English Premier League football club Huddersfield Town is set to be under new ownership when it returns to the Championship in 2019-20 after current chairman, Dean Hoyle, agreed a takeover deal with Phil Hodgkinson, chief executive and founder of legal services company Pure Business Group.
Having taken over as chairman and owner in the summer of 2009, Hoyle has led Huddersfield into its most successful spell in 40 years, taking the club from League One to the Premier League for the past two seasons.
Huddersfield will return to the Championship next season after finishing bottom of the Premier League this campaign, and Hoyle has announced that a commercial agreement is in place with Hodgkinson for the sale of the club.
Completion of the sale, which will see Hoyle retain a minority stake in the club, will see fellow lifelong Town fan Hodgkinson step into the role of chairman and take a 75-per-cent controlling ownership stake. The deal is subject to approval from the relevant football authorities, which is expected to be received over the summer.
Hoyle is stepping down after battling pancreatitis earlier this year and said the time is right to hand over ownership. Hoyle, who will remain on the board of directors, said: “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.
“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. I have chosen Phil not just because he is an astute businessman 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.”
Pure has existing ties to Town. The logo of Pure Legal Limited appeared on the team’s home shirts from 2015, including the 2016-17 Championship promotion season, as well as on the sleeve during the club’s first Premier League campaign. More recently, the Pure Business Group became title sponsor of the Huddersfield Town Academy.
Hodgkinson said: “I must thank Dean Hoyle, not just for the way he’s conducted himself throughout this process but for what he has done for the club over the past decade. He’s totally re-engaged the supporter base and has made elite football available to the masses. In football, I believe it’s incredibly rare to have that scenario when you arrive as a new chairman.
“My number one priority is to give every support I can to (coach) 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.”