Home Uncategorized Short-Term Pain for Long-Term Gain

Short-Term Pain for Long-Term Gain

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during the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and West Ham United at John Smith's Stadium on January 13, 2018 in Huddersfield, England.

Since Huddersfield’s promotion to the Premier League, there have certainly been a few mistakes along the way.

Defensive tactics from management, a lack of transparency in our recruitment strategy and an extremely poor transfer window last summer have ultimately gone a long way to causing our downfall.

However, one factor which has been overlooked and which the club should be commended for is the clear, long-term financial planning which has put us in a much healthier position going back to the Championship.

Most clubs in our position might have gone through two, three or  even four managers out of choice rather than necessity, as demonstrated by David Wagner’s decision to leave the club in January 2019.

Players might also have been on exorbitant wages, with no relegation clauses in their contracts and massive debts accrued from the initial promotion push and then maintained in desperate attempts to stay in the division.

Huddersfield seemed to have bucked this trend at first glance. Lecturer in football finance at the University of Liverpool Kieran Maguire recently published a series of tweets, examining the club’s finances from the promotion season to present day.

The first and most obvious trend to point out is that the club reversed an operating loss of £22 million in the Championship to a profit of £23 million in our first season in the Premier League.

The obvious reason for this is the £102 million of extra income generated by the new television deal the Premier League had secured. This was offset by the £41 million increase in wages but as a stand-alone statistic, this is a big positive.

Other clubs such as Fulham and Wolves have spent vast amounts of money getting to the Premier League, in many respects, gambling the club’s future on securing that all elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The downside to that is you need to secure stability in the Premier League for several seasons in order to maintain that one-off payment into a consistent financial buoy which can counter-act the obscene amounts of money you spent getting to the promised land in the first place.

Maguire also pointed out the juxtaposition between spending on incoming and outgoing transfers, with £58 million being spent on new players, whilst only £7 million was generated by players leaving the club.

Again, this is an easy conclusion to come to as the playing squad, in essence, was a top 10 championship squad which was punching way above their weight and needed to be seriously revamped in order to even compete at Premier League level.

With the closure of the academy and the club not having an amazing track record of producing young players to sell on for profit, the major outgoing came in the form of Nakhi Wells £5m transfer to Burnley.

It is a common trend in the Championship now for the vast majority of club chairman to be bankrolling their clubs in the hope of Premier League glory (Derby, Middlesborough, West Brom et al), whilst other owners provide major financial assistance in order for them to stay afloat.

In Dean Hoyle and Huddersfield Town’s case, he too has contributed serious amounts of his own money to the club in order for us to climb the football pyramid and promotion to the Premier League didn’t stop this trend.

Hoyle lent the club £16.8 million to ensure it was ready for the Premier League but our successful survival season allowed the club to repay this money and then some.

However, the club still owes Dean Hoyle as an individual £49m as of 30 June 2018, a significant amount when you take a step back.

Whilst some Town fans may not have been happy with the ‘modest’ amount we have spent in comparison to other clubs, like it or not, this has allowed us to actually make an operating profit of £25m last season, the highest out of any Premier League club.

As to how this profit has been spent, i.e. on player transfers or on our state-of-the-art new training ground complex, this has unquestionably set us up better for the future in the long-term.

We have also not allowed our wage bill to skyrocket to unmanageable levels. As of 2017/2018, our wage bill was £15m lower than the next Premier League team.

Whilst some may point to this as the reason we are bottom of the league, I would far rather us have a more realistic wage bill we can trim much more easily than have Jack Rodwell type player on £50,000 a week that we cannot shift nor cut his wage packet.

All in all, whilst this season has certainly been one of the most miserable I have witnessed watching Town, we can take solace and comfort in the fact that the club have prepared for this moment, assessed our financial position and ensured that relegation does not and will not threaten the future and existence of this club.

That can certainly not be said for clubs around us right now or clubs who have been relegated in previous seasons.

As long as Siewert is given the funds he needs and a strong recruitment strategy is put in place, the future certainly looks a little brighter.