With a decade of manging experience in the English Premier League, Mark Hughes signed a three-year contract with Stoke City on May 30. Just nine days before, former manager Tony Pulis left the club by mutual consent after seven years with the Potters.
Managerial change is rare for Stoke City. Hughes’ appointment was the first time Stoke have made a managerial change as a financially-stable first division club since Frank Taylor replaced Bob McGrory in 1952.
"It is rare for any manager to come into a stable top-flight club I guess," said Peter Coates, Stoke City chairman since 1989.
Hughes now has an opportunity to “repair his reputation” as a manager at Stoke City after he was fired by Queens Park Rangers last November.
Hughes joins the Potters with vast experience in the English Premier League. He started with Blackburn Rovers (2004-2008) before a stint at Manchester City from 2008-2009 that included the Abu Dhabi United Group’s purchase of the club. During his tenure with Manchester City, Hughes signed several players, including Vincent Kompany, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Gareth Barry and Carlos Tevez.
Hughes spent the 2010-11 season with Fulham and helped guide the Cottagers to a place in the Europa League before resigning a few weeks later. After short stints with Manchester City, Fulham and Queens Park Rangers, the former Welsh international is hoping for a long tenure with Stoke City.
“So one of the the first questions I asked of the Coates family at Stoke was: Are you going to stick around?' They said yes and that's a real attraction for me," Hughes said within this article from The Guardian. The stability of the club and the people I know who are involved are reassuring. I work best under those circumstances. My intention, for my own sanity, is to repair my reputation at Stoke City and stay here for as long as I can."
In 1980 Hughes signed a professional contract with Manchester United and spent the next 22 years playing forward for Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Southampton and Everton before finally retiring with Blackburn at the age of 38 in 2002. Hughes scored a total of 224 goals in 799 career club appearances.
The former Wales international's first managing role came in 1999, when he was appointed part time manager of Wales for the last two European Championship qualifiers. He later took on a full time role before being named the Blackburn manager in 2004.
Coats predicts a bright future for the club under Hughes’ leadership. “We have studied his record in great detail and we really feel that he is the right man to lead this Club moving forward.”
Hughes also has the support of Stoke City legend Dennis Smith, who made almost 500 appearances for the club as defender. He told BBC radio: "He's a fairly young manager, got new ideas, the technology he uses is good, and he's got good staff who are forward looking.”
Hughes will get an early look at his squad on July 24 when the Potters face the Dynamo in the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup.