Chris Hughton: Premier League was big draw to Norwich City
Chris Hughton has admitted the chance to manage Norwich in the Premier League tipped the balance in his tough decision to sever ties with Championship play-off contenders Birmingham.
The 53-year-old guided Blues within one game of an instant top flight return and plotted a memorable Europa League campaign despite operating under a transfer embargo.
Hughton told the Birmingham Mail earlier this week it would have taken something special to leave the Second City club despite their ongoing financial problems.
'Yes, it was a tough decision,' he said. 'I don't want to take anything away from Norwich, though. They went through the correct channels, they did everything right in their dealings with the club when asking for permission to speak to me. I think Peter Pannu (Birmingham vice-president) will also tell you that they conducted themselves very well.
'The players we brought in at Birmingham, their attitude and the performances, the way everyone got behind us, the general feel of it at Birmingham – that made it all the more difficult for me personally. I think, really, the decision was that as a manager or coach you want to manage or coach at the highest level. The draw of going to the Premier League was one that was too big an opportunity to turn down. In some ways Norwich is, possibly, a very similar club to Birmingham. They have a very loyal and local support. This was an opportunity to return to the Premier League and that is what excited me.'
Hughton has backed Birmingham to again challenge in what will be another intensely competitive Championship.
'Some things won't change irrespective of the manager, players, owners – Birmingham will always have an attraction. I will continue to look for Birmingham's results and I just wish the best for everybody involved in these difficult times,' he said.
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'I sincerely hope they can come through them and come through them quickly. I think the Championship will be that much more difficult next season.'