This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Rewind’ series, this content strand is where we rewind back to a particular moment at a club, assess the initial reaction from the fans, and then proceed to evaluate and reflect on whether fans were right to react in that way….
Huddersfield Town took something of a measured gamble in the summer when they appointed Carlos Corberan.
Corberan was wet behind the ears in terms of management when Huddersfield approached Leeds United about taking their under-23 head coach across Yorkshire.
Phil Hodgkinson was taking a risk with Corberan’s experience, but he knew Corberan would arrive with a philosophy that stemmed from Marcelo Bielsa: attractive and proven in the Championship.
So, he replaced Danny Cowley, who rightly or wrongly, was out of the door after guiding Huddersfield to safety.
The reaction of the Huddersfield fans that day was largely positive, but there was an acknowledgement amongst some that Corberan was going to need backing by Hodgkinson…
Need to give him a minimum of £20M now, don't do that and the club had zero ambition. Current team is woeful at best
— Al Barrie (@White_Rose_Al) July 23, 2020
Phil has to back him now, this squad needs it
— Andy Marsden (@Andy_Marsden85) July 23, 2020
Now it’s up to Phill to back the man financially. 👍🏼
— Dan Hallas (@DanHallas) July 23, 2020
Back him in the market and evrey penny on sales needs to be put back in
— joe Johnson (@_joejohnson) July 23, 2020
Alongside that, there was also an expectation from fans that Corberan would bring a stylish brand of football to the John Smith’s Stadium upon his appointment…
— Nick Wood (@nickkwood) July 23, 2020
A lot of comments saying “what’s he done In the game?”.. Just because someone hasn’t been a Head Coach at the “top level” does not make them a poor coach. An exciting appointment by Huddersfield in my book. 👏🏼 https://t.co/Pf2vJ4H8Ap
— Coach Ellis Riley (@CoachEllisRiley) July 23, 2020
We’ve been through a lot of misery in the last 2 and a half years. Let’s hope this appointment is the right one. Give us some decent football and a few more wins next season and I’ll take that. Let’s hope your roll of the dice pays off Phil 🙏🏻 #htafc https://t.co/BHrgcWA1DD
— Freddie Cocker (@freddiec1994) July 23, 2020
Considering the hand Corberan was dealt in the summer transfer window, he’s doing well.
Karlan Grant – last season’s top scorer – was sold to West Brom eventually, Steve Mounie departed and a pool of impressive loanees that Cowley could lean on returned to their parent-club.
Huddersfield were active in the summer and Pipa, Naby Sarr and Carel Eiting came in as solid signings. However, a positive start to the season was built on Corberan rejuvenating those he had inherited.
Harry Toffolo’s game has been taken to the next level as he develops into the Championship’s standout left-back, whilst Josh Koroma and Isaac Mbenza have been bright sparks in attack.
More could have been done in the summer (a deal for Rolando Aarons dragged its heels so much it missed the deadline) but Corberan’s work on the training field was evident.
Koroma put six goals and two assists to his name, Mbenza finally started to look like a multi-million pound player and Eiting arrived and enjoyed a blistering November in terms of goals; it was hard to not be impressed by what Corberan was doing.
Quiz: Did these 15 former Huddersfield Town players leave for a higher or lower fee than they arrived for?
Christmas brought a new deal for Corberan, such had been his impact, but things were becoming more difficult on the injury front.
Richard Stearman and Christopher Schindler were out long-term, whilst Koroma’s bright campaign was brought to a halt by a tricky hamstring. Shortly after the turn of the year, Eiting was returning to Ajax with an injury and pressure was on Hodgkinson to back Corberan again.
Outgoings proved to be sidelines, with focus on incomings: Aarons eventually signed, Richard Keogh came in to offer depth at centre-back and Duane Holmes returned to plug the gap left by Eiting.
There were other deals, but not enough and there was a sense of disappointment heading into February that Huddersfield didn’t land a striker signing to ease the burden on Fraizer Campbell.
Corberan’s side haven’t won since December 29th and pressure is on Huddersfield to pick up results as supporters sweat on ‘Doing a Hull’ by slipping into relegation trouble.
Sympathy is there, though, with supporters aware that not enough was done to strengthen the head coach’s hand in the January transfer window.
Nevertheless, it will be heads down for Corberan and his staff. They will look to the same blueprint to pick up results and get things back on track; no complaints, just hard work.
For many fans, their view remains the same as it did on the day Corberan arrived at the club.
They’ve seen evidence that his style of play brings excitement and results if executed properly, but he will need backing to make this calculated risk truly work out for the Terriers.