Chris Hughton has admitted that the 2011/12 season he spent with Birmingham was one of the most enjoyable years he has had.
Hughton took over Birmingham following a campaign in which they had both been relegated from the Premier League and won the League Cup, meaning he faced the prospect of competing in both the Championship and the Europa League.
In the end, Hughton led the Blues to fourth in the Championship – they were beaten in the play-offs by Blackpool – and the group stages of the Europa League, where they were unfortunate not to progress despite picking up ten points from six games.
At the end of that season, Hughton left St Andrew’s to take over at Norwich, but it seems he still has fond memories of his time with Birmingham.
Speaking about his time with the Midlands club ahead of his Nottingham Forest side’s clash with Birmingham on Boxing Day, Hughton was quoted by The Birmingham Mail as saying: “It was a wonderful year for me and I really enjoyed working there. I never mind saying it’s one of the most enjoyable I’ve had.
“I took over a bunch of lads who had lost a lot of players after relegation, but the club qualified for Europe after winning the League Cup the season before. It really made the season and the excitement of Europe. I thoroughly enjoyed.”
Indeed, it seems Hughton still has a good relationship with a number of individuals he worked alongside at St Andrew’s, as he went on to add: “As with all clubs there were really good people, good football people, there. I’ve got a lot of good memories.”
This is really good to see from Hughton.
The current Forest manager is often considered one of the nicest and most popular men in football, and it is easy to see why when he makes such positive statements about his former clubs, such as this one about Birmingham.
Any fan of the Blues will surely appreciate the sentiment offered by Hughton here, although given the success he had there, and the affection he does seem to hold for the club, the fact he did not stick around for longer is likely to rub salt into the wounds somewhat, given the struggles they have endured since his departure.