You can't but help feel that every transfer window is key for Town's future in this division. You could say that the majority of transfer window's have been positive since the return to the Championship and with the exception of a few all the incomings have been positive in one way or another.
This transfer window was set to be another key one and a marker for Chris Powell who was continuing to build his own side and we could finally see if the deficiencies in our side would be solved. Here's the verdict on the incomings and outgoing of quite a busy window.
The new boys
Jason Davidson: Left-back has long been a problem for Town arguably ever since the days of Jamie Vincent which was a good 15 years ago! Jack Robinson was hugely impressive last season but the England under-21 international was always going to be an expensive buy even before his injury. To bring in a left-back with experience in one of the top divisions in Europe and one with international recognition then you could say it's a good bit of business. So far has looked steady away and despite the odd mistake looks to be a good singing. VERDICT: 7/10
Dean Whitehead: The central midfielder with a jaw to match David Coulthard's has certainly done well since his days of Oxford when he played against a Division Three Terriers side. Spells at Stoke and Sunderland show what he can bring to the table but a two-year-deal for a player well into his thirties is a big risk. Brought in to play alongside the now departed Conor Coady, you have to question what Whitehead will bring to the side bar his vast experience. VERDICT: 4/10
Kyle Dempsey: The attacking midfielder impressed in his first full season for Carlisle United with 11 goals and plenty of assists which earned his transfer to Town. This transfer continues with Town's strategy of buying in young talent with potential who may command a large fee in the future - a strategy which has had reasonable success. VERDICT:8/10
Martin Cranie: On the face of the original transfer, Cranie seemed to be the cheap option who could fill in several positions. The reality is he is composed on the ball with Championship experience and now should be Town's third choice centre-back. A low risk transfer on a one-year-deal with the option of a further year. VERDICT: 5/10
Jordi Hiwula: Nine goals in 19 games on loan at Walsall last season and plenty of goals for Man City in their under-21's means that this transfer should be a no brainer. A young lad, a goalscorer with plenty of talent. Strangely sent out on loan to Wigan as part of the Emyr Huws deal given Town's lack of strikers but definitely one for the future. Verdict: 7/10
Mustapha Carayol (loan): A very pacy winger with power and strength to go with that pace. However, just like Sean Scannell questions remain over his final ball. His brief cameo against QPR was encouraging though. Verdict 6/10
Emyr Huws (loan): If the young Welshman can stay fit and rediscover the form he had when on loan at Birmingham City two seasons ago then this could prove to be a shrewd signing. However, given the fact it's just a loan from Wigan, it feels like we're putting him in the shop window for the Latics. His recent injury record is poor too. Verdict 7/10
Jamie Paterson (loan to buy): Just two season's too late for Town to sign the former Walsall man. He chose Nottingham Forest then but the transfer embargoed club are cutting their cloth and the deal to bring him here is a good one. Town get a good look at the young winger and if they like the look will make the deal permanent. Verdict: 8/10
The old boys
Conor Coady: Signed for £375,000 just season ago and sold to Wolves for just shy of £2million with add ons due for Town, it seems like a very good deal, but is it? Many Town fans would argue that last season's young player of the year should command a higher fee given the figures the Championship has seen this summer. Verdict: Good bit of profit, shame we couldn't milk Wolves for more.
Alex Smithies: The departure of the only home grown player in the first team squad was a desperately sad one. A talented young goalkeeper who is now sitting on the bench for QPR with Town nearly £2million better off. Dean Hoyle in his Q and A said the money from this transfer would be reinvested and told us that Smithies was one of the highest earners at the club. Yet hearing Smithies on Radio Leeds about the departure from the club he loves, well it feels like he was given a firm nudge out of the door. Arguably undervalued by Town just like Coady. Verdict: Something just doesn't sit right with this departure.
Jacob Butterfield: Despite the chairman saying that Butterfield wasn't for sale, we all knew that a large enough bid would be too good to turn down. Derby's pursuit wasn't well received by Chris Powell but the £5million that Alan Nixon put on twitter is more than enough to soften the blow - not bad since we only paid around £300,000 a year ago. The only issue is that Town didn't have enough time to bring in a replacement due to the deadline day departure, which may lead to some fans likening this transfer to Marcus Stewart's departure should Town fail to stay in the Championship. Verdict: A deal Town couldn't say no to.
Adam Hammill: Two seasons ago Hammill provided 12 assists and looked like the player the once earned a move from Barnsley to the then Premier League Wolves. Yet since Mark Robins' departure, he has never been the same player and personal issues have dented his time at Town. Verdict: An understandable parting of ways.
Released this summer: Jon Stead, Oscar Gobern, Jake Carroll, Daniel Carr, Anthony Gerrard.
Reasons to be cheerful:
- A war chest of funds that can be spent over the next few transfer windows. There is the potential for building a team with the right signings at the right prices
- Town have definitely improved their attacking options out wide and you could arguably say that the strength and depth in the wide men is the best the club has seen in modern times.
- The signings of Dempsey and Hiwula continue Town's transfer philospohy of signing young talented players with a potential resale value. They just nee the opportunities now.
Reasons to be fearful:
- Town go into this season with no cover in the full back areas, just our own version of John O'Shea in Martin Cranie.
- The failure to bring in another striker. A lot will now rest on Wells to score the goals to keep Town safe from relegation.
- With Jacob Butterfield's departure, there is a lack of creativity from centre midfield - a lot will rest on Emyr Huws getting back to full fitness.
- Potential unrest at the club. Alex Smithies comments on his departure plus James Vaughan's outburst via Twitter show that everything isn't as rosy as the club will want fans to think it is.
- Defensively, Town's frailties remain the same.
- The squad isn't as good at the end of the transfer window as it was at the start.
The last bullet point above is of huge concern to me, transfer windows are about bringing in players to improve your squad or to offer something different. Have Town improved on what they had in this window? Not at all. Arguably they have just sold their three best assets and with that their most valuable assets and not brought a single player in on a permanent deal to replace them
Most fans understand that for Town to compete a lot of wheeling and dealing needs to be done to ensure we have some future presence in the transfer windows, keep under Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations and aren't over reliant on funding from Dean Hoyle. However, this transfer window feels like the club has been asset stripped and when you look at the current players on the books, not many would command the sort of transfer fees that the sale of Conor Coady brought in.
This begs the question why weren't Town more prepared for the transfer window and more prepared to splash some cash on young players with the prospect of large resale value. Take two players who were sold on deadline day to rival Championship clubs in Ryan Woods and Nathan Byrne. Both were looked at by Town, in fact the latter was subject to a transfer bid from Town according to the BBC (who only ever publish true facts unlike Sky Sources) yet it wasn't deemed good enough. Why didn't Dean Hoyle and Town bid the money that Wolves did to ensure that a player of his calibre with the potential of a huge transfer fee in the future.
Some may deem this criticism as harsh but can you as fans honestly say that Town under Hoyle's leadership have had a good transfer window? No. Quite simply our squad is weaker than last season when the division is as strong has it as ever been and are there three teams quite clearly worse than Town? Again no. The Jacob Butterfield situation is rare and not as disasterous as some will make out as every player has a price, it's just a shame his price came as the window was slamming shut.
In my mind Town have come to a crossroads and the man at the helm isn't quite sure what to do. The reality is we are one of the very few clubs sticking with FFP meaning that our clout in the transfer market is significantly weaker than many in this division. Town need to have a solid strategy whereby they are not only proactive in the transfer market but are proactive in recruitment of youngsters to ensure the academy grows stronger and produces the players to challenge for first team spots.
This crossroads is a huge one for this football club, handled well we could finally establish ourselves as a middle of the road Championship club, handled poorly or even cautiously then we could soon be returning to League One. Dean Hoyle must be the vociferous Chairman he once was but remain more professional than he has been in recent times, calling Oscar Gobern a 'sicknote' in a public forum is not what is required. Huddersfield Town need to market themselves more to potential signings too, even if we are seen as a stepping stone club. Yet even if that is the case more ambition needs to be instilled - for the Chairman to ask for top half of this division with the players in the squad, well that seems ludicrous.
Questions must also be asked of the state of the current squad as Town haven't really strengthened in terms of numbers going out to numbers coming in. In January many players were let go early, including the likes of Paul Dixon. Add a further nine first team departures this summer, with only five permanent deals coming in - why hasn't there been the drive to reinforce the squad to the level that is required in this division?
Winter is coming and it's going to be a long one if the status quo remains the same.