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Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes
Complete Name: Leslie Mark Hughes
Nationality: Welsh
Place of Birth: Wrexham, Wales
Date of Birth: November 1, 1963
Height: 174 cm
Weight: 77 kg
National team: Wales
Current club: Retired
Positions: Striker


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Club career history

Manchester United (England), FC Barcelona (Spain), Manchester United (England), Chelsea (England), Southampton (England), Everton (England), Blackburn Rovers (England)




Leslie Mark Hughes (born November 1, 1963 in Ruabon, Wrexham, Wales), nicknamed Sparky, is a legendary former Welsh football player and currently a manager. As a Welsh international footballer, he made 72 appearances and scored 16 goals. He was a hugely talented forward who was without peer at holding up the ball for himself and fellow strikers to profit.

Playing career

Hughes joined Manchester United on leaving school in the summer of 1980 but did not make his first team debut for three years - in a 1-1 draw away to Oxford United in the FA Cup, in the 1983-84 season. Like many other United legends, Sparky quickly became a favourite by scoring on his debut. He quickly established himself as a regular first team player and was a key player in their run to the 1985 FA Cup final which resulted in a 1-0 win over Everton. The following summer, Hughes was surprisingly sold to Barcelona for 2million as manager Terry Venables was hoping for him to be a successful striker partner for Gary Lineker. But Hughes was a disappointment in his only season at Barcelona and was subsequently loaned out to Bayern Munich of West Germany for the 1987-88 season where he regained his form.

In May 1988, Hughes returned to Manchester United, now managed by Alex Ferguson, for a then club record of 1.8million. Like he had done in his first spell at Old Trafford, Hughes proved to be a dynamic goalscorer and was a key player for the club in winning two League championships, two F.A Cups, one League Cup and one Cup Winners' Cup.

He left Old Trafford for the second and final time in June 1995 when he was controversially sold to Chelsea for 1.5million, in a summer that also saw the departures of players such as Paul Ince (to Inter Milan) and Andrei Kanchelskis (to Everton). Many United supporters were upset at the sale of Hughes because they felt he had at least a couple of years left at the highest level and that Andy Cole would not be suitable as his replacement. But United still managed to achieve more success even without Hughes, with the team winning the double for the second time in the subsequent season.

Meanwhile, Hughes was a key player in Chelsea's resurgence as a top club. He helped them win the FA Cup and Cup Winners' Cup before he was transferred to Southampton in July 1998 and then later on to Everton. By now, Hughes was winding down his career as a player and in August 1999 was appointed national coach of the Welsh football team, although he moved outside of the top division for the first time in his playing career in 2000-01 to play a key role in getting Blackburn Rovers promoted from Division One. He also lifted the League Cup with Blackburn in February 2002 before finally hanging up his boots a few months short of his 39th birthday.

Managerial career

When Mark Hughes was appointed national coach, Wales were one of the weaker national sides in the world. But in the five years with Hughes in charge, Wales came close to qualifying for Euro 2004 and in their qualifying group beat Italy - they were only denied a place in the competition after losing to Russia in the playoffs.

Hughes quit the Welsh national side in September 2004 to take charge of Blackburn Rovers, the last club he had ever played for. His key aim was to keep Blackburn clear of relegation and he succeeded, also taking the club to an FA Cup semi final appearance for the first time in over 40 years.

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