SOMEWHERE out there, there will be a German translation for the phrase ‘perfect storm.’
If someone cared to explain the significance of that term in his mother tongue to Huddersfield Town’s embattled head coach Jan Siewert, he is likely to nod his head instantly and display a rueful expression.
The irate reaction at the final whistle of the home faithful among the 6,908 crowd who attended Town’s Carabao Cup defeat to visiting Lincoln City on Tuesday night – largely out of blind loyalty rather than pervading optimism – represented another deep wound to the 36-year-old, whose first experience of English football has been a lacerating one.
When you start to lose the faith of your diehard regulars – who stoically watch their club come rain, wind or shine home and away – you are in big trouble.
Huddersfield possess a squad in transition and are a club between eras.Leon Wobschall
Despite Siewert’s defiance after a morale-sapping cup exit to the Imps, which extended Town’s winless sequence to 13 matches – with the young head coach having experienced victory just once in 18 games in charge – it is debatable as to how much more punishment the former Borussia Dortmund II coach can take. When Siewert could have done with a full working week to prepare for his next fixture, he has a little over two days before Fulham arrive in West Yorkshire on Friday night.
Should the Londoners inflict another fraught night upon the Terriers and the natives are similarly restless at the end as they were in midweek, then the die will surely be cast.
The statistics would start to make Siewert’s position look increasingly untenable. Even for his most ardent supporter and even accounting for the backing that he has received from chairman Phil Hodgkinson.
The Town supremo’s grim expression told a story in the aftermath of Tuesday’s cup loss as journalists waited to speak to Siewert. Hodgkinson was deep in conversation on his mobile phone at one side of the touchline of the main stand and it is fair to say that the talk would not have been light-hearted.
Sympathy may currently be thin on the ground for Siewert, given his record since taking on the impossible task to save ailing Town from relegation in January, but he is deserving of a touch of compassion. And a change of luck which few would begrudge.
Early in the new year, Siewert took over a dispirited group of players on the crest of an inexorable slump and punch-drunk from the effects of a season-defining 11-match winless run in all competitions.
It was a squad of players hanging on the ropes, with experienced midfielder Jonathan Hogg perhaps summing up Town’s predicament better than anyone. ‘We are like a boxer who has taken too many punches’, he memorably said.
When questioned about whether he would be potentially interested in the post following the exit of David Wagner, even that renowned relegation escapologist Sam Allardyce candidly admitted it was a job too far, with saving Huddersfield from relegation beyond his fire-fighting capabilities.
So the end of the season and a chance to construct a side in his own image could not have come fast enough for Siewert, but squad rebuilding has been far from straightforward.
Town are effectively starting again with the likes of Jonas Lossl, Chris Lowe, Aaron Mooy, Philip Billing, Tommy Smith, Mathias Jorgensen and Laurent Delpoitre having departed, with further speculation likely to focus on the futures of Steve Mounie and Rajiv van La Parra ahead of the closure of the transfer window on the continent on August 31.
Young ,unproven ‘project’ players such as Reece Brown, Josh Koroma and Trevoh Chalobah have been brought in.
Huddersfield possess a squad in transition and are a club between eras. But in the modern, cut-throat world of football where a four-match losing streak represents a crisis patience is an alien concept.
Supporters crave victories and are not as forgiving as they used to be. And no group of supporters are as heartily sick of losing as Huddersfield Town’s.
For a head coach carrying significant baggage from a run of one victory since his first match in charge on January 28, the task is even doubly harder.
Ultimately, managers and head coaches must sell a dream and deal in hope. Too little is being provided by Siewert, even considering the extenuating circumstances.
A fitful attacking performance against a League One side on home soil has exacerbated an already troubled situation.
Onto Friday – a definite night for Siewert.