Chris Hughton: I was surprised when Newcastle United sacked me

Former boss still retains fond memories of his time on Tyneside
Former Newcastle United manager Chris Hughton has revealed that he was surprised to be given the boot by the Tyneside club, but maintains that he harboured no ill feeling about it.

Hughton first took over as interim boss after Alan Shearer failed to help the club avoid relegation from the Premier League.

But having taken the reins after the ignominious exit from the top-flight, the former boss was handed a permanent contract en route to guiding his side to a monumental Championship title that saw the team accumulate over 100 points last season.

Back in the top-tier, Hughton continued where he left off as Newcastle were having a largely positive season, before a five match winless run saw him being shown the door.

"I got a phonecall in the morning from the managing director David Llambias, it was for myself and Paul Barron the goalkeeping coach, to meet him at the stadium after training, and of course I was told the news then," he said in an interview with Sky Sports News.

When quizzed as to whether it came as a surprise, Hughton said: "It was, yes. I think the fact that Paul Barron was with me as well was perhaps even more of a surprise.

"If it was a meeting for just myself then possibly on the way there I might have thought that something was going to happen, but yes it was a complete surprise to me."

He added: "It’s lots of emotions, it’s not a particularly nice thing to happen to anybody, particularly at a time when it wasn’t expected but that’s part of the game that you have to get on with, you have to look forward."

However, the 52-year-old kept mum concerning the exact reason as to why he was asked to leave, admitting that all that he had was a "very quick conversation" concerning the termination of his contract with the club.

"The reasons why they chose to terminate the contract of course are their reasons," Hughton said. "I’ve been asked on numerous occasions my own opinions on why [I was sacked] and the reality is that I can’t say too much, the answers to those questions can only be answered by the managing director and the owner.

"It was a very quick conversation, that the club wanted to go in a different direction and of course they are the owners and managing directors of the football club and it’s their prerogative and their choice on how they want to run things, and it was a very quick conversation."

The decision to get rid of Hughton attracted widespread criticism from fans and neutrals alike, with former Tottenham Hotspur chairman Lord Sugar recently being quoted as saying that it was a disgrace, and that the club had mistreated their manager.

"There’s been lots of opinions, especially in the few days afterwards I think that just goes back to what we’ve spoke about earlier on most people’s disbelief at what had happened," the former Newcastle gaffer continued.

"These are decisions that are made in football, they’re over my head and are of course made by my bosses - and in the end there’s nothing you can do about it except look forward, that’s all."

When asked if he was bitter about his dismissal, Hughton said: "I don’t think you can afford to be that way [bitter]. It’s a wonderful club and I look forward to going back there and seeing games.

"I had a fantastic time there, nearly three years that I was there. I enjoyed living in the area, but I don’t think you can afford to be bitter – these decisions are made, whether they are right decisions or not, they are made above your head and in the end there isn’t too much you can do about it, so there’s certainly no point in dwelling on it too long.

"What you need to do is of course look forward. I’ve had a career in the game and it’s a career which I want to continue."

Alan Pardew has since taken over the reins to Newcastle United, and managed to guide the club to victory over Liverpool during his first game in charge.
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