The club has been served by many managers down the years and here I aim to pay tribute to as many as possible using the cigarette/trade cards or whatever else they might have appeared on. Not all will have appeared thus, but wherever possible I’ll try to dig one out. I will not be including ‘caretaker’ managers such as Gerry Murphy and Mark Lillis.
NB Stats include all competitive matches, both league and Cups.
FRED WALKER (August 1908 – May 1910)
Fred Walker holds the distinction of being the very first manager of the Huddersfield Town Football Club. As a matter of fact, he was actually appointed as a player- secretary-manager because he was both captain and centre-half in the fledgling days of the club. However, by the end of the first season he was actually playing on a much less regular basis and although he led the club to a very respectable 5th position in the Midland League, he was released in May 1910 as the club pushed for membership of the Football League.
His managerial record reads: Pd 92, W 40, D 12, L 40.
(ANONYMOUS, ‘1908-1909 team and officials’ postcard)
ALBERT ‘DICK’ PUDAN (September 1910 – April 1912)
Pudan has the distinction of being the very first person to manage Town as a Football League Club. He had arrived at Town from Leicester Fosse where he was a player. He did not, however, stay very long at the helm because the club was struggling to establish itself in the face of overwhelming support for the rugby code rather than that of Association Football. Pudan felt that someone who was better versed in footballing matters would probably do a better job and so he was released in April 1912 and he returned to Leicester as a player.
His managerial record was: Pd 66, W 21, D 13, L 32.
(ANONYMOUS ‘1910-11 Reserves team group‘ postcard)
ARTHUR FAIRCLOUGH (April 1912 – December 1919)
After a brief spell with Leslie Knighton at the helm, the Town Board turned to Arthur Fairclough in April 1912. It was Fairclough who successfully – and very cheaply – assembled the core of the team that his successor Ambrose Langley would take into the First Division and that Herbert Chapman would then take on to further glories. But Fairclough was to tarnish his record by being somewhat in favour of the move “lock, stock and barrel” to Leeds United during the financial crisis of late November 1919. Fairclough had even offered his services as Receiver if and when the Town club should fold in the face of increasing pressure and supporter apathy but, with the club’s phoenix-like rise, he tendered his resignation on 23rd December. He would soon appear at Leeds United where he became their first manager in February 1920.
His managerial record at Town was: Pd 281, W 125, D 57, L 99.
(W.E. TURTON, ‘1914-15 Team and Officials’ postcard)
AMBROSE LANGLEY (December 1919 – March 1921)
An ex-player with Football League clubs Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City, Ambrose Langley had initially arrived at Leeds Road as secretary to Arthur Fairclough, but he made the step-up on Fairclough’s resignation just before Christmas, 1919. He it was who guided Town to their very first FA Cup Final in April 1920 as well as the more important promotion to the First Division at the same time. And all of this in the face of the threat of imminent closure at Christmas 1919. Unfortunately, like Fairclough before him, Langley had been very much in favour of the move to Elland Road and this ultimately led to his downfall and resignation in March 1921 when he was superseded by his assistant, Herbert Chapman.
Langley’s managerial career reads: Pd 65, W 33, D 13, L 19.
(W.E. TURTON, ‘1919-20 Team’ postcard)
HERBERT CHAPMAN (March 1921 – June 1925)
Probably the most famous manager in not only Huddersfield Town’s history, but also that of the English game in general, Herbert Chapman arrived at Leeds Road as Secretary to Ambrose Langley in September 1920. He had survived the enforced closure of Leeds City where he was suspended over illegal payments to Wartime guest players; Chapman had appealed against the accusation and whilst four other Leeds City officials were banned for life, Chapman’s appeal was upheld and he came back into post-war football at Huddersfield. It was while he was at Town that Chapman began his personal revolution of the game and its tactics which he would take even further when he moved to Arsenal. However, he will always be fondly remembered at Huddersfield for guiding them to their first ever League Championship title in 1924, a feat that he repeated the following season and, remarkably, set up the trail-blazing third title win of 1926 having already moved on to Highbury in June 1925 where he would, astonishingly, repeat the triple Championship win. Town also secured their – so far – only FA Cup win during this ‘golden’ period in 1922 and his legacy has forever been a bit of an albatross around the necks of subsequent managers at the club.
His managerial record was: Pd 194, W 95, D 53, L 46
(GALLAHER LTD., ‘Sporting Personalities’, 1936)
CECIL POTTER (July 1925 – August 1926)
Upon Chapman’s resignation, Cecil Potter stepped into the breach, becoming the last person to hold the post of Secretary-Manager; all of his successors would be ‘Manager’ until the 2015 arrival of David Wagner who would be the ‘Head Coach’. Potter adapted the side that Chapman had left him and successfully guided the club to the pinnacle of the English League once more, thus establishing the record for Huddersfield Town being the first team ever to win the Championship three times in a row. But after only one season in the post, Potter tendered his resignation in August 1926, citing health and family reasons, although this was not strictly true…
In his book ‘Huddersfield Town: Champions Of England 1923-24, 1924-25, 1925-26’ author Jim Brown reveals that Potter had somehow created a stir between the club and Llandudno FC which put the Town in a very delicate situation. No more details as to why or how are known, but Brown has discovered extraordinary Board meeting notes which point towards Potter being asked to leave the club with a severance fee of £400.00 and nothing more was to be said about the matter.Cecil Potter’s solitary season in charge provided the following record: Pd 44, W 24, D 11, L 9.
(W.E. TURTON, ‘1925-26 Team and Officials’ photograph)
JOHN ‘JACK’ CHAPLIN (August 1926 – May 1929)
Jack Chaplin had the unenviable task of following the ‘Triple Championship’ successes of Chapman and Potter, a task that he wasn’t quite up to although he did lead the club to a very creditable second place in his first season. There followed another second place the following year, and another losing FA Cup Final, this time to Blackburn Rovers, but a FA Cup semi-final in 1929 together with a 16th placed League finish led to him stepping down at the end of the 1928-29 season, with a final managerial career which reads: Pd 141, W 62, D 38, L 41.
Jim Brown (ibid) provides an interesting footnote to the story of Chaplin’s career. After having retired in 1939 at the age of 57 he and his wife relocated to Blackpool and thence to Warmsworth, Doncaster, where they were both found dead of barbiturate poisoning on Easter weekend, 1952. The coroner decided that Eva had committed suicide, but an open verdict was recorded on Jack as there was insufficient evidence to show how it had happened; in all likelihood, Eva had poisoned him.
(SWINDLEHURST & NICHOLSON, ‘Huddersfield Town Players and Officials’, 1935)
CLEM STEPHENSON (May 1929 – June 1942)
Having played against Town in the 1920 FAC Final, Stephenson was released by Villa and joined Town in March 1921. He was thought to be past his best, but he went on to perform well for Town and even gained his only England cap when on Town’s books. Clem was also the first in a proud line of people to represent the club both on the pitch and in the manager’s office. Having appeared on the pitch in stripes 275 times and scoring 50 goals in the League and FAC between 1921 and 1929, he finally hung up his boots and moved up into the managerial hot-seat in May 1929.
Despite never achieving the Football League heights of his predecessors, Stephenson nevertheless led the club to a further two FA Cup Finals, although both were to end in defeat, to Herbert Chapman’s Arsenal in 1930 and to old foes Preston North End in 1938 who exacted revenge for their 1922 defeat at the hands of Town and Stephenson the player. The best that Stephenson achieved was a second-placed finish in 1934, but when he retired in June 1942 he was Town’s longest-serving manager and he had kept the club in the top flight when at one point it looked likely that they might actually relinquish that honour. His managerial record reads: Pd 556, W 235, D 132 and L 189.
(OGDEN’S LTD., ‘Captains of Association Football Clubs & Colours’, 1926)
TED MAGNER (June 1942 – September 1943)
Ted Magner had originally joined Town as a specialist coach to assist manager Clem Stephenson in 1938 before stepping up to take charge during the difficult period of regional wartime football in June 1942. He only filled the post for one season, stepping down and reverting to his previous position upon the appointment of David Steele in September 1943. Magner’s managerial career reads: Pd 42, W 25, D 9, L 8.
(BREEDON BOOKS, ‘Huddersfield Town: A Complete Record 1910-1990’ by Terry Frost, 1990)
DAVID STEELE (September 1943 – June 1947)
Having represented the club on the field during the ‘Triple Championship’ years, David Steele followed in the footsteps of his team-mate Clem Stephenson by becoming manager of the football club in 1943. Steele found it hard during the last few years of wartime football, but when Football League fixtures returned it was even harder still as he fought to keep the club in the elite top flight. By the end of the 1946-47 season Town had struggled to finish in 20th position, just above the two relegated clubs, and Steele decided that it was time for someone else to have a go. Despite his best efforts, he had found it hard to replicate his playing qualities in the manager’s office although he will always be fondly remembered for his time at Huddersfield.
Steele’s managerial record at Town reads: Pd 167, W 73, D 24, L 70.
(BARRATT & CO. LTD., ‘Cricketers, Footballers and Football Teams’, 1925)
GEORGE STEPHENSON (August 1947 – March 1952)
The fresh-faced young whippersnapper shown in the ‘PINNACE’ card at left is George Stephenson, the younger brother of Town hero Clem. George had been a player at Leeds City when it folded and he was quite literally auctioned off to Aston Villa in October 1917. He arrived at Huddersfield at a very difficult time in their history and had a major struggle on his hands to keep the club in the top division. He eventually resigned in March 1952 with only nine fixtures to go and the club very precariously placed. Ultimately they were relegated for the very first time and it would be up to his successor to lead them back.
Stephenson’s managerial career statistics are: Pd 213, W 62, D 45, L 104.
(GODFREY PHILLIPS LTD., ‘Pinnace Footballers’, 1921)
ANDY BEATTIE (April 1952 – November 1956)
Upon his arrival at Huddersfield Town, Andy Beattie was one of the youngest Football League managers. Like Bill Shankly who was to follow him, Beattie had played against Town in the 1938 FA Cup Final and his very first task was to administer the last rites as the club slid out of the First Division for the first time. However, such was his capability at instilling discipline and a winning mentality, Beattie successfully brought the club straight back in the famous 1952-53 season when the entire defence played every game, as did winger Vic Metcalfe – striker Jim Glazzard missed only the final game!
The following year Beattie led Town to the dizzying heights of third in the First Division although that was to be their zenith of recent years as they slipped back down to the Second Division at the end of the 1955-56 season and Beattie fell on his sword in November 1956. His Town managerial career spanned 196 games of which he won 84, drew 45 and lost 67.
(J. F. SPORTING COLLECTIBLES, ‘Footballer Club Managers 1940s-50s (1st Series)’, 2001)
BILL SHANKLY (November 1956 – November 1959)
Bill Shankly is probably the most celebrated and well known of British football managers in the modern era; or, at least, he WAS before the days of the ‘celebrity manager’ of the late 1990s-early 2000s. Renowned for his wit and winning mentality, Shankly had played against Town for Preston North End in the 1938 FA Cup Final where he terrorised the team with his famed long throw-ins. He came to Town as a manager in November 1956 from Workington Town, but it was not at Huddersfield where he was to really make his name. Exactly three years later he would resign his post in order to join Liverpool (whom, ironically, Town had just beaten in a league game) and it was there that he rose to worldwide fame. His time at Town, however, saw the emergence of the great talent that was Denis Law and Kevin McHale, both given league debuts at the tender age of only 16.
The rumours behind Shankly’s departure from Town were that he wanted to sign Ian St. John and Ron Yeats, a couple of then cheap unknowns; the Board’s reluctance to part with the cash – not for the last time – forced Shankly’s hand and he left for Liverpool where he signed the aforementioned players who were to become cornerstones in the mighty Liverpool team of the 1970s as Shankly’s stock rose ever higher.
His managerial career at Town reads as follows: Pd 137, W 51, D 36, L 50.
(CLEVEDON CONFECTIONERY LTD., ‘Football Managers’, 1959)
EDDIE BOOT (January 1960 – September 1964)
Boot was yet another Town ex-player who stepped off the pitch into a position of authority. Having made 305 appearances as a player for the club he had then become the reserve team coach before taking over in a ‘caretaker’ capacity after Bill Shankly jumped ship. That brief period included the famous 5-1 win at West Ham in the FA Cup and so Boot was a popular choice when the time came for the Board to make a permanent appointment.
Boot enjoyed a certain amount of success during his period at Town although a brief flirtation with relegation in 1960-61 had been a worry. Boot and the club had also had to contend with the difficulties presented by Jimmy Hill’s successful challenge of the maximum wage structure together with growing freedom of contract and movement for players; by the time of Boot’s decision to resign in September 1964 it was rumoured that he was disillusioned by the game.
His Town managerial record reads: Pd 217, W 79, D 58, L 80 (does not include his 9 games as caretaker manager where he managed 4 wins, 3 draws and 2 defeats)
(HTAFC ‘Official photocard’, c1951)
TOM JOHNSTON (October 1964 – May 1968; December 1975- April 1977; and September 1977 – August 1978)
Tom Johnston was twice required in a ‘fire-fighter’ capacity but by all accounts his final spell was marked by almost no control over his players whatsoever. He was also responsible for bringing in the hated all-blue shirts in the late 1960s and again in the late 1970s. His argument was that he felt that the weight of tradition and history was too heavy on the shoulders of the players and so a clean break was needed; try telling that to the fans though. His overall Town managerial career reads as follows: first appointment, Pd 170, W 73, D 41, L 56; second appointment Pd 74, W 35, D 18, L 21; third appointment Pd 44, W 15, D 12, L 17.
(UNIVERSAL PICTORIAL & PRESS, ‘Press Photo’, July 1977)
IAN GREAVES (June 1968 – June 1974)
Ian Greaves was a ‘Busby Babe’ who seized his chance in the aftermath of the 1958 Munich air Disaster. He initially came to Huddersfield as a coach, working under Tom Johnston but stepped up in the summer of 1968 and will be forever remembered as the manager who took Town back to the First Division in May 1970 with a small, youthful squad. Unfortunately the Board didn’t back him when he needed it most and, when the goals of the mercurial Frank Worthington inevitably dried up, Town were relegated back down to Division Two in May 1972. Further relegations for the club followed but in June 1974 Greaves resigned with his managerial career statistics showing Pd 281, W 89, D 88, L 104.
(A&BC GUM, ‘Footballers (plain back)’, 1961)
BOBBY COLLINS (July 1974 – December 1975)
Appointed in July 1974 to succeed Ian Greaves, Collins was fresh from helping Oldham to promotion from the same division as assistant to Jimmy Frizzell. However hopes of following suit at Leeds Road soon evaporated as Town suffered a dismal 1974-75 campaign which ended in relegation to the basement division for the first time in the club’s history. After 13 defeats in their first 25 league games, the Board had brought former boss Tom Johnston back to the club to work alongside Collins. In an early version of the director of football role, Johnston was termed general manager and Collins team manager, but the partnership failed to take off as Town were relegated in bottom place, having used more players (33) than they gained points (32 under two for a win). Collins resigned midway through the 1975-76 campaign, complaining of interference in his control of the team, and Johnston took full managerial responsibilities.
One of the few memorable moments of the season was a three-game League Cup second-round sequence against Collins’ old club Leeds, the first (home) leg of which saw the final game of Brian Clough’s tempestuous 44-day reign at Elland Road.
Collins managerial record at Town was: Pd 76, W 24, D 18, L 34.
(PRESS ASSOCIATION, ‘Press Photo’, 19 August 1975)
JOHN HASELDEN (April 1977 – September 1977)
Haselden joined Huddersfield Town in 1976 as physiotherapist/coach under Tom Johnston and was promoted to the manager’s role in 1977 when Johnston stepped down. This role only lasted six months, though as Johnston came back to Huddersfield for a third time in 1977. Haselden was then appointed assistant manager to new manager Mick Buxton throughout his tenure and the pair left Town in December 1986.
His brief managerial tenure statistics read: Pd 18, W 1, D 11, L 6.
(BREEDON BOOKS, ‘Huddersfield Town: A Complete Record 1910-1990’ by Terry Frost, 1990)
MICK BUXTON (October 1978 – December 1986)
Starting out as a coach under Tom Johnston, Mick Buxton eventually took over the reins and will be forever remembered for leading Town to a wonderful 4th Division title in 1979-80 with the team scoring 101 league goals in real ‘cavalier’ style. They also went close the next season too, falling short in the run-in. He was shamefully sacked just before Christmas in 1986 after a managerial record which read Pd 426, W 174, D 113, L 139 (with a further 12 games as ‘caretaker’ which were W 4, D 3, L 5)
(F. K. S. PUBLISHERS, ‘The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars 1968/69’, 1968)
STEVE SMITH (January 1987 – October 1987)
A fantastic servant to the club, Smith started out as an apprentice at Town, scored goals in the promotion win of 1969-70, scored the first goal in the 1st Division in 1970, played and scored as they dropped through the divisions, then coached and managed and even turned out at an FA Cup game at Workington in November 1981 as a 35-year-old. Smith’s managerial record reads: Pd 33, W 7, D 13, L 13 (and previous ‘caretaker’ spell of Pd 5, W 2, D 3, L 0)
(F. K. S. PUBLISHERS, ‘The Wonderful World Of Soccer Stars Gala Collection‘, 1970)
MALCOLM MACDONALD (October 1987 – May 1988)
Where do I start?! Malcolm Macdonald breezed into HTAFC exuding confidence on the back of successive promotions with Fulham but, in truth, he never got going at Town, a situation partly attributable to Chairman Roger Fielding pulling out and taking the cash with him, leaving Macdonald in a difficult position. In a turbulent season probably best known for the infamous 10-1 defeat at Manchester City on 7th November 1987, Macdonald was sacked just before the last game of the season against Sheffield United as Town were relegated with only 28 points, finishing 14 points behind Reading in 23rd place and a further five behind the safety zone of 21st placed West Bromwich Albion.
Macdonald’s dreadful stats read: Pd 37, W 6, D 7, L 24.
(IRISHMIRROR.IE, ‘Press Photo’, c1988)
* And, a personal observation … I distinctly remember an interview in which Macdonald said – and I quote – “These players are living on a knife-edge – if they’re not up to it, then I’ll bring in some who are”; strong words from a manager who clearly wasn’t up to it himself.
EOIN HAND (May 1988 – March 1992)
It was Eire ex-international Eoin Hand’s job to pick up the pieces from the mess that had been the ‘Macdonald era’ at Town. Hand had actually been Macdonald’s assistant so he was, in some ways, fortunate to still be in situ after Macdonald went. Hand brought in experienced player Peter Withe as his assistant (and the club’s first ever player-coach) and they restored a bit of pride to the battered outfit. However, the end of season placings under Hand of 14th, 8th and 11th led the Board to pull their very itchy trigger-finger when, in the his fourth and final season, the team looked to be in with a chance of finally making the jump up through either automatic promotion or the Play-Offs at least, and Hand was sacked in March 1992 to make way for Ian Ross.
His Town managerial stats were: Pd 216, W 83, D 57, L 76.
(HUDDERSFIELD EXAMINER, ‘Press Photo‘, c1989)
IAN ROSS (March 1992 – July 1993)
Ross was brought in late in the 1991-92 season to hopefully see Town over the line in the race for promotion to Division 2, but unfortunately the club fell short, losing in dramatic style to Peterborough United in the Play-Offs. But because of a quirk of fate, Town did indeed compete in Division 2 the following season; the re-branding and reconstruction of the Football League after the creation of the English Premier League led to renaming and re-structuring. Ross was in charge for that inaugural season (1992-93) but the team had a dreadful start and failed to recover, so they finished in a disappointing 15th place. Things only seemed to improve once ex-manager Mick Buxton was appointed as assistant manager, but Ross left to become Buxton’s assistant at Sunderland at the end of the season.
His Town career stats were: Pd 71, W 31, D 16, L 24.
(MARSHALL CAVENDISH, ‘Book Of Football Top Teams’, 1971)
NEIL WARNOCK (July 1993 – June 1995)
Neil Warnock was always a bit of a ‘Marmite’ manager – you either loved him or you loathed him! His legacy at Town was two Wembley Finals appearances, one promotion … and a rather unpopular brand of football. But you simply cannot deny that the man brought success to the club at a time when they were down in the doldrums once again. His man-management skills cannot be questioned as he turned a collection of rag-bag free signings and loan players into a team that fought for every ball and battled for every other player in that team, a quality perhaps best epitomised by Darren Bullock, a player who will pass into Town legend status as a superb quality midfielder who came from absolutely nowhere. Warnock’s tenure ended in confusion as he walked away after the 1995 Play Off win against Bristol Rovers at Wembley after a contractual row with then chairman Terry Fisher. His managerial career reads Pd 120, W 51, D 37, L 32.
(HUDDERSFIELD TOWN, ‘Official Player Photocards’, 1994)
BRIAN HORTON (June 1995 – October 1997)
New manager Horton was fortunate to inherit a squad with loads of enthusiasm and work-rate if not being blessed with flair or talent, but his two-year tenure was nothing special. 1995-96 started well and a play-off place beckoned, but a run of just three wins in the final thirteen games left the club in eighth place, eight points behind sixth placed Charlton Athletic. Over the summer Horton was forced to replace talismanic Young England goal-scorer Andy Booth who moved to Sheffield Wednesday over the summer, and he didn’t disappoint – he brought in Marcus Stewart from Town’s beaten Play-Off foes Bristol Rovers and Stewart would go on to be a modern age hero in a Town shirt before being acrimoniously sold to Ipswich some years later. 1996-97 saw Town nose-dive down the division and survive only two places above relegated Grimsby. With the club bottom of the table, Horton was sacked in September 1997, two years before the end of his contract, after his side had gone nine league games without a win. His Town managerial career record reads: Pd 120, W 39, D 35, L 46.
(HUDDERSFIELD TOWN, ‘Official Player Photocards’, 1995)
PETER JACKSON (October 1997 – May 1999 and June 2003 – March 2007)
Having played for the club with some distinction, Peter Jackson returned to Huddersfield Town when they gave him the opportunity to become manager in October 1997 replacing Brian Horton. He was assisted at Huddersfield by former Welsh manager Terry Yorath; it was always felt that Jackson provided all the chest-thumping, fight and bravado whilst the quiet and unobtrusive Yorath was the tactician behind Town’s play. In his first two seasons in charge Jackson helped Town avoid relegation, and guided them to 10th place in Division One. However, he was controversially sacked by owner Barry Rubery in 1999 to make way for Steve Bruce.
Then in 2003, he was re-appointed manager of the club that had slid down to Division Three and were emerging from administration. In that season a very young Town side beat Mansfield Town on penalties in the play-off final to be promoted in Jackson’s first season back. The 2004–05 season saw Town finished ninth, just missing out the play-off places for promotion to the Championship. Then the following season, 2005-06, Town finished fourth and made the League One Play-Offs where they lost 3–2 to Barnsley on aggregate. With the club in 15th position after a 5-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest, on 6 March 2007, Jackson left Huddersfield with his contract cancelled by mutual consent.
Peter Jackson was a great servant to the club and his managerial record reads: first appointment Pd 94, W 33, D 27, L 34; second appointment Pd 197, W 81, D 52, L 64.(KIRKLEES SAFER COMMUNITIES PARTNERSHIP WITH WEST YORKS. POLICE
‘Huddersfield Town Collector Cards’, 2007)
STEVE BRUCE (May 1999 – October 2000)
Under new boss Steve Bruce, Town were early promotion contenders and playing some superb football in the 1999–2000 season, winning six consecutive matches – including the 7-1 slaughter of Crystal Palace – to rise to third place in the First Division table by late November; however the team badly lost form and failed to even reach the play-offs. The struggle continued into the start of the 2000–01 season when, after gaining just six points from 11 matches, Steve Bruce was sacked in October 2000. He then became involved in a dispute with Chairman Barry Rubery, who accused him of “wasting” £3m on players and having “an ego to feed”
His Town managerial stats read: Pd 66, W 25, D 16, L 25.
(HUDDERSFIELD TOWN, ‘Official Player Postcards‘, 2000)
* Please allow me another personal opinion here; a lot of people really rate Bruce as a manager; for me he is nothing but a cheque-book manager who cannot do it without financial backing. There – I’ve said it!
LOU MACARI (October 2000 – June 2002)
Macari arrived at Town with the club in relegation trouble after a poor start to the season and he could not prevent them from being relegated from Division One at the end of the 2000–01 campaign. Macari – and sidekick Joe Jordan – did manage to steady the ship in 2001–02 and led the club into the Second Division Play-Offs as the Terriers looked to bounce straight back up. However they were defeated by Brentford in the semi finals. Macari’s contract was not renewed for the next season with the Board cited his defensive style of football as the reason. There then followed an acrimonious dispute as the management duo went on to sue the club for unfair dismissal.
Macari’s Town stats read: Pd 93, W 36, D 29, L 28.
(REUTERS, ‘Press Photograph’, c2000)
*And, another personal observation… I remember a game during his tenure – Grimsby? – when, needing points to secure a promotion place, he replaced a striker with a full-back to hold on to a draw. Said it all really, and I agree with the Board – far too cautious
MICK WADSWORTH (July 2002 – March 2003)
After the dismissal of Lou Macari and Joe Jordan, Mick Wadsworth was appointed manager of Huddersfield Town in July 2002, after being recommended to chairman David Taylor by no less an authority than England manager Bobby Robson. Trying to play an expansive game with lesser quality players didn’t work and although it always looked very pretty, the football under Wadsworth showed the team had a soft underbelly which was frequently exposed. As a result Wadsworth lasted only until January 2003 when he was sacked but, in an example of high farce, apparently the club could not afford to pay him off and so he was reinstated until March, when Mel Machin was brought in to oversee the inevitable relegation to the bottom division.
Wadsworth’s Town managerial career was: Pd 43, W 10, D 10, L 23.
(HUDDERSFIELD EXAMINER, ‘Press Photo’, 2002)
ANDY RITCHIE (April 2007 – April 2008)
The irony of Andy Ritchie’s appointment at Huddersfield Town was that he had been responsible for engineering Town’s defeat in the previous season’s Play-Offs campaign when manager of Barnsley; his gain had been Peter Jackson’s loss in more than one way. Ritchie was appointed Huddersfield Town manager on 11 April 2007. He left the club by mutual consent on 1 April 2008 after an indifferent season, ironically following an embarrassing 4–1 defeat at the hands of another former club Oldham Athletic on 29 March. The highlight of his season was undoubtedly the FA Cup run which saw Town win against Premier League outfit Birmingham City before bowing out to Chelsea in the 5th Round, the first time the club had been that far for 10 years.
Pd 51, W 22, D 5, L 24.
(ALAMY.COM, ‘Press Photo’, c2007)
STAN TERNENT (May 2008 – November 2008)
Stan Ternent left Town after a disastrous start to the season which saw the club win just four of his 15 matches in charge. He was employed for only six-months at the Galpharm Stadium and departed with Town, having started the season as one of the division’s favourites for promotion, now sitting in 16th place in League One and looking over their shoulders at a possible relegation battle. Ternent had taken over in the summer following the departure of Andy Richie and was assisted by former Town favourite Ronnie Jepson. But they both went as under pressure Chairman/owner Ken Davy swung the axe. Vice-Chairman Andrew Watson who was responsible for bringing Ternent to the club also fell on his sword. When he took over in summer 2009, new Chairman/owner Dean Hoyle declared that he had never supported the appointment in the first place.
For what it’s worth, Ternent’s brief managerial record stood at Pd 18, W 5, D 5, L 8.
(HUDDERSFIELD EXAMINER, ‘Press Photo’, 2008)
LEE CLARK (December 2008 – February 2102)
It has to be admitted that Town played some of their most adventurous and wonderful attacking football in recent years under the government of Lee Clark, but he eventually paid the price for too many draws and points thrown away in very winnable games. Despite recently completing a Football League record 43-game unbeaten run, Clark was sacked in mid-February 2012 as chairman Dean Hoyle felt that he simply didn’t have what was needed to take Town over the line in the promotion stakes. The outside world was horrified at “nasty little Huddersfield” sacking their successful manager but, if you want to know the story from a Town fan’s point of view, try THIS – he’s 100% correct. And, just for the record, Clark departed with a managerial record of Pd 177, W 86, D 50, L 41.
(HUDDERSFIELD TOWN, ‘Star Cardz 2011-2012’, 2011)
SIMON GRAYSON (February 2012 – January 2013)
As has been mentioned above, Simon Grayson was brought into Town by chairman/owner Dean Hoyle to guide the club over the line in the run-in to the 2012 Play-Offs. Grayson, seen as an expert at that kind of job, duly fulfilled his obligations by overseeing Town’s extraordinary defeat of Sheffield United at Wembley, in a Play-Off Final which went all the way to penalties, with the goalkeepers taking the decisive kicks.
With the club now in the Championship (Division 2 in ‘old money’) Grayson struggled to produce anything like the football that had been seen in previous seasons although, to be fair to him, he was hampered by the sale of top-scorer Jordan Rhodes to Blackburn just two games into the season, and he eventually paid the ultimate price for some strange tactical decisions when he was sacked less than a year after he had taken charge. His short managerial career stats were: Pd 49, W 17, D 15, L 17.
(TOPPS, ‘Match Attax: Championship Edition 2012-13’, 2012)
MARK ROBINS (February 2013 – August 2014)
Robins was ‘poached’ from Coventry City as a replacement for Simon Grayson but ultimately he seemed to be trying to play a more expansive game than was usual at Town but without the players capable of doing that. In the end he walked away on the first day of the 2014-15 season in the wake of a 0-4 thumping at home to AFC Bournemouth. It should also be reiterated here that he DID indeed walk away; the club – and Dean Hoyle in particular – were crucified by the media and the usual ‘celebrity’ pundits who declared it a disgrace that any football club could even consider sacking a manager after just one game of a season. For his part, Hoyle said that he tried to convince Robins to stay on, but his mind was made up. For the record, Town’s stats under Robins were: Pd 68, W 23, D 14, L 31.
(THRICE CHAMPIONS ‘BLOG’, ‘2014-15 Squad Stickers’, 2014)
CHRIS POWELL (September 2014 – November 2015)
Chris Powell ticked an awful lot of boxes with his appointment and I have to place on record here that he was absolutely my personal choice, so I was very happy when, after a lengthy interview process of around four weeks, he was finally appointed Town boss in September 2014. However, his time at Town was characterised by some very dull and ‘sleepy’ football. There were also rumours that the players were desperately unfit and that they hardly ever trained, a situation clearly not helped by the fact that Powell was apparently commuting from his London home and so actually spent very little time in Huddersfield. It therefore came as no small surprise when Powell was relieved of command in November 2015, having achieved the following record as Town manager: Pd 58, W 15, D 21, L 22.
(THRICE CHAMPIONS ‘BLOG’, ‘2014-15 Squad Stickers’, 2014)
DAVID WAGNER (November 2015 – January 2019)
In an innovative approach by the Board, the enigmatic German-American David Wagner was appointed not as a Manager, but as a Head Coach. In his first few months he then set about completely stripping the club right back to basics and starting again with a new philosophy built on being ultra-fit and playing a different style of football – the German ‘gegenpressing’. It took a while but eventually the club was turned around from the depressing stuff suffered for many years and fans were rewarded with promotion to the Premier League in Wagner’s first complete season in English football. The Premier League itself, however, proved to be a much tougher nut to crack; Town survived their first season at that level with four points to spare after final week ‘away’ draws at Champions-elect Manchester City and reigning Champions Chelsea. However, a dreadful run of nine straight defeats in league and Cup in the following season over December 2018 and January 2019 saw Wagner and Town part company by “mutual agreement” with the club firmly rooted to the foot of the Premier League table with just eleven points from their 22 games.
Wagner’s record at Town reads: Pd 154 W 51 D 33 L 70
*And another personal observation… David Wagner left HTAFC as a modern day Herbert Chapman, having revolutionised the club from top to bottom and taking it to undreamed of heights with the club’s highest finish for fifty years. He was a true Town legend and hero.
(HTAFC, ‘Official Player Cards, 2017-18’, 2018)
JAN SIEWERT (January 2019 – August 2019)
Next into the Huddersfield “hot seat” was another German, Jan Siewert who was installed within a week of the departure of his predecessor. The Town hierarchy maintained that Siewert had been the preferred successor for two years, ever since there were inklings that Wagner might leave when he was being very successful. Like Wagner, Siewert came from being Head Coach at Borussia Dortmund II, but a major difference was that he came with a reputation for playing 4-3-3 attacking football but this was never much in evidence as he seemed to play defensive and risk-averse football for the majority of his 19-match reign before being abruptly sacked at the conclusion of the home defeat by Fulham in the Championship on 16th August 2019.
Siewert’s record was: Pd 19 W 1 D 3 L 15.
DANNY COWLEY (September 2019 – )
After a brief hiatus where head coach Mark Hudson took temporary charge for three defeats, Danny Cowley – in tandem with his brother, Nicky – was unveiled on 9th September, 2019. Fresh from several seasons of success with Concord Rangers, Braintree Town and Lincoln City, the Cowleys brought hope that Town’s flagging fortunes could yet be resurrected.
*A complete list of further stats can be found HERE.