Hear from Town’s Sporting Director on a myriad of subjects
- A first Huddersfield Town interview with Olaf Rebbe
- Sporting Director speaks about a ‘baptism of fire’ at the Club
- Olaf: “this is a proud, honest club & I’m enjoying it here”
100 days into his time at Huddersfield Town, Sporting Director Olaf Rebbe has told htafc.com that he’s loving life at ‘a proud, honest’ football club.
Having joined the Terriers on 1 June 2018, Olaf immediately played an important role in the Club’s summer recruitment; just one aspect of his role at Town.
The condensed transfer window was an understandably busy time for anyone in Olaf’s position, identifying possible targets for David Wagner and then concluding transfers once the Head Coach had made the final decision on which players to bring in. One such deal was the permanent transfer of Terence Kongolo; the first that Olaf was involved in at the Club.
“I’m told the phrase for my start here is ‘hitting the ground running!’”, Olaf smiled.
“Obviously achieving what we wanted to in the summer transfer window was the priority (when I joined), working alongside David and Dean in particular.
“My role was to source the targets for David, working with the recruitment team, and it was a very intense time. We have a small group, but a decisive one and that allows us to react very quickly to opportunities.
“Since the window has closed – more or less one month ago – I’ve started to get a deeper knowledge of every department.
“I have to thank Chairman Dean Hoyle, Julian Winter, the rest of the Board of Directors and David and his team for making me feel so welcome here. This is a proud, honest club and I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far.
“The fact that Dean has given this club such amazing stability is unusual in professional football. This means that one good or bad result doesn’t change anything; we have a very clear plan that we work hard to achieve; one that has carried this Club to the Premier League already.
“I would also like to mention the Huddersfield Town fans. The trust that they give Dean, David and the Club is special and can be a big positive for us all.”
The working relationship between a Sporting Director and Head Coach is vital and, having never worked with David before, Olaf is enjoying his early work with his fellow German.
“David has taken Huddersfield on a great journey and it’s a pleasure to be together now as part of this team,” Olaf continued.
“We have a very good, constructive relationship. Our targets are very clear and we are able to have open, honest discussions about how we achieve them. We have quickly built a very hands-on, close relationship.”
Another major aspect of Olaf’s role pertains to the redevelopment plans for PPG Canalside, the Club’s training facility. As Sporting Director, Rebbe has been responsible for liaising with the technical staff and the developers to design state-of-the-art facilities for the football players.
“First of all, it’s important that we stick to our identity; that gives us power as a club. It is very clear that Huddersfield Town is a club for its community and it’s nice that we can develop the facilities for the public at the same time as we develop the training ground. As far as this Club has come, it’s always important not to forget where you have come from.
“Equally, it is now common sense and important to develop the football facility separately. We need to have a good training ground to get good players to the Club and to give our coaches the best facilities.
“When our plan is to buy players with potential, as David has said many times, we must give him and the coaching team the best facilities to give them every chance to develop their quality.
“This training ground plan is a very big achievement for the Club in the long-term view.”
The Sporting Director also oversees the Academy as part of the Club’s football strategy and Olaf praised the early work that Academy Manager Leigh Bromby and his team have put into the Club’s new-look structure.
“They’ve made big changes, but with good reason. I like the idea on the new structure; it’s a very creative solution,” Olaf admitted.
“Obviously, the main goal of the Academy is to produce players for our First Team. We have taken a different way, but potentially a very good way.
“Over the next months, we will continue to develop a closer fit with the First Team. For example, the recruitment from the First Team can help the Academy.
“It has to feel like a family; not two separate departments sitting elsewhere. We must work together, as we need to get something out of this eventually. The case of Dean Whitehead and last year with Mark Hudson is a good example for this work mindset.”
As for his priority now, Rebbe was crystal clear.
“My priority will always be to support David in every way I can, and our focus remains to consolidate our Premier League status. We’re already talking about the winter transfer window, as well as solutions to get better in every single area. The hard work will continue!”