Newcastle manager Chris Hughton has worked wonders turning Newcastle’s United divided dressing room into a solid unit for their Championship promotion push by allowing a player’s committee, yet does this set a dangerous precedent?
Newcastle United stumbled to their first defeat in 15 games last night after being humbled by relegation battlers Derby County, yet surely only a blip on the Newcastle juggernaut as they steam towards promotion from the Championship. Much praise has befallen manager Chris Hughton, but he has allowed a powerful players committee to which squad members can discuss issues with the manager.
The players committee which is lead by the more experienced members of the squad Kevin Nolan, Alan Smith and Steve Harper is believed to have united a much divided dressing room following Newcastle’s relegation from the Premier League. Former Spurs team mate of Hughton Peter Taylor told the Guardian ‘Chrissy’s clearly given his senior men responsibility, got them fully onside and everyone is working together to get Newcastle promoted. It’s been a clever move but Chrissy’s very charming, very diplomatic.’
It has been a shrewd move from Hughton, initially brought in to steady the ship whilst Newcastle United were up for sale by Mike Ashley and with his wages not even in the same ballpark as many members of the squad, there was initial concerns as to whether Hughton could win over the dressing room. These concerns have been put to bed with Newcastle performing admirably in the Championship with many suggesting Newcastle would implode and struggle to muster any promotion campaign.
Hughton has to be praised for uniting the team by allowing the players a voice and this has been reflected on the pitch, but there must be an understanding and balance of who has the final say on all football matters. Following Newcastle’s defeat at Scunthorpe earlier this season the Newcastle Chronicle gave Kevin Nolan six out of ten for a lacklustre performance. This was not taken well by the Newcastle player’s committee and they banned all squad members from speaking to the publication. Whilst Nolan and the other members of the committee might not agree with that assessment it seems petty to ban players from speaking to the publication. Hughton seems content to allow the players the power to decide on such issues, yet does this set a dangerous precedent?
What happens when maybe the squad don’t like playing the way Hughton wants them to? Do they call a players meeting and challenge the manager? The players committee is working for Newcastle United right now, that cannot be denied. But what if the results go bad, will the players begin to question Hughton’s tactics and decide they wish to play another way.
These are legitimate concerns that must be taken into account, Hughton worked a trick in bringing this squad of players together and there is no doubt in that. The players committee seems to be working for Newcastle, let’s hope it stays that way.