Siewert's Poisoned Chalice

The likelihood of Jan Siewert finishing next season as Huddersfield Town manager is incredibly slim. That’s the opinion of the team here at TerrierBlog and it has nothing to do with his performance as manager, rather it is to do with the attitude of the players and outside factors.


Why do we think Siewert’s reign as Huddersfield Town manager will be short-lived? Read on to find out.



Apathetic players


Bournemouth’s routine 2-0 win at the John Smith’s Stadium last weekend brought into sharp focus something we have suspected for a while. This current crop of players no longer care about the remainder of the season.


It’s only human to be low on confidence and to feel helpless as the club that you play for tumble head first into relegation. Certain players however are playing as though they are not just low on confidence and powerless to resist their fate. They are playing as though they don’t give a damn.


Bouncing balls were left uncontested against Bournemouth. Players turned their backs on 50/50s as well as turning their back on the ball when their team-mates were in possession. Attacking runs have morphed into self-interested runs intended to avoid the ball and minimise the risk of getting involved.


Jan Siewert acknowledged this lack of effort in his comments and his actions during and after the Bournemouth game. Phillip Billing was hooked after yet another insipid performance. The Dane’s failure to track his marker for the visitors’ opening goal was iniquitous and anathema to the seemingly departed ‘Terrier Spirit’.



Whilst Siewert’s apologies to the fans in his post-match conference was warming to hear as it echoed many of our thoughts, it was also worrying. Siewert’s exasperation and perhaps inexperience has led him to the point where he feels it is necessary to criticise his players’ lack of professionalism to the media.


That leads us to believe that Siewert’s efforts in private to rectify the players’ attitudes have fallen on deaf ears. If certain players are unwilling to listen to Siewert or take on his instruction, then the only answer will be to offload them ahead of next season.


The harsh realism of a clear out


Eerily at time of writing, Jan Siewert has given a press conference in which he laid the foundations for a summer clear out. The Town coach spoke about how Town have only won 4 matches since last March, and claimed that a clear out will be needed to change the losing mentality of the squad.


After watching the last couple of games that may come as music to your ears, but in fact it only makes Siewert’s task harder. At a conservative estimate, at least 10 of the current first-team squad could do with finding pastures new.


Replacing 10 players, introducing them to the club, getting them to gel with their fellow players and buy into Siewert’s philosophy will be incredibly hard. With the exception of Mooy and Billing, the players that would be expected to depart would not command high fees.


Can you really envisage someone paying more for Steve Mounie than we did? Has Terence Kongolo demonstrated enough defensive potential this season to command a fee larger than £17 million?


Offloading players will come at a financial loss, which in turn will impact on the calibre of replacements that we can bring in. Ripping everything up and starting again may seem tempting, indeed it may be our best bet, but it will put a lot of strain on a very inexperienced coach.


The coffers aren’t exactly overflowing


When Huddersfield Town gained promotion to the Premier League it was rightly seen as a massive turning point in the club’s modern history. The Premier League is a division rife with money and with just one kick of a football Town were catapulted into a world of vast riches – the likes of which the club had never seen before.


During our time in the Premier League we will have received roughly £197 million in TV and prize money. Indeed in our first season back in the Championship we will receive a parachute payment of £40 million from the Premier League.


However during our time in the top tier we have spent £80 million on transfers and £64 million on wages. Further to that the club have spent £20 million on the development of a new training ground complex.


Currently based on those figures the club’s finances will still be in the black, £34 million in the black to be exact. Which coincidentally is just over the club’s annual wage expenditure (£32.8 million.)


If as expected, Town’s players are subject to a 25% paycut on completion of relegation our annual wage expenditure will dip to around £24 million leaving us with a post Premier League profit of around £10 million.


Dean Hoyle revealed back in 2017 that the average annual losses of a Championship club were £9.8 million. If that’s true, our Premier League profit will be £200,000 before parachute payments.


So we can expect roughly £40 million to play with next season when all is said and done. Most clubs would make around 10% of that available for transfers, so suddenly we’re not as rich as we thought we were.


A complete squad overhaul may be necessary but will it be financially viable let alone financially prudent?


Summary


Jan Siewert will have to overcome the growing disinterest of his current playing squad, with a smaller budget than he would have liked in order to have a successful campaign next season. Siewert won’t be able to call on his years of experience to carry out this mammoth task, instead he will be facing it for the first time.


Huddersfield Town fans have been commended for their understanding in the past by David Wagner, but we all know football is a fickle business. Can you remember the last time you saw Town score more than once in a live game?


Can you reel off the last 10 Town wins you witnessed without having to pause for thought? Can you imagine then how vexed you would be if Town found themselves in the bottom third of the Championship table after 10 games next season?


The pickings have been slim for Town fans ever since the home victory against Manchester United.


It won’t take much to tip fan frustrations over the edge at the beginning of next season. Regardless of whether or not you like Jan Siewert, you have to recognise that the task ahead of him is huge, if not insurmountable.

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