The first installment of today's piece
Today – 10 April –is the seventh anniversary of Dean Hoyle joining Huddersfield Town!
Yesterday we looked back to April 2008 and revisited events leading up Dean investing into the Club and the inheritance he faced (click HERE
to read it).
Today, in part two, htafc.com looks at the key events during the ‘New Era’ over those years, covering firstly, in Chapter One, ‘The Early Days’ – Stan Ternent and the Centenary.
Then, in Chapters Two later today, we look at ‘The Quest for Promotion to the Championship’ under Lee Clark and Simon Grayson.
In Chapter Three of this part, htafc.com will 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.
Finally tomorrow, in Part Three of the series, we will look at how the Club has changed since 2008, covering the key developments that have taken place.
The New Era – The Early Days
2008/09 was the Club’s Centenary season. With a striking gold away kit and a pre-season celebration match against Arsenal; new management and new investment and extra financial muscle, the Club was full of optimism.
A 75% increase in the playing budget from £1.9m to £3.3m - jointly funded by Ken Davy and with new financial backing from Dean Hoyle to buy players – meant the Board and Stan Ternent could embark on a major rebuilding of the squad.
Nine players left, including Captain Rob Page, while Matt Glennon, Joe Skarz and James Berrett were offered new deals. David Mirfin was sold for £200,000 to Scunthorpe United.
The influx of players was significant, starting with Keigan Parker (free) from Championship side Blackpool and Jim Goodwin (free) from recently relegated Scunthorpe United. Andy Butler joined on a three year deal again from Scunthorpe United also. Chris Lucketti (aged 36) was back as captain on a free seven years after leaving. Michael Flynn came from Blackpool. Gary Roberts was a £150,000 signing from Ipswich Town. David Unsworth signed from Burnley (free) with Tom Denton signed for £60,000 from non-league Wakefield. Ian Craney arrived from League 2 Accrington Stanley for £140,000. They were joined by on-loan striker Liam Dickinson from Championship club Derby County, whose stay was until November.
Over 19,000 fans watched the Centenary match; a 1-2 defeat against an Arsenal team which featured the likes of the then unknown Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs and Henri Lansbury amongst others!
Despite the large investment in transfers and wages and an influx of new players, the 2008/09 season started badly. After crashing out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy to League 2 Darlington, Town was 19th in League 1. On 4 November 2008, Stan Ternent was sacked after just over six months in charge with Town in 16th place.
His was the shortest reign of any Town manager in the Club's 107 year history, with the exception of John Haselden in 1977, and he ended with only four wins and 17 points from 15 games.
Ternent’s reign became synonymous with his press remarks after defeat 4-0 to Peterborough (a team to feature heavily in the New Era) about enjoying his Christmas dinner!
In the final analysis, despite the investment, the history books will show none of the signings in the early days proved successful except Gary Roberts. Excluding Roberts, seven major signings in three months contributed a less than 200 appearance and five played fewer than 30 games each:
• Parker left in early 2009 having made 20 starts and scored two goals; he is currently at Clyde
• Goodwin made 35 starts in his first season but just seven in his second before leaving in August 2010. Jim now plays at St Mirren
• Butler was first choice with 45 starts in his first season but after nine in his second year, he left in January 2010. Andy now plays for Doncaster in League 1
• Lucketti left in May 2010 after just 13 appearances; his last coming in February 2009. He subsequently retired
• Flynn appeared 25 times for Town before joining Bradford in August 2009. He is now director of Newport County's youth academy
• Unsworth was released from his contract on 30 March 2009 having made just four appearances. He is now Senior Professional Development Coach at Everton
• Denton never made an appearance for Town and returned on a free to Wakefield. He now plays for non-league North Ferriby United
• Craney appeared 34 times for Town is his debut season, but his contract was ended by mutual consent at the end of his first season
Gary Roberts was a rare success and shining light. Eventually Gary appeared in 134 games for Town, scoring 31 goals in League 1 across four seasons, before leaving after being part of the Play-Off promotion-winning team at Wembley in 2012. He provided many memorable moments and became a real fans’ favourite.
In 2009 he won three accolades at the Club's Annual Awards, collecting Best Goal for his strike against Hereford United; Fans’ Player of the Season and the Players’ Player of the Season awards. In 2010 he won the Fans’ Player of the Season award as well as picking up the Blue & White Foundation Player of the Season award. Gary has been at Chesterfield in League 1 since leaving Town and is pushing them towards the Play-Offs.
November 2008 marked another watershed moment. With the departure of Ternent, Vice Chairman Andrew Watson also left the Club.
Andrew had led the tough start to the rebuilding of the Club under Ken Davy after Administration and his lasting legacy is as the architect of the Club’s very successful lottery and Blue & White Foundation and leading Community Programme at The Zone with the Huddersfield Community Trust.
Dean Hoyle now stepped forward and took the leading role in management of the Club, starting with the appointment of the next manager - Lee Clark
Gerry Murphy was put in charge for his third spell as caretaker manager and 15 November marked his first league game, with a trip to Elland Road to play then high-flyers Leeds United. After a Robert Snodgrass goal, Town scored 27 seconds into the second half through Joe Skarz and then in the second minute of added time, Michael Collins scored to give Town a 2-1 win, which was also the first win at Elland Road since Boxing Day 1983.
In the FA Cup 1st round, Town were given a home tie against League 2 side Port Vale but Town let a 3-1 lead slip in dramatic fashion in the closing minutes to lose 4-3. Gerry continued in charge until just before Christmas handing over with Town 10th after five wins out of six in the division.
After taking his time to make his first managerial appointment, Dean Hoyle selected Lee Clark as the man to take the Club forward.
On 10 December compensation was agreed with Norwich City and Clark officially took over on 15 December. He joined as a ‘rookie’ manager in his first job. He was backed by former Celtic and Newcastle Assistant Manager Terry McDermott; former England coach Derek Fazackerley and Steve Black.
The first game of the new regime ended in a 0-3 loss at Carlisle, which proved to be a regular visit for Town in the following years.
With the opening of the January transfer window Hoyle back his manager in what proved to be a regular fashion as Clark looked to stamp his mark on the squad.
His first signing German left-back Dominik Werling on a free transfer. Left backs has been a position to feature heavily in recruitment over the years.
23 January 2009 proved to be a key date. The Club made a double signing with the capture of winger Anthony Pilkington from Stockport County for £400,000 and winger Lionel Ainsworth from Watford for £200,000. Whilst Ainsworth never lived up to the potential he showed in glimpses (he is now at Motherwell), ‘Pilks’ came to be an icon of the ‘New Era’. In 92 games, he scored 19 goals including some real net-busters (memorably against Sheffield Wednesday at home in a Sky TV game) before his Town career was cruelly ended by a horrific leg break and ankle dislocation in March 2011.
This robbed Town of a key man for the 2010/11 play-off final against Peterborough. ‘Pilks’ left Town for £2.2m at the of the 2010/11 season and is now at Cardiff City.
As the transfer deadline closed, Clark signed:
• Lee Novak from Gateshead for £175,000 (loaned back for the rest of the season)
• Jonathan Téhoué on a free transfer short term deal to the season end from Turkish side Konyaspor – this deal was never completed as due to dispute between the player and his old club
In the loan window, striker Lukas Jutkiewicz joined Town from Premier League side Everton until the end of the season. Finally Liverpool’s 18 year-old future England defender Martin Kelly was brought in on loan. Lukas is now at Premier League Burnley after two £1.5m moves; firstly from Everton to Middlesbrough and then to Burnley. Martin is at Premier League Crystal Palace after joining in a £1.5m move.
By mid-February, Town was handily placed for a Play-Off push in 10th but a bad end of season spell resulted in seven games without a win, conceding three vital last minute goals three weeks in succession. The gap between Town and the Play-Offs widened and a late bounce back was only enough to finish 9th in the table by the end of the season, with 68 points. The Terriers were eight points away from the Play-Offs, won by Scunthorpe United.
The end of the season also saw legend Andy Booth retire; he scored his 150th goal for the Club in the final game at Leyton Orient.
In Chapter Two later today, htafc.com documents ‘The Quest for Promotion to the Championship’ under Lee Clark and Simon Grayson.
Note: Transfer fees are as reported in the media, as they are undisclosed in club deals.