Former Huddersfield Town goalkeeper turned Radio Leeds pundit Matt Glennon believes Dean Hoyle will take his time in finding a new owner for the club – with on-the-field matters the more urgent priority.
Mr Hoyle announced this week that he’s stepped down as chief executive and plans to sell up. He’s appointed Dave Baldwin as managing director and on Friday Mr Baldwin revealed more details about the plans going forward.
Glennon, who was a player at Town when Mr Hoyle took over in 2008, said: “Dean’s first issue is what does he want for the club, what’s the price tag?
“There’s the training ground to consider and what’s happening to the stadium so there are lots of moving parts for any new owner to negotiate. However, someone will want to buy the club, which has proved it can be successful with these moving parts.”
Mr Hoyle, of course, led Town to the Premier League in 2017 but – following relegation two years later – he sold 75% of his shareholding to businessman Phil Hodgkinson. However, when some of Mr Hodgkinson’s other business interests collapsed a year ago he was forced to relinquish control.
Mr Hoyle has funded the club since but a deal to return 100% ownership to Mr Hoyle has yet to be completed, though is said to be “imminent.”
Mr Baldwin revealed on Friday that the Canalside training complex, owned by Mr Hoyle, will be part of the sale of the club while talks are underway for Town to become the “lead tenant” and take operational control of the John Smith’s Stadium.
Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd (KSDL) owns the stadium and the shareholders are Town (40%), Kirklees Council (40%) and Huddersfield Giants (20%).
Kirklees Council warned in March 2021 that the stadium company was at risk of administration if a new ownership structure wasn’t found. The council’s Cabinet agreed that a Community Trust could be set up with Town to take operational control but that deal was vetoed by Mr Hoyle when he returned to the club, putting the stadium’s future in doubt.
Glennon believes Mr Hoyle will do right by the club and the fans and said: “Dean won’t let the club be ripped up by someone. He’ll want to sell it to someone who wants to take it forward and treat it properly.
“Let’s remember Dean is a fan, he’s one of us, and the world hasn’t been a fantastic place over the last two years.
“Dean is a 100% sort of person and if he feels he can’t give that 100%, then that’s why he has come to this decision. He tried to come back for a second time and it didn’t work out and so, at the end of the day, he’s had to do the best for him and his family.
“There’s a lot of things to sort out but now that Dean has come out and said he wants to sell, we might now get some credible investors coming forward.”
On the field, Town have serious work to do too. The Terriers are bottom of the Championship, five points adrift of safety, and new boss Mark Fotheringham has just one win from six games in charge.
Fotheringham, in his first head coach role, has split opinions and Glennon believes he’s learning on the job.
“He’s come in and wanted to get straight on with things, put his stamp on it and tried to lay the law down quickly,” said Glennon.
“Some of the things he’s done and said I don’t agree with and I don’t think work now. Being a footballer is different to when I first started out and I still feel he’s learning how to be a head coach.
“We have seen him learning even in this short spell. He’s changed how he speaks about players. He went with four at the back against Middlesbrough and we looked more solid and got the clean sheet and a point. So I think he is learning but we need points on the board and quick.
“If I’m being really honest I wasn’t keen on him at first. I think he was way too aggressive and chest pumping for my liking.
“Yes, training is important and he has said that many times, but the most important work happens on match days when points are available.
“These next few games are huge for him. The World Cup winter break is coming up and if the people at the top don’t think it’s right then you have to do what is best for the football club.
“If you do change manager again, you have to suck it up and accept you’ve made a mistake and go again.
“However, we might see Mark develop into this great head coach we’ve been told about – if he starts to build a style of play which we haven’t yet seen, if he starts to pick up points and if he starts to speak better, then he can turn this around.”
Town finished third last season and lost in the play-off final to Nottingham Forest. Since that day in May, head coach Carlos Corberan quit citing a lack of ambition at the club and one of his backroom staff, Danny Schofield, was asked to step up into his first senior role.
Schofield endured a nightmare start and he was sacked only to be replaced by another rookie boss.
Glennon said: “Last season under Carlos we had a lot of luck for us to finish third. We pulled together and had a great team spirit over a 46-game season. The play-off final didn’t go our way but I thought we had the chance to kick on this season.
“Since then things haven’t been great and I believe when Carlos left that is a big reason as to why we are where we are now.
“Personally I would have given Danny Schofield longer. Yes, he’s a friend of mine but I do think we should have given him longer.
“What I think was crazy was the fact we have replaced Danny with someone even less experienced. However, that’s football and these things can happen.
“We now just need to get behind Mark Fotheringham and hope the team can pick up the points to get us out of this hole we are in.”