Huddersfield, a town of many surprises
Some might not think much of Huddersfield Town FC, just a team that makes up the numbers in the Premier League. But they do have a glorious past. They won the league title (Division one) three times (1923/4, 1924/5 & 1925/6), and before that the FA Cup in 1922. Three of those trophies (two leagues and an FA Cup) was when they were managed by the great Herbert Chapman. Chapman took Arsenal to greatness, but not many people know that he played for Spurs as an amateur (most were amateur in those days) before becoming a manager. They’ve also been in their current stadium since 1994; previously they were at Leeds Road. The famous Liverpool manager Bill Shankly also managed them. A once great club now reduced to making up the numbers in the modern era.
My trip to Huddersfield started on the morning of Saturday 29th. I should have started at 7am, but because I went to the opening of my village Pop-Up-Pub (ingeniously called “The Pop in Pub”) and stayed too late drinking (four glasses of wine, and let us not talk about the food), I was forced to leave later (but only an hour later).
I must say that the trip – 3 hours and 30 minutes – was a very smooth journey. No, troubles. Just one quick stop for a Cornetto. When I got to Huddersfield, I was amazed at how many Speed camera’s they had. Every few yards there was a Camera perched like an eagle waiting to swoop on any driver thinking (or not thinking) of adding that bit extra speed to get them to their destination a bit quicker. Granted, not all those Camera containers had camera’s in them, but we weren’t to know which ones didn’t (and that is the point).
Finally arrived and then looked for somewhere to park. Luckily I found a nice parking place up the hill from the stadium. I parked on the road/ pavement, not far from a Riding School that also used its grounds for Football parking (at £5 a car).
I checked my phone and according to Google maps, it was going to take me 35 minutes to get to the stadium (from where I parked). I did double check with a few fans, who told me that the walk was about 10 or 15 minutes (what do they know, Google maps are Google maps, more reliable).
So, 12 minutes after leaving my car – and on the edge of the John Smith stadium – I spied a Costa’s and went in for a Cappuccino and a cake. I was surprised how fast the girl got me that drink; you don’t usually get that quickness down south. There must be something in their water. I stayed for about 20 minutes and then made my way to the stadium.
I walked around the stadium, talked to two friendly police officers, and a few Spurs supporters and then got in the queue at the away end. We were let in at quarter to two. Once in I made my way to one of their food cabins to get myself a cup of tea (Yorkshire tea, no less) and a hotdog. They didn’t have programme sellers outside, the only way you could get a programme was either from their Megastore (if you could call it that, and they did) or inside the stadium. Going to a football match and not getting a programme is like going to a restaurant and not getting any food.
After I had something to eat I waited around talking to other supporters (some I had already known from the Milan game or other away games) and finally, the two Martin’s turned up. We chatted about various things, including the PSV Eindhoven game. Other’s joined in (talking to us), and then we made our way to our seats. I must add one observation; upon entering the stadium and presenting my ticket, I noticed that unlike other modern clubs (technology wise) they did it the old-fashioned way. A man was at the turnstiles, you presented your ticket, he took it and tore a bit off, and then he handed it back to you. It brought back memories of years ago at White Hart Lane when we queued for hours either with our ticket or just handed over the money (those were the days). Now done by faceless machines.
The John Smith stadium is a well-constructed arena. Surrounded by trees that tower over the stadium (at least on one side).
Both sets of fans were enthusiastic, and both applauded loudly. The teams came out, had their photos taken, got into position and the whistle went. As always, we stood – even though there were signs around the stadium that said, “No standing” – on that warm(ish) day.
This was a game we needed to win, and win we did. That makes it three in a row. So, we won three in a row, lost three in a row and now just won three. The next game up will be against Barcelona, and we must break the current three cycle practise. In other words, we must win our next two games (and not just the next two games).
We have an important month ahead of us; Barcelona, Cardiff, West Ham, PSV Eindhoven, City and then the Hammers again in the League Cup.
To game. Huddersfield boss David Wagner says his team will start winning games if they keep performing like they did in the 2-0 defeat. And I agree with him. Huddersfield were a plucky little team who fought to the very end. As for Spurs, I didn’t think we were at our brilliant best. Kane still wasn’t 100%, even though he got both goals. But we won and when we are not at our best, then it will be games like this that will show what we are made of.
Our hosts started brightly but went behind when Kane headed in Kieran Trippier's right-wing cross. We added a second when Danny Rose went down in the box after contact from Florent Hadergjonaj, with Kane sending Jonas Lossl the wrong way with the resulting penalty.
Laurent Depoitre hit the bar, but the hosts rarely looked like mounting a comeback despite their hard work.
I thought Gazzaniga played well, I prefer him to Vorm. Hopefully, he will keep his place until Lloris comes back. Alli was out with a groin strain and will be out for some weeks. Erikson is still out, but I thought we managed quite well without those injured players.
Before the game kicked off, West Ham beat United 3-1 earlier in the day. After our game – evening kick-off - Liverpool drew with Chelsea, both results were good for us.
City and Liverpool are top on 19 points, then close behind are Chelsea with 17 points. We are in fourth place with 15 points, but we’ve got to be careful as Arsenal are breathing down our necks, they have the same points as us. The only thing that separates both teams is goal difference. Both sides won on Saturday by 2-0.
So, there you have it. We won, and now we must continue with that winning mentality, on Wednesday we face Barcelona. There should be a great crowd for this match.
Once the whistle went, I made my way to my car – a long walk up the hill (it seemed a lot longer, more so with an aching leg) – then a long journey home (but another good drive, as it was coming, just darker by then). I got back at 9.30 pm. Thirteen and a half hours in total, near enough a whole day was taken up to watch a match that was just 45 minutes each way. We are dedicated or deranged, or on medication… but whatever we are we are devoted to our cause. All home games, all away games, all competitions or friendlies, in the heat, freezing cold or just average weather, we are there. We go in all conditions, from miles around, and smile through good and bad times/ results. Whatever position we are in the league we turn up. And do the club appreciate us? I doubt it, but we do it because it is in our blood, because we are Spurs through and through.