9. THE FIRST EVER PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURE IN HD1
To be honest, this was a day I thought I'd never see. Having followed the club around the country to towns and cities ranging between Carlisle to Gillingham, I wasn't sure that I would ever see my team grace the top flight. With football becoming an ever increasing game of greed and gluttony, there seemed no likelihood that an oil rich billionaire would be willing to invest in a forgotten northern football club. And not in one who's rich history and heritage was being constantly suppressed by those who think football was invented in 1992.
As a fourth generation Town fan, I seemed to have somewhat drawn the short straw. My Great Grandfather witnessed "The Halcyon Days" and the next generations would see Town as a top flight club hosting players like Stanley Matthews, Tom Finney, Jimmy Glazzard, George Best, Denis Law and Frank Worthington. By contrast, I grew up watching Stuart Hicks, Jon Whitney and Mark Wells. It was character building... But FINALLY thanks to a local businessman (and one of our own), a charismatic German and some out of the box thinking, our generation was rewarded. The previous toil, struggle and embarrassing defeats at Scunthorpe, Macclesfield, Accrington and Bradford only served to make this day sweeter, as Huddersfield Town walked out of the tunnel as a Premier League Football Club for the very first time in Huddersfield. This was also the first top flight game in the town since the 22nd of April 1972. That's 16,557 days between top flight fixtures in the town of Huddersfield if anyone was counting.
Town were excellent, and as soon as Aaron Mooy's strike hit the back of the net Town were never in any danger of relinquishing the lead. Circa 22,000 home fans celebrated into the night as The Terriers hit the top of the top league for the first time since the 18th of August 1970. Which incidentally is 17,170 days if you were still counting..
8. HEFELE'S IN THEEEEEEEEEEEEEERE!
"That is a fucking dream"
A high noon showdown between two 'Yorkshire rivals not rivals' with half a dozen side stories that made for compelling viewing for those who took in the SKY broadcast. For those of us at the game it was a tense thriller in which Town deservedly triumphed after outplaying their near neighbours. The main plot-line of course was that both sides were pushing hard in the top 6 of The Championship hoping for at least a playoff spot. At the start of the day Leeds were 4th in the league, but this result allowed Town to leapfrog their opponents and go on to have the more successful campaign. Michael Hefele's last gasp goal simultaneously sent over 20,000 Town fans into delirium whilst sending 2200 chestwankers back down the A62 with their flaccid chest cocks tucked under their armpits in retreat.
Side Story 1: Battle of the young up and coming managers
In the build up to the game both sets of supporters and the media were quite rightly bigging up their respective gaffers. Wagner had struck the first blow to Monk back in September 2016 with a 1-0 win at Elland Road, but Leeds fans had claimed that Monk and Leeds had yet to get going. Leeds had built up a lot of momentum since, and their direct set piece power-play style was causing Championship sides a lot of problems. Wagner however would tactically outwit Monk once again to claim 6 points out of 6. Both results brought out the worst in Garry Monk who had fallen out with Adam Pope after the first game, but his frustration went one better in the return match as he skipped out of his dugout to body check Wagner for the heinous crime of celebrating a goal, and then lied about it. Class, Humility and .... [insert eye rolling smiley]
Side Story 2: Battle of the cult heroes.
One was supposed to have a magic hat, the other was a giraffe kissing, dressing gown casual. One was aggressive and prone to rash over the top challenges whilst the other an affable joker who was smooth on the ball. There was only one winner back in February 2017. Leeds centre back Pontus Jansson came with the reputation of a big game player, but spent the majority of the game hacking the ball into the stand and was upstaged by Town's German Centre back who left Jansson floundering, arm in the air in the 89th minute to seal the game and the man of the match award. His post match interview would also go down in Huddersfield Town legend as he unwittingly gave the 2016/17 season it's unofficial title.
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7. "SMITH! SCORES FOR HUDDERSFIELD TOWN!
What better way was there to spend Valentines Evening than with over 2000 passionate lads and lasses singing their hearts out for their first love (or 2nd if my other half is reading this!). For me this wasn't just a normal away day. Town had just won 4 games on the spin in 12 days, and as I looked around me in the sold out away end, I could feel a genuine sense of belief among the fans who were now serenading cult hero Michael Hefele with his catchphrase of "It's a Fucking Dream" that something special was happening. This night finally made this cautious pessimist think that not only could we get into The Championship Playoffs for the first time, but we could go one better and get promotion. The scenes of Tommy Smith scoring and running across the stand packed with Town fans will live with me for many years. Great celebrations, great night.
6. Huddersfield Town 2-1 Manchester United
"Another chapter in the fairy tale"
Growing up as a kid in West Yorkshire during the 1990's Man Utd were THE team in the country. During Fergie's reign Man Utd grew to be a global phenomenon wiping the floor with virtually everyone throughout the decade. As TV exposure grew so did the amount of "Pot Hunters" within the Towns and Cities of Huddersfield, Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and Halifax. Usually a modest bunch too. Fans of local sides were often derided for supporting their "sh*t clubs" by those who had never stepped foot within a Manchester postcode. In truth we weren't great and not that attractive a proposition to come and support. On the corresponding weekend 15 years earlier there were 75 places between Town and Man Utd, so for our "sh*t club" to now be going toe to toe in a league match was a great milestone in the rejuvenation of our club. But to beat them for the first time since 1952? Majestic.
5. The After after party
Crystal Palace away. Town's first game in the big time since well.... Crystal Palace away. Back in 1972, Huddersfield Town finished their previous top flight game against Crystal Palace with a 0-0 draw. As fate would have it, 16,541 days later Town would play their next top flight game at the same venue.
Most Town fans I know had started celebrating on the evening of May 29th and had never stopped, me included. Croydon was awash with excited and lively Yorkshireman all giddily spilling out of pubs and bars and singing in the street as they amassed en route to Town's first ever 'Premier League' fixture. Prior to the season starting many pundits, armchair pundits and salty fans of other clubs had predicted that not only would Town come back to earth with a thud after 2 and a half months of partying, but they would be "relegated with the lowest points total in Premier League History" and be "down before the Christmas decorations". Their mocking turned incredulous from the moment Mounie soared like an eagle and crashed home a thumping header to put Town 2 up. The promotion party continued apace, we had arrived in the big time with a glorious bang.