We’re now just 4 days away from the Premier League campaign kicking off, and to most I’m sure it still feels surreal that our club is going to be competing at that level. Just over two months ago, Wagner’s men achieved the impossible, to win the richest game in football, and reach the Premier League. It’s almost like déjà vu however, as just like last term, pundits have written Town off. But we, more than most, know that ‘expert’ predictions have no influence whatsoever, except in a positive way. Wagner’s reference to Ian Holloway following promotion showed just how the team was galvanised after being written off. This time it’s Paul Merson’s turn to tip us for relegation – a man that could probably count the times he watched us play last year on one or two fingers.
Away from the media and ‘expert’ or failed managers predictions, the whole club is prepared and optimistic heading into the season opener at Crystal Palace on Saturday. Towns following is strong, as a sold out Selhurt Park hosts just shy of 3000 Huddersfield fans. Wagner has always talked about the importance of the fans, but even he couldn’t have dreamed of the support we’ve now assembled. Every away game will no doubt be sold out, whilst the home games are almost definitely going to be sell outs.
Wagner’s record of getting his transfer business done early didn’t alter this summer either, as no less than ten players have been brought in, from both overseas and England. We’ve spent an unimaginable amount of money, and as Yorkshiremen say, we’re going to give it a real go! Amendments to the club and stadium to reach Premier League standards, along with the constant influx of money, hopefully means that no matter what happens this season, Town’s future will be sustainable at a high level. That, added to the fact we have the best owner in the country, bodes particularly well for the coming years.
As the Town Head Coach himself repeatedly says, as we can’t compete with the big clubs financially, we have to find other ways to compete. One of these will be the players relentless workrate and spirit. Wagner’s insistence on recruiting the correct characters for the dressing room means that the spirit the team had last year will continue regardless of some of the big price tags now within the squad. Despite over £35million having been spent by the club, the club has still driven for bargains. Acquiring Danny Williams on a free, Zanka for just £2.5million, and even Aaron Mooy for £8million shows the talent that Town have in dealing in difficult markets. Another weapon in Town’s armour is Wagner and co’s tactical ability. His differing approaches for each game last term based on the opposition no doubt won us many points, and that won’t change. Even in the ‘big league’, his knowledge, man-management and charismatic personality will shine through and he will no doubt be recognised as a top manager before long, if he isn’t already.
All we’ve got to wait for now, is Saturday and our first Premier League bow. One thing is for sure, we are prepared, and optimistic.