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Why Huddersfield Town seem in better shape for long term future than Leeds United

Wagner Revolution leaves Town fans in buoyant mood

Few supporters from either side entering Elland Road for Saturday’s Derby match were likely to be thinking past the final whistle - a fierce local rivalry ensures thoughts are never beyond the next 90 minutes.

But as Graham Scott signalled the end of the latest edition of the West Yorkshire Derby, it was hard not to consider the different trajectories for these two proud sides.

And the contrast in mood at opposite ends of the A62 could not be more pronounced as we enter the international break.

Four goals, three points and the bragging rights after a thoroughly comprehensive victory over their bitterest rivals will of course have Huddersfield Town, and their fanbase, in buoyant spirits, but the game also served to highlight that it is the Terriers who look to be in the better position for the longer term future.

Ahead of the game, Leeds United fans continued to rage against current owner Massimo Cellino, hiring a large billboard on the M621 to protest against his tenure - designed to be seen by the Italian on his route home from Elland Road.

It is the latest in a long line of protests staged by fans increasingly disillusioned by Cellino’s running of the club, with the time since his takeover in 2014 littered with controversy and a parade of sacked managers.

Compare that with the scenes at the John Smith’s Stadium on Thursday morning, when the first supporters arrived at 4.15am to secure season tickets for the 2016/17 season, following the announcement of price cuts meaning adults can watch every single league game for just £179.

Despite the highest attendance of the season at the weekend, average crowd figures at Elland Road continue to slide.

How Leeds fans must long for a Chairman in the mould of Dean Hoyle.

Hoyle has created a real sense of excitement around the club, and his vow to woo back disaffected fans appears to be paying dividends.

Supporters who let their tickets lapse over concerns about ambition and dull football and are coming back in their droves to see the Wagner Revolution.

Hoyle has managed to marry excitement with a feeling of stability. The infrastructure at the club is sound- new CEO Julian Winter starts his new position shortly - and there is little hint of the turmoil faced on a daily basis up the road.

But Hoyle has set his sights higher. Both managers spoke this week about a target being to keep each club in England’s second tier, but the appointment of David Wagner to replace Chris Powell hints at bigger things on the horizon for Town.

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A young, charismatic manager with an attractive footballing style is in the hotseat here, one with an excellent reputation when it comes to developing young players.

Huddersfield’s u21s are two points off the top of their league with three games in hand on the leaders, and Hoyle has moved to bring in someone who will nurture these top talents and ensure that Philip Billing won’t be the last “one of our own” to make the step up to the first team.

The boss has a young core at his disposal already, with the majority of this squad yet to hit their footballing peaks and continuously improving under his watchful eye.

Wagner has been promised funds for the summer to bolster his youthful recruits, and they’re likely to be playing in front of big crowds lured in by prices and the promise of entertaining football played by the team they love.

Leeds are now a mere two points ahead of Town in the table, despite a heftier transfer bill last summer including £3m on Chris Wood, £1m on Sol Bamba, £1.3m on Stuart Dallas and more money invested in Toumani Diagouraga in the winter window.

But it is Town who will look to the future with greater confidence about what lies around the next corner.


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