Welcome back to the end of season post of my 2nd season with Huddersfield. If you had read my previous post you will have seen all my in’s and out’s and also the injury crisis we are starting the season with. As the season begun we started with 1 fit Striker and 1 fit Inside Forward!
I do have quite a bit of confidence for this season. We ended 8th last year and also lost in the final of the FA Cup after a lucky run where we didn’t meet a Premier League team until the Semi Final and eventually were beaten in the final by West Ham in the final minute.
Lets not beat around the bush shall we and let’s dive straight in and show you how where we finished in the Championship!
Yes that’s right we ended 2nd and with that gained promotion to the Premier League, it looks easy doesn’t it? Well it was far from that. Let me show you the graph of our position after each game.
As you can see it was only at the end of the season where we were anywhere near going up. The injury crisis at the start was awful and it didn’t get any better. We lost our main man Jonathan Hogg for 12 months in only the 2nd match of the season. And people like Rashford and Wells kept coming back from injury and getting immediately injured again.
In the 1st 4 games we lost 3 and drew 1 and hadn’t scored a goal. Striking option were limited with all the injuries so I went out and grabbed myself another Striker on loan and it’s a player who I absolutely loved in FM15, that man is Will Keane.
Although he didn’t actually score many goals his arrival seemed to turn around our fortunes and after our poor start we then won the next 3, this moved us out of the bottom 3 and heading towards mid table.
As we progressed into October and November form was patchy, injuries were slowing down but was still a problem. We would go 4 without a win, then go unbeaten for 4 games. At the end of November after a great month where we had won 3 of the 4 games we sat in 7th place but the league overall was very tight, a couple of defeats would see us fall way down the league.
December was overall a very good month, a draw and a defeat started the month but we ended it with 3 straight victories and kept us up with the chasing pack.
Then January came and the window opened and immediately offers came in for players. Now I don’t usually do business in January but two offers came in for players who I do like but the offers were too good to turn down.
Firstly was Striker Nakhi Wells. With Rashford back fit and in form, Keane as back-up and also the likes of Bunn and Hiwula, both Wingers who could fill in I decided to accept the offer that came in.
The offer from Middlesborough was £3m which would rise for £4.8m depending on appearances. For a player who has spent most of the season injured I could not turn it down
The 2nd player to leave was Rajiv Van La Parra, a player who has sat on the bench all season and when he plays was very poor, apologies for the different screenshot below, I forgot to save the “Done Deal” screenshot, but Parra left for £4.1m and signed for Swansea.
So 2 players who really weren’t required sold for a combined £7.1m rising to £8.9m. Good business!
I didn’t go mad with the money but I did sign one player, no not a Striker or Winger but another Midfielder, the likes of Billing and Whitehead really weren’t performing well and with Hogg injured I needed to strengthen, then this player popped up on the transfer list and he fitted everything I wanted in not only a CM but also had the attributes I want in a Huddersfield player. That man is ex-Huddersfield player Jacob Butterfield
He only left us in 2015, that was to Derby for £4m, I re-signed him for a measly £235k, what a deal and he went straight into the first team and played absolutely incredible and was one of the reasons we won promotion.
So as we went into 2017 form was still patchy, we weren’t losing but we were drawing way too many, the good thing though was the other teams around us weren’t winning either. Over January and February we only lost 1 game, winning 3 and drawing 6, we still sat in 6th place and the league was still very tight. That defeat at the end of February was to be our last, form took off and in March we won 2 and drew 2, that was to be our final points dropped as we went on a mad run winning our final 9 games!
Promotion was only sealed for definite with 1 game left but by then we were 5 clear with 2 to play. The end of season run was sensational, we hammered everyone including a 6-1 demolition away to Bolton, a 4-2 away win against Forest and beating Champions Newcastle 1-0 at Home.
What a run at the end of the season and promotion was confirmed!
As soon as this happened the board gave me my budgets and wow I was surprised with how good it was.
After last seasons amazing run in the FA Cup I fully hoped for another run but this time it wasn’t to be. The FA Cup was a shocker and we were knocked out in the 3rd round by Gillingham. What a contrast from last season.
The League Cup went a lot better and we ended up being knocked out in the last 16 by Everton. But overall the Cups were very disappointing this season but who cares. We won promotion!!!
End of Season Awards & Review
It was another great season for Chelsea loanee Kasey Palmer who I will talk a little bit more about later on. He dominated the awards winning, player, young player and signing of the season!
Harry Bunn ended our top scorer which tells you everything you need to know, Strikers and IFs were getting constantly injured and Harry Bunn stepped up to the mark and played amazing all season. He also topped the Assist charts as well. Palmer once again topped the Average Rating and POTM’s.
And here is the best XI for the season. Slightly different to what I expected my XI to be with no Wells, McManaman, Hogg or Silvestri. A quick word on GK Silverstri, I intended to play him as my 1st choice but Garratt played so well pre-season that he took the spot and Silvestri sat on the bench.
And here are my 3 key players for this season.
Firstly is Man Utd Loanee Marcus Rashford. Even though he spent 10 weeks on the sidelines he always came back and chipped in with really important goals. In 33 games he scored 12 goals and had 9 assists but I’m not sure if I’ll re-sign him for next season, he is injured AGAIN at the moment!
Secondly is Harry Bunn, he wasn’t even in my sights at the start of the season but due to injuries he played every single League game this season chipping in with 14 goals and 12 assists and will definitely be a starter next season.
And finally is that man Kasey Palmer, he is truly stunning and like last season was by far and away my best player. he only missed 1 game all season, scoring 9, assisting 8 and getting 12 POTM awards all from the CM(s) role.
And this made me do something very drastic, before the season ended I went in and signed him up on a permanent deal. He cost me £5m, a snip if I’m being honest.
And for anyone interested here is a screenshot of my whole squad and how they performed.
I won’t be making many changes next season, every player (not loans) will get the chance and will not be sold unless we receive a silly offer. All I will have to do is replace the loan players next season.
Just want to quickly go through this as to be honest it was very poor again.
As you can see hardly any highly rated players but a couple of them took my eye, and here they are:
Curtis Lamey (CB) looks solid, his defensive technical attributes require a lot of work but his mental and physical attributes look good and he could definitely improve.
Lian Walker (CM) looked decent, he has good First Touch and Passing and also decent physical attributes. The one worrying thing is his personality is “Unambitious” but I signed him up to see how he progresses.
Scott Wallace (DM) looks like he could be a great Defensive Midfielder, he has good tackling, anticipation, strength and decisions and fits what I want in my player to be. Hopefully he can progress well with a bit of tutoring from Jonathon Hogg.
So that’s it! What a season it’s been! I fully expected a play-off push but after the start we had I never ever expected us to be anywhere near promotion, at one point I expected to be writing this update to say I had been sacked! Huddersfield are now in the Premier League, it’s going to be very tough season but with the morale high and some decent budgets I do feel I can strengthen the side enough to steer clear of the bottom 3, as Ranieri would say “40 points is what we need”.
Thanks for reading and see you all soon