KENYA BROWN - Sunday, May 28, 2017
David Wagner and Huddersfield Town are on the brink of history as they look to achieve promotion to the Premier League.
Americans will have a vested interest in Monday's promotion final at Wembley Stadium as Danny Williams will take to the field to help Reading try to achieve a return to England's top flight. However, on the other side, Wagner will attempt to do what previous Huddersfield coaches have not in their tenures - guide the team to top on the similar path like Bournemouth.
To describe what the German-American coach has done in his second season at the John Smith's Stadium as miraculous would be an understatement. The team, known affectionately by its fans as the Terriers, should not even be in this position as the likes of Norwich City, Leeds United and Derby County were considered favorites to move up. However, like an underdog prizefighter, they kept punching above their weight all season and now have a chance to reach their ultimate goal when they take the field.
While the players and fans are basking in the glow of their success so far, it has not all been roses for the team based in West Yorkshire. Going back to 1998, when Barry Rubery took over as owner, there was an air of optimism as the businessmen promised investment and a move up to the Premier League. Those ambitions were dashed and David Taylor would take the ownership reigns later, which then led the team to its lowest point - financial administration more than 10 years ago.
This led to another ownership change, with Ken Davey stepping in to get the team out of administration. But his time at the helm was not long as the businessman and fans were at odds over his reluctance to increase the transfer budget to keep the team competitive.
This leads to the present time as Dean Hoyle is now in charge, taking over as majority owner in June 2009. Huddersfield is now in a more stable state and with Wagner running things as the head coach, the team has made a complete 360-degree turn from what it was back in the 2015-2016 season.
When the 45-year-old took over as coach in November 2015, the team was not even competing for promotion and finished the season in 19th place in the standings. But the summer of 2016 would prove to be the turnaround for the team as he brought in 13 players to improve their fortunes. Add a team bonding trip to Sweden during the preseason, in which the coach has stressed repeatedly as the cause of their success over the current season, and you have them right at the point of achieving Premier League status.
There is no doubt that Wagner has caught the attention of teams across Europe with what he has done at Huddersfield, and if he keeps it up, there will certainly be suitors from bigger teams looking to hire him. US Soccer should also be paying attention to what he is doing because this could be the right person that could lead the national team to new heights after the 2018 World Cup.
But for now, we wait to see how this fairytale ends as Wagner hopes to lead Huddersfield to Premier League glory.