Matty Briggs believes Huddersfield chairman Dean Hoyle deserves a big pat on the back after making some huge decisions in the last 12 months. With the Terriers handily placed in second position in the Championship we profile the man who has made it happen in West Yorkshire.
Last Updated: 25/09/12 2:00pm
The football world was in uproar when Huddersfield sacked Lee Clark last year. The tabloids labelled it an outrage, pundits claimed the football world had gone mad and Clark himself admitted he was 'perplexed'. But fast forward six months and you will be hard pushed to find anyone arguing against the decision.
The Terriers have gone from strength to strength after winning promotion to the Championship and Monday night's win at fancied Blackpool has seen them clamber into second spot. Clark's Birmingham languish at the wrong end of the table on the back of a 5-0 home mauling by Barnsley.
The man now in charge at Town is former Leeds boss Simon Grayson and while he will take all the credit, Town fans must surely appreciate money man Hoyle even more.
A local businessman, who made his money selling birthday cards, has made some massive decisions in West Yorkshire, not least in allowing Clark to go despite the club's much-feted unbeaten run. He also decided to sell-on star striker Jordan Rhodes for £8million, when all and sundry believed he wouldn't cash in on the Scotland international until January at the earliest.
These are decisions that some may take for granted, but the Heckmondwike-born supremo has shown real leadership and he is now starting to see a return on the millions he has pumped into the club.
With the Terriers handily placed in fourth spot in League One, Hoyle's decision to sack Clark in February after admitting he had 'lost faith' in him came as a surprise to the majority. But on closer inspection Clark's tenure was not quite as glossy as the tabloids and pundits had us believe.
And as Hoyle put it himself at the time: "This season so far we've drawn 13 games from winning positions and we've had continuous squad rotation and I voiced my concern to Lee and his staff well before we parted company."
When you consider Hoyle had backed Clark to the hilt with cash to spend on wages, which some Championship clubs would have looked enviably upon, his efforts don't look quite so remarkable. Clark will no doubt point to 'that' unbeaten run which he masterminded but, ultimately, it counted for nothing.
Once Hoyle got wind that Clark had reportedly applied for the top job down the road at Leeds United the writing was on the wall for the former Newcastle midfielder.
Clark, unsurprisingly, got another gig at a huge club in Birmingham in the summer, but already he's started to find the going tough. The St Andrew's outfit have collected just two wins from their seven league games and without access to a budget to rival the division's big guns it's hard to see Clark turning the situation around anytime soon.
Huddersfield on the other hand might just be going places and there would be no more deserving recipient than Hoyle.