Matching Premier League’s low mark not on Huddersfield Town coach Jan Siewert’s mind

Huddersfield Town head coach Jan Siewert (Picture: John Walton/PA Wire).
Huddersfield Town head coach Jan Siewert (Picture: John Walton/PA Wire).
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HUDDERSFIELD TOWN head coach Jan Siewert will not be distracted by talk of matching an unwanted Premier League record despite the impending cost of relegation being underlined by the club last season posting a record-breaking profit of £23.2m.

The Terriers’ fate will be sealed tomorrow if defeat at Crystal Palace is accompanied by victories for Burnley and Southampton.

Derby County are the only club since the advent of the Premier League to be relegated before the end of March with six games still to play.

Avoiding that ignominy would at least salvage some pride from what has been a truly desperate campaign. As would eclipsing the 20 goals scored by Derby – another record – in their own annus horribilis of 2007-08.

Siewert, however, refuses to countenance even the prospect of relegation despite Huddersfield being 16 points adrift of safety with just 21 up for grabs.

“Nothing changes for us,” said the 36-year-old. “We have a game at the weekend and we can win this game. Why should we talk about something that is not important in the concern of the next game?

“We go to Crystal Palace and prepare for winning. I always focus on the future, we have to a have a long-term (plan) as a club and me as a manager.

“But it is about every weekend at the moment. We are going there, having prepared well, and trying to get something out of the game.”

Pressed by The Yorkshire Post on whether matching Derby’s early relegation would represent a blow to his personal pride the Terriers’ head coach replied: “I am not even thinking about it.

“I do not think like this. I have a game and I can win a game. That is how I think about it.”

Since succeeding David Wagner in late January Siewert has made a point of straight-batting any questions about either relegation or his plans for next season.

Had the Town defence given as little away this term as the admittedly amiable German has in his dealings with the press then there is every chance a third consecutive year among the elite would already be in the bag.

As it is Huddersfield, even allowing for the parachute payments that accompany relegation, are facing up to a Championship return in August and the ensuing substantial drop in income that accompanies falling out of the top flight.

This much is clear from the accounts for the 2017-18 season, the club’s first in the Premier League, filed at Companies House earlier this week.

Turnover for the Terriers soared from £15.8m in the financial year that brought promotion via the play-offs to £125.2m, mainly on the back of an increase in television and prize money revenues of more than £100m.

Wages, too, went up in Town’s first year back in the top flight by £41m to £62.6m. Despite this increased expense a deficit of £21.9m in 2016-17 was transformed into a record-breaking surplus of £23.2m.

The figures also revealed that the Terriers spent £58m on transfers in the financial year to June 2018, recouping just £7m through sales. This outlay includes all signings made in the summer following promotion, plus Alex Pritchard’s £12m arrival and the loan capture of Terence Kongolo the following January.

Since the end of the 2017-18 financial year Town have committed to spending up to £20m on upgrading their Canalside training ground. This sum is not included in the recently released accounts. Nor is a sizeable chunk of the £58m outlay on transfers, which is spread across the length of the players’ contracts.

Relegation may be a near certainty, but Huddersfield can still boost their financial bottom line by moving off the foot of the table before the end of the season.

Each place in the table is worth a little under £2m extra, third bottom Swansea City banking £5.8m in prize money last season compared to the £1.9m earned by West Bromwich Albion for finishing in 20th place.

With Town vying with Fulham for 19th place two or three victories in the final seven games could prove very lucrative as Siewert welcomes back Jonathan Hogg, Christopher Schindler and Danny Williams for the trip to Selhurst Park.

It is the second visit in as many weeks to the capital, the Terriers losing a dramatic seven-goal thriller at West Ham United despite being 3-1 ahead with 15 minutes remaining.

Siewert added: “Since I joined here everyone asked me, ‘How can you make them score more goals?’ I always said it is about the work, the right chemistry on the pitch together.

“We scored three goals against West Ham, but then we had to make substitution very early. That is very hard, especially away from home.”

Adama Diakhaby, Laurent Depoitre and Isaac Mbenza remain out for the Terriers as Siewert prepares to go up against Roy Hodgson, the elder statesman of the Premier League having recently usurped Bobby Robson’s record as the oldest manager in the competition’s history.

Asked if he fancied managing at the same age as 71-year-old Hodgson, the Terriers’ chief replied: “I think so. I love football. He is the proof (it can happen).

“He is still passionate and has been a great manager for such a long time. Very experienced and, to be fair, it will be good to meet him.”