No warning of City axe – Hughes
Mark Hughes has confirmed that he was not informed he was going to
be sacked prior to Manchester City’s victory over Sunderland on
Hughes’ reign as City boss came to an end in the immediate
aftermath of the 4-3 win, with the club’s Abu Dhabi-based owners
announcing Roberto Mancini as his replacement.
His demeanour during and after Saturday’s win at Eastlands
indicated he was aware of the board’s decision to terminate his
contract prior to the game, but Hughes today confirmed that was not
in fact the case.
In a statement issued by the League Managers’ Association,
Hughes said: “I was informed after yesterday’s match against
Sunderland that my contract with Manchester City was being
terminated with immediate effect.
“Notwithstanding media coverage to the contrary, I was given
no forewarning as to the club’s decision.
“Given the speed with which my successor’s appointment was
announced, it would appear that the club had made its decision some
considerable time ago.”
Hughes added that he believed firmly that he had the club on
target to achieve their pre-season expectations, with City lying in
sixth place after just two league losses all season at the time of
“I am extremely disappointed not to have been given the
opportunity to see through my plans at the club,” Hughes continued.
“At the beginning of the season I sat down with the owners
and it was agreed that a realistic target for the season would be
sixth place in the Premier League, or in the region of 70 points.
“All of this was communicated to the players and we all knew
where we stood.
“Whilst everyone at the club would obviously have wanted to
see more wins, we were absolutely on target at the time of my
“Only recently we had terrific victories against both Arsenal
City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak revealed the decision to
sack Hughes had been taken in response to a run of just two wins in
11 in the Premier League.
City’s woes stem largely from too many drawn matches, the
club having only lost a thrilling Manchester derby and at Tottenham
Hughes’ sacking triggered an angry reaction from a group of
players who remain solidly behind the Welshman.
While Robinho, a £32.5million purchase imposed on
Hughes, and maybe even the axed Emmanuel Adebayor, will shed no
tears at Hughes’ exit, the core of City’s side, including Shay
Given, Craig Bellamy and Gareth Barry, were part of a deputation
that urged chief executive Garry Cook to reverse the decision to
dismiss a man who was only appointed 18 months ago.
Given Hughes’ exit had been plotted for over a fortnight, it
had no effect.
“I am very proud of the fact that I steered the club through
the most significant period of change in its history,” Hughes
“I have always been aware of the responsibility that comes
with being afforded the luxury of a significant transfer budget,
and I was grateful that the club supported me with significant
investment in players.
“I very much regret, however, that I will not now be able to
enjoy the success that would undoubtedly have followed in the light
of that investment.
“I believe that I have handled with dignity the recent
pressure placed upon me by press speculation.
“I would like to thank the fans for their support throughout
my time at the club and particularly at this difficult time, and I
wish the club every success in the future, particularly in relation
to the forthcoming Carling Cup semi-final, the club’s first
semi-final for 28 years.”