Friday, July 15, 2011

Stoke City: Anthony Hudson carving out own reputation in footballing world


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NEWPORT County manager Anthony Hudson has learned to live with comparisons.
The son of Alan Hudson grew up in Stoke, where his dad remains a football legend.
But Anthony made his own name in the game as a promising coach – when Harry Redknapp likened him to a young Jose Mourinho.
That's setting the bar pretty high for any new boss – let alone a 30-year-old taking his first managerial job in these isles.
He landed the Newport job in January, having followed managerial success in the U.S. with a six-month coaching stint under Redknapp at Spurs.
Hudson, whose side entertain Stoke City tomorrow (3pm), doesn't worry about being the next anyone as he concentrates on being a success in South Wales.
He said: "I don't think about all that. I am just grateful to people like Harry Redknapp who allowed me opportunities when I came back from the United States.
"My dad had a fantastic career and was a great player. But in my coaching career I have never tried to use my dad's name. I have always tried to establish myself on my own merits."
Hudson was a trainee at West Ham, where he roomed with Michael Carrick and also became friends with Frank Lampard.
But when he didn't make the grade as a player, he began to take coaching badges during his early 20s and was soon putting the theory into practice in the U.S.
He coached the Wilmington Hammerheads before moving to the Maryland Monarchs, who he took from the foot of the table to the play-offs in the United Soccer League. He was also short-listed for the league's coach of the year.
Hudson would spend the U.S. close seasons gaining experience in Europe, a spell which included a trip to Stoke City two years ago.
He said: "Tony Pulis left such an impression on me. At some clubs I went to it was a case of being told to 'stand over there and try not to interfere'.
"But Tony was very welcoming. It was the week before Stoke played Chelsea and I remember he let me sit in the management meeting before we went out on the training ground.
"He then talked me though all the set-ups for what his team would be doing on the Saturday.
"As a young coach, it was a great experience for me."
Hudson already had fond memories of Stoke, having spent much of his childhood here.
He said: "I was back and forward, but always had friends here.
"I lived in Hartshill and went to the Close Junior School. I loved living there and loved going to watch City play at the Victoria Ground.
"As a kid, standing on the Boothen End in that atmosphere was brilliant, especially when the Stoke fans started singing 'Delilah'.
"The Stoke v Port Vale derbies were brilliant as well. We played Gateshead last season and the first thing I said to their manager Ian Bogie was I remembered him playing for Vale against Stoke."
Hudson will see Stoke in action again tomorrow when City kick off their pre-season fixtures at Newport.
The match is part of a double header in which Stoke also take on one of Pulis's former teams, Welsh Football League Division Two side Newport YMCA, on Sunday (2pm).
The tougher test should be on Saturday against a County side who finished ninth in the Blue Square Bet Premier Division last season.
Players to watch include experienced midfielder Danny Rose, a former Manchester United trainee who captained United's 2006/2007 reserve side.
Hudson's new signings this summer include Craig McAllister, a 31-year-old striker who scored 15 goals in Crawley's Blue Square Bet Premier title-winning campaign last season.
The striker is older than his new manager, but that doesn't bother Hudson.
He said: "When I was in the States, people said I was too young to be a manager – and people are quite prepared to let you know that.
"When I came back to this country, I had no doubts about myself. But other people were saying I wouldn't get a job when a club could appoint someone 10 years older.
"My argument has been to look past my age because I actually have years of experience on the training pitch and as a manager.
"If you are good enough, you are old enough."
The Newport board shared that philosophy when they appointed Hudson to succeed Dean Holdsworth six months ago.
They hope he can add an exciting new chapter in the history of a club which reached the European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals in 1980.
They were relegated from the Football League in 1988 and went out of business the following season, but have been fighting their way back.
Hudson added: "They are a great board and this is a very ambitious club with massive history.
"We also have the best fans in the division. They are loud and passionate and it is obvious how much the club means to the supporters here. That reminds me a lot of Stoke.
"It's brilliant to be playing Stoke. I've heard a lot of the first team could be coming, so that will be a great test for our group. It's going to be fantastic."

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