He’s guided Huddersfield Town to the brink of promotion to the Premier League.
Now manager David Wagner has been handed what some would see as the ultimate accolade – having a train named after him.
Neil Bangham, Kirkburton-based boss of Weedfree-on-Track, is naming his new train David Wagner in honour of the manager who hopes to keep Town’s ambitions on the right lines with victory against Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship play-offs.
Weedfree-on-Track currently operates a single train which sprays the tracks on state-run railways in Europe to keep them clear of weeds and other vegetation.
Neil’s new train is now running through Germany on route to its destination in Sweden – giving Neil and his marketing executive and fellow Town fan Ron Kitchen the chance to visit amateur football club SV 07 Geinsheim, where Wagner began a playing career.
It was a career which saw Wagner go on to appear on the international stage for the USA.
Neil and Ron – complete with Town flag and scarves – met the German club’s long-serving groundsman, known as Giovanni, who had fond recollections of a young David Wagner at Geinsheim.
Neil said: “The new train will start operations in Sweden on Tuesday, May 23, so the plan is for me to place the new ‘David Wagner’ nameplate on the train during an open afternoon in Trelleborg, Sweden, when our Scandinavian clients along with other VIP guests will be in attendance.
“Ron and I will then head to the Europa League final, which is annual tradition for the two of us, in Stockholm. Just 24 hours later, hopefully, there will be a successful evening for English football, too.”
Neil said: “The current Town team is the most successful one I’ve seen since I was a teenager – with David Wagner bringing not only glory back to Huddersfield Town but a great buzz and excitement in the area."
Neil, Ron and his staff will be back in the UK to watch the first leg of the play-off at the John Smith’s Stadium, after which they hope to cheer David Wagner’s men on to the play-off final at Wembley.
Neil and Ron have watched Town together since the early 1980s and in one particular season saw every match home and away together, even including a pre-season game in Sweden.
The new train has been financed with six-figure funding from Enterprise Ventures SME Loans and Finance Yorkshire.