This shocking Graeme Souness decision cost Newcastle United

Graeme Souness is best remembered at Newcastle United for falling out with Craig Bellamy and signing Jean-Alain Boumsong.

Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 3:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 7:36 pm

One of his less-scrutinised decisions was that to sell Aaron Hughes to Aston Villa in the summer of 2005 for around £1million. It wasn’t a high-profile mistake, but it was a mistake nonetheless.

Hughes – who, memorably, made his Newcastle debut against Barcelona at the Nou Camp in 1997 as a teenager – has retired from football.

Hughes told his Northern Ireland team-mates after Tuesday night’s win over Belarus.

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Captain Steven Davis said: "Aaron spoke to us after the game, and he was a little bit emotional, which is understandable. He’s been a huge player for us over many years, and he’ll be remembered as a proper legend.

"Aaron still looks as if he could play on, but if he’s made a decision to retire, we've got to respect that and wish him well."

Hughes had made 278 appearances in a first-team career spanning eight seasons by the time he left at St James’s Park.

The Cookstown-born player – who had come up through the ranks at United’s Academy – had been a classy defender for the club.

Yet the way the club handled his exit was classless. Hughes was informed a bid had accepted by a club official in a brief telephone call. That was that. He was off to Villa Park. Souness – who had signed Boumsong for £8.5million five months earlier – didn’t make the call.

Hughes deserved better.