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A Play-Off Tale from the Northlands
Written by Von_Lager on Tuesday, 13th Jun 2017 10:12

It’s been an interesting 10 days for me reading the articles on 29th May 2017 vs 2000 and Huddersfield or Blackburn?. Interesting for me as I was at Wembley for both the 2000 and 2017 finals and both times supported the winning teams.

My background is born and bred Suffolk so I saw plenty of games from the mid-70s to the mid-80s when I went to uni ‘up North’. I now live in the hills in Yorkshire where I can easily climb 1,000 metres in a 10-mile bike ride; friends from Suffolk come to stay with me for supposed ‘altitude training’ (drinking beer above 270m).

I should also mention that a few years ago the then Ipswich manager lived in our village (extra point if you can guess which manager it was correctly first time).

Now my son is getting into football and supports his local team. I’m not a football fascist and didn’t force him to follow the Super Blues. His mother’s side have links to the founders of Barcelona, so he had a choice of two former Robson-managed sides but has gone with Huddersfield.

But going to the occasional match has allowed me to be part of the Kung vs Cookin' on 3 Burners 'This Girl' in honour of Michael Hefele, which is simply the best song since ‘Mich, Mich, Mich D’Avray’ circa 1986.

So I found myself last Monday on a road trip with eight kids from our under-12s team and five or six dads. They are mainly season ticket holders with Huddersfield, but originally support other ‘bigger clubs’ (and in one case a lesser club).

So I was the only one with mixed emotions; I really wanted Town to win but in my heart I was sat there remembering 2000 and wondering why my own Town has repeatedly failed to get this far. When Sir Matt Holland was introduced prior to the kick-off as part of the celebrations of 25 years of the play-offs I was the only person in a crowd of 76,682 who cheered madly (Matt, did you hear me?).

And the game was fascinating. David Wagner set up Huddersfield to win it in the first 20 minutes. When that just failed to come off it was more cat and mouse simply because there was too much to lose. And when Brownie describes the game as “not enjoyable”, who cares? This game is only for fans of each team involved – go and mow the lawn instead of complaining.

And then the penalties. We had team stuffed full of Germans so we were bound to win. So what happened when Huddersfield’s second-most favourite member of the Teutonic race stepped up and failed? We had one last card up our sleeve – and the big screen flashed up a shot of Patrick Stewart who was obviously about to exercise his Professor X powers; from that point we knew everything was going to be alright.

So what now? Well for starters we get Premier League football for a £179 season ticket (£95 for kids). And I will always support my original Town first. On the way home I was thinking that in 12 months' time I could be making the same trip back up north but with Ipswich in the Premier League, and more than swapping places with Huddersfield.

But the big thing is being part of something bigger than a football match. Being part of a ’tribe’ that had made the trip down from West Yorks gave me areal buzz and reminded of the away trips of long ago. And my real conclusion is that, really, the two sets of fans are the same; we all have more in common than most Ipswich fans would wish to admit.

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BlueandTruesince82 added 17:52 - Jun 15
My guess would be PJ he's a Yorkshire type. Can't of been Keane , Magilton or Big Joe surely? PJ all day long

Edmundo added 19:27 - Jun 15
Big Fat Joe? Great blog, and yes we could "do a Huddersfield" but unlikely as we don't have the right owner, manager or team spirit (too many content to be average Championship). I actually went to the Huddersfield 3rd Round match in the FA Cup. Met two fans who had season tickets (195 quid) and regularly got the train from Kent! There's so much apathy at Town I don't think many regularly make it from Cambridgeshire to PR.

ricardo55555 added 08:37 - Jun 16
I grew up and was born in Chelsea.....
Dad was having none of that


Von_Lager added 08:58 - Jun 16
I'm afraid it wasn't Paul Jewell, but rather Chris Hutchings who was PJ's assistant but in charge for one game after PJ left. He still lives there and must feel a bit edgy when he spots me wandering around in my ITFC bobble hat. I've got a Jay Emmanual Thomas shirt which he must have donated for our cricket club auction - no one else bid for it.
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