During the off-season, we thought we would interview one of our supporters trust reps, Jim Chisem, to see how life feels a year on from his beloved club Huddersfield Town being promoted to the Premier League, maintaining their place and how Premier League riches have affected the club.
You have been in the Premier League for a season now, what would you say are the major differences between the two leagues?
The football is better, for one. Or, to be more precise, the football is technically better. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more exciting or enjoyable to watch.
Off the field, the smell of money is a lot more pungent. Sometimes it seems the powers that be see football as a distraction from the corporate ecosystem that revolves around it, all share prices and global noodle partners.
The halftime entertainment is much worse, too. I don’t care what anybody says, nothing beats dizzy penalties.
Have you seen the club engage more with their supporters during the course of the Premier League season?
The current Board has always been very good when it comes to engaging with supporters, so it’s not really a case of doing more.
We have a constructive relationship with the club’s Supporter Services department and speak to them on an almost daily basis. In fact, I think I speak to them more than my own mother.
We do, however, have the same problem that most other trusts have with Structured Dialogue. For me, the quality of engagement is more important than its frequency.
How has the influx of money changed the landscape of the club during the season?
The pies are a bit more expensive and the players drive nicer cars, but I can honestly say that Sky’s money hasn’t moved mountains. We’re still the same hard-working, community club we always were—with a few extra bells and whistles, I suppose.
What are your fans aspirations now, having stayed up this season?
To stay up next season and the season after that!
Have there been significant changes in the way supporters see things or how they view the club?
Everyone is immensely proud of what the club has achieved over the past few years. David Wagner often says that our supporters are “realistic”, and I think that’s a fair assessment. Well, aside from a few hopeful tweets about luring Yaya Toure to the banks of the Calder…
What has been your best memory of being in the premier league so far?
It’s a toss-up between the opening day at Palace and beating Man Utd at home.
If I had to choose one, though, it’d be the 3-0 win at Selhurst. The sun was shining, the Town faithful were in fine voice, and we started to believe that this Premier League lark might not be so difficult after all.
If the club were to engage more with the trust what would that look like?
It would look exactly like the recommendations set out by the Government’s Expert Working Group on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement and Supporters Direct’s Engage! document.
If you want to know more about Jim follow him here and more about Huddersfield Town Supporters Association then click here.