The search is over!

Enough of the speculation, changing odds and the so called 'in the know' twitter accounts. Today marks a new era for Huddersfield Town under the tenure of Chris Powell.

Just over three weeks ago, whilst recording the first of the 2014/15 podcasts, I said that Town fans had to lower their expectations. Names such as Malky Mackay (before the text scandal) and even Tony Pulis, who had just departed Crystal Palace, were branded about.

There was the nonsense over the faked picture of Chairman Dean Hoyle meeting former Celtic boss Neil Lennon and the supposed interest from Dutch manager Mario Been, according to the Daily Star.

Yet whilst the rumour mill churned more names out than Steve Claridge has had football clubs, Chris Powell's name kept cropping up and it's no wonder as he ticks many of the boxes the club desire.


Roll back a few weeks to when Dean Hoyle was interviewed on Radio Leeds by Katherine Hannah. He gave a clear indication of the type of manager he desired.

Hoyle said in that interview: “We’re looking for someone who has done it."

Well Chris Powell ticks that box. In his first full season in management, he guided Charlton to the League One title, breaking the 100 points tally and ending our 43 game unbeaten run. The 2012/13 season was also a huge positive for Powell, as he guided Charlton to a 9th place finish with one of the smallest budgets in the division. This is a bonus for Town who are trying to become self sustainable and keep strictly in line with Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

Not only has Powell got the experience as a manager, he is of course a former England international and has achieved three promotions from this division with Derby County, Charlton and West Ham. He definitely knows what it takes to advance to the top tier in English football.

Hoyle also said to BBC Radio Leeds: “We’re looking for someone to motivate, inspire and be a leader of men.”

Another set of boxes ticked by Powell.  The former left-back is well respected in the football fraternity, serving as Chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) from 2005 until he retired from the professional game. Alongside that, he's worked with the England under-17s and recently completed his UEFA Pro licence.

It is also worth mentioning that former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson, who capped Powell five times and who managed Powell at Leicester City as a player and coach, said this of our new manager: "First of all, he is a good leader and a good coach. Secondly, he is a very good human being.

"He is very popular with the players and the supporters, who look up to him, and they should do because he was an extremely good player and a good man. He will be a very good manager in the future."


Aside from Chris Powell's qualities, he steps into the Huddersfield Town manager role with a very good record in charge of Charlton Athletic.

In his time with the Addicks, Powell had a win ratio of 41% with 66 wins from his 161 games in charge. Not too shabby given last seasons struggles and only finishing 13th in League One the season before promotion.

Furthermore, he has a good reputation for blooding in young players, which fits in with our pathways mantra. Successes include winger Callum Harriott and Diego Poyet, who is now at Premier League club West Ham.

That quality of giving youngsters a chance is vital for a club that won both the under-18 and development league last season.


Are you reading this and still not convinced by the appointment of Chris Powell?

Well, perhaps you should look at a Charlton view of our new boss. Kyle Andrews who blogs about Charlton on his site 'Chris Powell's Flat Cap' gave us his insight when he answered these questions...

TC: What will Powell bring to Huddersfield Town?

CPFC: Above anything else, he'll instil your side with belief, determination and a will to win. The most marked characteristic of his Charlton side was that, regardless of the situation, they gave their all, and more often that not that produced results. It's that, in addition to those results, that makes his time at Charlton so cherished by Addicks. 

He'll also bring with him Alex Dyer. A fantastic man and another valuable asset in the dug out. Our chances of staying up last season would have been incredibly slim had he walked and not assisted Jose Riga. 

TC: What style of football does he play?

CPFC: He mostly used a disciplined and structured 4-4-2, with several means of getting forward.

We were largely strong in defence, and part of the issue last season was that individual mistakes started creeping in. Our success in League One and the first season season in the Championship was built from solid foundations at the back. It's all part of that determination and will to win he got into his side. 

Going forward, It's true that we did exploit Yann Kermorgant's ability in the air, and why wouldn't you when you've got a bloke that can win 75% of the balls knocked long to him? But it's not the case that we played hoof ball football, nor that our football was boring or unimaginative. 

Instead of starting attacks from the back, we'd use Kermorgant to start attacks further up the field. His knock downs would put us in a position to create something. 

But it wasn't the case that we only had a plan A. We had a decent record without Kermorgant, and had other ways of getting forward, especially down the flanks. 

The majority of our best play came from exploiting the width of the pitch, and he likes to have his full-backs going forward. If Chris Solly and Rhoys Wiggins played well, Charlton played well. That focus on getting forward down the flanks, I feel, would suit the players you have. 

If you can, look at how many of our goals under Powell were from well worked moves. You may even remember Simon Church's goal against yourselves in the FA Cup last season - a wonderful passing move resulting in a chance even Church couldn't pass up! That was a particularly good one, but it certainly wasn't the only goal produced from decent, flowing football.

I'm not suggesting his football is the most attractive you'll ever see, but it's efficient, effective and certainly not boring.  

TC: There has been some criticism of him being conservative, would you say that's fair?

CPFC: I think conservative is the right word, rather than negative, so yes I would. 

In fairness to Powell, especially in the Championship, his squad was weak and throwing everything forward to turn a point into three, or to double a lead late on, was a huge risk. 

But there was certainly a tendency to sit deep a little too early. The majority of the time it worked, but obviously those times where it didn't were incredibly frustrating. 

However, there were times when his substitutions changed the game. Our win under him against QPR at The Valley last season the biggest example. 

He also knows how to overturn a deficit - our record when coming from behind was incredibly impressive. 

TC: Charlton struggled last season, how much was he hindered by things going on behind the scenes?

CPFC: A great deal. I don't want to bore you with the ins and outs, but his position was made untenable. Even then, he stood up for what he felt was right for the club, still managed to take us on a cup run and pick up a few incredible league results.  

TC: What are his biggest positives?

CPFC: He's one of the best young managers in England. You don't get gel a new squad together to get 101 points in your first full season in management, and then follow it up with a ninth place finish on a shoestring budget without being a bit special. 

But in terms of a certain skill, it's his ability motivate. He gave young players their chance, he turned around and made careers and our ability to match and out play the better sides in the Championship shows just that. 

Any Negatives?

CPFC: It's probably that, as a young manager, he did occasionally make a tactical error or two. But, given our record under him, they were few and far between. No doubt he'll have looked at some of the mistakes he did make at Charlton and will look to improve on them in what is only his second job. 


Who can argue with someone who watched Powell for so long?!

What we can see is that he fits so much of the criteria we are looking for in a manger. Leadership, motivator, focus on youth, experience and someone who has worked to a fairly small budget in regards to this division.

It could have been easier for the Huddersfield Town board to go down the big name road in Neil Lennon who is looking to prove himself in England or Tony Mowbray, who needs to brush off his failure at Middlesbrough.

Equally we could have taken a punt on an up and coming manager, such as Nicky Butt who is currently with Manchester United under-19s. A good name with good contacts.

However, just like Simon Grayson's appointment it feels like Powell is the right man at the right time.

 

By Greg Marah

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