Being a Huddersfield Town fan isn’t often something which brings up repetitive joy, but for some reason things have changed this season, more specifically over the last seven days. Three wins, five goals and nine points have ensured that after somewhat of a blip, Town fans will be heading into Christmas carving the turkey with a smile on their face.
From a spectator’s point of view, it has been two vastly different experiences on the road, something which isn’t really commonplace in the Championship. Sure, there are grounds with soul like Hillsborough, Oakwell and (begrudgingly) Elland Road, but stadia like that are quickly being replaced by the more modern style of football ground, as seen at Cardiff, Rotherham and now Bristol City.
This contrast has been no better evidenced than in the last four days, when Town have made the trip to Burton to play in the Pirelli Stadium (capacity 6,912) before three days later playing in what was a Premier League stadium last season in Carrow Road (capacity 27,244). It would be quite hard to describe the Pirelli Stadium without making reference to the fact that despite the charm of it being a small ground in a big league, it is actually quite soulless. The rise of Burton Albion is a remarkable one, but in a way the support hasn’t yet caught up, and as such every game for Championship clubs there will feel a bit like a cup match. Still, despite a horrendous game of football up until the 85th minute, Town fans were in good voice and witnessed first hand how terracing can be a huge hand to the general atmosphere. Singing, bouncing and just generally getting the sense of a bit more freedom – everything we know and love about the South Stand. Hopefully an experience we can replicate at some point, especially under the lights.
Although there was roughly 1,000 less fans that made the journey to Norwich for the crucial match, it was nice in a way to see familiar faces. Plus, with Sky making the game literally inaccessible for almost everyone, it was a decent turnout regardless of our league position. Another valuable win followed, cheered on from inside our plush little pen in the corner of the ground. It’s just one of those things; two polar-opposite experiences but the same outcome allows you to make pretty sound comparisons. For what it’s worth too, Norwich have a good home support, and their equivalent of the South Stand being opposed with the away end allows for some good old fashioned back-and-forth.
The phrase ‘Non-League to Premier League’ would be one that could often be used in exaggeration, but in this case it feels true based on the experiences. From standing on the terraces in Staffordshire to playing in front of a 26,000 crowd in Norfolk, it really is a signal of the beauty of the league we play in. The respective atmospheres felt vastly different too. Being crammed into a small stand like the away end at Burton makes it feel like you could be the loudest fans ever to grace the sport, whereas being one of 400 in what is essentially a section of the home stand at Norwich can feel like a very lonely place.
Still, noise was made, the team were cheered on and perhaps most importantly we got to see the arms-aloft celebration at the conclusion of 90 minutes. As I was reminded numerous times wearing the famous ‘bruised banana’ black and yellow shirt from 1987-88, Town have had worse days away from home.
At the moment, we are witnessing a team that is heading into every game with a sense of belief. Seven points out of nine against the relegated teams away from home should make us even louder and prouder in our support than ever before.
Get yourselves down on Boxing Day and then to Wigan, and witness the journey continue.