Saturday, December 7, 2019

Wagner deserves admiration for his work at Huddersfield

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 15 Jan 2019

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On Monday, Huddersfield boss David Wagner quit his role, with his team rock bottom of the Premier League and heading back to the Championship. In their current position, you would have expected the Terriers to have sacked the German. However, nothing could be further from the truth as Wagner, despite the team’s poor position, did a fantastic job in Yorkshire.

Wagner overperformed at Huddersfield

David Wagner took a struggling Championship team and not only earned promotion, but also kept them in the English top-flight in their first season. The German achieved his aims by attempting to play expansive football too.

He also managed those achievements above on a shoestring budget. Town have spent a bit of money in their time in the top-flight by their modest standards. However, by Premier League standards they have spent very little on improving their squad.

A lack of investment in the squad was the major problem the Terriers have had this season, and for the majority of last season too. In truth, their squad was poor by Championship standards when they won promotion via the play-offs.

Only the managerial acumen of Wagner and his coaching staff helped the team over perform for two seasons. However, this season the lack of real quality in the Terriers team has been brutally exposed. The lack of quality in attack particularly has been a big issue.

They have struggled badly to score goals in the last two seasons and that is reflected in the fact that the Terriers are the lowest scorers in the top-flight with just 13 goals this season.

The fact that only four teams have conceded more goals than the Terriers this season in the top-flight has not helped their cause either. It is hard to blame Wagner for his team’s failings, as he just did not have the right quality of player at his disposal.

It is also hard to blame the Huddersfield hierarchy, who did not want to jeopardise the clubs long-term future by overstretching the clubs finances in the short-term.

Fans have been quick to praise a boss

How often do we see a boss of a club who occupy the relegation spots in the table praised on his exit from the club? Hardly ever would be the popular answer. Usually, when teams are struggling the clubs fans pillory the boss.

In reality, Town fans have been nothing short of thanks to the man who performed miracles at the Yorkshire club. His exit was met by widespread dismay by Terriers fans, who knew a good thing when they saw it. It is nice to see the Terriers fans acknowledge the work of a very talented head coach, and that his accountability in their current plight is pretty low.

Huddersfield the red hot favourites for relegation

Huddersfield were favourites for relegation last season, while the Terriers were also one of the favourites to return to the second tier at the start of the campaign. Town are now odds of 1/16 to suffer relegation this season.

A number of bosses have been talked about as replacements for Wagner, including the usually same dated names of Sam Allardyce, David Moyes, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew. The appointment of Wagner was an out-of-the-box one. I would like to think that the Yorkshire club are brave enough to take another risk on a relatively unknown boss, providing, of course, they had the right attributes.

I think that everybody connected with Huddersfield know that whoever arrives faces an almost impossible task in keeping the club in the top-flight. They may well already be preparing for life in the Championship already.

I am sure that the Huddersfield fans have enjoyed their time in the Premier League so far. The man who must take the lion’s share of the credit for the team’s success is Wagner. It is clear that the majority of Huddersfield fans appreciated the work of the German, even if his Town career ended on a slightly bum note.

Can anybody save Huddersfield from relegation this season?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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