Back in 1972, you could not get mobile phone, Edward Heath was the the Prime Minister of the UK, and Huddersfield Town were in the top flight of English football.
The Terriers had just adopted their new nickname, but the change bought them no luck as they were relegated from the division on the last day of the 1971/72 season. It would be 45 years until their return, but they are finally back.
Huddersfield Town and their rise to the Premier League
Life After Top Flight Relegation
The following two seasons were no better for the Terriers, and they fell one step further down to the third division.
The team managed to say afloat in their new league for the 1973/74 season, however this did not last long as the following year Town dropped into the fourth division for the first time in the history of the club.
The Terriers would remain in the bottom tier for five seasons before finally earning promotion back to the third division. In the 1980/81 season, Huddersfield just missed out on back-to-back promotions, finishing fourth place and within three points of the promotion spot. The following season was to be a good one for Huddersfield, as they were unbeaten at home for the first time in their history and earned another promotion back to the second division.
The following couple of seasons were struggles for the Yorkshire side though. They found themselves in the relegation zone in 1985/86 season, but survived when Duncan Shearer arrived from Chelsea. The striker was instrumental in helping them avoid the drop. Another couple of seasons with struggles saw town finish close to or in the relegation zone, and the Terriers found themselves relegated at the end of the 1987/88 season. Finishing third in the 1991/92 season, town failed to gain promotion after defeat in the play-offs to Peterborough United. This was the recurring story for the Terriers in forthcoming seasons.
The Premier League Formation
At the end of the 1991/92 season is when the Premier League was first formed, which meant Huddersfield were now in the newly named Division Two, but it was still the third tier. The 1994/95 season was a successful time for them. They moved from their old ground at Leeds Road to the new shared ground at the Kirklees stadium, which today is known as the John Smiths Stadium. The team finished fifth and earned promotion to Division One via the play-offs.
The club was sold in 1998 which proved to be a very good move, and it allowed the team to acquire players who helped them stay in the same division until the 2000/01 when the Terriers were relegated again. This time, it was back into Division Two, the third tier.
The following two seasons saw Town end in the play-off spots each year, but losing both at the semi-final stage. In the 2002/03 season the club not only found themselves relegated, but very nearly went into administration and could have been liquidated. Once again the Terriers were in the bottom division of the English Football League. Emerging from the financial brink, the next season was a very successful one as town earned promotion immediately back to the second division. As the league had been re-structured again, with the Championship now being the old Division One, they were now in League One.
Dean Hoyle Years
Dean Hoyle became Chairman in the 2009/10 season, but had been “Chairman Elect” for the previous two seasons. Hoyle also became the majority shareholder and therefore owner in 2009. This was to be the start of something that would lead the team to where they are now. Hoyle’s first two seasons had seen Town beat local rivals Leeds United twice in the season, the first time in 78 years and very nearly earn promotion to the Championship. Unfortunately though, they lost to Millwall in the play-offs.
In the next season, the team finished in third place and were in the play-off final. However they once again lost the final, being held at Old Trafford by Peterborough United. This kept the Terriers in League One. Huddersfield were also unbeaten for 43 games, which is second only to Arsenal’s run of 49 matches unbeaten in 2003/04.
The 2011/12 was another successful season as the Terriers were once again involved in the play-offs. After a 0-0 draw and extra-time had failed to separate the teams, a penalty shoot-out ensued. Even the shoot-out was more nerve-wracking than normal. Every player on the pitch had to take a penalty as nothing was separating the teams. Eventually Huddersfield saw their opponents miss and they were into the Championship.
Following disappointing seasons in the Championship, where the Terriers finished 16th, 19th & 17th, mid-way through the 2015/16 season Dean Hoyle took what he deemed to be a very big risk. Hoyle appointed David Wagner, who had been the manager of Borussia Dortmund II.
When Wagner left Germany, it was assumed he would be joining his best friend Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, but instead took the job with Town.
In the pre-season for the 2016/17 season, Wagner took the team away to Sweden for a bonding session. He took them to a survival expedition – involving tents and outdoor cooking, no home comforts at all, which led to the ‘Crazy German’ tag. It may have been strange, but it worked. The trip included the players on loan from other clubs and they all bonded as one. They all had the same ambition, the same drive, the same “Terrier Spirit” and got behind the coach and his plans.
The 2016/17 season saw Town finish fifth in the Championship, after at one stage being in automatic promotion places. They first faced Sheffield Wednesday in a two leg semi-final, which ended with a penalty shoot-out after it was honours even. The Terriers won 4-3 and were heading to Wembley for the final against Reading. After the deadlock could not be broken in normal time, extra-time also failed to yield goals. Both teams did come close to scoring and the deadlock could easily have been broken. The shoot-out was very nerve-wracking, with fans not able to watch at times. The Terriers went down 3-1 but a miss by Reading and saves by on loan keeper Danny Ward, saw the terriers promoted to the Premier League.
Back in the Big Time
Their first season in the Premier League sees the Terriers with wins over Crystal Palace, Newcastle United, and the biggest scalp so far, Manchester United. Three draws and four losses see Huddersfield currently in mid-table. The aim of the club, players, chairman, head coach and ultimately the fans, is to survive their first season in the Premier League. On current form it is very possible that they will. Wagner was even given the nod of confidence from his friend Klopp, who said the side would definitely stay up. Not a bad figure to get that level of praise from.