Why promoted Huddersfield could suffer “first season syndrome”

From Brendan:  

Hi Myles,

You mentioned Huddersfield in a recent post.

I’ve seen a bit of them last season, including the play-off final live at Wembley.

I was with my passionate Reading FC-supporting son so we were not the ones who ended the game in the ecstasy of promotion won, but Reading FC is sort of used to losing play-off finals.. never actually won one.

Huddersfield went up with a big contingent of loan players from big EPL clubs. And a very good manager, who outfoxed everybody in the last couple of months of the season. They went off the boil in the league but were plotting their play-off strategy and got lucky with the shoot-outs – also helped by their LFC loanee goalkeeper.

Reading stuck with the team that had got them into the play-offs, but without Garath McCleary being fully fit, lacked an explosive and creative player to do something with all the possession. And they got a massive amount of stick – much of it from their own fans, incidentally – for their possession-style play, keeping the ball at the back and patiently waiting for opportunities.

Reading ended the play-off final with two of their academy players on the pitch (Obita and Kelly) while Huddie was a mish-mash of bought players and loanees. Press and commenters banged on about Huddie’s wonderful local owner and what a ‘real’ club it is, contrasted with Reading with its Chinese investors. Yeah, but look at who’s playing for them.

A typically straight and boring interpretation – they’re from the north and therefore “real”.

Well, there’s poverty and “real” people in the south to, you know. And rich, loaded fat cats up north as well.

Still, having said that, I hope they do well, and I think they could have a “first season syndrome” season that some clubs (Reading FC included) have in the EPL. However, I’m not sure it will last and especially if their loanees do so well that their parent clubs just decide to bring their men back.

They are quick and get the ball to forward men at lightning speed. They could take a few teams by surprise in the first season, but I’m not sure how solid the foundations are.

I’ve enjoyed accompanying my RFC-mad son to games this season. I can’t afford to watch Arsenal, and living in Reading now, it’s easy, cheap and there’s a decent atmosphere – though not like good old Elm Park.

I’ve often written to you about the economic aspects of watching football – and here is a prime example of how economics dictates what football team you can actually afford to watch live.

My heart is and always will be with Arsenal but practicality is an important part of life, too. I have a mortgage to pay, mouths to feed, looming university education to subsidise.

Myles says:

Like you, I’m looking forward to seeing what Huddersfield can do.

Yorkshire needs a Premier League club because Hull were relegated.

Lancashire has five and Burnley is one of the five.