Over all those years, we will spotlight the major milestones and memorable moments both on and off the field including the highs and lows.
In part three of the series, which will be released on Saturday, we will look at how the Club has changed since 2008, covering the key developments that have taken place.
2012/13 was Town’s first Championship season in 11 years and began with manager Simon Grayson in charge for his first full Town season; his second campaign as manager. The prime objective was retaining the Club’s Championship status. Huddersfield Town also wished to transition the playing squad to improve its quality and depth and stabilise the short term position as it sought to become established in the division.
Utilising some of the cash from the Club record breaking £8m sale of Jordan Rhodes, the playing budget increased to £11m. James Vaughan joined from Norwich on a season-long loan to lead the strike force. He was joined by Sean Scannell for £500,000, Adam Clayton from Leeds for £500,000 and Anthony Gerrard from Cardiff for £250,000.
Free agent Joel Lynch moved in from Nottingham Forest along with Paul Dixon from Dundee United and Oliver Norwood arriving from Manchester United for £400,000. The Rhodes sale also allowed the Club to recruit loan signings Jermaine Beckford, Simon Church, Adam Hammill and Neil Danns, which would otherwise been unaffordable.
Initial results were very good. After 16 games we were 6th; this surpassed expectations. However, during the middle third of the season, the results and team performances then quickly fell away very badly in a way not envisaged.
From the next 12 games the team achieved just 6pts, meaning after 28 games, we had 33pts and were then just seven points from the relegation zone. The Club had endured 12 games without a win and had only four wins in 21 games. This was accompanied by a series of changes in the playing system and heavy away defeats as we became drawn rapidly towards a relegation battle. In our last seven league games under Simon Grayson we obtained just 4pts.
With Simon having stepped in to immediately deliver promotion from League 1, being in his first Championship season for us and in the job for less than one year, for the second year in a row the Board was faced with a major and difficult decision. Again, the easiest and least risky choice for the Board may have been to allow time for that management team to try to affect a turnaround in the final 18 games of the season.
In mid-January 2013, the Board of Directors judged that the direction the Club was moving in showed no sign of changing. On 24 January 2013 the Board decided to change the management team in a move to reverse fortunes. It was a difficult decision; one not taken lightly and after bringing promotion in such a short period in charge for Simon Grayson, a real disappointment.
For three games, Academy Manager Mark Lillis and Senior Professional Development Coach Steve Eyre took charge and steadied the ship.
With 15 matches to go, Town still had ample opportunity to retain its status. Mark Robins, a manager with Championship experience, a strong and clear football philosophy and a track record of working under pressure, joined as the new Manager. His short-term challenge was simply to achieve survival in the Championship. Mark led the Club to 21pts in 15 games.
The Championship season was extraordinary that year, with the 55pts needed to achieve safety being the highest in the history of second tier English football.
Despite this recovery, Championship status was still only secured in the final 10 minutes of the final game of the season, after being in a relegation position for much of the final day – a day which will never be forgotten by those in attendance. In the end, a 2-2 draw with Barnsley proved enough.
Both clubs survived and celebrated together! Town ended the season 19th with 58 points.
Mark Robins took charge for his first full campaign as Manager and the main objectives were:
• consolidating Town’s status within the Championship
• improving the divisional position in the table versus 2012/13
• developing the style of play
The Club also targeted a further improvement in the playing squad, both in its quality and depth. Finally the Board wanted the team to demonstrate improvements in showing the characteristics required for success in the Championship.
Experienced Championship players Jon Stead, Martin Paterson and Adam Hammill were recruited as free agents. James Vaughan signed permanently on a three year deal for £600,000. In January 2014, Joe Lolley joined from Kidderminster Harriers and Nahki Wells joined from Bradford City in a club record £1.3m deal:
Peter Clarke left the Club after five fantastic years:
The 2013/14 season proved another mixed year. For a second year in a row initial results were encouraging. After 18 games, Town had accumulated 26 points to lie in 10th place in early December 2013. This left the team well placed to finish in the top half of the division.
However, during the second half of the season, the results and team performances again deteriorated. In our next 25 league games we obtained just 21 points, with only six points earned in 12 away games.
We suffered a very disappointing final third to the season with a serious and sustained run of under-performance; well below reasonable expectations given the playing staff. The season ended with Town retaining Championship status and achieving our best divisional position for 14 years coming 17th with 53 points. This allowed the Club to continue to progress forward again.
Town underwent a restructuring of the technical staff over the summer of 2014, which saw First Team Coach Steve Taylor and Head of Performance Darren Robinson depart and Steve Thompson join. Steve is now at Derby County and Darren is at Birmingham City.
The Club started its recruitment with a stronger core squad to begin the season and another year’s experience.
Conor Coady joined from Liverpool for £275,000. Adam Clayton left for Middlesbrough for £1.3m with Jacob Butterfield moving in the opposite direction for £500,000. Oliver Norwood left for Reading in a £750,000 deal.
However, after a surprising turn of events, manager Mark Robins left the Club by mutual consent. This came in the immediate aftermath of the worst opening day home defeat in the Club’s history; a 0-4 loss to AFC Bournemouth, following on from the poor end to the 2013/14 season:
With recruitment still in progress, the instability created a difficult time.
The Butterfield/Clayton deal was completed in the interim period and Mark Hudson joined from Cardiff late in the August window.
Chris Powell was appointed on 3 September 2014, with Alex Dyer as Assistant Manager.
Then Thompson left in December 2014 for Leeds United, only to be suspended by them in April.
After highs and lows in terms of results, Town stands in 17th place with 48 points and five games to go.
RECORDS AND MILESTONES
Club history was made as the team played 25 league games undefeated, from 29 December 2010 to the end of the regular 2010/11 league season; a truly remarkable achievement, eclipsing the previous Club record set 91 years earlier in the 1920s under Herbert Chapman. After a record-breaking final half of the season, to come so close to promotion but fail at the final hurdle was cruel.
In 2011/12 a Club record unbeaten start of 18 games without defeat was achieved, taking the overall unbeaten league sequence to a remarkable new Football League record of 43 games. This feat was extraordinary in the 104 year history of the Club and world professional football.
In 2010/11 we successfully reached the Northern Area Final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy before losing a two-legged tie with fellow npower League 1 team Carlisle United. With the prize of a Wembley appearance within reach, Town lost the first leg 0-4 to all but eliminate our chances.
In January 2011 the Club reached the third round of the FA Cup and, in an epic match, agonisingly lost 2-1 to Premier League Arsenal in front of 59,000 fans at the Emirates, including 6,500 Town fans, after suffering a late and hotly disputed penalty.
In May 2011, the Terriers lost the Play-Off final at Old Trafford 3-0 against Peterborough United, with goals in the later stages of the second half in front of 48,000 fans. 33,000 Town fans were in attendance.
In celebrating their win, Peterborough’s Chairman upset Town fans:
May 2012 saw 22,000 of the Club’s fans within the 52,100 attendance at the Play-Off Final cheer Town to the Championship; this time at Wembley. These included 1,000 kids paid for by a donations and a charity bike ride pioneered by Dean:
Town missed the first three penalties, but then scored the next eight to win the shootout 8-7 after goalkeeper Alex Smithies scored the last penalty and then stood tall as the opposition goalkeeper missed.
To win after three misses was a unique feat in the history of professional football in Europe’s major leagues. The fine line between success and failure was there for all to see.
The outcome was greeted by total euphoria amongst Town fans. The scene was repeated when 15,000 fans cheered the Club’s Civic victory parade in Huddersfield the week after. It was a fitting end to a remarkable season.
Other notable records and milestones to remember: