Monday, 15 March 2010

"Are you in or are you out?"

Chris Hughton has certainly got his players well trained on Tyneside after not just one, but two came out to praise the Newcastle manager in recent days.

First up was newly crowned Championship player of the year Kevin Nolan, who thanked the gaffer (along with just about everyone else) during his acceptance speech. "I am delighted to pick this up and I want to thank my team-mates, Chris Hughton, all of his backroom staff and the fans and, of course, my family."

Nolan went on to point out, in no uncertain terms, that Hughton has had no easy task in turning the Newcastle squad into Championship leaders, and signalled the soul-crushing embarrassment of the 6-1 walloping received in pre-season at the hands of League One outfit Leyton Orient as a major turning point for the squad.

"People thought that we would do a Leeds and go down again, but we got together after the Leyton Orient game and that probably put us where we are now to be quite honest. That 6-1 thrashing has played a massive part in our season.

"We tried to play it down at the time, but we were all hurting. It actually made all the rubbish come to the top and it was a case of 'Are you in or are you out?'

"Everyone should appreciate what Chris has done for this club. Mike Ashley realises what he's done. In pre-season, he didn't have to go to Leyton Orient, he didn't have to endure that, but he did and we thank him for that and that's why we want to repay him and win the title for him.

"Our main aim is to get promotion and win the title and if we can do that I'll be a very happy man to have given it to Chris Hughton because he deserves it."

Before Nolan's words were dry on the paper, in-form striker Andy Carroll came out to praise his boss saying, "Chris and Colin [Calderwood] have done a great job by getting the team 'as a team'. They kept everyone together as a team, and it's showing on the pitch."

This season there has been a whispered question echoing around Tyneside, "Would Hughton keep the job if/when we are promoted?" After seeing the resounding support he has from the players, I think we'd be fools to replace him.

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