Written by @GiveusanH1617
On November 9th 2015, Huddersfield Town appointed David Wagner and from day one, every single Town supporter believed he was the right the man to bring success to the club. Almost immediately Wagner revived an optimistic mindset that had long been forgotten in this quiet little corner of West Yorkshire.
credit Tony Hisgett
It’s one thing for an incoming head coach to boost the mood in the stands and down at Canalside, Town’s training facility, but Wagner would have his work cut out after inheriting a squad lacking confidence and any sort of identity, his year at Dortmund would help him see the potential in Town’s relatively young squad. Wagner would begin to slowly introduce his ideas onto the players adding double training sessions, and even having the squad adjust their routine and train in the evening prior to any mid-week fixtures, to ensure his players were at their peak. It is called circadian rhythm training.
Over the course of his first 7 months in charge there were occasions when Town hit remarkable heights; beating Leeds 4-1 at Elland Rd, perhaps the most memorable moment of last season, but with these glimpses of brilliance, came an alarming number of forgettable defeats which concluded with a 4-0 loss at Bristol City and a 5-1 home defeat by Brentford.
The appointment in the head coach was never questioned though. It was clear that even by the end of the season the team did not truly bear the Wagner hallmark. Wagner knew that the club was not going to change overnight or without significant improvements to personnel and the facilities. A busy summer would lie ahead.
The summer saw sweeping changes across the club with majority of Town’s transfer business done quickly and efficiently. When offered a new contract in June 2016, he would sign it without hesitation, reaffirming that Dean Hoyle had found his man. In a recent FFT article he said “The owners asked me to sign a new contract after only a few months, and for me, that’s a very good sign.”
Wagner, clearly a workaholic is all consuming in his commitment to ensure every part of the club sings from his hymn sheet. He is relentless in his work and throws himself into every aspect of his job, overseeing the appointment of a nutritionist and a head of performance services. Wagner would also introduce a clause into the contracts of his squad, ensuring that they must live within 15 miles of the club’s training ground because long commutes hinder recovery, a clear indication that his education influences his work.
Wagner believes a team is most effective when it feeds off a positive attitude, hard work and heart, such attributes required to survive a preseason trip to the Swedish wilderness with nothing more than a fishing rod and a roof over your head.
credit Chris Price
Returning to Huddersfield, Wagner and his team were now ready to work and work hard. Wagner identifies hard work as the key to success at Huddersfield, who would enter this Championship season with such heavyweights as Newcastle, Villa and Norwich. Town simply cannot compete financially. “We can’t be a club that buys success, we have to be a club that works for our success.”
For as merciless as his training regime may look, it certainly isn’t without a light-heartedness. Wagner is very charismatic; his affectionate manner has bound his squad together. After a gruelling preseason, that’s intensity appears to have no intention of dropping, Head Coach David Wagner now has a group of players that meet the fitness and skill levels he demands. 8 games into the Championship campaign, the #WagnerRevolution is undoubtedly working.
The team is confident and now has an identity. The Terriers’ identity. “We now call it the Terriers’ identity. Exactly the style of football I love is like a terrier. We are not the biggest dog, we are small, but we are aggressive, we are not afraid, we like to compete with the big dogs and we are quick and mobile and we have endurance. We never give up. This small dog has fighting spirit for sure.”
Town have been reassuringly combative and showcased their attacking threat, character and determination. Wagner is extremely vocal in his attitude of “no limits”, wins away at Newcastle and local rivals Leeds, as well as four consecutive home wins record go a long way to prove his players share this mentality.
Currently second in the Championship table, results and performances have has seen average attendances grow to 19,762 and are attracting the attention of the countries media and pundits. Hoyle, Wagner, the squad and fans are those not surprised with the success Town have enjoyed so far this term. Huddersfield Town have been the exciting & hard working side we all hoped they would be.
The Terriers it seems are more than capable of running with the big dogs.
Huddersfield fans, what has been the key this season to this great start? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Tim Hoggarth