Having been a part-time footballer, part-time barman in his younger days, Jordan Hugill has carved out a great career for himself.
His early years involved bouncing around the non-league scene in the North East, and even heading into the Glenn Hoddle Academy.
Port Vale took a punt on him in 2013, and having impressed on loan at Gateshead, he earned his big move. Preston took a gamble on Hugill, with Simon Grayson seemingly seeing potential in him.
Hugill had impressed against Preston at Deepdale in 2014, causing the North End defence problems with his hustle and bustle. He was raw and not exactly pretty on the eye, but defenders didn’t like playing against him.
Signed for just £25,000, North End turned Hugill into an £9million striker by January 2018 (LEP). After 30 goals in 114 games for Preston, Hugill was – somewhat surprisingly – snapped up by West Ham United.
MORE PRESTON STORIES
If the likes of Sam Vokes, Ashley Barnes and Glenn Murray could carve out Premier League careers, why not Hugill? Whilst unfashionable, he’s big, strong, quicker than he looks and works incredibly hard. That’s what David Moyes was looking for, but his move to East London became a nightmare.
Hugill played just three times for West Ham, all as a substitute, before being loaned to Middlesbrough. He didn’t impress there either, and despite links with a return to Preston, he will be spending the season on loan at QPR.
West Ham maybe see this as the best way to restore Hugill’s value, and he’s already scored for the R’s. Now, he’s reflected on his decision to leave North End for East London.
Hugill has told the Teesside Gazette that he has ‘no regrets’ about making the move, and having the chance to join West Ham from Preston is something he never expected. Despite the 27-year-old’s struggles with the Hammers, Hugill claims he would make the move ‘100 times over’.
“I have no regrets at all,” said Hugill. “Going from Preston to West Ham is something I could never have dreamed of in my whole life. I’d do it over and over again, regardless of what happens, I’d do it 100 times over,” he added.
Hugill’s stance is understandable. To go from a part-time footballer to a Premier League player in a matter of years is some Roy of the Rovers stuff. We’ll still be left to wonder whether North End would have reached the playoffs with him in 2018, but Hugill himself doesn’t regret the move at all.