‘Well Huddersfield are one side I’m not making a trip to cover next season’, ‘How did either side ever get this far?’ ‘They’ve got no chance next season in the Premier League.’
Just some of the sound bites from the Press Box from some of our more illustrious sports journalists at Wembley as Huddersfield Town celebrated their monumental achievement of reaching the ‘Promised Land’ of the Premier League next season.
Yesterday was always going to be a tight and cagey affair in a Play-Off final most of the mainstream media didn’t want – even the Sky Sports teaser advert ahead of the richest game in football focused on the riches that awaited as opposed to the teams that would actually be on show at Wembley.
Reading have built their success on foundations of stifling possession and grabbing a sucker punch winner, while Town’s approach has seen domination but falling short in the final third.
Yet for many in the Press Box it came as a complete surprise as to how the game panned out....
Cue the prophets of doom at the final whistle predicting a swift return to the SkyBet Championship in 12 months’ time.
AFC Bournemouth, Burnley and even Leicester City’s title win last campaign – we’ve all been here before, even with Huddersfield Town.
Rewind to the beginning of the 2016-2017 season and the majority of pundits and mainstream media had already consigned Town to League One status before a single ball had been kicked.
The reaction from the majority of the press corp at Wembley shows they are grossly ill-equipped to understand the ‘Wagner Revolution’ and its ethos.
On the surface it is the proverbial fairy tale that the German head coach has continued to allude to recently – the meteoric rise from a lowly 19th position in the Championship last season to dining at the top table for the first time since 1972.
It’s the stuff of dreams - a small club, even by Championship standards, and out-resourced in all departments compared with more illustrious competitors such as Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday.
But that is just the surface, which many readers are quick to refer to as ‘lazy journalism’.
Underneath there is a team where the whole is the greater of all parts, with the entire squad working and fighting together in an all-for-one and one-for-all mentality.
It is this incredible spirit this season that has moulded Huddersfield Town into winners, these modern-day Musketeers led by the dynamic and visionary Wagner – with a strong supporting role from owner Dean Hoyle, who expertly treads the line between enthusiastic fan and shrewd businessman.
Of course there have been a few absolute howlers along the way which have attracted deserved criticism – most notably away games against Fulham and Bristol City – but for the most part the team have picked themselves up, dusted themselves down and carried on with the same ethos of ‘The Terrier Identity.’
As Wagner puts it, these are blips in the road from a club still learning, developing and finding its feet as a credible football club as opposed to decades of just getting by.
They will still make mistakes, and probably experience a few more heavy defeats next term, but there is no question promotion to the Premier League will change Huddersfield Town (as well as the area in general) forever.
They go into the Premier League as minnows in a big pond full of some very big fish, but they have earned the right to live the dream that every team in the country aspires to.
If there was no pressure and ‘no limits’ for Town in this stellar campaign, paradoxically there is even less next term as David Wagner’s men are dismissed by an uninformed mass media.
It would be foolish to predict they will take the Premier League by storm but if Blackpool, a club whose foundations were nowhere near as solid as Huddersfield Town, could be a point from surviving their only season in the sun, then it bodes well for the Terriers.
If this well-informed theory is anything to go by then, who knows, perhaps this time next year, those same pundits who predicted Huddersfield Town’s League One relegation this season will once again be eating their words....