Fulham Hire the Perfect Candidate in Mark Hughes To Replace Roy Hodgson

Craig FarrellCorrespondent IJuly 30, 2010

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - AUGUST 15:  Manchester City Manager Mark Hughes looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City at Ewood Park on August 15, 2009 in Blackburn, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Mark Hughes has been named as the next manager of Fulham and the Cottagers could not be getting a better replacement for Roy Hodgson than the former Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, and Wales manager.

Fulham managed to reach great heights with Roy Hodgson at the helm. Hodgson led Fulham to their first ever European final last year in the Europa League. Despite losing the tie to Atletico Madrid in extra-time, the feat was still a great accomplishment for the club.

In late June, Roy Hodgson decided to move north to take charge of Liverpool. After a month of searching, Fulham are poised to hand the reigns of the team over to Mark Hughes, who is the best candidate to continue helping Fulham go forward for many reasons.

The obvious benefit Fulham receive from hiring Hughes is financial. Liverpool agreed to pay £2.5 million to Fulham in compensation for luring their 62-year-old manager away from Craven Cottage.

Due to the fact that Mark Hughes was unattached, this allowed Fulham to chase the Welshman without fear of having to pay to obtain his services.

Hughes was not the only unattached manager available to Fulham, so that alone is not the only box that he ticks. The most important facet of Hughes’s career is Premier League experience and a proven track record.

He is only 46-years old, which is quite young in managerial terms. More importantly, Hughes has over five years of experience managing in the Premier League, and over 10 years of managing experience at the top level of football.

Mark Hughes was one of the favourites for the job behind both Martin Jol and Jurgen Klinsmann, both of whom would not have offered Fulham the same level of security as Hughes.

Martin Jol would have cost Fulham money to pry him away from Dutch giants Ajax. Despite his relative success with Ajax last year and Hamburg the year prior, the fact remains that he failed to bring either team the success they had envisioned.

Last season, Ajax scored 106 goals and conceded just 20, but only managed to come second to FC Twente. Ajax had a goal difference of plus-46 goals more than Twente, but still failed to win the league.

Jol spent three years in the Premier League with Tottenham, but in his third year he was run out of London after a very poor showing in 2007.

Martin Jol’s success in his first two seasons with Tottenham was strongly financially backed. This would not occur with Fulham. Jol spent over £90 million on players over the space of two seasons.

Jurgen Klinsmann has done very little worth mentioning as far as his managerial career goes. As the coach of the German national team, he finished third in the Confederations Cup and third in the 2006 World Cup, which they hosted.

After leaving his post with Germany in 2006, Klinsmann was unemployed until 2008. He lasted just 302 days as Bayern Munich’s coach and was sacked after a shocking display during the season.

Mark Hughes proved his worth with Blackburn Rovers, and then at Manchester City. Hughes spent just under four years at the helm of Blackburn and managed to win over 43 percent of his games.

With all due respect, Blackburn were an average side at best and Hughes turned the team into a respectable, top-half Premier League team. After finishing in the bottom half for three of their previous four seasons, Hughes helped push Rovers up the table. His final three seasons as manager resulted in top-half finishes, while twice qualifying for European competition.

Hughes only spent a season and a half as the manager of Manchester City, but he managed to win 46.75 percent of his games.

Not only did Hughes manage to win games in the Premier League with non-elite teams, but he proved to be strong in the transfer market.

While managing Blackburn Rovers, he spent just £3.5 million on Roque Santa Cruz, who was rotting away with Bayern Munich. Blackburn reaped the financial benefits of Hughes’s shrewd signing by selling Santa Cruz for a profit of £15 million.

Hughes also signed David Bentley from Arsenal’s reserves for £500k, Stephan Warnock for £1.5m, and Christopher Samba for £400k. Bentley and Warnock earned Blackburn a profit of over £20million.

Hughes also showed his man management skills by getting the best out of “problem players” such as Benni McCarthy, Stephen Ireland, and Craig Bellemy.

Manchester City jumped the gun on sacking Mark Hughes and Fulham will benefit greatly from City’s castoff. Hughes is eyeing up some other potential City castoffs to improve his Fulham side. Hodgson left big shoes to fill at Fulham, and Mark Hughes will find them very comfortable without doubt.