|Huddersfield Town 0 v 2 Leeds United|
Saturday, 7th December 2019 Kick-off 12:30
Thursday, 5th Dec 2019 18:48 by Tim Whelan
Our visit to Huddersfield Town is on Sunday with a 12.30 kick-off. Once again it’s being televised by our good friends at Sky Sports, though the Police would have insisted on an early kick-off time anyway.
The John Smith’s Stadium is about a mile to the south-east of the town centre, just off the A62 as you come into the town from Leeds. The best route is to come off the M62 at junction 25 and come into town on the A62 until you see the stadium on your left. There is a large car park at the stadium (£6) and a number of unofficial car parks nearby (expect to pay around £5).
The stadium is just over a mile from the railway station. From the station exit, turn down past the front of The George Hotel and go straight over the crossroads into Northumberland Street, then walk down across the Ring Road straight on into Leeds Road. Turn right down Gasworks Street, and go straight over the crossroads to the stadium.
It probably won’t be easy to a drink before the game, as most of the pubs near the stadium are for home fans only at the best of times, and last season the police ordered all the pubs in Huddersfield to shut before the game. You could try to get into the Gas Club by the big gas holder in Gasworks Street, which serves Bass beers and offers car parking at a cost of £5. Failing that, there are numerous pubs in the town centre, where the ‘Head of Steam’ on the railway station is particularly recommended, as are the nearby ‘Cherry Tree’ and ‘Kings Head’. They usually serve alcohol inside the away end, but it remains to be seen whether they do so for this game.
Before the 1990s Huddersfield played at nearby Leeds road, the site of which is now a B & Q Superstore. In 1932 67,037 hardy souls crammed into the old ground to set the club’s attendance record, but by 1989 the capacity had been reduced to only 14,000, with the Cowshed end deemed to be unsafe. Clearly the ground was never going to meet the standards demanded by the Taylor Report era, and a new stadium had to be built.
The stadium formerly known as the Mc.Alpine opened at the start of the 1994/5 season, though it had only two sides open for the first few months, until the current away stand was completed that December. It finally became a four-sided stadium when the north stand was built in the summer of 1996, bringing the capacity up to it’s current figure of 24,500.
The design is more imaginative that most of the identikit new stadia round the country, and it has won several awards. The club’s own official website describes the shape of each stand as an orange segment, and explains that “studies suggest that a majority of spectators prefer to watch closer to the centres of each touchline. It is also known that the optimum viewing distance football is a 90m circle drawn from the centre of the pitch. Thus, to fit within this circle each stand assumes the shape of a slightly flattened semicircle”.
Away fans get the South Stand, which is the most basic of the four sides, but still provides pretty good facilities and a decent view of the action. The stand is built onto the side of a natural bank, and it can hold up to 4,054 fans. We used to get the whole end, but since they went into the Premiership Huddersfield have only offered half of it to the visitors. And that still applies, so they must have delusions of still being a big club.
So we have only 2,300 tickets, which as usual went on sale through the ‘Attendance Tracker’ scheme, and as usual they have long since sold out. They cost £30 for adults, with OAP's and students at £20 and juniors £10.
As usual Huddersfield are only selling tickets for the home stands to fans who are already on their customer database. They operate “a strict ejection policy for any away fans found in home areas” and in the past have threatened dire consequences for anyone who is identified as having bought tickets for Leeds fans. So if you do manage to get into any of the home stands you’ll have to avoid drawing attention to yourself.
After the game Huddersfield fans are prevented from walking past our end from the stand to our left, as the Police think it’s a safer option than keeping us all back in our end. This way the two sets of fans can disperse in different direction, but this doesn’t stop Huddersfield moan about having to walk the long way round. They take to the internet in their droves to blame the situation on ‘Leeds hooligans’, yet every year we are treated to the gesturing of the block of home fans to our left who would love to have a go at us if the Police didn’t keep them at bay. What lovely people.
A quick glance at a Huddersfield forum has told me that in their current form they are expecting a bit of a thrashing, so I have the highest hopes that this will prove to be a very good day out!
Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.com,.but the needless sarcasm is entirely my own work.
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