Friday, 31 May 2013


ABOVE: Mark Hughes with Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes (left) and owner Peter Coates
My intention, for my own sanity, is to repair my reputation at Stoke City
Mark Hughes
31st May 2013

By Ian Baker

MARK HUGHES insists he had to take the Stoke manager's job - for his own sanity.

The Welshman, 49, desperately wants to put a shambolic 11-month period at QPR out of his mind, after being left to stew for the last six months.

Hughes was axed as Loftus Road chief with his side in deep trouble in November.

Now the former Wales, Blackburn, Manchester City and Fulham boss has a point to prove to himself and others.

He said: "I'm delighted, it's a real opportunity. I'm pleased it's at a club like Stoke and they've deemed I'm the right fit. "I felt the only way I could answer people was by getting a position that gave me an opportunity to work hard and show that what they were saying was incorrect.

"I feel that's what I've got here. My intention, for my own sanity, is to repair my reputation at Stoke City and stay here for as long as I can."

Better Hughes has brought his long-term sidekicks Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki on to his coaching staff - and claims he has learned valuable lessons from QPR.

He added: "Whenever I've left a position, I've always gone through the process of, 'What I have done and how I could have done things better'.

"I also look at things I have done okay and acknowledge that as well. That's the process I go through, what I've done since I left QPR.

"But there are a lot of things that were difficult from the moment I walked through the door and things that didn't really change for the short space of time I was there.

"Good managers have gone in there and found similar situations that are difficult to overcome. So I wasn't the only one.

"But I'm not trying to exonerate myself from blame because, with hindsight, you think 'I'd have done it a different way'.

"But there was a desire from the ownership to progress quickly and as a consequence everyone was part of that."

Hughes' appointment has not gone down well with Stoke fans with one even driving around the city with a "Hughes Out" banner prior even to his official arrival.

And Hughes insists they have every right to have reservations.

But he said: "The only way I can answer fans is by winning matches. It's very simple.

"I can understand them. You have to understand that for the last six months they have been told that my ability as a manager is in question and really I haven't taken any path in terms of recourse to that.

"I have not added my own point of view to that but that was my decision. The intention is to move the club forward on all levels.

"They will understand we're working with the same aims to make Stoke a successful Premier League club and I'm sure they'll realise that quickly.

"If I do my job here well, I hope that will change people's perception and understanding of my abilities as a manager. I believe I am a good manager and a good fit for Stoke City."

Stoke chairman Peter Coates revealed he had not spoken to any other candidate about the job, believing from the start Hughes was the right man.

And he insisted Hughes' controversial agent Kia Joorabchian played no part in the bid to bring the Welshman to the Britannia Stadium.

Coates said: "His name has never been mentioned. He had no dealings with this particular transaction that's taken place with his contract, none whatsoever.

"I think there's a bit of a question mark over the Carlos Tevez deal, that set the ball rolling on that. We don't see him being an issue for this football club.

"We liked Mark. We look at what people have done and if I look at his CV the one blot is QPR which we have addressed."