It was an offer too good to pass up. Huddersfield Town were trying to drum up business for their Division I League match with Milton Keynes Dons on a frigid Tuesday evening in West Yorkshire.
Well, I took the discounted 50 pence Trans-Pennine Express on the 20 minute journey to the handsome 19th Century Huddersfield train station-one of the best in Europe. Next door is the Head of Steam pub with its splendid photos, paintings, posters and old railway items, and great food, drink and ambience.
Outside in the forecourt is a large statue of my favourite recent Prime Minister, Harald Wilson. The great man was an enthusiastic Town supporter and kept a photo of the championship winning Terriers team from the 1920's in his wallet at all times. In fact they won the old First Division and the championship of England in their haydays 1924, 1925, 1926. www.htafc.com
On the corner you turn left at the George Hotel, a great hotel with a welcoming bar and rugby league photos and souvenirs. It was here that the Rugby Football League was founded. Its about 1,000 yards to the Galpharm Stadium, the first of the modern great architectural designs. It used to be called the McAlpine Stadium after its builders. Four pleasant arched supports on each side.
They call themselves The Yorkshire Club. Last year at a football exhibition I had a nice chat with Andy Booth their former star who is now their ambassador-Bags of enthusiasm. They have tried hard to make The Terriers part of the community and reduced prices to bring in the fans on a regular basis. They make up with sales of beer, coffee, tea, programmes, pukka pies, burgers and chips, parking and of course atmosphere and support.
Tuesday night was Champions League night on TV and bitterly cold,a time to stay indoors perhaps They had devised a '70's night with staff dressed in old costumes, and 16 ex players introduced at half time. Their reward was a crowd of 12,750. MK Dons, founded 6 years ago, only brought about 100 fans so most in attendance were locals. Their player coach is Dietmar Hamann, Champions League winner at Liverpool and World Cup finalist with Germany. He stayed on the bench.
Their award winning match programm 'GIVE US AN H', 100 pages, had the cover from 1977/78 season when it was only 15p. Today it is £3.00 a 2,000% increase, but prices in all parts today were reduced to £7.00. Before the match I went next door to a pub, the Rope Bridge and watched Moscow Spartak lose at home to Marseilles 3-0 in an even chillier Moscow. I bought a ticket on the first row of the upper tier of the Direct Golf UK double decker stand near the half-way line.
The '70's brought doom and gloom to 'Town, then playing at the old Leeds Road ground. From top flight to bottom, suffering 3 relegations in 4 years. The decade ended with promotion under manager Mick Buxton after 5 years in the bottom tier.
Current boss Lee Clark was under pressure after a recent home defeat to Yeovil, but his lads responded with true Yorkshire grit and some splendid goals. 4-1 victors to the sounds of 70's Glam Rock, and Showaddywaddy singing Under the Moon of Love, and everyone went home happy. A second half double from Jordan Rhodes, who was quite a handful for the Dons defence, and two more from Anthony Kay and Gary Roberts produced 3 points and kept them in 4th place and a play-off place.
This Saturday they entertain Macclesfield Town in the 2nd Round of the F.A. Cup.