Leslie Mark Hughes was first spotted by one of Manchester United's North Wales talent scout in 1978. Hugh Roberts soon alerted the United staff of the young Welshman's talents making sure he was brought to the club. 

It would be three more years before Hughes would make his professional debut for the United first team. 

Here's Sparky's Career In Kits.


Manchester United 1980-1986

Quickly asserting himself into the first team squad, Hughes was soon partnering Frank Stapleton in attack
while Norman Whiteside was moved to the midfield to accommodate the young Welshman. In his three seasons playing for Manchester United, Hughes scored a total of 37 goals in just 89 appearances. His performances highlighted him as one of Europe's most promising young strikers, which led to offers from various big European clubs.

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FC Barcelona 1986-88

After various discussions with European clubs it was to be Barcelona who would secure the services of the young Welshman. A pricey tag of £2 Million was the fee alongside the purchase of another young striker, Everton's Gary Lineker. However, the grand plans 'El Tel', (Terry Venables) had for them both were not be fulfilled. With Sparky only netting four times in some 28 appearances.

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Bayern Munich 1987-88 (Loan)

Still under contract at Barca, Hughes was loaned out to German giants, Bayern Munich for game time in the Bundes Liga. The move proved a wise one, with Hughes quickly regaining his form. The young Welshman made 18 appearances for the German side scoring six times. His work ethic and dynamic performances earned him praise from the new Scottish manager at United, Alex Ferguson. The Scott saw Hughes as a vital missing piece to his sides Championship winning credentials. A move back to Old Trafford was soon on the cards, rather than a return to Spain.

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Manchester United 1988-1995

In May 1988, Hughes rejoined Manchester United for a club record fee of £1.8 Million. As predicted by Ferguson, Hughes proved to be the striker United were after to mount their challenge for league titles.

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Chelsea 1995-1998

By 1995 a certain graduate from the United-famed 'class of 92' a Mr Paul Scholes was on the scene. Having suffered a knee injury, Hughes made the journey down south and joined Chelsea. It was a wise move by the boys in blue who for a bargain of £1 million, proved to become a crucial member of Chelsea's 90's resurgence as a top league club. By the time he was to move to the coast, he had made 123 appearances, scoring 39 goals.

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Southampton 1998-2000

By 1998, Hughes' services were acquired by Saints, who bought the veteran striker for £650,000 as cover for the injury-prone David Hirst. Goals however, were not free-flowing and with Premier league security on the edge for Southampton, Hughes was deployed to the midfield. His experience proved vital during the final part of the season and the Saints survived, avoiding relegation.

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Everton 2000

In March 2000 Hughes joined the Toffees. The move seemed like nothing more than a sightseeing tour for the Welshman though, who only played 18 times. Scoring just the once.

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Blackburn Rovers 2000-2002

Unlike his stint with Everton, Hughes proved once again to be a key player for his new club, Rovers, from the year 2000 to 2002. His experience contributed to the Rovers returning to the Premier League, along with cup success in February 2002, winning the League Cup. It was his last professional club and Hughes decided to hang up his boots shortly before his 39th Birthday.

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International Career: Wales

In total Sparky represented his country 72 times, scoring 16 times. His first goal came just 17 minutes into his debut in a game against England in 1984. His final game for Wales came in 1999, only two years before calling time on his professional career all together.

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Thanks for the memories, Sparky.


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