In the last forty years, only four Huddersfield Town managers have had any real success - Mick Buxton, Neil Warnock, Peter Jackson and Lee Clark.

And perhaps only one, Malcolm Macdonald, could be described as an utter disaster.

For most part, Town managers have either kept the team treading water or paddling furiously to avoid the drop into a lower division.

After the very first two Town games I attended, in August 1970, the team were top of the First Division.

Yes, they were first out of ninety two teams, having beaten Blackpool 3-0 and Southampton 3-1 in their first two games back in the big time.

Huddersfield Town's 1979-1980 Division Four Championship winners including Mick Buxton.
Huddersfield Town's 1979-1980 Division Four Championship winners including Mick Buxton.

Several years later, they were near the bottom of Division Four, playing a standard of football suited to their reduced circumstances.

But Mick Buxton changed all that.

How? Using an exceptional ability to bring in good players at bargain prices, he created a team with great belief in him and themselves (sound familiar?).

The team went up as champions, scoring over a hundred goals, and should have been promoted the following season, too, but just missed out.

Injuries and age caught up with that team so Mick just built a new one on the same principles.

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In comparison, Neil Warnock is a bit of a Marmite manager; you either love him or hate him.

After he'd been at Town for a few months (and got rid of my favourite player, Chris Marsden, because ... well, because Chris' wonderful midfield skills were irrelevant to the way he had the team playing), I told a friend I was worried we might start winning playing the Warnock Way, which seemed to based on effort and muscle rather than skill and guile.

It took a long time to bring me round but now, looking back, I admit a great fondness for the man.

The team he took up up via the Wembley play off was, at the time, the worst Town team ever to win a promotion.

Certainly, for most of the team, it was the only highlight in their careers - Neil almost willed it to happen. His organisation and man management brought the absolute best from his players.

Peter Jackson during his time as Huddersfield Town manager, back in October 1998.
Peter Jackson during his time as Huddersfield Town manager, back in October 1998.

Peter Jackson may have had some success at Town - the Great Escape, the Young Guns promotion - but, personally, I'm not sure if he can stand up to being compared to Mick Buxton or Neil Warnock.

Peter's skill was in motivating and instilling belief, particularly in younger players, and it was based in his own self-belief, which saw him have a better playing career, perhaps, than his ability should have allowed.

People like him and want to win for him but his record on choosing players and having a solid team structure to fall back on during lean periods of form was, again, not as good as Mick's or Neil's.

Perhaps he'd have gone on to develop into a great manager but he wasn't given the chance; at Town, he was shamelessly discarded by the club to bring Steve Bruce in and, later, at Lincoln City, he fell ill.

I hate to sound in any way disrespectful because he's one of my all-time favourite Town players and I was very happy when he was manager. It's just that I'm comparing him to two exceptional managers.

Lee Clark screams on the sidelines during his time as Huddersfield Town manager.
Lee Clark screams on the sidelines during his time as Huddersfield Town manager.

Lee Clark managed like he played, with a ruthless determination that bordered on obsession and I've heard rumours he created an increasingly joyless atmosphere at the club during his tenure.

His teams were generally well organised and focused, but he succeeded despite a relatively high turnover of players (many of similar style and ability) and a tendency to be hard to beat rather than hard to stop winning.

He hasn't repeated his success subsequently but, clearly, his drive and desire to win keeps attracting employers.

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So, how do I rank them? Mick Buxton first, because he created not one but two promotion teams and both of them played attractive football.

Neil Warnock second, but only because his team wasn't as good on the eye; both these managers were equally skilled.

Peter Jackson third, because he did something twice and might have gone on to be even better, given the chance.

And, sorry, but Lee Clark last, because he was given enough time and resources to have his success, despite, in my opinion, his failings as a manager.

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And now, the biggie. How does David Wagner compare?

The answer's simple. He's my number one.

My top dog because he's already shown the abilities that Mick and Neil had - finding hidden gems of players, organising them into a team playing a system the players slowly buy into and believe in, motivating them, creating a happy dressing room - but he's done in at a higher level and the higher you go, the harder it is.

He may have had more money behind him than any previous Town manager (thanks, Mr Hoyle!) but he's still, by comparison, fighting with one hand tied behind his back.

If Town go up this year, it will be every bit a miracle as Leicester City's Premier League title last year, and most of it will be due to David Wagner.

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