“As a young, ambitious manager I wish to move on to further my experiences, I believe my management team and I have done a good job and the club (obviously Fulham) has a strong foundation from which they can go forward. I would also like to take this opportunity to clarify that neither myself nor my representative have approached or have been approached by another club.” Mark Hughes statement earlier today after resigning as Fulham manager.
When I first heard these quotes, it would be fair to say I wasn’t totally convinced I believed Hughes. For him to leave a perfectly stable job to apparently further his career without the promise of another job would be a pretty risky gamble.
The bookies were convinced, most had closed the book on him going to Villa by this evening. So why is he now drifting on
Well a good reason for this could be because Randy Lerner has apparently got principles. When Martin O’Neill left at the start of last season, Lerner is supposed to have made a point of not going for a manager currently in a post. Basically, Lerner won’t do to others, what he wouldn’t like done to himself.
Villa were also supposed to have contacted Fulham today to confirm they hadn’t approached Mark Hughes behind their backs, not the sort of behaviour you would expect from a club looking to poach someones manager. Randy Lerner is also rumoured to have a good relationship with Mohamed Al Fayed, which makes an approach for Hughes all the less likely.
Finally, as a man of principles, it is now reported that Lerner isn’t impressed by Hughes conduct in departing Fulham. He also did a similar thing to Blackburn when Manchester City came calling.
So why wouldn’t he do the same thing to Villa a couple of years down the line if Manchester United came calling? Well he obviously would, and I think Lerner is well aware of this, which is why I wouldn’t be putting any hard earned on him ending up at Villa Park. Ending up with egg on his face? Well that could be worth a few quid.