Some managers make the jump with their side from the Championship to the Premier League and then get caught out and fail to make the grade required of a top-flight manager. However, David Wagner survived his first-season with Huddersfield, and even though his former side look destined for relegation now, he won’t have his record blemished.
The question now is what will be next for the German-born American. The Terriers were one of the sides that were tipped for the drop into League One in that famous season where his side won promotion from the Championship, and that’s no easy task. That season saw Wagner go down in Huddersfield Town history, and in Championship history, for the way he pulled it off.
When he came up, his side became the first to win the playoffs without scoring a goal, drawing three games 0-0 and winning two penalty shootouts, and his side was the first to be promoted from the second-tier with a negative goal difference. However, he still managed to turn the John Smith Stadium into a Premier League ground, and for that he deserves enormous credit.
The pitfall that Wagner must now avoid, though, is taking a job in the Championship. If the 47-year-old drops back into the division that he conquered in the 2016/17 season then he faces the danger of becoming a Championship manager and nothing more, even though he successfully kept the Terriers up in the 2017/18 season.
The ex-Dortmund II manager will need to be very patient and wait for a job to come up that he can take where he knows he will be able to keep them in the Premier League without the worry of being sacked prematurely. If he can do that then he’ll make himself an attractive option to struggling top-flight clubs who in the past have been left looking at managers like Sam Allardyce and David Moyes.