Chris Hughton admitted on Friday his sacking as manager of Newcastle United had come as a total shock but he vowed to bounce back and continue his career in soccer.
Hughton was axed on Dec.6 despite having guided the north-east club from the Championship back to the top flight of English soccer this season.
Newcastle were in 11th place when Hughton was sacked to the widespread disbelief of many.
And Hughton, in an interview with Sky Sports on Friday, admitted he hadn’t seen his departure from St James’ Park coming.
“I got a phonecall in the morning from the managing director [Derek Llambias],” Hughton said. “He wanted myself and [goalkeeping coach] Paul Barron to meet him at the stadium after training and of course I was told the news then.”
Asked if it was a surprise, Hughton replied: “It was, yes. And the fact that Paul Barron was with me as well made it even more of a surprise. If the meeting was just myself I might have thought something was going to happen.”
“There’s lots of emotion. Obviously it’s not a particularly nice thing to happen to anybody, particularly at a time when it is unexpected, but that’s part of the game, and a part of the game you have to get on with and look forward,” the former Tottenham player said.
“The reasons why they chose to terminate my contract are their reasons. I’ve been asked on numerous occasions my views on why, but the reality is I can’t say too much,” he said. “The answers to those questions can only be answered by the chairman, the managing director and the owner.”
“It was a very quick conversation, but the club wanted to go in a different direction and of course they are the owners and managing director of the club, and it’s their prerogative, their choice on how they want to run things,” Hughton said.
“There were lots of opinions, certainly for the few days afterwards, and that goes back to what we spoke about earlier — most people were in disbelief at what had happened, but these are decisions that are made in football,” he said.
Hughton, who has been replaced by Alan Pardew, added he wasn’t bitter and retained many warm memories of his time at Newcastle.
“I don’t think you can afford to be that way,” he said. “It’s a wonderful club, and I look forward to going back there and seeing games in the future.”