Charles Hughes (football manager)

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Charles Hughes
Born (1929-07-28) 28 July 1929 (age 89)
Known forDirector of coaching for The Football Association.[1]

Charles Hughes (born 28 July 1929)[citation needed] was the director of FA coaching for the Football Association. He authored the FA's official coaching manual and was an early developer of long ball tactics.[2]


Charles Hughes began his coaching career with the England national amateur football team and Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic football team between 1964-74 winning 48 matches out of 77.[1]


Hughes presented his ideas in the now defunct magazine Match Analysis and concluded most goals were scored from three passes or fewer, therefore it was important to get the ball quickly forward as soon as possible. He based this analysis on over one hundred games at all levels, including games involving Liverpool and the Brazilian national team, as well as many England youth games. His ideals were developed from those previously developed by World War II Wing Commander Charles Reep.[3] From his statistical analysis, Hughes emphasised the importance of particular areas of the field from where goals were most often scored. He called these areas the 'POMO' – Positions Of Maximum Opportunity – and asserted that players would score if the ball was played into the 'POMO' enough times. He stressed the importance of set plays and crosses into the penalty area.[4]

Many coaches and managers in England advocated his long-ball philosophy but critics have derided his philosophy for encouraging a generation of players who lack basic technical skills and understanding of different tactical playing strategies.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11] He was also criticised for his old-fashioned tactics.[12][13][14]


The Official FA Guide to Basic Team Coaching ISBN 0-340-81600-7


  1. ^ a b Football: Learning to live with football's bogeyman: Dave Hadfield lived next door to Charles Hughes - and survived Hadfield, David. The Independent. 13-08-94, Accessed 08-06-10
  2. ^ Fox, Norman (28 November 1993). "Profile: The professor breaks cover: Charles Hughes". Independent. London. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  3. ^ "Grim Reep". When Saturday Comes. Archived from the original on 23 June 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  4. ^ Robson, Bobby (2005). Farewell but not Goodbye. Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 978-0-340-82346-0.
  5. ^ Cartwright, John (23 March 2002). "The guru who is not afraid to upset the apple cart". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  6. ^ Lawton, James (12 November 2001). "England must develop the creative instinct". The Independent. London.
  7. ^ Cartwright, John (25 November 2007). "England managers need direction". Daily Telegraph. London.
  8. ^ Stevenson, Jonathan (17 December 2007). "How will English football develop?". BBC.
  9. ^ Hughes, Rob (24 November 1993). "Will the Bulldog's Fall Give Rise to a New Breed of English Soccer?". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  10. ^ Hughes, Rob (14 June 1995). "The New Boys From Brazil". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  11. ^ Kingstone, Steve (3 June 2005). "Brazil's coach in plagiarism row". BBC. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  12. ^ Jon Henderson (17 October 2010). "Malcolm Allison: A man who lived life large to the last | Football | The Observer". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  13. ^ Encyclopedia of British Football - Richard Cox - Google Books. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  14. ^ "England: world champions at the blame game". Retrieved 20 November 2014.