SIMON GRAYSON is the man to lead Town’s exciting Championship challenge.
SIMON GRAYSON is the man to lead Huddersfield Town’s exciting Championship challenge.
The boss who completed the club’s promotion mission after replacing Lee Clark in February has been handed a resounding vote of confidence by supporters.
The thrilling Wembley shoot-out win over Sheffield United in last month’s tense play-off final provided a hat trick of League I successes for Grayson, who led Blackpool out of the division in 2007 and Leeds in 2010.
And 88% of those who took part in the Examiner end-of-season Town survey said the 42-year-old is the right manager to take Town forward.
Chairman Dean Hoyle’s decision to axe Clark, who had twice taken Town to the play-offs and provided year-on-year improvement in their final position (ninth, sixth and third) raised eyebrows throughout the football world.
But it was the correct one according to 71.1% of those who took part in the survey.
The axe swung in the wake of a 1-0 home defeat by Sheffield United, when the Blades gained revenge for a 3-0 home defeat by Town in September.
Lee Novak (2) and Oscar Gobern clinched the Bramall Lane win which 33% voted Town’s best performance of the campaign.
The Wembley triumph over Danny Wilson’s side got 7.6% of the nominations while 22.2% were in favour of the 2-0 play-off semi-final first leg win at MK Dons.
Town’s Sky-televised 6-0 triumph at Wycombe in January earned 19.5% of the votes and featured an amazing five-goal haul for hot shot Jordan Rhodes.
The man who won his first Scotland cap in Cyprus in November scored 40 Town goals in all (and eight more for Scotland Under 21s) and not surprisingly, was overwhelmingly named Town’s player of the season.
A 71.1% backing put Rhodes streets ahead of nearest rival Ian Bennett (9%).
Of course 2011-12 wasn’t all plain sailing, and Donal McDermott, the wideman recruited from Manchester City last summer and transferred to Bournemouth in January, was named the most disappointing player of the season (16.4% of votes).
The 1-0 home loss to Bournemouth in December was reckoned to be Town’s most disappointing display, with 24.7% putting it ahead of the March stalemate at Bury, where Town threw away a three-goal lead (23.1%).
Looking forward, a massive 99.5% say Town must strengthen before a Championship challenge which kicks off at Cardiff on Saturday, August 18.
The most urgent area is midfield, then central defence said the survey.
Hoyle was widely hailed in the comment section of the survey, with one supporter saying: “It is now time for Town to move on rather than being stuck in a division it is not made for.
“Dean Hoyle has done a fantastic job so far by giving the club this great new status and also with the great charity work he has done for the local community.
Another wrote: “Well done to Dean Hoyle. He has got us promoted and his approach and values and love of the club are superb. The best year of my 34 supporting Town has come under his chairmanship.”
A third said: “Enormous thanks to Dean Hoyle. A true fan with lots of money but the intelligence and wisdom to spend it wisely.
“Enormous credit due for the guts shown in ending Clark’s tenure and bringing in Grayson after Leeds’ crazy decision to sack him.”