CHRIS POWELL may have entertained recent visions of being an author, but he has put that firmly to one side to pen his next chapter in football management at Huddersfield Town.
His hope is that it will be a real page-turner.
While managing to recharge his batteries since being controversially sacked by Charlton on March 11, the new Town manager, who has signed a rolling deal, has also been kept pretty busy.
Since the early spring, Powell has completed his Pro Licence, helped coach England Under-17s to European Championship glory, undertaken a fair bit of media work and fitted in a bit of travelling.
He even contemplated writing a book, but it was all a prelude to his craved-for calling. A return to front-line club management.
The 44-year-old passed up several offers, waiting for the right one to come along. He is adamant that has arrived at Town.
Despite being shown the door by Addicks owner Roland Duchatelet, Powell’s work at SE7, against a backdrop of ownership uncertainty, won many admirers and respect throughout football.
Testament to that was the massive applause he received from Charlton fans in the first game after he was sacked, ironically against Huddersfield.
In his latter time at the Valley, he and Duchatelet were at odds over the teams’ transfer strategy, with the environment a difficult one. The polar opposite to what he can expect at Town.
Powell, who has brought in his former Charlton assistant Alex Dyer as his No 2 – with the rest of the Town backroom staff including Mark Robins’s assistant Steve Thompson remaining – said: “You refresh and reflect on what you would like to do the next time you get an opportunity.
“I have done that and now I have the opportunity, it is up to me to manage and lead a football club in the way I would like to.
“I’ve had offers, although they were not concrete ones. Really, they were not the right ones.
“Sometimes, you get a feeling and fit about what you want to do and where you want to go in your career. I feel this is it.
“I gave Charlton the stability they craved, and on top of that got promoted alongside Huddersfield and then finished ninth.
“The following year (2013-14) was tough as there wasn’t the stability and backing to move forward.
“I think Dean (Hoyle) will do that and I can see that.
“I know this level and what has happened at Huddersfield kind of mirrors Charlton. I just feel this club is a good fit, good people and a fantastic football structure and somewhere where I can grow again.”
If there was one word that was prevalent at yesterday’s unveiling, from Powell, chairman Dean Hoyle and chief-executive Nigel Clibbens, it was ‘over-achieve.’
It’s something Hoyle felt that Powell did in his time at Charlton, operating under a Championship budget which was inferior to many, including Town, with his hope being that he can utilise his club’s resources to the full and do the opposite: over-achieve.
Hoyle said: “Chris got the players to over-achieve at Charlton.
“He had a budget much smaller than ourselves. In the season after we both got promoted to the Championship, he had a budget £4m less than us and with 10 minutes to go on the final day of the season, we were going down and his side were finishing three points off the play-offs.
“For me, he over-achieved and we under-achieved. Everything here is in place and we want to over-achieve.”
Powell is far too savvy for outlandish promises, but what he does see is plenty to work with at his new club, with a settled structure from top to bottom and the backing of a chairman most in the football League would die for in Hoyle being two obvious ticks.
And despite Town’s tough start to the campaign, Powell believes plenty of playing quality is currently in the building.
Powell said: “The players will get a manager who is fair with them and give them chances to play. I will watch what they do in training and games and if they do as I ask and train diligently, look after themselves and make the most of their careers, they can improve this football club.
“I like a good working environment and the squad will have that. We need to put some smiles on some faces, especially in the local area.”
Clibbens alluded to Powell’s ability to motivate and get players to over-achieve as being key factors in electing to hand the Londoner the reins, the only person the club offered the job to.
He added: “The chairman said all along that we wanted someone who, in his words, had done it and in Chris, we have got that.
“We have got someone who is very familiar with the Championship and who can hit the division running straight from the off.
“Chris has shown he can get players to ‘over-perform’. That is really important to us.
“We needed somebody who could come in and motivate us and be a ‘players’ man.’ We have some talented players who just need some leadership.
“We think Chris will get the best out of our players.”