Foot­ball: Hud­der­s­field’s “im­prob­a­ble” jour­ney

The Week Middle East - - News -

It was sup­posed to be the mo­ment that “cold, hard re­al­ity” would bite for Hud­der­s­field Town, said Nick Townsend in The Sun­day Times. Re­turn­ing to the top flight for the first time since 1972, they had been dis­missed as favourites for rel­e­ga­tion. Yet in their first Premier League match of the sea­son, at Crys­tal Palace, they won 3-0 – putting them top of the ta­ble for a day. “This was as good a re­turn to the elite as the club could have en­vis­aged,” said Sam Dean in The Sun­day Tele­graph. They were “or­gan­ised, pow­er­ful and ag­gres­sive”. And in Steve Mounié – the Beni­nese striker who scored two goals – they might have one of the sign­ings of the sum­mer. The Ter­ri­ers’ “im­prob­a­ble” jour­ney to the Premier League is noth­ing short of a “foot­ball fairy tale”, said Si­mon Ku­per in the Fi­nan­cial Times. Their wage bill last sea­son was a mere £11m, the fourth-low­est in the Cham­pi­onship. By con­trast, in the Premier League the low­est was £58m. The club has an “un­usu­ally close” re­la­tion­ship to the town: the fan base is “al­most en­tirely lo­cal”, and the play­ers’ can­teen is still open to the pub­lic. Un­like so many Premier League bosses, the owner, Dean Hoyle, is a fan who lives nearby, and keeps sea­sonticket prices pegged at just £199 – the cheap­est in the league. But if any­one is re­spon­si­ble for the club’s suc­cess, it’s David Wag­ner, said Matt Hughes in The Times. Since join­ing less than two years ago, the Ger­man man­ager has brought in canny sign­ings and in­tro­duced the “high-oc­tane gegen­press­ing” pi­o­neered by his men­tor, Liver­pool man­ager Jür­gen Klopp: the side play high up the pitch, putting pres­sure on the op­pos­ing team. When Wag­ner took over, Hud­der­s­field had fin­ished no higher than 16th since be­ing pro­moted to the Cham­pi­onship in 2012. To be in the Premier League just two sea­sons later is an ex­tra­or­di­nary achieve­ment.

Wag­ner: canny sign­ings

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