Former Wales international forward Mark Hughes was named Stoke City manager on May 30 and will lead the club against the Dynamo on July 24 in the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup. The former Manchester United star brings a variety of experience across the English Premier League to his new role with the Potters. Here is a look at Hughes’ managerial career, including some notable signings and his biggest achievements.
After nearly leading Wales to Euro 2004, including a qualifying win over Italy, Mark Hughes was named manager of Blackburn Rovers in September 2004. In his first season in charge, he led Blackburn – where he spent the final three years of his playing career - to an FA Cup semifinal before falling to eventual winners Arsenal.
Hughes’ clubs have featured North American ties, with American Brad Friedel his first choice goalkeeper at Blackburn for each of his four seasons in charge. Hughes also signed current Toronto FC head coach and former D.C. United star Ryan Nelsen in January 2005. Nelsen would make 172 appearances in eight years with Blackburn. Hughes was at Fulham as Clint Dempsey emerged as a top player.
In his first full season with Blackburn (2005-06), he led the Rovers to a sixth place finish in the Premier League, just four points shy of a place in the Champions League. Blackburn also reached the semifinals of the League Cup and enjoyed great production from one of Hughes’ signings – Wales forward Craig Bellamy – who scored 13 Premier League goals in 27 appearances.
The next season saw Rovers reach their third consecutive Cup semifinal, only to once again lose to the eventual winner, Chelsea. Hughes signed Benni McCarthy in the summer and the South African striker scored 18 goals – second most in the Premier League. McCarthy would score 37 goals in 109 appearances over four seasons with the club.
Two valuable singings from the 2006-07 season included French defender Christopher Samba and Swedish defender Martin Olsson. Samba would make 161 appearances in six seasons with Blackburn while Olsson rose from the youth academy and remains with the club after 117 appearances.
Hughes’ final season with Blackburn was the 2007-08 campaign, when he led Rovers to their third straight finish in the top half of the Premier League standings. The 49-year-old manager received another prodigious season from a summer purchase, as Roque Santa Cruz signed in July and scored 19 league goals, fourth most in the league. The all-time leading scorer for Paraguay would follow Hughes to Manchester City in 2009.
Hughes became manager of Manchester City in June 2008 and signed Vincent Kompany, Nigel De Jong and Carlos Tevez among a spree of high-priced purchases before he was replaced shortly before Christmas in 2009 after not reaching the lofty goals set by the new Abu Dhabi United ownership group.
The Welsh manager replaced Roy Hodgson at Fulham in July 2010 and enjoyed more production from an American as Dempsey led the Cottagers with 12 goals in the 2010-11 seasons as Fulham finished eighth for their second-best finish in club history and earned a place in the 2011-12 Europa League.
Hughes’ signings included midfielder Mousa Dembélé (49 caps for Belgium) and Mexican international Carlos Salcido (109 caps for Mexico).
Now, after an 11-month spell with Queens Park Rangers, Hughes will oversee Stoke City. Hughes has already begun his transformation of the Potters, releasing seven players on June 6: Jermaine Pennant, Dean Whitehead, Matthew Upson, Rory Delap, Carlo Nash, Matthew Lund and Mamady Sidibe.