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Club News


17 May 2016

HTAFC Chairman Dean Hoyle explains the Club’s strategy

- Changes made at the HTAFC Academy
- Academy Manager Mark Lillis one of three staff members to leave
- Comments from Chairman Dean Hoyle

Three senior members of Huddersfield Town’s Academy staff, including Academy Manager Mark Lillis, have today departed their roles as the Club undertakes a thorough review of its youth system.

Academy Manager Mark Lillis, Lead Youth Development (12-16) Coach Dave Haley and Foundation Phase (8-12) Coach Mick Reid have departed the Club as new plans are put in place ahead of the 2016/17 season.

Mark, 56, re-joined the Club as Academy Manager in December 2011, having played over 200 games for the Terriers between 1978 and 1985.
During Mark’s tenure, the Academy attained the Club’s strategic aim of earning Category 2 status under the new Elite Player Performance Plan and has recorded good results and Under-21 and Under-18 level.

Mark also took caretaker charge of the First Team on four separate occasions, most recently for one game before David Wagner’s appointment as Head Coach in November 2015.
Dave and Mick were also long-serving figures in the Academy.

New appointments, starting with the role of Academy Manager, will be made in due course.

Huddersfield Town Chairman Dean Hoyle explained:

“I want our fans to know that all these changes have been made with one aim in mind; to improve the quality of young footballer that the Academy is producing and get them playing regularly in our First Team.

“Reaching this decision was in no way easy; all three have worked hard during long spells in the Academy. In particular, Mark was an appointment that I led in December 2011 and he’s been a fantastic ambassador for the Club and its Academy. In many ways he epitomises the qualities our fans relate to; 100% commitment, passion and determination.
“All three have contributed to getting the Club to the level it has reached and I wish Mark, Dave and Mick all the best for the future.
“However, I have stated before that nobody at Huddersfield Town is happy with treading water in the Sky Bet Championship and the intention is that the Academy will play a large part in helping the Club make steps forward on the field.
“The Academy plays a big part in our football strategy and the truth is that it has not been delivering Championship-quality footballers on a regular basis for our First Team. The young players making a genuine impact at First Team level – the likes of Philip Billing, Flo Bojaj and, before that, Tommy Smith and Harry Bunn – have been recruited from outside at 16 and above.
“That extends to the players who have gained such good results and Under-18 and Under-21 level in recent seasons. A number of those players, such as Ronan Coughlan, Danny Kane and Tadhg Ryan, were recruited in their late teens.

“The level of production from the Academy must be – and will be – better. The Academy costs around £1.5 million to run, with a circa £1 million direct cost to HTAFC, every season and it cannot be a vanity project. I’m very proud to see our younger age groups winning leagues and performing well in cups – it also helps us with recruitment – but ultimately the Academy exists to produce players for the First Team.”

Dean concluded:

“Taking this Club to the next level will involve hard decisions, but they must be made for the good of Huddersfield Town. We’ve started those at First Team level recently, with the appointment of David Wagner and more recently John Iga.
“Today’s move is a difficult one, but we believe it is a necessary step towards our goal of improving the quality of footballer emerging from the Academy.”

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