Lee Clark polarises opinion, journalists see him as a bright young manager, others as someone who has failed with a big budget and was rightly sacked. Here a Huddersfield Town supporter dissects his strengths and weaknesses as he is linked to every available manager's job in the Northern Hemisphere...
Lee Clark: Everything Wolves And Leeds Need To Know About The Available Gaffer…
I must say, despite growing frustration amongst certain sections of the Galpharm crowd that the sacking of Lee Clark has left me shocked, and not altogether happy. Although it is all too easy for journalists to point at his record of 3 defeats all season and the fact that we’re fourth in the table that does ignore an awful lot of contextual factors, it still isn’t an entirely justified decision.
Despite the huge amount of money invested in the squad, Huddersfield Town have no divine right to walk an incredibly competitive league and Lee Clark had rarely seen his Huddersfield Town side outside the play off places during his impressive tenure.
We have in my opinion sacked a manager capable of performing in the Championship, and as much as he hadn’t gained promotion he had guaranteed that we competed with the top sides consistently, only falling short at the bitter end.
So what can fans of clubs expect from Lee Clark, I list his qualities below.
Style of play: When Lee Clark arrived at Huddersfield he promised fast attacking football that would entertain the fans. And this is what he delivered until we lost to a powerful Millwall side in the play offs. After seeing his young team taken apart by a strong team Clark altered his style to a far more pragmatic, less easy on the eye approach, that won points but far less plaudits.
He is a subscriber to prozone, so believes in percentages, and attempts to get his sides playing efficient if not wonderfully attractive football. However it must be said that when he gets his team paying his way, they will score goals and overawe many teams.
Personality Clark is an emotional man, a constant presence on the touchline, that led to many suggesting he was terrifying his players with his constant touchline antics. He takes things personally and has on occasion decided to ignore the media when results go against him. However he does speak very sensibly after games, pointing out what went well and what could’ve been improved, and he generally comes across very well, if not a little moody.
I wish him all the best, and as a Huddersfield fan, I fear we’ve jumped the gun and might live to regret the decision to sack him.
Strengths He doesn’t lose many games, and that will always endear him to fans of clubs who need wins. He’s also not afraid to swiftly address problems in his squad. If the team aren’t scoring he’ll delve into the transfer market freely. He can also get a team playing great football and you will see his teams score a lot of goals. He can also spot a good player as proved in the signings of Anthony Pilkington, Jordan Rhodes and Lee Peltier, all bought for a reasonable fee and either sold or likely to be sold for a healthy profit. As seen below though, this penchant for a transfer is also his greatest weakness.
Weaknesses Clark is wasteful in the transfer market, and more than happy to spend freely. He has overhauled his squad three times during his Huddersfield tenure, building a good side that only needed adjustments and then replacing them with numerous other players who we certainly didn’t need. All too often he released a good academy graduate and replaced them with an experienced mercenary. The sale of James Berrett and replacing him with Joey Gudjonsson is as bad a piece of business as I can recall.
He also seems to lose faith in good players far too swiftly, as numerous players have fallen foul of him and then almost immediately been kicked out of the club or sold on. The likes of Theo Robinson, Donal McDermott and the aforementioned Gudjonsson had great ability to change games but neither lasted long under Clark who appeared to swiftly lose faith with them.
He seems to swiftly fall out with people, which seems to have been his greatest downfall as a manager, and also might have led to a premature end to his tenure at the Galpharm.
He also failed to ever sort out the defence and we threw too many games away after finding ourselves in comfortable positions.
He was also too impulsive in his decisions, he changed everything after the Mllwall game and when we were outperformed by Bournemouth, rather than just working on ways to improve he just went and bought their two best players, neither of whom have been a success at this stage with one already departing the club.
Ultimately Clark isn’t as bad a manager as many Huddersfield fans will argue, but isn’t as good a manager as many outside the club will suggest. He did an incredibly good job in terms of league position and ignoring his penchant for drawing games from winning positions, he can certainly count himself to be unlucky.
However when the aim was promotion, he had failed to deliver, and to most Huddersfield fans this is all that truly mattered, he will be remembered as a manager who promised a lot but failed to deliver.
If a club does hire him, he must learn from mistakes made, learn to use the players he has and not rely on transfers, and he must attempt to get on better with people and stick to his personal football philosophies and not be so easily swayed. I wish him all the best, and as a Huddersfield fan, I fear we’ve jumped the gun and might live to regret the decision to sack him.
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