24 February 2022

Bradford chief reveals Mark Hughes’ interest in job landed in email junk folder

24 February 2022

Mark Hughes might have slipped through Bradford’s fingers after the Welshman’s initial correspondence to the club landed in chief executive Ryan Sparks’ email junk folder.

Hughes – who has had spells with Blackburn, Manchester City, Fulham, QPR, Stoke and Southampton, all of which have been in the Premier League – was unveiled as boss of the Sky Bet League Two Bantams on Thursday afternoon.

It is a surprise step down the divisions for 58-year-old Hughes, who takes over with the club 15th in the table after Derek Adams was sacked, and one that might not have come to fruition had Sparks not checked his emails thoroughly.

Mark Hughes is back in football management (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

“The truth of the matter is when it actually came through, we’ve had some issues with our emails and it was in my junk folder,” Sparks explained.

“I go through that every day and obviously I made a phone call very quickly to his representatives and explained ‘apologies for the three-hour delay, I’m usually on it but I would like to have a conversation with Mark’.

“That’s where it started. It started with a chuckle. I wouldn’t have expected Mark Hughes to be the next manager but once conversations started then I genuinely thought it was possible.

“This is not a Premier League club by any stretch, we don’t have the facilities that Mark will have had at other clubs but he’s not come into it looking at any negative thoughts, his eyes are wide open.”

Sparks suspects Hughes’ representatives would have attempted to get in touch in other ways but is relieved it did not come to that – although he has had to keep checking his junk emails in the last few days.

“I’m sure there would have been contact by some other means at some point but you’ve got to always check everything like that,” Sparks added.

“It’s just one of those bizarre instances. It’s gone on since then that every email that’s come in from them has gone in there for some reason, it’s just some bug or something.”

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