The Town Chairman’s interview with BBC Radio Leeds in full
Huddersfield Town Chairman Dean Hoyle conducted a typically honest and forthright interview with BBC Radio Leeds on Tuesday evening after a weekend that saw Manager Mark Robins depart the Club by mutual consent.
htafc.com will now bring you the first of two parts of this interview, starting with the first eight minutes today.
To listen to the full interview, click HERE
The first topic was the departure of Mark Robins, who left the Club after Saturday’s season-opening 4-0 home defeat at home to AFC Bournemouth.
“It was an interesting situation. I wasn’t actually at the game – I was away on holiday – but obviously it was a catastrophic defeat and performance. I put a call straight into the Chief Executive Nigel Clibbens and he said Mark (Robins) had approached him and he would be giving me a ring.
“Mark dealt with the press and gave me a ring. It was quite simple – Mark told me that he thought he’d lost the respect of the fans; that he couldn’t do right for doing wrong and that the fans were totally against him. He could not see any way of recovering that position. He also said he thought the players had gone and also admitted he had picked the wrong formation (in 3-5-2) against Bournemouth.
“He said to me that he’s not a quitter and doesn’t want to be seen as one, which is fine. He said he probably should have gone last season when we changed his backroom staff and tried to support him – we identified last season that his backroom staff wasn’t giving him what’s required, so we helped him along and changed them to try and be supportive. He felt that maybe that was the time that he should have gone and we should have had a chat then, but at the same time he realised we had tried to be very loyal to him and give him support. He really wanted to get it right and repay us at the Club as well.
“He didn’t want to quit, but at the same time he had the best interests of Huddersfield Town at heart. He said he liked working with me, Nigel (Clibbens) and Ross (Wilson), but at the same time he wanted to do what’s right for the Club and that’s where we needed to base our chat.”
Asked if he tried to change Robins’ mind, Dean commented:
“Obviously, from a Chairman’s point of view, once you hear that there really is no going back and we parted company, which is very disappointing.
“The performance on Saturday was totally unacceptable – there is no point trying to disguise that – but I was willing to give him more time. Everyone knew he (Mark) didn’t have as much slack as last season and had to get things right.
“(After Saturday) Mark was absolutely flat. Now we need to move on and that’s where we are. If it had been a 4-0 win we wouldn’t have been having the conversation, I can assure you.
“Over time, Chairman and Managers have good relationships and you get to know the Manager quite well. Mark had been with us for 18 months, whereas Lee (Clark) had been with me for three years and Simon (Grayson) hadn’t been with me as long, but you get to know your Manager. The tone of Mark’s voice and what he said to me was serious. He wasn’t looking for me to boost him up; it was a serious conversation.
“I didn’t convince him to try and stay – that was the end. Mark has always said to me – and I think this is refreshing in football – that if it doesn’t work out and he feels it is not going right, he wouldn’t waste my time; we’d have a chat and part company. That is what he’s done and all credit to him, because he is a good lad. It just hasn’t worked out.”
Dean was then asked if he wished Town and Robins had parted company before the start of the 2014/15 campaign:
“With hindsight, of course I do (wish we had parted company at the end of last season). However, what I tried to do as Chairman was support him and give him every opportunity to succeed. “Obviously I haven’t got a crystal ball and I didn’t expect this to happen – either to have a defeat like we did or for the manager to say what he did to me. That’s life – we move on in football. This is an opportunity to get it right again.
“Straight away when something like this happens, the first thing we can’t go out and do is the press because we have to make sure we get everything lined up behind the scenes. Obviously Sunday was a big morning as we had to get Mark Lillis (to PPG Canalside) and address the players. Monday was the same situation; we had to get things working behind the scenes.
“Now we can start to approach the press. We have to be careful here – Mark Robins was not sacked. We came to an agreement where Mark thought it wasn’t working and, like I just explained, that’s where things come to an end.”
Dean also described what he’s looking for in the next permanent Huddersfield Town Manager.
“What we really need to do now is move on. We want a new manager but we’ll take our time, as we’ve got to get the right man – and getting the right man isn’t always easy, let’s be fair. We will try and get the right man.
“We’re looking for someone who has ‘done it’ – I think that’s important. We want a leader and a motivator, because I think what we saw on Saturday was players who are really looking for help as well. We want someone now who can lead and motivate them.”
The Chairman also responded to recent questions of the Club’s transfer policy and the process of recruitment.
“Let me explain how I work, because there is a lot of speculation and we’ve had lots of criticism. The Manager always has the final say and veto on players and positions – that’s it, end of. In no way have we ever put a player into a Manager and made him sign one he didn’t want. Every player at Huddersfield Town is here by the manager saying they want them.
“Ross Wilson heads a team of scouts and identifies the information on options for the Manager, but it is the Manager’s decision.
“Nigel (Clibbens) and Ross work together to get the deals done and we all get on very well.
“The other thing that I think is an interesting one – I’ve always backed the Manager, from Lee to Simon to Mark. In the last 12 months I’ve spent in excess of £3.5 million on players. I’ve always backed my Manager with players. If (the manager) wants a player and we all agree it is the right player, I will always back the Manager.”
Dean went on to explain his thoughts on the ‘atmosphere’ around the Club:
“At the same time, we also have issues at the Club as well. There has been a lot of negativity around and that affects a lot of people. Let me just remind people of how far we’ve come. Before I took over, our star summer signing was Malvin Kamara. We have moved on a long, long way and there’s too much negativity around the place.
“Maybe the negativity is a minority, but unfortunately the minority are the most vocal. And do you know something? The Club feels it. I feel it personally and I’ll be straight with you – I don’t like it. I think it needs to stop.”
Dean went on to talk about his support for the new manager and commitment to the Club; check out htafc.com on Friday for the second half of the interview.