Birmingham City manager Chris Hughton says he holds no grudges towards former employers Newcastle United and is pleased with their progress.
Hughton was controversially sacked in December 2010 by owner Mike Ashley, despite guiding the club to a strong start in their first season back in the English Premier League after successfully leading them to the top flight from the Championship.
Newcastle have since made great strides under the guidance of former West Ham boss Alan Pardew, securing a return to European football and only just missing out on a place in next season’s Champions League.
“Bitterness? I have never felt that about what happened,” Hughton told The Journal. “I don’t think that way and I don’t harbour grudges towards anyone at the club. If I am absolutely honest, I don’t look at the club now and think, ‘what if?’
“What is normal when you lose your job is that it’s very tough for a while. You watch games but you want to be working.
“But I wanted to look forward from the moment it changed and I lost my job. Now I don’t look at Newcastle and wish them any ill feeling whatsoever. I’m absolutely delighted at what Alan Pardew has done and I’m delighted Newcastle are there.”
Much of the current Newcastle squad worked under Hughton, who enjoyed European success as a player with Tottenham in the 1980s.
Hughton believes that Newcastle’s revival owes much to the club’s intelligent recruitment policy.
“For the fans who were very good to me, it’s great they’ve had success. And there are still players there who were there with me when I was there and I am really glad they are doing well,” he said.
“The likes of James Perch, of course – and Leon Best and Danny Simpson and Mike Williamson. It’s fantastic to see them part of everything that is happening because we knew what good players they were.
“Then of course the club has recruited very well. I really like Yohan Cabaye, and Hatem (Ben Arfa) is showing what a fantastic talent he is.”