Dean Hoyle believes Chris Powell is the top man-manager needed to make Huddersfield Town a competitive Championship club and told the fans: “I’m excited how he’ll take us forward.”
The club owner-chairman has made the 44-year-old his fifth permanent appointment since 2008 and feels he has the personality, qualifications and record in football to ensure supporters get full value for their money.
Former Charlton Athletic boss Powell was unveiled on a rolling contract to succeed Mark Robins at the John Smith’s Stadium, where he will take charge of successive home matches against Middlesbrough and Wigan Athletic on September 13 and 16 which Hoyle hopes will be the start of catapulting Town up the Championship table.
“I think this is a fantastic appointment and Chris Powell is the perfect fit for Huddersfield Town,” said Hoyle, who kept the new man informed about the capture of defender Mark Hudson as the transfer window closed.
“Charlton have been similar to us in many ways in terms of their community, support and ethics, Chris is a really good person in terms of his man-management and, most importantly, I firmly believe he will get the best out of our players.
“We have never said we don’t have good players with ability. We just need to get the best out of them, and Chris is the best man to do that for us.”
So what goals has the boardroom chief set for the new manager, who has brought in former Town player Alex Dyer to work as joint assistant manager alongside Steve Thompson?
“When I interviewed Chris, all I said was, at this moment in time, I want us to over-achieve,” he explained.
“Chris thought that was an interesting concept and asked me what I meant and what I would class as over-achievement?
“I told him that when we came up to the Championship alongside Charlton our budget was £4m more than theirs and we were 10 minutes away from being relegated. Charlton finished three points behind the play-offs, so I think they over-achieved under Chris and I think we under-achieved – and that was the parallel I drew.
“From day one here, Chris will start to assess the squad and, while some fans are saying we’ve appointed another manager after the transfer window has closed, I think that’s rubbish because we have had a great window (with the business we’ve done).
“We have worked very hard behind the scenes and while we’ve not had a manager in place, we all knew what we needed and we kept Chris and the other candidates up to speed on what was happening, so they kind of approved things.
“Chris will assess the team and there are things there to strengthen, but at the same time we’ve got a good team on paper and, as (caretaker boss) Mark Lillis has definitely proved, it doesn’t matter what characters and players you’ve got, it’s what the manager can do with his skills to get the best out of them.
“Mark Lillis has proved that over the last two or three weeks if you get a good guy around the players giving them confidence, then you will reap the rewards – and we’ve got a good man in Chris Powell to take us forward.”
A former chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association, a holder of the top coaching qualification, the UEFA Pro Licence, and an ambassador for the Kick It Out anti-racism campaign, Powell is widely respected in the game and Hoyle has asked the fans to get fully behind the Londoner.
“I was disappointed the way Mark Robins felt the fans turned against him, even though he quite rightly realised he didn’t have as much slack this season after what happened last – but for it to happen on the first day and in such circumstances, it did disappoint me.
“I believe we have a great guy here now who has been there and done it.
“In League One, he had a lot less budget at Charlton than us and won the title with 101 points, while we went up by hook and by crook with the penalties at Wembley.
“In the Championship he finished ninth, three points off the play-offs in his first season, which was a tremendous effort. It’s well documented that a new owner then came in and things behind the scenes then didn’t work out, but that’s not for now. I know we’ve got a great lad in Chris and I’m very pleased to welcome him back to football.”
Hoyle admitted he never thought Town would be in this position when they kicked off the season against Bournemouth only 26 days ago.
“At 3pm that day we were all looking forward to the new season and at 5pm we had no manager,” he said.
“Two hours completely turned the football club on its head.
After the game, Mark went to see Nigel Clibbens (chief executive) and Ross Wilson (Director and Head of Football Operations) and said there was a problem because he had ‘lost’ the fans and couldn’t see him winning them back.
“He said that anyone who had seen them perform that day would wonder what he had been doing all summer and would be quite right to think that, even though he’d been working hard it just hadn’t come over.
“Mark always said he wouldn’t waste anyone’s time if it wasn’t working out , he would have a chat and be on his way and, credit to him, that’s exactly what he did.
“Mark moved us on, but now it’s time for Chris to take us to the next step, and I’m really excited about that.”
On the rolling contract, Hoyle added: “It’s something we always do, it’s simple and don’t read anything into it.
“It doesn’t matter whether you give a manager a two-year contract, five years or 10, it’s all about the clauses that are in there if someone comes along to take them to another club – what compensation do you get?
“On the other side, if it comes to terminating the contract, how much do you have to pay out? It’s as simple as that, so a rolling contract works for our club.”