After leaving school in 1980, Hughes left Wrexham and headed to Manchester where he spent six years with the Reds in his first stint with us. In 1986, FC Barcelona came knocking, and for a hefty price tag of £2 million, he was Catalan-bound to link up with fellow Brit Gary Lineker at Camp Nou.
While his strike partner adorned himself to the Spaniards, Sparky didn’t quite emulate Lineker in that sense and, after just one season with the Spanish giants, he found himself on loan at German giants Bayern Munich.
In 1998, with United now under the watchful eye of Sir Alex Ferguson, Hughes returned to M16 for a then-club-record fee of £1.8 million. In his first season back, he was the club’s joint-top scorer with 16 goals and though we finished a disappointing 11th in the table, Mark became the first Red to be voted PFA’s Player of the Year.
He would go on to spend a further six years with us, developing a knack for cropping up in cup finals and winning two league titles with us, before his eventual move away. His time with the Reds was pivotal in laying the groundwork for the era of dominance under Sir Alex in the years that followed.