Welcome back to my Huddersfield Town save, I have to say I’m absolutely loving blogging again and the feedback I’ve received from my readers has been fantastic. I really do appreciate every single one of you who has taken the time to read and like and RT, etc.
This blog post is going to take you through my 4th season with Huddersfield and after last season’s great end of season run and our 13th place finish along with our decent signings over pre-season I’m pretty confident we can out-do what we did last season and hopefully have a good cup run as well.
Let’s do exactly what I’ve done in each end of season post so far and show you where we ended, then I can run through how we came about ending where we did.
My hope for this season was to exceed our points total from last season and in that end higher up the table. Neither were achieved. We ended up on exactly the same points but ended 2 places lower in 15th spot.
The season started well with a nice 2-0 win at Home to Everton, that was followed by 2 away defeats to Chelsea and West Ham, we then beat Spurs 2-0, 6 points from our first 4 games was decent especially as we had played some good teams. Inconsistency was the theme of the season, we could never string a run together but also never lost more than 1 in a row.
The first few months went by and as we ended November we were on a poor run of 6 games without a win, our last win being a 1-0 win at Home to Leicester at the start of October. We had played 12 and had 12 points. A really poor start, but we had played all the big boys so far and all away from home, the only bright note of our bad run was a 2-2 home draw against Arsenal.
Then we managed to win 2 games in a row and both games were crazy. A 3-2 away win against Stoke and a 6-2 home win against Southampton came out of nowhere and pushed us up to 12th spot. Things seemed to be looking up but as I said earlier everytime we looked good we got smashed back down to earth, the next 2 games were a 0-0 home draw against Brentford and a 3-1 away defeat to Watford. This really is going to be theme!
As we started the new year we were on another run of 5 games without a win. This prompted me to do something I did last season, I decided to dip into the transfer market. A couple of my players were making noises about leaving and because they had been poor when then had been given the chance I decided to let them go.
Schindler had been so good in my Championship seasons but had been hugely found out and had lost his Central Defensive spot to Ebanks-Landell this season. He wanted to leave so I let him. The same went for Paurevic and Stankovic, both had looked good in the previous season but really weren’t performing this season.
This prompted me to spend a bit of cash on a new Centre Back. Ebanks-Landell and Stephens were doing OK but I really needed an extra body to strengthen us. And here is the man I signed:
Phillipp Wollscheid – Centre Back (£10m from Aston Villa)
He was on the transfer list and is a huge improvement on what I had. Villa didn’t want him so I stepped in. His physical and mental attributes are amazing and hopefully he will help us get out of inconsistency and start keeping clean sheets.
I did make lots more offers but valuations were too much. So I had to stick with what I have got and hope for this best.
Fortunes really didn’t change, we won our next game and then went on another 5 game run without a win. The problem I have is that our defeats were against all the teams that were down the bottom whereas our only win in this 11 games period was against Chelsea 1-0.
As we ended February we were slipping down the table and were in 15th spot. Our fortunes needed to turn or we were going to be in a serious relegation scrap. March started with a fantastic win at Home to Manchester United 3-1, we then lost to West Brom away then beat Liverpool 1-0. It really was getting frustrating, we could beat the big boys but did nothing against the so-called lesser teams. We still sat in 15th spot but the teams below us were closing in and it started looking precarious.
In the final 10 games of the season we were to only win 1 more game, and you could see the players feeling the pressure. They weren’t doing anything I asked, we weren’t scoring and our defending was getting worse. Wollscheid was looking good but everyone else around him in defence had completely forgotten how to head, clear and tackle!
Luckily as the season drew to a close the teams below us stopped gaining points. We only guaranteed survival with 1 game to go. It was a really tough season, I fully expected we could improve on the season before but it wasn’t meant to be. Big changes are needed next season for me to keep pushing in the right direction.
Once again my idea of a cup run didn’t go well. The League Cup once again fell flat, I decided to blood a few youngsters and once again it didn’t work and we were knocked out in the 2nd round.
The FA Cup went much better but we were to come up against Arsenal in the Quarter Finals at the Emirates and it was a step too far as we played poorly and lost 2-0.
So it’s been a bloody frustrating season. Injuries have certainly slowed down but performances for me have been a damn sight worse than last season. The most frustrating thing is who we have beaten and who we have lost too. We won 10 games this season, these were wins against 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 10th (twice), 12th, 13th and 20th. Only 1 team that ended below us and we beat 4 of the big 6 teams. That means of the 10 games against the 5 teams who ended below us we only won 1 match. That is just not good enough.
This means there are going to be some huge changes in the next pre-season. I am shipping out a lot of players who either haven’t played or haven’t performed and I will be sending my youth players out who I signed last season and played a part in this pretty dreadful campaign. They need experience in a lower division before playing for me again. Therefore I will be needing to sign a lot of players to cover who is leaving.
Maybe I’m being a little bit tough on my squad but I really do feel we could’ve done a damn sight better. For me beating last season’s points tally was imperative and we failed at that, that means not only did I fail but the players did as well.
To rebuild the board have once again given me decent budgets, a bit lower than last season £50m transfer kitty but with the outs I’m planning I will have a sizeable amount to play with.
End of Season Awards/Stats
Tommy Smith once again was amongst one of the best players this year and fully deserved his player of the year award. Palmer and Hoban won the Young Player and Signing of the season respectively but neither of them played many games, shows you how good my other signings were when my loanee won signing of the season!
Lingard ended top goalscorer playing wide on the left and Pritchard gained most assists playing from the right. This glares my main problem, goalscoring from the front man is just way too low and that needs sorting. To rectify this I am going to create a new 4231 tactic for when we play lesser teams, to try and make us a bit more potent in attack. Playing 41221 is all fair and well against big teams to have a shield in front of goal but it offers nothing against the teams we should be beating.
And here is our best 11 for the season. Nothing to really talk about here.
Let’s take a quick look at the squad overall and how they performed.
As you can a couple of my prospect signings are in my 1st team squad. Michael Wallace was brought into the squad in January as we had lost Schindler who was my back-up Right Back as well as Centre Back. Also Eric Graf was brought in due to a few injuries, he did play 12 games and 10 sub appearances and performed OK, not great but solid enough. I will look to send both these players out on loan next season.
Once again it was a very poor Youth Intake and after deliberating over them I decided none of them were worth signing so I let them all go
A Final Word
So it’s been a pretty tough season overall but I’m definitely feeling confident that with a little rebuild of the squad we can beat what we have done this season. We need to find a 20-25 goal a season striker alongside a creative/goalscoring attacking midfielder. Defensively we have looked solid enough, especially in the final part of the season but goalscoring has certainly let us down.
My next update will, as normal be a transfer special for my 5th season in charge
Thanks for reading and see you all soon.