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Stick Or Twist: David Wagner

Welcome to Stick or Twist, our weekly column here at The Football Faithful which takes a look at the under-fire manager of the moment and ponders whether they deserve the sack or not.

We will look at factors such as recent form, fan opinion and media commentary, while asking important questions such as ‘Is there a viable replacement available?’ and ‘Is the team just experiencing a dip or are they in an irreversible tailspin?’ This week we take at look at…

Name: David Wagner

Club: Huddersfield Town

Time In Charge: 3 years

Odds For The Sack: 16/1

David Wagner performed a minor miracle in getting Huddersfield Town promoted to the Premier League in a season when they were expected to be battling against relegation from the Championship. He then worked up a major one in keeping them there last year.

Ten games into the 2018/19 season however, one word could sum up the Terriers’ campaign thus far: doomed. On pace to match Derby County’s record low points total of 11 in 2007/08, it looks inevitable they will go down.

Huddersfield probably aren’t going to do quite as badly as the Rams ten years ago, but all signs point to relegation by April at the latest unless things change soon.

Chairman Dean Hoyle says he won’t replace Wagner, even if they get relegated. Should he reconsider that position? Let’s investigate.

Form: LLDLL

To put it mildly, Huddersfield’s current league form is equivalent to a smoldering ball of garbage rolling downhill, and no one is able to stop it.

With no wins for the season, Town are earning 0.3 points per game. Their 21 goals conceded is the third worst in the league behind Fulham and Cardiff, while no one can match their desperate total of four goals scored. Not even Southampton, whose inability to score has been a running joke for almost a year and a half.

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That’s not just relegation material, it’s all-time low in the Premier League material. Everyone is in agreement that they’re awful, the question is what do they do about it?

Fan Opinion

Any supporter would naturally feel demoralised if their team was playing so poorly over a long period of time. Terriers fans are worried about the lack of goals, but their main concern these days appears to be the atmosphere at the John Smith’s Stadium, which has been praised by opposition fans on several occasions this season. They’ve given themselves the job of backing the team vocally and passionately. If there’s a WAGNER OUT brigade, they’re being very quiet about it.

Media

The Daily Mail published a feature on Saturday to coincide with the third year anniversary of the German joining the club, which highlighted the relative poverty of the club compared to its Premier League rivals. Huddersfield are by no means ‘poor’, but they lack the means of even Fulham, their opponents on Monday Night Football.

Meanwhile in The Independent, Kieran Jackson surmises that the chairman’s faith in Wagner is an “error in judgment.”

What is the manager saying?

Wagner was preaching the virtues of unity and calm to Sky Sports this week:

“We know we can only continue to be successful if we stick together.

“This is one of the advantages we have at this football club, that we stay calm even if we are ambitious.

“I’m a strong believer that when you start to get nervous or panic, then you will fail. Life will continue after Monday whatever happens, but it is a very important game.”

Doesn’t sound like a man waiting for the chop.

Current Mood in Huddersfield:

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Conclusion:

Huddersfield’s current situation is comparable to that of Wigan Athletic during their Premier League run several years ago. Neither had the same resources as other teams in the league (Town don’t even have a academy anymore) and required a manager with a clever tactical plan to save them from relegation. The Latics also performed numerous miracle survivals too, which should give the Terriers some hope.

The fact that Wagner has performed miracles with relatively little to this point, is an astute coach, and would be snapped up by bigger clubs if he was available tomorrow, means that the West Yorkshire club could definitely do worse than to hold on to their current manager.

Verdict: Stick!

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