THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Huddersfield Town have not had the best of times recently, but Steve Wade looks at their colourful history for comfort

To what extent is manager Mick Wadsworth being blamed for Huddersfield’s recent decline?
A very vocal section of the crowd regularly call for his blood. But despite a few questionable de­cis­ions, Wadsworth isn’t entirely responsible. The rot started to set in after the sacking of Peter Jack­son and responsibility must be accepted by a num­ber of players, too. The awful irony is the pain of that first home game this season against Brentford, when the PA voice announced the beginning of “the Wadsworth era”.

Which player have you missed most since  he was sold?
There are plenty of candidates for this but most of all we’ve missed the strikers: Clyde Wijnhard, Wayne Allison, Leon Knight and Kevin Gallen, all of whom have continually scored this season for their new clubs, while we have the worst strike-rate not just in the division but in the whole Foot­ball League. But iron in the defence was there, too, with Gray and Lucketti. We need that now.

Who do Huddersfield fans consider to be their main rivals and has this changed over the years?
Bradford remain the target of most hatred from the faithful, but a soft spot remains for Leeds, although our chances of playing them in the future look bleak (they thrashed us in a friendly a few years back). Per­sonally, it has to be Barnsley, after the 7-1 defeat at Oakwell. Of course, they are the only ones in our division to feel contempt for, and they look like go­ing down with us.

What were your best and worst moments as a Huddersfield fan?

Best: Promotion; beating Chelsea 1-0 with that great Kenny Irons goal; and topping the First Division for a time under Jack­son.
Worst: There have been quite a few of late, relegation to the Second Division being the most obvious one. The hardest thing to take, though, was the slide from being contenders for the Premiership to fighting for our lives at the foot of the Second Division.

Fondly remembered
Marcus Stewart ~ One of the most talented players to don a Town shirt. He looked certain to win us promotion, before he was sold to do it for Ipswich Town. Some may see this as the point where it all went wrong, and we miss his special and uncanny sense of putting the ball in the net. Sometimes you went mainly to watch Marcus.

Best forgotten
Barry Rubery ~ Supposedly a saviour, Barry, the founder of a satellite decoding equipment company, arrived in January 1999 in a hail of fireworks and boy bands, but then left under a cloud of relegation and debt. “A Rubery” might enter the Town vocabulary as an alternative to “a flash in the pan” or “feet of clay”. 

Milestones & Millstones
1908 Rugby league was formed here in 1895, and some folk still think it’s a rugger town. But Town were only 13 years behind.
1919 Word got around that Town were to move to Elland Road, as Leeds City had been up to some shady tricks and were booted out of the league. Huddersfield fans took to the streets to protest. Amazingly, this was the season they went up to the First Division and reached the FA Cup final. Then the wonderful and tough businessman called Herbert Chapman arrived.
1922 FA Cup winners, beating Preston 1-0, with the goal coming from the penalty spot for the first time in a final. The scorer was Billy Smith.
1924-26 League champions for three years in a row. Perhaps most memorable for the ace striker (well, centre-forward) George Brown.
1956 The arrival of Bill Shankly, a man who won the hearts of many. This era saw Denis Law at Leeds Road as well, before he joined Manchester City in 1960. The flamboyant Frank Worthington also
figured, from 1964 to 1972.
1970 Decline and relegation through the 1970s, with the new name of the Terriers and the support of Harold Wilson with his Gannex coat made just up the road. By 1975 they were in the Fourth Division.
1980 Fourth Division champions under Mick Buxton.
1994 The last game at Leeds Road (April 30) then the team moved into the magnificent new McAlpine Stadium.
1999 Steve Bruce arrived, to spend lots of money, write two football “novels” and favour being a TV pundit over being a football manager. His ill-fated spell began with a 5-0 drubbing by Leeds in a friendly, though he did take us top at Christmas 1999 before the decline set it. His successor Lou Macari had an uphill struggle with the legacy.

From WSC 193 March 2003. What was happening this month

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