Huddersfield Town: Michael Duff has a mountain to climb

Huddersfield's new boss Michael Duff aims to revitalize the Terriers after their relegation from the Championship. Focused on building a solid foundation and a winning culture, Duff is ready to tackle the challenges ahead and guide the team back to success.

Neil Goulding
Neil Goulding

Last Updated: 2024-05-21

Louis Hobbs

5 minutes read

Barnsley manager Michael Duff during the Sky Bet League One between Port Vale and Barnsley at Vale Park on February

New Huddersfield boss Michael Duff is hungry to revitalise the Terriers after their shock relegation from the Championship. The club famously won promotion to the Premier League in 2018 after a season to savour.

However, since dropping out of the top flight two years later the Yorkshire outfit have now dropped out of the Championship after five years in the second tier.

“Everything needs to be right,” Duff told “We want to give Huddersfield Town a club they can be proud of. The recruitment has to be right, the character of the players, it all needs to be aligned to create a winning culture.”

“Promotion and winning is a by-product of that, so first and foremost we need to lay the foundations for all those incremental things.”

“I’ve been in this league before with some big football clubs – but just because we’ve been relegated doesn’t mean we’ll get promoted.”

Image Credits: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Image Credits: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Focus on stability and setting foundations for growth

The Terriers worked their way through three different managers last term in a season to forget. But Duff, who led fellow Yorkshire side Barnsley to the League One play-offs last season, (before being snapped up by Championship side Swansea City on a three-year deal) was sacked by The Swans in December last year after a slow start to the season and has not been in management since.

“I’ve taken on an exciting project, I know that,” stressed Duff. “I’ve come in fully aware of what happened this season, but it’s an opportunity to reset – and that’s the excitement of the opportunity.”

“There’s a of hard work to do, but I’m really excited. Naturally after a relegation you lose players, obviously something has gone wrong. Whether that’s because of what’s happened over the last six months or it’s been a year decline, it’s not for me to make those judgements just yet.”

“But we want to rebuild this club and pull everything back together. We want create a winning environment again, but there’s going to be a lot of hard work in between. We want to get promoted next year, make no mistake about that, but I’m fully aware there is no given right.”

Rebuilding culture key after player exodus

Duff knows he has a tough ask on his hands to turn around the club’s faltering fortunes, especially with former boss Andre Breitenreiter having slammed the club’s players for a lack of professionalism before his departure.

In fact no fewer than a staggering 18 players have been released by the club following relegation.

Experienced striker Jordan Rhodes, Brahima Diarra, Connor Mahoney, Yuta Nakayama, Aaron Rowe, Charles Ondo, Giosue Bellagambi, Mustapha Olagunju, Dylan Helliwell, Archie Sheppard, David Adewoju, Shane Maroodza, Michael Acquah, Myles Bright, Ben Midgley, Hazeem Bakre, Freddie Fletcher and Aaron Ojungu having left the John Smith’s Stadium.

“It’s when things aren’t going right, people are quite happy pointing the finger,” added Duff. “But now we need to do the difficult part, build a winning culture and hopefully kick on from there. Talk is cheap, though, yes we can say we want to win the league, but how do we win the league?”

Neil Goulding
Neil GouldingSenior Sports Reporter

Neil has been a journalist for longer than he'd care to remember, having written for national newspapers and respected publications for over 25 years. For the last three years he has worked freelance for BBC Sport, working on the production desk as a sub-editor and also as a writer, covering a whole range of sports.