The Premier League Years

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Huddersfield Town’s sojourn in the English Premier League does not make for happy reading. In truth Town went down as one of the worst sides ever to compete in the league and a number of unwanted records were racked up in the process, which was a great shame because they did a lot of things right and won many admirers through their tireless efforts.


2017/18

Town’s maiden season was a great roller-coaster ride, starting with an amazing and wholly unexpected win 3-0 at Crystal Palace which had the club top of the League!

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This was followed by a 1-0 victory at home in the next game against Newcastle United ‘live’ on SKY.

Top of the table after the first game and equal top after the second game it mirrored almost exactly their start back in the old First Division in August 1970. But it all began to go wrong after that, exactly like the 1970/71 season. For many Town fans 21st October 2017 will always be the highlight of their Town-supporting lifetime. Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United were the visitors to the JSS and were hot favourites to go home with the points, but sometimes football has a singularly nasty way of kicking you in the teeth…

Town battled hard and only spent one “gameweek” in the bottom three placings and eventually defied all the critics and pundits who would have them down before the Christmas decorations. By the turn of the year Town were finding wins very hard to come by. AFC Bournemouth came to the JSS on 11th February for a Sunday mid-day kick-off and with Alex Pritchard on debut hopes were high that the home side might be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat.

Saturday, 14th April, 2018 – the very last time that Huddersfield Town won on a Saturday in the Premier League. That doesn’t sound so bad until you realise that the club spent one more season in the top flight without actually registering a win on a Saturday – now that is unbelievable! Anyway, Tom Ince was the hero on that date as he side-footed home a close range effort in stoppage time to give Town all three points in their drive towards safety.

Into the final week of Town’s maiden season in the English Premier League and having held the Champions-elect Manchester City to a 0-0 draw at Maine Road – the only League club to stop them scoring at home all season –  Town knew that a point at Stamford Bridge against reigning Champions Chelsea on 9th May 2018 would guarantee another season at this level at the expense of Stoke, WBA and Swansea. Chelsea themselves harboured hopes of qualifying for Europe with an easy win against lowly Town…

With almost certainly the smallest budget of any team then in that league, Town had punched massively above their weight to achieve an extraordinary final standing of 16th. It had been a great fairytale, the stuff that dreams are made of and the final league standings were as follows:

2017-18 Premier League table

And just for good measure, here is every goal that Town scored in the Premier League this season, accompanied by commentary from Radio Leeds’ Paul “Oggy” Ogden. Don’t worry, it won’t take you long to watch – it’s only lasts just over five minutes!

Town’s progress in the FA Cup ended with a home defeat by Manchester United in Round 5 having seen off old foes Bolton Wanderers 2-1 at the Macron Stadium in Round 3 and then more old ‘friends’ in Round 4 with a 4-1 replay win at Birmingham City after an initial 1-1 home draw. Progress in the Carabao (League) Cup fared no better: after beating lowly Rotherham 2-1 at the John Smiths Stadium in Round 2, Town then succumbed 1-0 to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in Round 3.


2018/19

Confidence was high that with some astute summer recruitment and the continued shrewd guidance of German head coach David Wagner, Town would be able to survive a second season with room to spare. However, the recruitment was diabolical at best, Wagner had departed before the end of January 2019, and Town were rooted to the bottom of the Premier League from mid-December right through the remainder of the miserable season, the end of which simply could not come quickly enough.

Wagner

During this season

  • Town managed to win just three games – Fulham (home) and Wolves (home and away) although they were well in advance of the EPL record ‘low’ of just one win set by Derby County in 2007/08.
  • Town’s ten home goals this season equalled the top flight’s lowest ever total, a record set – amazingly – by Manchester City as recently as 2006-07.

And, as the sun finally set on Town’s Premier League journey, here is Town’s last ever EPL goal. Alex Pritchard scored a “close-down-the-keeper” goal at Southampton on the last day of the season as Town came from behind to draw 1-1.

2018-19 table

Town’s Cup aspirations this year were ended by lower league opponents in both cases: Championship side Stoke City beat them 2-0 in the Carabao (League) Cup at the Bet365 Stadium – courtesy of an outrageous 45-yard own goal by Juninho Bacuna – and fellow Championship side Bristol City beat Town 1-0 in the FA Cup at Ashton Gate. Sadly neither of those games could genuinely be classed a “giant-killing”; Town really were a poor quality Premier League side.


The two seasons in numbers

NB It should be noted that the EPL has only 38 fixtures per season, whereas the majority of Town’s records are based on 42- or 46-game seasons which slightly skews the following data.

The club’s overall EPL record is as follows:
Played: 76 Won: 12 Drawn: 17 Lost: 47 Goals For: 50 Goals Against: 138 Points: 53

New Premier League records:

  • 6 – Town were relegated on 30th March 2019 with six games still to play, equalling the record set by Ipswich Town in 1994/95 and Derby County in 2007/08.
  • 10 – Town equalled the record low of goals scored at home set by Stuart Pearce’s Manchester City in 2006/07
  • 14 – the number of Town’s home defeats during season 2018/19 represent a joint Premier League record (Sunderland also lost 14 in 2002/03 and 2005/06).
  • 16 – Juninho Bacuna was on the losing side of every one of his first 16 starts for Town in all competitions during season 2018/19 before the 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United on 5th May.
  • 17 – Town failed to score in 17 of their 38 home games over the two seasons.
  • 19 – In 2018/19 Town failed to score in 19 different Premier League games.
  • 39 – Town failed to score in 39 of their 76 games over the two seasons.
  • 82 – At season’s end the 82-point difference between Town and league winners Manchester City represented the biggest-ever gap between the top and bottom club since the Premier League was formed.

New club records:

  • 2 – The fewest home wins in a season, this during the 2018/19 campaign.
  • 3 – Town won only THREE home league games in the calendar year of 2018, making it quite an “annus horribilis” by any standards.
  • 3 – In 2018/19, Town won just three games, their lowest number ever.
  • 5 – During the 2018/19 season Town kept only five ‘clean sheets’ the fewest in club history.
  • 7 – Town’s haul of just seven away points (1 win, 4 draws) in 2018/19 under the ‘three points for a win’ system represents their lowest ever.
  • 7 – Defeat at home to Arsenal on 9th February meant that Town had lost seven consecutive home games for the first time ever.
  • 8 – Between 1st December 2018 and 2nd January 2019 Town lost eight consecutive league games for the first time, a feat that they repeated in the same season between 2nd March and 26th April 2019.
  • 9 – Town’s 2 wins and 3 draws at home in season 2018/19 represent the lowest ever home points haul (three points for a win).
  • 10 – Town managed only TEN goals at home all calendar year in 2018; four of these came in the 4-1 win over Bournemouth, and also two of the ten goals were “own goals“.
  • 10 – the ten goals scored during the 2018/19 season was the club’s lowest ever home total.
  • 12 – Town scored only 12 ‘away’ goals in both seasons 2017/18 and 2018/19 which equalled the club record ‘low’ (NB The EPL has only 19 ‘away’ games rather than the usual 21 or 23 in the EFL)
  • 14 – Town suffered 14 home defeats in season 2018/19, another new club record.
  • 16 – The sixteen points haul for 2018/19 represents the fewest points (three points for a win) that the club has ever managed.
  • 22 – Town scored only twenty-two goals in season 2018/19, the lowest ever club total.
  • 28 – Town did not win ANY of the 28 games played on a Saturday during the 2018/19 season (including the solitary FAC game at Bristol City), a dubious feat to match that of Derby County in season 2006/07.
  • 28 – The twenty-eight defeats of 2018/19 equalled the worst ever total, that of season 1987/88.

Other pertinent facts:

  • Town won none of the 48 Premier League matches in which they conceded the first goal (W0 D5 L43), losing all but one of the 19 played at the John Smith’s Stadium when conceding first. They salvaged draws on just five occasions – against Southampton (twice), Brighton, and Burnley (all away from home) and the very last home game in the Premier League, against Manchester United.
  • Town were awarded just three penalties in their 76 Premier League games and Aaron Mooy successfully converted them all.
  • Between 1st December 2018 and 23rd February 2019 Town lost 13 of 14 league matches, drawing the other – the longest winless streak in the top four English divisions that season.

*If you can correct or add to any of these records or stats please use the CONTACT form to get in touch with me.

An ongoing list of Town’s records can be found on Wikipedia HERE.


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