he can make all the fine-tuning he wants to. He can properly prepare to bring in the players he can see making a difference.
When the Premier League season kicks off on August 17, there is no doubt that is going to count as a head start on some of their rivals.
And that’s got to be a good thought to get you through the summer.