If you’ve spent any time on Twitter or Facebook over the past three weeks, you will undoubtedly have been shocked to see Danny Cowley named as Jan Siewert’s replacement.
If social media were to be believed, the club was skint and Phil Hodgkinson could barely afford to pay the electricity bill at the training ground, never mind bring in a management duo with a massive compensation figure.
Yet that is what happened. Yesterday Huddersfield Town named Danny Cowley and his brother Nicky as the new manager and assistant manager of the club respectively. It is a fantastic appointment from the club, and one that has reignited my own wavering passion for the club.
Let’s make no bones about it, the last 18 months have been hard for Huddersfield Town supporters. The emotional fallout of repeated hammerings in the Premier League was briefly replaced by a small sliver of hope in pre-season, which was then brutally smashed within just a few games of the new season.
Dropped points and defeats used to have a catastrophic impact on my week, often sending me into a mini-depression. Yet in the past few months, I have become desensitized to defeats, they are by now the normal order of things.
When Town lost to Luton in their last league outing I didn’t slam my laptop down in anger. I didn’t rant at my girlfriend for an hour about the shortcomings of the referee or lament the decisions of our players. I just did something else and quickly forgot about football.
I’m not alone either, many fans have spoken about their growing apathy with not just Town, but football in general. I suppose winning just one game in 10 months does that to you. At the time of writing, I am however filled with optimism and hope for the first time in a long, long while.
I’m not dreading Sunday’s game against Sheffield Wednesday, quite the opposite, I’m actively looking forward to it and I’m also looking forward to the rest of the season. Here’s why.
We Have Ambition
In the past month or so there has been a lot of bullshit spoken about Phil Hodgkinson, Dean Hoyle and the club in general. I suppose it’s to be expected in a way. We’re all football fans and we all turn up to watch Town with the same collective hope of watching our team win football games.
For a myriad of complex reasons, we as fans haven’t experienced that winning feeling too much in the past 18 or months or so. For the most part we have remained patient and grounded in our expectations, yet in recent months that patience seems to have run out.
Jan Siewert was perhaps rightly scapegoated for the teams poor performances, yet when he was sacked and Chris Hughton wasn’t immediately installed as manager a lot of anger was directed towards Phil Hodgkinson.
He was suddenly akin to the Antichrist and a symbol of everything that was wrong with the club. Chief amongst the criticisms of Phil was the claim that he was a cheapskate, and that because of this he couldn’t be trusted to make a sound managerial appointment.
Plenty of fans were convinced that we would hire Nigel Adkins, Gary Rowett, Phil Parkinson or another equally uninspiring name that wouldn’t cost the club too much money.
Instead, we have hired the brightest manager in the football league for a combined outlay of just under £2 million including wages and compensation. That’s on top of the similar figure that the club spent in getting rid of Jan Siewert and Colin Bell.
In spending £4 million on rectifying a clearly poor managerial appointment, and in doing so bringing in a highly-regarded, forward-thinking coach the club and Phil Hodgkinson have demonstrated their ambition.
With so much negativity being bandied about recently, it’s great to see the club taking a positive and ambitious approach. Whilst recent results may not be satisfactory, it’s clear that the long-term goal is still progression and we can all be happy about that.
The Cowley’s Are On The Up
Danny and Nicky Cowley have been on an upward trajectory for pretty much the entirety of their managerial careers. The duo have performed miracles at Lincoln City and have left their previous club in a much better place than when they arrived.
What pleases me most is that we have brought the pair in when their stock is at the highest possible level. There has been no drop-off or signs of regression for the Cowley’s at Lincoln, with most of their fans confident of a promotion push prior to this appointment.
There’s nothing to indicate that the pair are jaded, emotionally scarred or somewhat sullied as previous Town managers have been after phenomenal starts (David Wagner and Lee Clark spring to mind.)
What’s even more pleasing for me is the fact that Danny and Nicky have been exceptionally cautious about their move from Lincoln. They have turned down numerous chances to manage at a higher level before, eager to ensure that they moved only to the “right club”.
That we are that club speaks volumes about our support, stature and future potential.
Oh and then there’s the fact that the Lincoln City fans are absolutely devastated. That’s music to my ears. In situations like this bitter fans are usually quick to label their former manager as a fraud or overrated.
There’s been nothing of the sort from Imps fans, they all seem genuinely gutted which is a sign of the calibre of manager that we have brought in.
The Cowleys Work Hard
You would think that hard work and dedication were two qualities that were a given for managers and players. However if certain rumours coming from the club and performances on the pitch are anything to go by, it’s obvious that those qualities have been in short supply in recent times at Huddersfield Town.
The Premier League has tainted some of our players, who for reasons unknown to me or you believe themselves to be better than the Championship or deserving of higher wages.
Rajiv Van La Parra’s departure to Red Star Belgrade is just one example of a player prioritizing themselves over the team.
Danny Cowley will not stand for that at Huddersfield Town as he demands complete unity and commitment from his players. He has already promised to instill a strong work ethic in his squad and I for one am looking forward to the fruits of that on the pitch.
Throughout the tenure of Jan Siewert and in the latter days of David Wagner, many of these players have been allowed to get away with murder. There has been no accountability for repeated mistakes and poor performances, but there will be now.
It may take time, but under the Cowley’s we will see the return of a hard-working team that we as supporters can be proud of. I can’t wait for that, and I can’t wait for Sunday either. Until next time UTT.