Change of ownership: Lifelong fan buys Huddersfield Town

3 May 2019

Dean Hoyle
Photo: Getty Images Dean Hoyle has sold 75 per cent of the shares in Huddersfield Town to a fellow fan - Phil Hodgkinson.

Chairman Dean Hoyle calls it a day after fighting season with health problems.

New owner Hodgkinson, a former kit sponsor, agrees to buy 75 per cent.

Lifelong Huddersfield Town fan Phil Hodgkinson has agreed to buy the club from long-term owner Dean Hoyle.

Hodgkinson, who is CEO and founder of the Pure Legal Group, will take control of Huddersfield in the summer after agreeing to purchase a 75 per cent shareholding.

Hoyle, who took over as chairman and owner in the summer of 2009, has been trying to sell the club since the start of the year after suffering bad health.

The Yorkshire club, who have been relegated to the Championship in just their second ever season in the Premier League, confirmed the change of ownership late on Friday night.

In my blood

Hodgkinson’s involvement in the club has seen one of his companies, PURE Legal Limited, appear on the team’s home shirts since 2015.

“Huddersfield Town is in my blood and has always been one of my greatest passions,” he said. “I’m so excited to have the opportunity to take this club forward.

I need to do what is right for myself.

“My number one priority is to give every support I can to Jan Siewert in order to make us as good as we can be on the pitch. Our aim is to get back to winning football matches and to put smiles back on the faces of our supporters after a tough season.

“The club has got a very busy summer ahead of it, for sure, but I will be a hands-on owner and fully focused on trying to ensure we get the best start possible to next season.”

Hoyle, who watched at Wembley as his boyhood club won promotion to the Premier League after a penalty shoot-out in the play-off final in 2017, was taken to hospital seriously ill in October last year,

One of our own

He spent 15 weeks in hospital after suffering an infection of the pancreas after a routine procedure to remove gallstones.

It was then revealed in January that he was keen to sell the club and brokers have looked to sell Town for £50 million since then.

Confirmation that he has found a buyer also came with the agreement he will retain a small shareholding.

“My head is telling me that, after 10 years of total dedication and my recent ill health, I need to do what is right for myself, my family and Huddersfield Town and that is pass the reins to a new chairman who can take our club to a new chapter in its history,” said Hoyle.

“I have run a full sales process and there was serious interest in the club from around the world. Appointing the correct successor is as important to me and my legacy as everything else I have achieved.

We’ve had an unbelievable time together with the club, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

“I have chosen Phil not just because he is an astute business man with strong desire and determination to succeed, but because as one of our own he will always have the club’s best interests at heart.

“He’s a Town fan and he really gets what this club is all about. I still cannot believe that my time as chairman is coming to an end. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every single Huddersfield Town fan for their incredible support of my family and me during the last decade.

New training ground on its way

“We’ve had an unbelievable time together with the club, creating memories that will last a lifetime.”

Dean Hoyle, 51, has committed to a £20 million training ground redevelopment at the club’s Canalside training ground. This is due to be completed by the 2020-21 season.

Confirmation came in March that Huddersfield had lost their Premier League status after a difficult campaign. Manager David Wagner, who took the club to the Premier League, had already left and been replaced by Siewart by then.

Only Tottenham Hotspur had a lower revenue/wages ratio than Huddersfield that season.

The club does not disclose any value of the sale of the 75 per cent stake in the club but earlier today a study by the University of Liverpool’s Centre for Sport Business estimated that Huddersfield Town have a total value of £231 million.

The most valuable club in England, according to the study, is Manchester City – valued at exactly ten times as much as Huddersfield Town.

Number one in operating profit

Just 5 weeks ago the club posted the annual report for the 2017/2018 season which was a rather impressive result. It showed that a £21.9 million loss for the previous financial year had been turned into an operating profit of £23.2 million, the highest in the Premier League followed by Manchester United.

That came as a result of the TV bounty for any club entering the English PL. Those accounts showed that Huddersfield pocketed £109.8 million as their share of the SKY Tv deal, including bonuses.

Another impressive thing in the annual report from the club was the revenue/wages ratio where the club only did spend half of the income on salaries. Only Tottenham Hotspur had a lower revenue/wages ratio than Huddersfield that season. Critics might argue though that the club has failed to invest enough in the squad as they were relegated after a season that saw them only collect 14 points in 36 games – scoring only 20 goals.

Looking at the number of followers at social media Huddersfield Town are bottom of the Premier League with only 488.000 followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.