The lowdown on the new Town Manager
New Huddersfield Town Manager Chris Powell arrives at the Club with an impressive history on the pitch, in the dugout and away from football.
Powell, who hails from Lambeth, Central London, turns 45 on Monday.
A former left back, he enjoyed an impressive playing career that encompassed over 750 professional appearances and saw him act as Chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association from 2005 until he hung up his boots in 2010.
Gaining promotion from what is now known as the Championship on three occasions and from League 1 once, Powell also earned five caps for England – with his first coming as a 31 year-old.
His professional playing career began in 1987 at Crystal Palace, with his time at Selhurst Park also including a loan spell at Aldershot in 1990.
Eventually he joined Southend United, where his career really took off. He made over 250 appearances in a Shrimpers shirt over the next six years as the Club gained promotion to Division Two, with his performances earning him the title of Southend’s ‘All Time Cult Hero’ in a BBC poll in 2004.
Chris moved to Premier League Derby County in January 1996 for a reported fee of £750,000 and was soon crowned ‘Supporters Player of the Year’. After two years at the Club, his affinity with Charlton Athletic began.
Powell moved to London for £825,000 in June 1998 and it was with the Addicks that he earned his first England cap, being called up to the squad by Manager Sven Goran Eriksson in 2001. Charlton played five of the next six seasons in England’s top division, with Chris racking up over 200 senior appearances for the Club.
Chris moved across London to West Ham United in 2004 and helped the Hammers gain promotion from the Championship before returning for a second spell at Charlton after just a year away.
A year later he was on the move again, making an inter-divisional move to Aidy Boothroyd’s Premier League new boys Watford.
A third and final playing return to Charlton followed in 2007, with the move also involving Chris’ first job as a coach alongside his playing duties at the behest of Manager Alan Pardew.
A year later he joined his final club as a player, Leicester City – during which time he was a teammate of James Vaughan. In 2009, whilst promoting England’s 2018 World Cup bid as an official ambassador, Chris became First Team Development Coach, working alongside Manager Nigel Pearson and Assistant Craig Shakespeare.
His first taste of management was fleeting – a one game stint as Leicester’s Caretaker boss when Paulo Sousa left the Club. He won his only game in charge!
Chris’ first permanent managerial role came in January 2011, when he returned to the Valley to take charge of League 1 Charlton Athletic following the departure of previous boss Phil Parkinson. A mid-table finish followed, but in the summer Powell began a major overhaul of the Charlton squad, signing 19 players.
That change worked a treat, with Powell guiding Charlton to Championship promotion as League 1 Champions in his first full season in charge thanks to a club record 101 points. For that achievement, Powell was named the League Managers’ Association League 1 Manager of the Year in 2012. In the same season, Huddersfield Town gained promotion via the Play-Offs with 81 points.
His first season in the Championship was another successful one, with Charlton finishing an impressive ninth under Powell’s guidance - just three points outside the Play-Offs. With 17 wins from 46 games, Charlton boasted the sixth best defensive record in the division, with just 59 goals conceded. In that time, Chris was handed an honorary degree from University of Greenwich.
2013/14 saw an exodus of players at the Valley, with 10 leaving as financial restrictions took hold and the Club was set to be sold.
Roland Duchatelet became the new Charlton Chairman in early January 2014 and Chris left the Club less than two months later as they changed direction and the new owner looked to stamp his own authority on the Club. Subsequently Chris has completed his UEFA Pro License and has coached the England Under-17 side.