By Steven Downes

Huddersfield Town fans thought they were saying goodbye to Neil Warnock for the last time in May when he completed the survival job he was brought in to do.

However, those last goodbyes could be short lived if the great escapologist could be persuaded to have one more year. 

At 74 and semi-retired Warnock admitted his three-month stint at Town had sapped his energy levels but incoming new owner Kevin Nagle seems keen for him to stay on.

Nagle is a savvy businessman and his communications on Twitter show he’s been more than impressed by Warnock’s tenacity, ability and passion to keep the club afloat in England’s second tier. 

We are yet to see Nagle’s plans for the club however persuading Warnock to stay on for one more season is not only clever but also sensible for a few good reasons. 

1. Warnock already knows the squad, club and town. He knows the quality of the team, and what he can get out of the players already here. He also knows where it needs to be strengthened. If he were to stay Warnock would want assurances about funds available to push the club forward. He’s had hollow promises from chairmen before…

How ambitious Nagle’s plans are and what kind of transfer and wages budget is available is the key question. Warnock has worked wonders with players already here and brought out vast improvement in some. But there will have to be changes in the playing squad.

Images: Huddersfield Town AFC

2. The upcoming Championship campaign looks to be the toughest one ever with big names Leeds United, Leicester City and Southampton all dropping through the Premier League trapdoor and Ipswich Town, Plymouth Argyle and Sheffield Wednesday all being promoted from League One.

For me this will be the most hotly anticipated and competitive Championship season of all time. It won’t be a season for the faint-hearted. It’s a campaign that’s hard to predict, certainly right now, with many clubs in a state of flux.

Warnock knows the Championship and what is needed and wouldn’t it be great if Town could head into pre-season knowing where they are going and with a plan in place? That would be such a contrast to last season.

3. Appointing Warnock would give Nagle time to sort out everything else at the club – and there is much to do.

With someone like Warnock to take care of matters on the pitch, Nagle can work on his overall strategy to move the club forward off it. That will include restructuring the club’s staff and operations, maybe improving the training ground and looking at the youth system again.

Town made the conscious and unpopular decision to close the club’s academy in 2017. Instead they opted to go for a Brentford-style model and acquire rising talents from other clubs from 18 years or above. Nagle may look to re-invest in the academy plan as a long-term strategy.

The elephant in the room is the tug-of-war over the stadium shares and whether Nagle seals a deal for a long-term lease of the John Smith’s Stadium and, therefore, ‘operational control.’

Kirklees Council certainly seem eager to release council taxpayers from any future liability and want to step away so Nagle holds all the bargaining chips. Securing a long-term lease on the stadium will immediately boost Nagle’s investment in Town. And then there’s the stadium naming rights with fans asking questions over when the current deal is due for renewal.

4. Finally, but not least, there needs to be an overhaul of strategy around fan communication. Over the course of the last few years we’ve had confusing messages, radio silence or just general apathy. The fanbase are rightly tetchy after all they’ve been through and they need some love.

Nagle seems quite engaged on Twitter, and with reports from Sacramento being positive in terms of fan engagement and match day experience, the incoming owner could do nothing better than to have a fan Q&A just like the old days under Dean Hoyle.

Hoyle always spoke frankly to supporters about what was going on, sometimes he was accused of being too open, but I’d rather Nagle was like that too. He’s made a good start with his responses on Twitter, which he should be applauded for.

What happens on the pitch will dictate what Nagle can achieve at Huddersfield Town but if he has someone like Warnock at the helm, he can get to work on the rest.

For now we just have to wait for Nagle’s ownership to be approved and wait for announcements. It promises to be an interesting summer!