Five reasons why Hughes deserved the boot at City

Having won just two of the last 11 games under-pressure Mark Hughes finally got the boot at the Manchester City.

The Blues moved quickly to replace the Welshman with Italian coach Roberto Mancini in a move which has been widely criticised (actually almost exclusively by the BBC).

5Live pundit Alan Green slated the City owners and questioned the capabilities of Mancini and the idiots on the Match of the Day sofa kept repeating the words “time”, “gel” and “patience” without trying to even have an closer look at Hughes 18-month spell in charge.

Becasue it is not only the results under Hughes that have been poor…

Poor scouting
Besides a few exceptions, notably the signings of Nigel De Jong and Vincent Kompany, Hughes displayed an ignorance of the world game. If you look at the players which arrived during the summer they were all Premier League players with good reputations.

Hughes could have bought better players available on the European market, with Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ruud Van Nistelrooy among the better known players available for transfer.

His ex-Manchester United team-mate Steve Bruce is the perfect example of how to think outside the box and develop a proper scouting network. At Wigan Bruce brought through the excellent but little known Maynor Figueroa, Hugo Rodallega, Antonio Valencia and Wilson Palacios – something Hughes failed to do.

Failure to manage big names players
The best managers can manage big name players but Hughes just couldn’t keep all his stars content.

While Craig Bellamy has been immense for the entire season Hughes was unable to coax the best form, or even consistency, out of Robinho, Emmanuel Adebayor or Carlos Tevez during his tenure.

Tactical errors
Hughes failed to get to grips with the balance of the City midfield.

Once Gareth Barry arrived at the club it was increasingly difficult to fit De Jong, Stephen Ireland and the former Villa midfielder into the same central midfield.

When City started leaking goals they needed more steel in the midfield and Ireland or Barry could have been sacrificed for a partnership of De Jong and Kompany – fit since September – to sit in front of Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott.

Inability to defend
City’s ability to defend from both open play and set pieces cost Hughes dearly.

With the ability to get goals from wide players Bellamy and Wright-Phillips, Hughes could have provided more defensive cover for his centre backs who failed to give anything like there best form.

He’s Mark Hughes
If you are going to provide a manager unlimited money to build the squad dreams are made of would you give that golden opportunity to Mark Hughes or a manager of your own choosing?

While Hughes has won nothing, Mancini has landed the Coppa Italia with Fiorentina and Lazio as well as winning the same trophy twice more and the Serie A title three times with old club Inter Milan.


Benitez faces must win Portsmouth clash; West Ham in serious relegation trouble

Benitez faces must win Portsmouth clash

Liverpool’s 2-1 midweek victory against Wigan at Anfield may have gone some way to easing the pressure on Rafa Benitez but anything less than all three points at basement boys Portsmouth on Saturday will spell trouble for the Spaniard.

The Kop have already lost six games this season (having lost just two for the entire campaign last time out), including four on their travels and a further defeat could see them slip below the top eight.

The majority of critics are adamant that Benitez will be kept at Anfield as the American owners – Tom Hicks and George Gillett – can not afford to sever his contract.

But with Guus Hiddink and the increasingly disillusioned Jose Mourinho rumoured to be seeking new posts Benitez will have to turn things round if he wants to save himself.

West Ham in serious relegation trouble

Last September Gianfranco Zola and Steve Clarke rode into Upton Park on the crest of a wave with West Ham fans believing they finally had the dream management ticket.

With the help of a decent squad inherited from Alan Curbishley, the duo were able to guide the Hammers to a respectable ninth placed finish.

But what a difference, 15 months makes, with Carlton Cole injured and the team leaking like a colander at the back, they are in the relegation zone and are playing like a team bereft of confidence.

While they are clearly a club with very little money, the sacking of Curbishley – much like Charlton’s sacking of the same man – looks even more ridiculous in hindsight.

Black to the future

I can’t help looking at the escapades of Doc and Marty with great envy.

Ok, so I haven’t yet invented the flux capacitor and I haven’t figured out how to generate 1.2 giggawatts of power but my attempts at time travel have been doomed to failure since the day I was born.

I would like a go at surfing the time continuium but as a black man the chances of me enjoying a flying DeLorean are slim.

I reckon I, and most other ethnic people, would enjoy the future – especially with Barack Obama around to shape it.

But how would we fare in the past?

McFly was able to go back 1885 and 1985 relatively unfettered. Granted, his modern clothes looked stupid but that would be the least of my problems.

The 16th to the 19th centuries are out immediately, as is the American Deep South during most of the 20th century (to be fair I wouldn’t visit during the present day) and I would stick out a mile as a serf in feudal England.

I don’t often feel the need to issue advice but if I was ever asked I would respond as follows: always be polite, treasure your friends and never, under any circumstances, travel faster than 88 mph.

The results may not be as exciting as they seem.

Childen in need… of a drink?

Looking back fondly on our teenage years, we all remember being turfed out or refused service at a pub, bar or some kind other drinking establishment.

Memories of sending my tallest friend (measuring a jaw-dropping 6’3 at just 15) into our local off-license to buy as many bottles of Hooch and WKD as we could carry still bring a smile to my face.

And while the pimpled faced youth of today remain unwelcome in places for adults, there has been a emerging trend in even younger pub patrons… toddlers.

I don’t remember it becoming acceptable, welcome or fashionable but there seems to be an explosion of parents smuggling their very young children into bars.

I was with my sister in a pub a couple of Sundays ago and we were almost outnumbered by the little people.

Children were skipping around, toddlers were sitting in high chairs mashing their fists into food and parents were looking on admiringly wherever I turned.

And this was in the middle of the night.

Not having children myself, I’m not in a position to say what is good parenting and what isn’t but it seemed unfair to both the other drinkers and – ironically- the children themselves.

As an adult, the pub hasn’t managed to retain any of its mystique. Literally they are places that just serve alcohol – usually at rip off rates.

So, simply put – for a child – the pub is boring. Which was probably the reason why everyone under five feet tall was engaged in a game of tag.

And like all the other drinkers, I had to mind my ps and qs. No rude jokes, no swearing and no objectifying the opposite sex.

It seemed a tad selfish of the parents to me – the pub is clearly a place not meant for the under 18’s let alone the under 5s.

Maybe pubs should have special areas for children… or maybe parents should leave the young ‘uns at home and let us joyless, childless folk pickle our livers in peace.