As I sit in my office writing this article, Jan Siewert’s job as Huddersfield Town manager hangs in the balance. Patience with the young German coach appears to be finally wearing thin after his side fell to yet another defeat, this time at the hands of League One side Lincoln City.
That Siewert remains Town manager today is indeed a shock, considering the bizarre goings on at the John Smith’s Stadium last night. On the pitch the team were disjointed, lacking in creativity and quite frankly, a disgrace.
Off it the assembled press were left waiting in the cold as Siewert and his players remained locked in the dressing room. The impression given being that the manager was reading the riot act to his players – something seemingly in-keeping with the volatility he has demonstrated in his short tenure thus far.
As journalists waited for their customary post-match press conference with the manager they were treated to the strange sight of the chairman angrily pacing up and down the touchline, deep in conversation with an unknown person on his phone.
To add to the confusion, Julian Winter and Town’s head of communications seemed to be engaged in heated discussion as well. The signs were ominous and an announcement on Jan Siewert’s departure appeared imminent.
As this happened pictures emerged on social media of Dean Whitehead and other members of the coaching staff arriving at a hotel in a similar state of frenzy. Reports on social media claim that the group were talking tactics – the inference being that they were discussing their approach for the upcoming Fulham game without their boss.
To everyone’s surprise Jan Siewert emerged an hour later than scheduled to greet the press and proffer his post-match opinions. Nothing he said was surprising, although thankfully he refrained from claiming his side ‘deserved something’ from the game this time.
He was bullish and angry, slamming the performances of his players and refusing to admit that he is under pressure. According to Siewert he and the chairman remain on the ‘same page’ about the team and their progress.
If that’s the case, I dread to think what is on that page. With the tide turning and public opinion firmly against Siewert let’s take a look at some of the main criticisms of Siewert and see if they are justified.
“He’s lost the dressing room!”
This statement is categorically wrong. Jan Siewert has not ‘lost the dressing room’ at Huddersfield Town, he never had it in the first place. According to Phil Hodgkinson, Siewert’s tenure began with players banging on his door demanding transfers away in the summer.
Faced with this fragmented dressing room, Siewert chose the stick in favour of the carrot as he continually blasted his players in the press. Bad results were followed by individual and collective criticisms which cannot have endeared him to his players.
Over the course of the summer Siewert seems to have worked on this, trying to create a friendlier atmosphere at the club. It hasn’t worked, many players seem to either not respect Siewert or still harbour a grudge against him from last season.
“There’s no progress!”
Those that still retain a sliver of goodwill for Jan Siewert will point to the two results at the end of last season against both Manchester United and Southampton. Town avoided defeat in both of those games, securing two 1-1 draws.
These results were heralded as huge positives for the team and the manager, but in reality they were nothing more than anomalies. Against a dreadful Manchester United side that would go on to lose at home to Cardiff in their following game, Town were beyond lucky to draw.
Had fortune favoured Solskjaer’s side they would have gone into the break 4-0 up and well and truly out of sight. Similarly Town should have been beaten by Southampton, but scraped a draw thanks to a goalkeeping error and an ‘on-the-beach’ Saints team.
The less said about this season the better. There have been very few signs of improvement or progress in the three games so far (two losses and one draw.) If you were asked to sum up Jan Siewert’s style in one succinct sentence, what could you possibly say?
I’d probably go for;
“Eleven unfit players repeating the same mistakes again and again.”
Should Siewert go?
Yes, yes and thrice yes. I have tried my best to bury my head in the sand, drown out the noise of the detractors and stick up for Siewert, but I can no longer do that. The poor results and performances are too much to take, and I fear that Siewert has reached a Rubicon.
There is no ‘best-case scenario’ anymore, he cannot rescue the situation and turn things around, he has shown nothing to suggest that he can do that anyway. Fans have lost confidence en masse, joining the players who seemingly did the same months ago.
Sacking Jan Siewert at this point is the kindest thing that Phil Hodgkinson can do. Putting the decision off and allowing him to further destroy his managerial career would be cruel and unnecessary.
A win percentage of 5.5% will be hard to sell to future employers, but it will be easier to explain than 3% or 4%. Phil, if you’re reading this, put him out his misery.
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