Why Premier League relegation would not mean a crisis for Huddersfield Town

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN chief executive Julian Winter insists there will be no ‘fire sales’ of key players if the club are relegated from the Premier League.

Effectively 11 points adrift of safety at the bottom of the table – and with just 11 points to their name in 2018-19, Town have the equivalent of a mountain to climb if they are to retain their divisional status.

While the club are not giving up on their hopes of remaining in the Premier League just yet, contingency plans are being made in the event of relegation – a thoroughly sensible and pragmatic approach to take.

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Should that happen, Town – who have steadfastly refused to break the bank in terms of transfer fees and wages over the past few seasons – will not be forced to sell their star assets en masse to recoup cash following the financial ‘hit’ of relegation.

A parachute payment of £40m would also soften the fall next season if Town go down – and continue to help keep the club on a stable financial footing.

The likes of Aaron Mooy, Terence Kongolo and Philip Billing would be likely to attract interest from rival clubs in the event of relegation – but whatever transpires, Town will be in a strong position.

Winter said: “Dean (chairman Hoyle) is quite a superstitious guy. Neither would he talk about promotion when we were in the Championship or talk about relegation in the Premier League.

“But, to be blunt, this club has been prepared for getting in the Premier League and it will be prepared for if it is not in it. The future of the club is the most important thing.

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“We retained our status (last season) which is fabulous. But we know that if this club does get relegated, it does not fall into crisis. There are no fire sales.

“We have been prepared from moment one. So every player we sign, we sign to fit this club, the manager’s requirements and the financial model of the club, whether it is in the Premier League or the Championship.

“Are we thinking about it (relegation)? No, we are not being negative. We are thinking about getting three points on Tuesday.

“But in the background, there are preparations. You have seen clubs who have been in the Premier League for a number of years who get relegated and fall into crisis.

“Huddersfield Town, with Dean’s leadership, have been absolutely about not risking the future of the football club.”

Winter has revealed that former head coach David Wagner first broached the subject of leaving the club to enable it to potentially travel in a different direction towards the end of 2018.

The discussions were open, constructive and friendly, with the primary concern of Wagner being to come to a decision in the club’s best long-term interests.

Those talks culminated in the decision of Wagner to leave the club by mutual consent on January 14, with the wheels soon put in motion to quickly bring in Jan Siewert as his replacement.

Winter observed: “The honesty that David deals with and the way we deal with him is incredibly straightforward, there is no ambiguity.

“We maybe first had a conversation four weeks ago, something of that order. David being the human being that he is, sort of said that – building up to a January transfer window – does the club want to adapt and think about different things?

“The maturity of that conversation was exactly as it was publicised. Dean had made a public statement at the start of the season that he would not sack David.”