Huddersfield Town grabbed an unlikely promotion to the Premier League
It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t entertaining. The whingeing and complaining started online as Huddersfield’s Championship playoff final against Reading dragged into extra time.
Comments such as ‘whoever wins will go straight back down’ and ‘both teams playing rubbish football’ circulated on social media sites. Some expressed anger that Sky Sports had dared to even broadcast such a display.
But you know what? Huddersfield Town, the fans, manager David Wagner and especially their chairman Dean Hoyle will not give a damn what the rest of the football world think.
They won’t care how dull the match — which was, admittedly, a dour affair — was to watch from the comfort of living rooms and pubs up and down the country.
What they care about is achieving the impossible. Because promotion to the big time means a whole lot more to this club than TV entertainment.
Huddersfield v Reading: Play-off final in pictures Mon, May 29, 2017
Express Sport brings you all the best snaps from the play-off final between Huddersfield and Reading
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Huddersfield Town have been promoted to the Premier League!
For years the villages and valleys around this town have been yearning for sporting success. Huddersfield Giants clinched the Super League Leader’s Shield after decades in the doldrums in 2013 and have since dropped away. Yorkshire don't play cricket games here. Huddersfield’s union side is nothing to boast about.
But what the locals do have is football.
This is a community victory with a local chairman and a local fanbase. There are no designs to sell image rights in China, or agree Japanese sponsorship deals. Wagner’s side won’t be invited to the self-preening International Champions Cup this pre-season, where clubs affirm their ‘greatness’ simply on their ability to pack out foreign stadiums.
No. Huddersfield Town will be a rare entity in the Premier League. They have an owner whose first love is the club and not the money success promises to provide. Like Middlesbrough, they have community at heart.
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Huddersfield Town beat Reading in a penalty shoot-out at Wembley
Huddersfield Town chairman Dean Hoyle will mix with the Premier League big bosses next season
German manager David Wagner added some continental flare to Huddersfield this season
For this they will be mocked. They don’t have a billionaire owner who can fund an era-defining trophy splurge. They don’t have global fan appeal to transform players into marketing mannequins. They won’t be the first-choice team on FIFA 18 or whatever other computer game will be out come August.
And so what if they are favourites for relegation next season. So what. The sneering and contempt for a club punching above its weight goes completely goes against the idea of sporting endeavour. The sniggering as Sunderland and Middlesbrough dropped out of the top flight this term was nauseating. Let the clubs have their day and don’t shoot them down when they reach beyond their perceived limits.
Huddersfield Town managing Premier League promotion was not on the to-do list at the start of the season. A top-half finish would have been deemed progress. That shows just how massive the playoff final win was.
Wagner’s influence since his appointment in November 2015 has been widespread. The club has transformed. On the pitch and in the stands there’s a swagger very few alive today will have ever seen down on Leeds Road.
Town's clash with Reading was no classic – but why should they care when promotion is the prize?
Huddersfield the town has been yearning for sporting success for years
Huddersfield never dreamed of promotion because there was no point. The remit this season was survival — as it has been since they came up from League One on penalties against Sheffield United in 2012.
Survival. That’s what chairman Hoyle has done. His £36million spent in SIX YEARS at the club is nothing. But it’s kept the Terrier spirit alive.
Huddersfield had a playing budget equal to Rotherham’s at the start of the season. If that doesn't prove quite how remarkable today’s achievement is then nothing does.
They have played some excellent, flowing football in the Championship. It may not have been on display yesterday but their heart and desire has been ever-present all season.
So let the moaners moan. Because you can’t fault the guys who didn’t even dream from making this fairytale a reality.