Huddersfield Town owner Dean Hoyle is set to sever his links to the club – for good this time.

Mr Hoyle, who first took over the club in 2008, says he has stepped down as chief executive on medical advice.

Mr Hoyle, who had a spell seriously ill with pancreatitis and an infection in 2019, said he needs to take a “total step back” and he has charged new managing director Dave Baldwin with finding a buyer for the club.

Mr Hoyle sold a 75% stake in the club to businessman Phil Hodgkinson after relegation from the Premier League in 2019 but last November Mr Hodgkinson’s separate business, Pure Legal Ltd, and other associated companies, went into administration.

Mr Hoyle returned to Town and has been funding the club for the last year. A deal to take back Mr Hodgkinson’s 75% shareholding has yet to be completed, with Mr Hoyle at one point blaming the delay on the football authorities.

Town are adrift at the bottom of the Championship having been within 90 minutes of a return to the Premier League in May and Mr Hoyle has come under fire from supporters.

In a surprise statement Mr Hoyle said: “When I got the call from Phil Hodgkinson around this time last year, I had no option but to reluctantly step in and provide urgent financial support to the club whilst being – as I remain – the minority shareholder. This I have provided and more.

“I genuinely thought, after a break of two years after my illness, I could return with the same energy and enthusiasm as when I first became chairman in 2008.

“It has become clear to me over the last 12 months that this is not the case. I’ve tried my best to front it up to both staff at the club and supporters but now the time has arrived where I must listen to medical advice and take a total step back; my health comes first and foremost.

Phil Hodgkinson and Dean Hoyle

“Not connected to my decision to step away, I acknowledge supporters’ feelings. Certainly not all, but many, want change with new energy and direction at the top. Every successful business needs this in abundance. I totally understand these feelings and, whilst it hurts, I get it.

“Since the first day I walked into the club I have given everything to the cause. Again, over the last 12 months, I really have tried my best but my best isn’t always good enough.

“Hand on heart, I’ve given it my all. At no point in my 14 years have I ever put my personal financial interests ahead of the best interests of the club.

“We’ve had many successes over the last 14 years, and these are balanced with mistakes. Football is a challenging industry where mistakes are plentiful and I accept responsibility for mine, and I’m sorry.

“I have asked Dave Baldwin to run the football club and take up the position of managing director. He has been tasked to look at all options to pass the baton of our club to someone who can genuinely take it forward.

Town fans at the play-off final at Wembley in May

“I would like to say a big thank you to every member of staff, who really do go beyond the call of duty and live and breathe Huddersfield Town.

“We’ve had some laughs and tears along the way. You are amazing people who make a big difference.

“To the supporters, you made my family and I feel so welcome. When the days were tough, you helped me push harder. I wanted what was best for you and to bring smiles to faces.

“The club is nothing without genuine supporters who follow through thick and thin; you are the bedrock of this club. The club needs your energy more than ever just now – with two home games approaching, all your energy needs to be directed positively towards the team, to help them, and help the club move up the table.

“Finally, over my tenure I’ve always been honest with everyone and told everyone how things are rather than sometimes what they want to hear. I suppose the same now applies to myself.”

Mr Baldwin, an experienced football administrator and former chief executive of the EFL, has worked as a strategic advisor alongside Mr Hoyle since May this year. One of his main tasks was to work on the shares deal.

Mr Baldwin said: “I appreciate Dean having the trust in me to protect the interests of the club as we enter an important period.

“Finding our next custodian is only just starting and identifying the right person will not be a quick process. We will follow this process through properly, and Dean will continue to fund this club until a new owner is found and in place.

“In my position at the EFL and through my time in football, I’ve worked with many clubs in a myriad of different situations. I can say, with all honesty, that Huddersfield Town is working from a solid foundation and is a clean business for any incoming investor.

“Day-to-day, it will be ‘business as usual’ at the club. Alongside our search for a new owner, the other focus is clear; to do everything we can to support the football side in maintaining our position in the Sky Bet Championship.”

Dave Baldwin

Mr Baldwin will meet supporters at the All Together Town fans’ panel on Thursday November 10.

In response to Mr Hoyle’s announcement, Alasdair Bell, chairman of Huddersfield Town Supporters’ Association, said: “I think Dean’s tenure has overall been a hugely positive reign at the club.

“We were just languishing in League One when he took over and he took us to the Premier League. 

“He has spoken about his mistakes and we all make them. I would think him being a fan he will know what those were, and we can all look back in hindsight.

“I think we are in a better place now in terms of infrastructure from where we were to where we are now.

“One of the things at the next ATT meeting we’ll be putting forward is those important questions. We have asked them before but now they need firm answers and it is our job to hold the club to account on behalf of the fans.

“We want to know what are the situations regarding the stadium and training facility with a change of ownership. What are the key things they are looking for in a new owner? What is the club going to do in the short term to stave off relegation?

“I think the final thing to say is to put on record our thanks to Dean for working with us as fans and wish him well in the future.”