Whilst speaking to the London Evening Standard this week, the ex-Republic of Ireland international revealed the circumstances behind his surprise exit from Newcastle back in December and his managerial aspirations for the future.
Despite guiding Newcastle United to comfortable mid-table safety in his first full season back in the top flight and impressive wins over bitter rivals Sunderland and a 6-0 rout over Aston Villa, it wasn’t enough for Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias to call Hughton into his office on that fateful day when he left the club; Hughton recalled the conversation.
“What he said was the club wanted to go in a different direction, and that was it. He did not explain what the different direction was and I didn’t ask. The conversation didn’t even last two minutes. Did it come as a shock? Yes, it did.
“A few weeks before, there had been a big Sky story saying I was going to get sacked. My contract was until the end of this campaign and, at the beginning of the season, talks about a new contract broke down.
“So there were indicators but I wasn’t expecting it, particularly when we were doing well. Our target was to stay in the top division and we were mid-table.”
With an attractive West Brom manager vacancy now available, many Bookmakers have made Hughton their outright favourite to take over the reins at the Baggies following Roberto Di Matteo’s dismissal last month. Judging by the interview there is much evidence to suggest Hughton would be interested in the West Brom post as he spoke of his eagerness to get back into Premier League management.
“I’d be open to the idea of going abroad but where I really want to be is here, to come back to the Premier League as a manager. In football you can always have revivals.”
Ex-Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has also been linked to the job but the favourite remains Chris Hughton with prices currently at 6/4 onwards.