Republic of Ireland honour for Norwich City boss Chris Hughton

Norwich City manager Chris Hughton has been named in the Republic of Ireland's top 50 greatest players of the last half a century.

The 54-year-old Canaries' boss earned 53 international caps for the Republic between 1979 and 1991, scoring one goal and making a lasting impression on Irish football.

So much so, that Hughton was listed as 34th in the chart compiled by the Irish Independent – ahead of the likes of Tony Cascarino, Kenny Cunningham and Kevin Kilbane.

Hughton was paid a glowing tribute by the selection panel at Tuesday's unveiling.

The Norwich boss was described as 'a dignified and reliable servant to the jersey…a wonderful professional, dedicated, composed, a good tackler with impressive balance, who was able to raid forward when the opportunity arose but never neglected the basic duty of defending'.

Qualifying through his Limerick-born mother, Londoner Hughton's debut in a friendly against the USA at Dalymount Park made him the first black player to represent the Republic – and while there was plenty of support from his own fans, Hughton did have to cope with racism from the terraces at times.

The former Tottenham full-back played a key defensive role as Ireland made the finals of the 1988 European Championships in Germany, where Ireland faced up to the USSR, England and the Netherlands.

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He also make the Republic's travelling party to Italy for the 1990 World Cup, where Hughton ultimately had to play second fiddle to a 21-year-old Steve Staunton who went on to make Ireland's left-back berth his own. The panel added: 'Throughout his playing career spent mostly with Tottenham, Chris exuded dignity, reliability and integrity on and off the pitch, just as he does today in his role as manager of Norwich City – although that said, Hughton was no pushover.

'He struck a nice balance between the hard-nosed competitive pragmatism required of a top pro, and decency and dedication.'

Former Ipswich boss Roy Keane is more favourably remembered for his playing days, and he came out on top the top-50 chart,.

Johnny Giles, Paul McGrath, Liam Brady and Ronnie Whelan completed the top five.

Former Norwich City midfielder Andy Towsend was 25. Former Ipswich captain Matt Holland was 44th in the list, with current Town boss Mick McCarthy 23rd.

• THE TOP 50

1 Roy Keane

2 Johnny Giles

3 Paul McGrath

4 Liam Brady

5 Ronnie Whelan

6 Denis Irwin

7 Frank Stapleton

8 Robbie Keane

9 Tony Dunne

10 Kevin Moran

11 Shay Given

12 Damien Duff

13 Mark Lawrenson

14 David O'Leary

15 Charlie Hurley

16 Ray Houghton

17 Steve Heighway

18 Noel Cantwell

19 Don Givens

20 Packie Bonner

21 John O'Shea

22 Richard Dunne

23 Mick McCarthy

24 Niall Quinn

25 Andy Townsend

26 Alan Kelly senior

27 John Aldridge

28 Steve Staunton

29 Kevin Sheedy

30 Steve Finnan

31 Jim Beglin

32 Paddy Mulligan

33 Shay Brennan


35 Chris Morris

36 Tony Galvin

37 Tony Cascarino

38 Kenny Cunningham

39 Kevin Kilbane

40 Jimmy Holmes

41 Gary Kelly

42 Gerry Daly

43 Stephen Carr

44 Matt Holland

45 John Sheridan

46 Joe Kinnear

47 Ray Treacy

48 Terry Conroy

49 Frank O'Neill

50 Mick Meagan