From the top of my bobble-hatted head to the tip of my replica boots I was a riot of blue and white stripes. In my hand was the largest and noisiest rattle in the world, home-made from industrial-strength plywood, painted with the finest Home Charm gloss. It took two hands to operate, but it was so loud it sent nearby supporters scattering – and that meant I got a much better view.
And that day I needed that view because Town had just scored their third goal against Watford, clinching them the Second Division championship. Ecstatic supporters flooded onto the field at Leeds Road, celebration toilet rolls were thrown, even though there was a shortage and bottoms throughout Huddersfield would have to put up with squares of newspaper to deal with – err – business, but it was worth it.
Welsh international Dick Kryzwicki had scored two, Jimmy Lawson one, I almost spilled my Bovril over my dripping sandwich in the excitement. My mum jumped up and down for joy, I jumped too, grabbing the rattle with my two hands and yelling ‘Hud-ders-field’ over and over again as loud as my young lungs would allow, which was very loud. My beloved Huddersfield Town promoted to Division One where they would play Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and their old nemesis Leeds United. Football was the winner there that day.
Well, that was 1970 and I was very very young, my word I was young. Town stayed in the top division for a couple of seasons, then plummeted through the divisions where they were just short of playing in the pub league. My footballing interest was extinguished, though I would always say I was a Town supporter and would secretly follow their progress.
But this weekend, more than 40 years later (is it really 40 years? How can it be?) Town made a great comeback. The divisions all have different names now, Premiership, Championship, Not-Quite-Championship and Not-Even-Mentioning-Championship, but Town stopped the heart of every supporter by winning the play-offs against Sheffield United at Wembley with penalties. They were so evenly-matched that every player had had a shot, with only the goalies left. If they hadn’t scored, they’d have had to go and pick from the crowd where my lovely friend and lifelong Town supporter John Wilson was at the front of the queue. As it turned out the United goalie missed and Town were promoted.
Next season they’ll be in the Championship where they will yet again meet Leeds United. Now, where’s my rattle?
I wish I’d kept all the programmes I collected from the matches I went to, I don’t even have any photos (eee we were too poor to afford a camera) so here’s a picture of the lovely Emily Farwell with flying curls. Emily stayed with us recently with her mum and dad. None of them are Town supporters.