Former Newcastle United defender Aaron Hughes announced his retirement last week. The Northern Ireland international made 278 appearances for Newcastle, registering 7 goals.
The former Newcastle defender was one of the most underrated players to pull on the black and white shirt. Hughes made his debut for Newcastle against Barcelona in the Camp Nou in November, 1997. Hughes replaced Philippe Albert at half time, unfortunately for Hughes and Newcastle, his debut would end in a 1-0 defeat.
Hughes would have to wait for his league debut, which came at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday in January 1998, ending in a 2-1 defeat. The Northern Ireland international established himself as a first team regular during Ruud Gullit's ill-fated spell in charge. Hughes quickly gained Sir Bobby Robson's trust, continuing to be a regular in the side.
Hughes' first goal for the club came in an 8-0 thumping against Sheffield Wednesday in September 1999. Hughes remained at St. James' Park until 2005. Then manager Graeme Souness sanctioned the move, Hughes would leave for just £1M to Aston Villa. A decision that has always baffled a lot of Newcastle supporters.
Hughes will always be remembered fondly on Tyneside, showing great loyalty to the club, having played for the club for the best part of eight years.
Hughes' favoured position was in the heart of defence. However, his versatility meant he was often used as a right back and left back.
Hughes' performances not only for Newcastle but throughout his club career saw him make 112 international appearances for Northern Ireland, scoring one goal.
Happy retirement, Aaron Hughes!