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From administration to Premier League - the inside story of Huddersfield Town by David Taylor

The former chairman, now honorary president of the club hasn’t missed a match home and away for almost 25 years

Huddersfield Town chairman Dean Hoyle with the trophy after winning the SkyBet Championship Play-Off final.

Few, if any, in the crowd against Newcastle United will deserve to enjoy Huddersfield Town ’s first home Premier League match more than David Taylor.

The former chairman is now honorary president of the club and hasn’t missed a match home and away for almost 25 years.

Now 74, he became the club’s eighth chairman in January 2002 (following the resignation of Barry Rubery) and guided the club through one of their most difficult periods in their 109-year history.

Despite his best efforts at reducing the losses of £13m – due largely to a crippling wage bill – Town eventually fell into administration in March 2003.

Former chairman David Taylor with Tommy Smith at the 2017 Huddersfield Town annual awards.

It was a worrying time, with the club coming within hours of folding before the start of the 2003-04 season, when they won promotion via the play-offs at Cardiff under boss Peter Jackson after coming out of administration (current life president Ken Davy was then head of the board).

Taylor admits it would have been hard back then to imagine Town enjoying what’s happened over the last few months.

“It’s wonderful, and it just shows that everything is possible,” said the accountant from Wakefield, who saw his first Leeds Road match in 1951.

“Last season, after our really good start, I said I would be relieved when we got to the magical figure of 50 points and, if we achieved that by Christmas, I might start believing.

“Well, we went on and on and when we got to Wembley I actually thought we would win. I wasn’t quite as confident at 3-1 down in the penalty shoot-out, but we pulled it around to become a Premier League club, which is really special.

“We were favourites for the bottom three last year and now we are favourites for the bottom one – but with the quality of additional players we’ve been able to bring in, I firmly believe we are going to do better than people have tipped us to do.”

As a man who paid the wage bill out of his own pocket as Town plummeted towards relegation in 2002-03 – and confronted angry mobs of fans outside the stadium on three separate occasions as he battled to keep Town going – how does Taylor quantify what chairman Dean Hoyle has done for the club?

“It is nothing short of miraculous,” he answers without hesitation.

“Everything he has done in his business life and for Huddersfield Town is truly remarkable.

“Lots of people say they are going to put money into football clubs and sort them out, but Dean has actually done that.

“If I had been his accountant I would have told him not to go near it, but he thoroughly deserves this success – and that’s not just in the football but in making everyone in the community feel a part of it.

“You can be proud of being a Town fan and associated with Huddersfield , and that’s down to all the work which has been put in on the football side and in the community, commercially and through things like the Foundation.”

Before becoming chairman, the former Batley Grammar School student was a long-serving director on the board between February 1993 and 1999, fulfilling the role of vice chairman for the final two years of that spell.

One of his jobs now is to welcome visiting directors by ringing a bell in the boardroom, and that’s just one of the personal touches Town are determined not to lose in the top flight.

“It costs you nothing to have a smile on your face and to be hospitable, and we’ve had lots of letters from clubs appreciating what we do,” explained the man who, in his cricket-playing days, would often turn up at Leeds Road in his whites so he missed as little of the football as possible.

“You do tend to find the higher up the ladder you go there is a different culture, but we will continue to do our thing and we’ll enjoy it.

“That’s the same mindset David Wagner has instilled in the squad. It’s not about individuals, it’s about the team and the club and he has shown what can be achieved if you believe.

“It’s that ability to not listen to what anyone else is saying and just get on with it, and I’m delighted to say we have players who all go along with that.

“We don’t have half a dozen prima donna players who turn it on one week and can’t be bothered the next, we have lads who work for the club and their teammates week after week, and that’s great to see.”

Taylor – who says he has no plans to retire – will be a proud man when Town walk out on Sunday.

“Life is a wheel of fortune – sometimes you are up and sometimes you are down,” commented the man who last missed Town playing at Leyton Orient in September 1992 (because he couldn’t re-arrange some important appointments!).

“If you never experience the downs, then you don’t experience the good things – and what’s happening now is good.

“The biggest problem we have, perhaps, is that we are a Premier League club but don’t enjoy the same commercial streams as others because we don’t own the stadium, which is a drawback.

“The other thing is that we have 24,000 ardent fans who are enjoying their football for fantastically low prices, whereas our competitors are attracting 50,000 and more at probably five times the figure.

“But we are here and, as I’ve said, we are proud.”

Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner lifts the trophy after the SkyBet Championship Play-Off final at Wembley.

When making Taylor honorary president in January 2013, Hoyle said: “David became the club’s chairman during an incredibly difficult period, during which time he made a lot of personal sacrifices.

“However, every decision he made during his tenure as chairman had the survival of Huddersfield Town at its heart.

“He has not missed a Town game home or away for over 20 years.

“His passion for the club is unsurpassed.”

Well said Dean.

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