midfielder Paul Hughes played a couple of games for Norwich's reserves
during the summer of 1998 as manager Bruce Rioch sought to see if
Paul would strengthen the Canary squad. Despite making 21 appearances
for Chelsea, scoring twice, Paul was surplus to Gianluca Vialli's
plans for Chelsea which revolved around big continental name signings
(Laudrup, Ferrer, Desailly etc.). The Canaries did not pursue their
enquiry at this time.
On November 10th 1998, the Independent revealed that Paul
had joined Bristol City on trial. However he was not treated well
at Ashton Gate and has returned to Stamford Bridge. In mid-December
1998, Paul started his third spell with a Division One side, joining
Gary Megson's Stockport County on loan
with a view to a permanent move.
He briefly returned to Chelsea before Bruce
Rioch signed him on loan for Norwich on March 24th 1999. Paul
was described by Rioch as "a playmaker and passer of the ball. Not
a great tackler or prolific scorer but one who links play from back
to front". He made his debut as substitute against Huddersfield
on 24th March and gifted the Terriers a point with a late own goal.
Although he scored the winner against Swindon, Paul was allowed
to return to Chelsea in May 1999 with Bruce Rioch apparently taking
no interest in signing him for the club.
In October 1999, it was rumoured that Charlton Athletic were preparing
a move for Paul who was valued by Chelsea at £150,000. In December
1999, Paul joined Crewe Alexandra on trial in the hope of winning
a transfer. This became a three month loan on 23rd December 1999
with the prospect of a permanent transfer once the loan spell was
completed. Paul returned to Stamford Bridge at the end of January
2000 having failed to make a single appearance during his stay at
On 22nd March 2000, the Evening Standard reported that Paul's
former manager Glenn Hoddle was hoping to take Hughes to Southampton
after he impressed in a friendly clash with Portsmouth. Previous
moves had supposedly fallen through due to Hughes' wage demands
but Premiership Southampton would be able to meet these. The free
transfer was completed on Transfer Deadline Day (23rd March 2000).
However he made no appearances for the Saints.
Paul had a trial with Burnley in July 2001 and played in their prestige
friendlies against Everton and Chelsea. However he was not offered
a contract. Instead he signed for Division Three side Luton.
Paul retired through injury at the end of the 2005/6 season