David Wagner leaves Huddersfield Town: What next for the Terriers?
It was unbearable waking up on a Tuesday morning to work knowing the one man that has shaped my beloved club for the past few seasons will no longer be in charge. Words just can’t describe just how much this man means to every Terrier out there.
We all know that this day was inevitable, at some point it’s bound to happen knowing the circumstances at hand. Somehow rather I guess I was more than ignorant thinking it’s quite possible to prolonged it as long the ride was good. But like everything else in life, all good things must come to end. That end turned to happen just today.
When I started supporting Huddersfield Town, it was still in the infancy years under the leadership of chairman Dean Hoyle. Premier League football then was a different universe. Still there was a sense of optimism and bright future ahead. I have heard plenty of tales from old time supporters during the club’s dark age of administration. So, to be where we are at that point, it was something that we all were very grateful.
The season I became a supporter was great times too. We had a good run and made it all the way to the playoff at Wembley. We earned our promotion to the Championship. That itself was a magnificent achievement for our stature. We just said let the good times roll. Of course, the early days of the Championship years had its ups and down.
David Wagner’s arrival didn’t necessarily mean that we were expecting to be overnight gang busters. But then again, that’s exactly what we turned out to be. Wagner gave us a team that despite whatever the outcome on the pitch, we can always be proud off. He made us play a brand of football that brought respect from the rest of the football fraternity.
Given the circumstances that was more than enough. But for all the support and love he got from the people of Huddersfield, there was only he felt he can show us his gratitude. To bring this club to that different universe. I’m not going to waste time what we have accomplished under Wagner in the last few seasons. There is plenty of that for you in the internet, so you can just Google them.
But how did he achieved the unthinkable needs to be constantly reminded. To take a club that financially wasn’t capable to compete even by Championship standard beyond infinity, is one of hell of a story. All it took was a shrewd engagement in the transfer market plus a perspicacious game plan couple with a dose of Terrier Spirit and No Limit approach, the rest is history.
The elitist establishment (whether its fans, critics or pundits) are quick to highlight every single flaw that struck Huddersfield Town this season. I have been hearing a lot about us being at the bottom and on an eight-game losing streak. This without taking into context that when Wagner took the job in November 2015, Huddersfield Town were in 19th place in the Championship.
As someone who followed the club from League One, I knew that Premier League football will be a huge load for a club like Huddersfield Town to carry. Surviving last terms against all odds should solidify Wagner’s eminence to grind it out among the big boys. Had anyone told me in 2011, that one day we will singing to Manchester United “can you play you every day”, I might have murdered that person.
Of course, everything has it course. The question now is how did it all when wrong for both Wagner and Huddersfield?
The most obvious rationale is pointing towards the players brought in during the summer. Only Erik Durm has seemed to provide some positive contribution for the team. The likes of Jonathan Bacuna, Ramadan Sobhi, Isaac Mbenza and Adama Diakhaby were rough diamonds that have failed to shine. The latter apparently is feeling unsettled at the club.
This couple with the fact on some of the odd decision from the referee that inflicted more wounds on the club’s season. I don’t have to go further on this, it’s all there to be seen obviously.
Which brings us to the next question? How did Wagner lost his Midas touch when it came to recruiting players for the club?
Most insider’s knowledge leaning towards the appointment of Sporting Director Olaf Rebbe. It appears that Rebbe has been given the full authority to oversee on the club’s transfer policy. This speaks a lot on why the club has abandon its try and tested German market in favor of France.
This has cause much to the annoyance for David Wagner who doesn’t seems to have a say any longer on who the club should sign. How far this is true remains to be seen. But the fact that Wagner has to be answerable for the club’s bad run when he has no authority over signings, must have had an overwhelming effect on him as a person.
Hence why that I feel it was logical for him to step aside and take a break. He is human after all. For this decision, he has my respect and support. Speaking of support, many neutrals were Gobsmacked as to why there isn’t any call from fans for Wagner to step down despite of the league position?
Sometimes football isn’t all about results and league position. Loyalty pays a huge role. Wagner’s miraculous work at Huddersfield and reputation has exceeded beyond the English Channel and crossover to his homeland. Many times, he has resisted the temptation when offers from Bundesliga side comes knocking on his door.
If that’s not enough, just pay attention to his personality. Wagner has also been very much involved in various community projects around Huddersfield. His humble, humor and no excuses hard working ethos makes him easily adored by anyone has com cross with him. How many gaffers out there can afford to have such adulation from their club’s supporters? A rarity quality if you ask me.
In the end, there is only little effects when it comes to tangible and sentimental things can do in modern football. Today's game all about result oriented, always has and always will be. Being in the Premier League means, even a club like Huddersfield Town has got itself embroil in such web.
So, what does the future hold now?
Well one thing is for sure, as long as Dean Hoyle is still helming the chairman role; I have no worries about where do we go from here. He’s the man who has seen it all over the last decade. I still believe the club is in good hands. Rest assured.
Lastly, who is the best man for the job?
While the bookmakers are leaning towards Sam Allardyce to take the job for me, this is a Big NO!
Not that I have anything against Big Sam but him the likes of David Moyes, Harry Redknapp, Alan Pardew and other outdated British managers is not what the club really needs. It could have worked for us 5-10 years ago but not in 2019.
Wagner’s arrival signaled the club’s intent to move away from its British identity (not literally) and adopt a more European continental approach. In his book Underdog, writer Raj Baines has explained how Wagner transform the club, while not abandoning its community connection to give it a more professional feel. This is not just related to how the team plays on the pitch. But also involved in the structure of how the clubs operate off it.
Call me crazy, but if it was up to me I would go all out to get Marcelo Bielsa away from Leeds and join us. It’s amazing to see what he has done in Elland Road. You can bet the crowd at John’s Smith will be in awe with his possession and high pressing game. But that’s just the wishful thinking part of me.
But one manager that seems to on the radar is Slaviša Jokanović. The Serbs seems to fit all the criteria with Wagner when it comes to football philosophy. He’s been out of job since being relieved from Fulham. So if there is a reasonable option, he would be my pick.
If there is an outside chance, even Mark Hudson might just stick to the job until the end of the season. A protege of Wagner from his last playing days until he decided to take up the coaching role, Hudson could do a decent job.
But it is still up to Mr.Hoyle and the rest of the board to decide the name. We've been told the announcement will be made after the match against City this weekend. Whoever the name that comes in, will know that he has a tough act to follow.