Sunday People

Mark has never lost his Spark

- By John Richardson

HE had just lost in the 11th minute of added time and was being harangued by the opposition goalscorer – but Mark Hughes is loving life in League Two.

Having always managed in the Premier League and at internatio­nal level with Wales, former

Manchester United and Barcelona striker ‘Sparky’ surprised many in the football world when he agreed to take the Bradford City reins in February last year.

“I knew within a week of coming back that it was still for me, nights like this one in Crewe, even though we’ve just lost, and being involved at 3pm on a Saturday,” he said.

“I’m coming up to 60 and I’m still completely hooked.”

As a combative player, the Wales star never shirked a challenge when the going got tough – and little has changed as he and Crewe matchwinne­r Chris Long tussled on the pitch following the final whistle and had to be separated by Gresty Road boss Lee Bell.

Hughes added: “He came over to me at the end, I think because I had been calling him a sh**e player.

“He came back because he wanted to rub my face in it.


“He wanted to continue it on the pitch. He’s a very brave lad! What’s he. Around 25? And I’m a near 60-year-old. But it is what it is!”

The big smile on Hughes’ face told you he would not have it any other way. The last-gasp defeat in Cheshire means the Bantams still need a point at home to champions Leyton Orient tomorrow to ensure a place in the play-offs.

Hughes added: “I’ve always experience­d emotion in football, that’s what I’m all about. It’s why I’m still doing it, why I’m involved now with Bradford City.

“These days test you and this certainly was a testing night at Crewe – but in many ways it’s still enjoyable.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the quality and fairness of the players, but at times you have to compromise maybe because the state of the pitch, the approach of the opposition.

“When I was out of work I missed all this, and why would I want to go to a garden centre on a Saturday afternoon for example?

“We have still got everything to play for and I’m pleased the last game of the season still has huge significan­ce.”

 ?? ?? REIGNITED: Boss Mark Hughes
REIGNITED: Boss Mark Hughes

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