North East football writers have seen plenty of managers come and go over the years.
Some had outstayed their welcomes.
Chris Hughton didn’t fall into that category.
It says a lot that Hughton wasn’t particularly the most quotable Newcastle United manager, yet the journalists that follow the club’s fortunes were all sorry to see him leave.
They’d all seen, first-hand, the job he had done at St James’s Park in difficult circumstances.Hughton’s steady management had ensured the club spent only one year in the Championship.
A 3-1 defeat to West Bromwich Albion in December 2010 spelt the end for Hughton, though then-managing director Derek Llambias later admitted he had been looking for a change in direction before that day.
I remember waiting in a cramped corridor at The Hawthorns with a couple of colleagues for the players to leave the dressing room.
It was a long wait, but the end for Hughton wasn’t long in coming.
Less than 24 hours later, a club statement read: “Regrettably, the board now feels that an individual with more managerial experience is needed to take the club forward.”
Five years on, Hughton, now himself hugely-experienced, is attempting to win promotion with Brighton & Hove Albion.
The club’s rivals have spent heavily on players, speculating to accumulate given the new multi-billion pound Premier League TV deal which kicks in next season.
Brighton have spent heavily on a new £30million training complex.
Work had been due to start on Newcastle’s training ground redevelopment this year, but it was postponed, strangely, because of fears of relegation last season.
I met Hughton at Brighton’s new training centre. It is impressive, as is the Amex Stadium.
So too is the club’s form, but Hughton, as the media on Tyneside knows, isn’t one to get carried away.
The Championship can be unforgiving.
And this season the stakes are as high on the south coast as they are in the North East.