CHRIS Hughton has refused to comment on the announcement he will be given no money to spend this summer on new players because of the perilous financial situation at St James’ Park.
Hughton has previously spoken of his desire to sign three or four players before the start of the Premier League campaign and The Journal understands he had no idea he would not receive any financial backing from the board.
Despite repeated attempts over the last 48 hours to contact him, Hughton has apparently decided to keep his own counsel until he has had a chance to fully reflect on the ramifications of the weekend’s controversial club statement.
Hughton (pictured right) needs to assess his options and he will be looking to clear up precisely what “no capital outlay on new players” means given that loan fees are required to sign players on a temporary basis and free agents normally ask for a substantial signing on fee.
Ironically, as well as indicating no money will be spent to strengthen the squad this summer and explaining a sensible business plan which focuses on the need to balance the book’s before the start of the 2015/16 season, the statement also claimed Hughton would be the only senior member of staff able to comment on footballing issues at the club.
The former Tottenham defender has been an exemplary employee for Ashley, calming the storm last summer while United’s owner looked to sell the club for a second time, before guiding the Magpies back into the top flight at the first time of asking. He has also been very sympathetic about the financial constraints.
That may give Hughton some scope to make improvements however, the news also puts Steven Taylor’s future on Tyneside in doubt. Hughton revealed last week he intends to offer the centre-back a new contract which will keep him at St James’ Park long term, but he may now decide he has to cash in on the 24-year-old in order to add more strength in depth.