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Huddersfield Town 1 v 1 Leeds United
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 2nd March 2024 Kick-off 12:30
Huddersfield Awaydaze
Friday, 1st Mar 2024 12:46 by Tim Whelan

Our visit to Huddersfield Town is tomorrow 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. You won’t be able to use the large car park at the stadium, but number of unofficial car parks nearby (expect to pay around £5).

The stadium is just over a mile from the railway station, which would be handy if there were any trains running all the way to Huddersfield. But there are no trains stopping there all day, due to the engineering work for the Trans Pennine Upgrade scheme. Though it is still possible to catch a train to either Brighouse or Mirfield and a rail replacement bus from there, if that appeals.

And if you do still end up at 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 in previous years the police have 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’ and ‘Kings Head’ on the railway station are particularly recommended, as is the nearby Corner pub in Market Walk. Another option is the Wetherspoons ‘Cherry Tree’ in John William St. 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 than 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 2,330 tickets, and as usual the allocation were given sold out almost as soon as they went on sale. Thanks to the reciprocal pricing agreement that causes so much discussion earlier in the season they cost £20 for adults, with OAP's and 19-22 year olds at £15 and juniors £10. There are a few tickets remaining for the home stands, but they will only sell them 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 directions, 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 threatening gestures 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 they still fear a bit of a thrashing, although they have improved a bit since sacking Darren Moore. All the same I still have the highest hopes that this will prove to be a very good day out!

Some of this stuff came from,.but the needless sarcasm is entirely my own work.

Photo: Action Images

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