HUDDERSFIELD TOWN chairman Dean Hoyle believes David Wagner has earned his place alongside double title-winner Herbert Chapman as one of the club’s great managers.
Town’s 47-year-head coach old yesterday left the John Smith’s Stadium following weekend discussions with the Terriers’ board.
Wagner had instigated the talks by informing Hoyle in the wake of Saturday’s goalless draw at Cardiff City that he needed a break from management.
He initially offered to stay in the role until the summer, but instead it was mutually decided there should be an immediate parting of the ways.
Wagner had only signed a new three-year contract last summer, but The Yorkshire Post understands a financial settlement was agreed yesterday with a minimum of fuss.
It is an indication of the healthy relations that continue to exist between Hoyle and the man who led Huddersfield into the top flight against the odds before then keeping the club there at the end of last season.
His achievements will rightly put him up there in Huddersfield Town history alongside great names like Herbert Chapman and Mick Buxton, legendary managers who changed the face of this club.Dean Hoyle
Hoyle, a lifelong Town fan who bought the club a decade ago, said: “Under David’s management we took this club to the highest position it has held in almost 50 years and created memories that will last forever.
“His achievements will rightly put him up there in Huddersfield Town history alongside great names like Herbert Chapman and Mick Buxton, legendary managers who changed the face of this club.
“As I had said previously, I had no intention of sacking David this season. Subsequently David – being the great man he is – came to us and made it clear that he needs a break from the rigours of football management.
“We discussed making that change immediately, but he also made it clear that he would give his all for the rest of this season before departing in the summer if we preferred.
“After a long discussion we all felt that David staying at the club until the end of the season was best, but we have kept discussions open and we all now feel that the time is right to part ways.
“I know the term ‘mutual consent’ is often a byword for the manager being sacked in professional football, but this is a truly joint decision.”
Wagner arrived at the John Smith’s Stadium in November, 2015, as something of an unknown quantity in English football.
There had been talk a few weeks earlier of him possibly being reunited with then newly appointed Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp at Anfield.
But Wagner was determined to strike out on his own and be successful, something that he did in spectacular fashion with the Terriers.
Promotion to the Premier League in 2017 being followed by survival last season made him one of football’s hottest coaching properties.
He remained loyal to Town, however, and joined assistant Christoph Buhler and first-team coach Andy Hughes in signing new deals to 2021.
The hope was this stability, together with a recruitment drive designed to address the problem of not having sufficient quality out wide for Wagner’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, would help the Terriers build on last term’s 16th-place finish.
But Huddersfield have struggled and spent just 28 days above the relegation zone. The club slipped to the foot of the table on Boxing Day and are now eight points adrift of safety.
Town’s recruitment last summer has not worked out with Adama Diakhaby and Ramadan Sobhi being huge disappointments.
Isaac Mbenza, the third of those wingers signed last summer, has belatedly shown some form, but Huddersfield’s goals tally of 13 says everything about the club’s struggles.
Wagner’s demeanour in recent weeks has reflected this. For much of his reign the German was an animated figure on the touchline and someone whose side clearly fed off that energy.
As the defeats have piled up this term, however, he began to look a shadow of his former self.
Leaving via the media mixed zone at Craven Cottage an hour or so after Town had been condemned to a last-minute defeat over Christmas, Wagner looked to be carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.
He cut a similarly forlorn figure when departing the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday.
Two days earlier Wagner had admitted at his pre-match press briefing that switching off from Huddersfield’s troubles was proving difficult.
Sam Allardyce was the bookmakers’ early favourites to succeed Wagner last night, but such an appointment would not fit with the club’s ethos.
Mark Hudson, the club’s Academy coach, will be in charge for Sunday’s home game against champions Manchester City.
Town’s hierarchy will then look to make serious progress in their search for a new boss before hosting Everton in their next fixture on January 29.
“It is a very sad day,” added chairman Hoyle. “But now we have to look to the future. That is what football and our immediate situation demands.
“I have asked Mark Hudson to take this weekend’s game against Manchester City. He knows how to play our game at its best and he knows the squad, so he is perfectly placed to do so.”