sport

Opinion: Why only Huddersfield Town fans understand the Wagner-Hoyle magic

Rory Benson responds to claims that Dean Hoyle went too far in backing David Wagner

Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner celebrates Premier League promotion with owner Dean Hoyle.

It seems strange to be writing about Reading FC as we focus on Huddersfield Town's debut season in the Premier League, but I feel obliged to respond to an article penned by a Royals journalist.

Russell Kempson at GetReading wrote an opinion piece earlier this week about Town embarking on their top flight journey - a little strange as Reading is 210 miles away from the John Smith's Stadium, but understandable given the clubs' play-off contest just a few weeks ago.

To begin with, Kempson highlights all the good work Town and Dean Hoyle have done since earning a spot in the top flight - praising the Terriers for their summer transfer business and nailing head coach David Wagner down to a new deal.

That is where the love stops, however.

The crux of Kempson's argument is that Hoyle has shot himself in the foot by deeming Wagner 'untouchable' in the coming season.

Earlier this summer, the Town owner said: “Me and David have an understanding. Regardless of what happens, David will be our manager at the end of the season."

The Reading journalist believes this commitment by the chairman will inevitably lead to disaster - predicting that a 'Wagner Out campaign' will emerge should results not go Town's way in the top tier.

That, Mr Kempson, misunderstands the Terrier identity.

Town have been out of the top flight for 45 years and they looked destined for another relegation scrap last term.

What the German head coach has done at this club can only be likened to one other footballing miracle in the Premier League era - Leicester City's journey to the title.

But even then, the Town story differs from the Foxes'.

Leicester City sacked manager Claudio Ranieri just nine months after winning the Premier League title.

Claudio Ranieri delivered an incredible league championship to the East Midlands club in 2015/16, winning over an army of supporters along the way.

That feel-good story turned sour shortly afterwards however, with Ranieri's sacking - a move which benefited Leicester on the pitch and in the bank, but cost them a great deal of affection from football fans across the UK.

With that decision, they changed from plucky underdogs who took on the big boys to yet another modern football machine fans were rooting against the season before. The Foxes' fairytale was over.

But the key point is that Town are not that sort of club. And Dean Hoyle is not that sort of chairman.

The fans understand Town aren't going to tear the league apart next season. It will be tough. Wins in the Premier League are hard to come by and Town will need to draw deeply on the magnificent spirit they showed last season to chisel out points. But the fans know this is, in essence, a free season in the top flight.

No one thought they could get here. Everyone is writing them off - again. They have nothing to lose.

So a string of defeats that could eventually see Town get relegated are effectively meaningless - any league position Town manage this season is more than anybody could have dreamed of at the start of the last.

That is why David Wagner has a job for as long as he wants it at Huddersfield Town.

He has made the supporters' wildest dreams reality. He has given fans something most never thought they would see - Huddersfield Town in the Premier League, taking on the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Don't worry about a 'Wagner Out' mob in Huddersfield. The fans - and chairman Dean Hoyle is one of them - will back the head coach to the hilt.

Town's owner is a lifelong supporter of the club and this deal shows once again that he and the fans are on the same wavelength.

The bond between fan, owner and head coach at Town is extremely rare - and possibly unique - in modern-day football. But perhaps you need to be a Terrier to understand that.

View full mobile page