Huddersfield Town owner Kevin Nagle makes signings pledge as Terriers target promotion from League One back to Championship

WHEN your club has been relegated, making public declarations of intent can come fraught with risk for a chairman.

For Kevin Nagle, his pledge to Huddersfield Town fans is one that will be well received and simply has to be done in his eyes, as well as many others’.

It does not surround openly predicting an instant return to the division Town have just vacated.

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That can be dangerous as Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson found out when he said that Boro ‘would smash the division’ after being relegated back to the Championship from the Premier League in 2016-17. They didn’t.

Huddersfield Town chairman and owner Kevin Nagle (centre),flanked by sporting director Mark Cartwright (left) and chief executive officer Jake Edwards (right).Huddersfield Town chairman and owner Kevin Nagle (centre),flanked by sporting director Mark Cartwright (left) and chief executive officer Jake Edwards (right).
Huddersfield Town chairman and owner Kevin Nagle (centre),flanked by sporting director Mark Cartwright (left) and chief executive officer Jake Edwards (right).

Nagle is understandably targeting promotion from League One in 2024-25, but is not putting his head on the chopping block and saying it will happen.

What he is unequivocal about and will promise is something that is deliverable.

Namely that the perceived toxic culture among certain players which ex-head coach Andre Breitenreiter exposed at the end of last season will be addressed.

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In his time at Town, Breitenreiter will be chiefly remembered for calling out the ‘unacceptable’ behaviour of some unnamed players, which he said he hadn’t witnessed in 30 years in football.

Nagle was shocked at what he heard. But he insists it is something that the club will eradicate. And that means departures this summer.

On his emotions after Breitenreiter’s incendiary comments, Nagle - speaking in his latest video diary on ‘X’ - said: “Deeply disappointed and shocked. I always asked about that (in) ‘Do you have any issues?’.

"The only thing I have experienced owning another football club is you learn if you have issues in the dressing room, the reality of it is that probably on the pitch, play is not going to be very good.

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"We learned this and it’s something at Sac (Sacramento) Republic that I’ve told our general managers and managers that there is no tolerance for - let them go, cut them if you have to.

"We have a little different set of rules in the US than in the UK. But I know that once that happened, we were going to exit probably those players.

"I liked AB (Breitenreiter) a lot and he was a good guy and very candid about that situation. But unfortunately at that point, there was not a lot that I or he could do.

"Now we’re going to have Michael Duff and his team and a team we all build. It’s going to be very different. But we do know that when we do character checks, that’s really at the top right along with the quality of the play.

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"You can be a great player. But if you don’t have good character or quality on that side, they are not going to be at Huddersfield Town."

Nagle’s words resonate with the ethos of Duff, someone who has always stressed the importance of mentality and the right behaviour from players at all of his former clubs.

Duff was schooled well in his playing days at Burnley, where egos simply weren’t tolerated under Clarets manager and his good friend Sean Dyche. In that regard, Nagle confirmed that Duff will have a significant input into the players Town bring in this summer.

They won’t be coming in on pure talent alone, with the club’s experiences last term showing the need to bring in the right characters.

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On Duff’s role in that, Nagle continued: “Absolutely he will. Michael has been extremely successful in League One, he knows the players, quality and team he wants - and chemistry on that team. I feel very good about where we are.

"I know there’s been some questions about why we aren’t signing free transfers. But as much as we can all these players being looked at, we have got a very defined plan in how we are going to move forward.”

As for the aims in 2024-25, Nagle is clear.

"Get back to the Championship league, no question about it. That’s our goal,” he acknowledged.

"Michael knows it and Jake (Edwards) and Mark (Cartwright) know it - the entire staff know it. It won’t be easy, but we are going to try for it. There’s a pretty ‘grand plan.’”

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Meanwhile, Nagle has revealed the club are 'really close' to making a key breakthrough in their bid to take sole ownership of the John Smith's Stadium.

The stadium is owned in a three-way partnership by Town (40 per cent), Kirklees Council (40 per cent) and Huddersfield Giants (20 per cent).

Town are keen to take sole ownership in order to make a host of changes to the stadium and enable the club to generate significant additional revenue streams.

Nagle added: "We are in really heavy negotiations.

"I feel we are really close. I think there's three or four points and I hope to have a deal.

"Ken (Davy – Giants chairman) has been really great to deal with so far and I feel we're going to get over the finish line in maybe the next week or two."