Huddersfield Town are Premier League and while the club’s supporters are still justifiably basking in the glow of just what they have achieved in the Championship play-off final at Wembley exactly five weeks ago, Town’s hierarchy are assigned with getting the club ready, in all aspects, for what represents a brave new world in every way.
Head to the John Smith’s Stadium during the close season and you will witness a hive of activity in terms of getting Town’s home up to Premier League requirements.
In the bowels of the stadium, the preparation is every bit as intense, with the work being in earnest after that glorious Spring Bank Holiday weekend in late May.
Summer may traditionally be a time for rest and relaxation, but for Town, there is work – and lots of it.
Good work, mind, even if the club are, in the words of chairman Dean Hoyle, ‘up against it’ to get everything done in time for the big kick-off in August, with Huddersfield’s first home match scheduled to be against Newcastle United on August 19.
On just when the realisation dawned upon him that Town were now part of the elite Premier League gathering, Hoyle said: “It is every day. It dawns on me and the staff here when you see the amount of work we have to get through to be in the Premier League: operational issues in the stadium, cabling for the live coverage and TV gantries, this is all work, work, work.
“On the Monday, (May 29) we sealed promotion, and I think we had one day off, then the day after at 9am, we had 30 people from the Premier League turn up on a bus.
“That is life and the reality really sets in, but look at the alternative, another year in the Championship.
“This is a modern stadium, but it is not fit for purpose, so we have lots of work to do there. It is like a wall of water hitting people.
“We have gone from having a £11m turnover to a £110m turnover with a spot-kick and that has it challenges, believe you me.
“The cost (of getting the stadium up to requirements) is £3m or £4m. But it is not about the cost, it is the time. We really are up against it. But the staff are working 24/7 and we’ll get there.
“Everything needs sorting. We need 15 dugouts and the grass has to be so long. It’s whole new challenge and the Premier League is quite within its right to say: ‘Look, Mr Huddersfield Town, you get so much money – just get on with it,’ and you cannot blame them.
“But it is all exciting. There’s lots of ground improvements, lots of squad improvements but what a fantastic place to be.
“We have got a team for survival, but we do not want to be talking about survival, we want to give it a really good crack.”
Town have already made their mark in the transfer market and after breaking their club record twice in quick succession to sign striker Laurent Delpoitre and midfielder Aaron Mooy, they are set to break it again to bring in Montpellier forward Steve Mounie for £11m-plus, with another big-money deal lined up to bring in Derby County’s Tom Ince.
Danish international goalkeeper Jonas Lossl has arrived on a season-long loan from Bundesliga outfit Mainz and other targets include Inter Milan defender Andrea Ranocchia, who was at Hull City on loan last season, and Chelsea duo Kasey Palmer and Izzy Brown, who were both part of Town’s promotion push last season.
Significant sums of money will and are being spent, but transfer business will be sensible and strategic, according to Hoyle.
He said: “We want people who are hungry. We are not going to be ridiculous, we’re going to keep within our limits, but, at the same time, we do recognise that we are now playing at a different level and things have got to go northwards.
“But, at the same time, we have to manage for the down side and we are always mindful of that. We want to make sure that whatever happens in the future, the legacy is left intact.
“You look at the Aaron Mooy deal. Aaron is probably one of the lowest risk signings we will make because we know him.
“He was in the Championship ‘team of the season’, he played 50 games, his injury record was fantastic and he is a great character in his prime, an Aussie international. We know everything about Aaron.
“So to pay £8m for Aaron was actually a no-brainer. Welcome on board, Aaron.
“He said to me last season that if he was going to play in the Premier League this season he wanted to be here, so I think we had a duty to make that happen.”