The second instalment of today’s piece
Today – 10 April – is the seventh anniversary of Dean Hoyle joining Huddersfield Town!
Today, in part two, htafc.com looks at the key events during the ‘New Era’ over those years, having covered ‘The Early Days’ in Chapter One (click HERE to read it).
Now, in Chapter Two, we look at ‘The Quest for Promotion to the Championship’ under Lee Clark and Simon Grayson, having already documented the first period of Dean's Chairmanship (click HERE to read it).
Finally, in Chapter Three of this part later today, htafc.com will also look at life back in the Sky Bet Championship over the last three seasons.
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.
THE QUEST FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Huddersfield Town's 2009/10 campaign was the Club's first full season under the Chairmanship of Dean Hoyle (now owning 70%) after Ken Davy stood down and became Life President.
With manager Lee Clark in his first full season in charge of the team and a further 40% increase in the playing budget - now up to £4.6m and £1m on transfer fees - another promotion push was being backed to the hilt.
After the end of the Centenary season, Hoyle and Clark made wholesale changes in the squad. Most of Stan Ternent’s recruits left along with a number of established players from the Andy Ritchie era.
New players included Antony Kay; Robbie Simpson, who was signed for £300,000 and Theo Robinson, signed for £175,000. Manchester United and England Under-19 midfielder Danny Drinkwater joined on a season-long loan along with other loan players; Krystian Pearce, Neal Trotman and Liverpool striker Nathan Eccleston, with Australian international Dean Heffernan joining on a short-term contract.
Three other signings proved to be pivotal. Right back Lee Peltier signed for £140,000 and he was joined by Peter Clarke, who joined as Captain on a free transfer from Southend United. Then, on 31 July, Ipswich Town striker Jordan Rhodes joined the Terriers on a four-year deal for £350,000.
Jordan Rhodes scored a remarkable 73 goals in 123 appearances over just three seasons before a Club record £8m move to Blackburn Rovers. ‘Captain Fantastic’ Clarke made 192 appearances over five seasons and captained the Club to Play-Off victory in 2012. ‘Pelts’ was a popular figure and tough defender, playing 80 games for Town in just two years before moving for £1m. Lee returned for a short spell in 2014.
Town reached a high of third place in November, but despite seven wins in the last 10 games could only finish 6th with 80 points. A disappointing Play-Off exit at the hands of Millwall at the semi-final stage consigned town to another year in League 1.
The 2010/11 campaign was Town’s seventh consecutive season in the third tier of English football.
Following a similar pattern to the previous season, big turnover in player personnel took place as Dean Hoyle again backed Lee Clark with another player budget increase, this time by over 30% to £6.1m, with another £1.3m for transfers fees made available on top. This was a far cry from the £1.9m player budget of 2007/08.
Icelandic international Joey Guðjónsson (above) signed on a two year contract from Premier League side Burnley. Scottish international left-back Gary Naysmith, along with goalkeeper Ian Bennett, came from Championship Sheffield United; Ian is now Academy Goalkeeping Coach. Defender Jamie McCombe came from Championship Bristol City for £150,000; he is now at League 1 Doncaster. A target since 2008, striker Alan Lee finally joined the club for £350,000 from Crystal Palace; he is now at the Ipswich Town Academy. Scott Arfield signed for £400,000 from Falkirk.
Meanwhile, ‘keeper Simon Eastwood left for Oxford United. Michael Collins joined Championship side Scunthorpe United for £200,000. Play-Off winner Damien Johnson was signed on a season-long loan.
Town stalwart Nathan Clarke joined Town's League 1 rivals Colchester United on loan after 300 appearances and 10 years in the First Team.
During the season a large number of loan players came and went:
• Winger Lee Croft joined the Terriers on a six month loan deal from Derby County
• Young Irish left back/winger Graham Carey signed on a six month loan from Celtic
• another left back, Stephen Jordan, joined on an emergency one month loan from Sheffield United following injuries to Gary Naysmith and Liam Ridehalgh
• Town also signed the experience Ireland international left back/midfielder Kevin Kilbane on loan from Hull City
• Danny Cadamarteri returned to the Terriers on a short-term contract
• Newcastle United's Hungarian international left back Tamás Kádár came on short term loan
• Nick Colgan joined on a one-month loan, then on a permanent deal after being released by Grimsby. Nick is now Head of Goalkeeping at the Club and First Team Goalkeeping Coach
• a week after the sickening injury that curtailed Anthony Pilkington's involvement in the season, Town increased the attacking options by bringing in winger Danny Ward on loan from Premier League side Bolton Wanderers for the rest of the season
• Striker Joe Garner signed on a six month loan from Nottingham Forest. He returned to Forest on 4 January 2011
• Arsenal’s 17 year-old striker Benik Afobe came on loan and appeared 32 times, scoring eight goals. He started the Play-Off Final at Old Trafford
• Defensive options were improved by signing centre back Sean Morrison on loan from Championship side Reading on 23 March
After going 25 league games unbeaten from 1 January 2010 to the end of the season and winning 10 of the last 14 games, Town finished in third place with a Club record of 87 points. Six draws in nine games in February and March and eight defeats in 14 in the Autumn proved costly as Brighton were Champions under Gus Poyet and Nigel Adkins led a Southampton team that won 12 of its last 14 games and featured the likes of 2014/15 Premier League stars Lambert, Schneiderlin, Fonte, Puncheon, Lallana and Oxlade-Chamberlain to second spot. Of the Town side that season, only Pilkington and Arfield went on to play in the Premier League.
During November 2010, Performance Coach Steve Black departed HTAFC:
Town defeated AFC Bournemouth in the semi-final on penalties after the two legs ended 4–4 on aggregate; a 1-1 draw in the away leg and drawing the home leg 3-3. Amid remarkable scenes and an electric atmosphere, Antony Kay equalised in extra time to cancel out a Danny Ings goal before striking the winning penalty in the shoot-out.
Terriers lost the Play-Off final at Old Trafford 0-3 against Peterborough United, who had finished eight points behind Town, meaning League 1 football for another season.
Without the injured Pilkington and with Rhodes on the bench - playing 4-5-1 with Afobe leading the line - Peterborough took the initiative in the second half scoring three times in quick time. The occasion was a remarkable and memorable spectacle as 33,000 Town fans backed the team in ‘Believe’ t-shirts, turning Old Trafford blue and white.
Despite losing the Play-Off final, there wasn’t a mass exodus of players - mainly due to the fact that most of them were on long-term contracts. Hoyle again gave Lee Clark a bigger budget; this time £6.9m plus £1.8m on transfers funded by the sale of Lee Peltier and Anthony Pilkington. As had become the norm in the ‘New Era’, a number of players joined Town:
• Danny Ward, who had a successful loan spell at the Terriers at the end of the season, signed a permanent three year deal for £700,000 from Bolton Wanderers
• right-back Calum Woods joined from newly promoted Scottish Premier League side Dunfermline Athletic on a free transfer
• Midfielder Oscar Gobern signed for a fee of £275,000, which was settled by a tribunal, from Southampton
• Winger Donal McDermott signed permanently from Manchester City for a nominal amount
• experienced midfielder Tommy Miller came from Sheffield Wednesday on a one year deal
• as the transfer window shut on 31 January, Town signed young Scottish centre-back Murray Wallace from Scottish First Division side Falkirk for £350,000
• Kallum Higginbotham also joined Town for £100,000
• Liam Cooper came on a season-long loan from Championship side Hull City
• Damien Johnson signed on a second consecutive season-long loan
• The midfield was further bolstered with the signing of Anton Robinson from Bournemouth for £200,000
• Striker Jon Parkin came on a two month loan from Cardiff City, which ended on 23 January
• Leeds United defender Alex Bruce came for 22 days in January 2011
• Reading defender Sean Morrison was again loaned in January for the rest of the season, after failing to make an appearance while on loan with the club the previous campaign
• On 16 March, Town signed Uruguayan international midfielder Diego Arismendi on loan from Stoke City until the end of the season
Town’s unbeaten run in League 1, which started on 1 January 2011, stretched to 27 November 2011; a record-breaking 43 league games unbeaten
During that time Town had won 25 and draw 18. The run was ended by Charlton Athletic, managed by Chris Powell.
By Valentine’s Day 2012, the team sat in 4th place having won 14 and drawn 13 and lost just two games all season. A 0-1 home defeat to third-placed Sheffield United left Town moving further from the automatic places and facing the prospect of another Play-Off fight. On 15 February 2012, after over three years and 150 games in charge, the Club terminated Lee Clark’s contract and his era came to an end.
The response outside Huddersfield was almost universal disbelief at the decision and the club as the Club endured lots of adverse media PR.
Simon Grayson was immediately appointed as the new manager.
In the final 16 league games, seven were won as Town finished in 4th place, meaning a third consecutive season in the Play-Offs. Town defeated Milton Keynes Dons in the semi-finals, winning 3–2 on aggregate thanks largely to a 2-0 away win, before losing the home leg 1-2.
Facing Sheffield United in the final at Wembley Stadium on 26 May 2012, fans cheered Town on travelling in coaches and a charter train.
After the match finished 0–0 after extra time, the Terriers won the penalty shoot-out 8–7 after every player on the pitch took a penalty. The decisive penalty was missed by the United goalkeeper Steve Simonsen, who saw his penalty go over the crossbar, giving Huddersfield the glory, and promotion to the Football League Championship with Huddersfield-born goalkeeper Alex Smithies netting the winner.
In the next Chapter htafc.com will also look at life back in the Sky Bet Championship over the last three seasons. Over all those years, we will spotlight the major milestones and memorable moments both on and off the field including the highs and lows.
Tomorrow, in Part Three, htafc.com will look at life in the Championship and how the Club has changed since 2008, covering the key developments that have taken place on
and off the field.
Note: Transfer fees are as reported in the media, as they are undisclosed in club deals.