Dean Hoyle summed up Huddersfield Town’s first season in the Premier League in one word: “Hard.”
Hoyle is a passionate lifelong fan and seeing Town in the top flight is a dream come true – but it also had a few nightmare moments.
“How would I sum up this season? It’s been hard,” he said.
“People say have you really enjoyed it? At times, of course. There’s been some real highs but there’s also been some really low points.
“The difference between this season and last season is the pressure. If you look at the Championship season there was pressure but we kept winning games and could relieve that pressure.
“In the Premier League the pressure is relentless. We know it’s the biggest stage in the world for football and we wanted to stay here but we kept losing because that’s what you do in the Premier League.
“If you are a newcomer to get 40 points means you lose a lot more games than you win or draw. That’s hard because there’s no relief from the pressure.
“The roll of the dice is much bigger as well so financially it’s a really tough place to work. If you drop through back into the Championship it’s a big drop financially.
“But we’re here for a second season, we can keep things together, plan and that’s the exciting part.”
Hoyle wears his heart on his sleeve as a fan – and his emotions are often etched on his face.
That was true at Wembley in last year’s play-off final after Chris Schindler’s heart-stopping penalty put Town in dreamland.
And it was also true at Stamford Bridge when a 1-1 draw with Chelsea sealed Town’s Premier League survival.
The Chelsea game was Hoyle’s highlight of the season.
“It’s got to be,” he said. “My son Daniel has a video someone took of the celebration at the end of the game. The pressure on our faces.
“The six minutes of injury time. I was thinking if we can just hold out for six minutes it will mean our season is done.
“We can go into the last game regardless of the result and have a real celebration.
“But if Chelsea score then we have to go into the Arsenal game with the pressure. So those six minutes were absolutely huge but we did it and the guys were fantastic.”