View Full Version : Lee Hughes signing for Oldham Athletic - your opinions please Footie fans of the Foru

Len Ganley Stance
30-08-2007, 14:46
This article was in the Guardian today. My musings on it follow the article........

Chairman Blitz hires Hughes and kicks sensitivity into touch

Simon Blitz's claim that signing Lee Hughes was not a 'moral' decision is difficult to accept
Either the thespian community of these isles has a new Olivier in its midst or Lee Hughes, recently released from Featherstone prison into the promiscuous embrace of Oldham Athletic football club, really did mean it when he said this week that he would never forgive himself for the despicable conduct that caused the death of 56-year-old Douglas Graham in a car crash almost four years ago.

"I am not coming here [to Boundary Park and professional football] to be a hero," said Hughes, who served three years of a six-year sentence for causing death by dangerous driving and leaving the scene of an accident. He need have no worries on that score, at least not in the eyes of anyone who rightly judges that a man's ability to stick the ball in the net is a trivial thing in the greater scheme of life.

Nevertheless, Hughes's status as the principal pariah in an awful human tragedy may be under threat after the contribution of the Oldham chairman, Simon Blitz, who claimed this week that the decision to sign the player was absolutely not a "moral" decision. "For us it is a pure footballing matter," he went on.

Long experience has taught us not to expect too much in the way of good judgment from football club chairmen but this contribution from Blitz surely sets a new low.

Given that members of Graham's family had already publicly voiced their disgust at Hughes's return to professional football, the very least - or, rather, the very most - this buffoon should have said on the subject is nothing. That he said what he did, and that he said it on a day when he must surely have known that the emotions of the Graham family would be at their rawest, shows an absence of sensitivity, and a lack of respect, that could be interpreted as utter contempt.

As for the substance of Blitz's remarks, it would require us to accept that professional football is not bound by the same moral code as the rest of us.

Of course, some within the game behave as if this is indeed the case, but it is not. And it most certainly is not the case if it means the feelings of a grieving family are overruled by the need for an English League One club to solve their goal - scoring problem. Are we being asked to believe that Hughes is the only available player in England capable of lifting the Boundary Park club out of their midtable torpor? And if other club chairmen embraced Blitz's approach and took it to its logical conclusion, where would we be ? Lee Harvey Oswald for Southampton? Mark Chapman for Chelsea?

The truth is that signing Hughes was absolutely a moral decision, but that Oldham and their chairman lacked the intellectual courage to defend it, probably because deep down they realised it was indefensible.

The player, reading a prepared statement, did say this on his own behalf: "I have served the sentence laid down by the law but nothing I can do or say can change what happened. I can only keep saying sorry although I know that is not good enough for some people."

This is because "some people", though accepting the court's decision, happen to think three years is far too little for causing the death of another man in a car accident after a night out on the town and leaving the scene before the police arrived. It is because some people would argue that Hughes's debt to society would have been paid back in full if he spent the next four years - or however long his professional football career might have lasted - coaching football in the inner cities, or in another worthy capacity.

Instead he has chosen to return to a full-time career in professional football, where his name on the Oldham team sheet will serve as a weekly reminder to the Graham family of their loss.

It is Hughes's right to make this choice, selfish though it may be, but it is Oldham's shame that they made it so easy for him to return to the game he has disgraced.


Alright Gentlemen,

My thoughts on this are rather mixed. First of all, the sentence Hughes got for the crime he committed and the time he actually spent in prison were too short. That said, it's the courts that set the tariff and the courts that determine when he should be eligible for release.

Should Lee Hughes be able to return to professional football is a point for debate and I do go along with the theory that people who have wronged should be given a second chance.

As the article says though, the real culprit in Hughes being able to restart his professional football career is the Oldham Chairman, Simon Blitz. Oldham have not taken a gamble on signing Hughes and I would imagine that if Hughes starts scoring goals and the furore about the crime he committed dies down, that a bigger club may come for him and Oldham will make money out of the whole thing. There is no sympathy being shown to the family whatsoever, unless of course, if Oldham were to sell Hughes, that all or at least some of the transfer fee might go to the family of Douglas Graham.

I would like to think that supporters of Oldham Athletic might take the Graham's family's feelings into consideration and voice their displeasure at the club signing Hughes. I doubt very much that will happen though because as soon as Hughes puts the ball in the back of the net, all will be forgotten.

30-08-2007, 15:11
Well,it's a tough one.It's understandable why the family of Douglas Graham are upset,but Hughes did spend sometime in jail and he needs to make a living now.Football is a job and Hughes needs to put his life back together.