n the 1st of November 1963, a future football legend and manager was born. Leslie Mark Hughes OBE was born in Ruabon, Wrexham. He would go on to achieve the life that most kids only dream off.
When Mark Hughes left school in the summer of 1980 he was spotted by the teams North Wales' scout, Hugh Roberts. Mark didn't make the first team for 3 years but did feature in the 1-1 draw against Oxford United in the League Cup in the 1983-1983 season. When Mark broke into the first team, he found it certainly difficult to break up the partnership of 27-year-old Frank Stapleton and 18-year-old Norman Whiteside from Northern Ireland, but Mark quickly broke into the first team partnering Frank Stapleton. While Norman Whiteside switched to midfield, Mark was given more first time action and was rewarded with 25 goals in 55 games in all competitions, as United beat Everton 2-1 in the FA Cup. That same season they finished 4th in the league.
In the summer of 1986 Mark was sold to Barcelona for 2 million but on the 21st of March 1986, United announced that Hughes would be heading to Spain and the deal was done weeks earlier. When he did move to Barcelona, Terry Venables signed Gary Liniker around the same time. Mark was disappointed in the first and only season at the Nou Camp, only scoring 4 goals in 28 games for the club. Bara loaned out Mark to Bayern Munich for a year. That season Mark had a slightly better season scoring 6 goals in 18 games. After his loan finished and he returned to Bara, Sir Alex Furguson appointed him as the man to transform Manchester United. Sir Alex wanted to re-sign him for the club and brought him back for a record fee then of £1.8millon
Mark stayed at Manchester United for 7 years from 1988 to 1995. He became a key player for the club and proven goal scorer. Over the next seven years, Mark scored 83 goals in 256 games for the club. A year later Mark scored twice in the FA Cup Final to earn them a replay against Crystal Palace and went on to win their first major trophy for the first time in five years. While at his time at his second spell at the club Mark won the first Premier League title and another one only a few years later. Mark also won a league cup the same year. Mark went on to play for other clubs like Chelsea, Southampton, Everton and Blackburn Rovers. Mark also played for Wales scoring 16 times in 72 games for his country, scoring his first goal inside 17 minutes against England on 2 May 1984.
Mark was appointed the manager of Wales in 1999 after doing enough to earn himself a contract. He replaced Bobby Gould. Mark nearly took Wales to the Euro 2004 finals getting to the playoff spot in their group only to lose to Russia. In my opinion, apart from getting to the Tournament in 1954 nearly reaching another final is the closest a manager brought the Welsh side to a final. Other managers have not brought out the best in players for the national side.
In September 2004 Mark Hughes left the national side to manage Blackburn Rovers. His aim was to keep Blackburn up in the Premier League. He managed to get the club to the semi-final of the FA cup the same season only to be beaten by Chelsea. He brought in players like Santa Cruz, Benni Maccarty, Ryan Nelson, David Bently (he was meant to be tipped as the new David Beckham) and many more. Having managed to get Blackburn into the top six and getting them onto the European stage, he took them to the knockout - round 32 - only to be beaten 3-2 over the 2 legs. Also, Mark Hughes has managed teams like Manchester City, Fulham, QPR, Stoke City and now Southampton. Mark had a successful spell at Stoke helping them to 3 finishes in the Premier League 3 years running. He was eventually sacked as manager as Stoke was battling with losing their Premier League status and now he is managing Southampton.
His record over his managing career for Wales is; Played 41, Won 12, Drew 15, Lost 14. Win %: 29.3%
Overall manage career; including Wales is; Played 603, Won 228, Drew 153, Lost 222. Win %: 37.8%
I'd like to wish Mark Hughes good luck in the future and Southampton as well.