Football: Mark's Rich Reward for Reviving Wales; INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL SPECIAL: Hughes Doubles money.(Sport)

Sunday Mirror (London, England), May 19, 2002 | Go to article overview

Football: Mark's Rich Reward for Reviving Wales; INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL SPECIAL: Hughes Doubles money.(Sport)


Byline: KEN GORMAN

WELSH football bosses are ready to spend pounds 300,000 to persuade Mark Hughes to become their full-time manager.

They will offer him pounds 150,000 a year for the two remaining years of his contract when they meet for discussions over the next few weeks.

That's almost double the pounds 84,000 38-year-old Sparky currently receives as part-time boss.

While it may pale alongside the millions that England pay Sven Goran Eriksson, it is still a huge investment for the FA of Wales.

It's nearly three times as much as the salary paid to their last full-time manager, Bobby Gould.

And it illustrates how desperate the cash-strapped FAW are to keep the man who has gone a long way towards restoring the nation's shattered football morale.

"We have been delighted with the progress Mark has made so far and we look forward to him taking us to a successful European Championship campaign starting next season," said FAW secretary-general David Collins.

The stunning 1-0 midweek victory over Germany vividly illustrated the strides Hughes and his team have made in the two-and-a-half years he has been in charge.

But right now Hughes is still coming to terms with the crushing reality that his own playing career is now almost certainly over.

"I'm still getting my head around it," he said. "After 22 years as a player it's hard to get used to the idea that you're not wanted any more."

The silver-haired striker had heard only the day before Wales's victory that Blackburn were not offering him a new contract for next season.

"I'm not carping because I've had a fantastic run," he added. "Not many players last as long as I have.

"I've been fortunate to keep clear of serious injury right the way through my career and I've won so many medals. I have a lot of memories to look back on.

"I can't say that being forced into retirement has come as a complete shock. I knew it couldn't last forever.

"But it's like when someone you know is dying. …

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