Ben Hamer eager to prove his worth and win over the Huddersfield Town boo boys

Eighteen months ago, Ben Hamer left Huddersfield Town with a sour taste in his mouth.

Second chance - Huddersfield Town goalkeeper Ben Hamer (Picture: PA)
Second chance - Huddersfield Town goalkeeper Ben Hamer (Picture: PA)

The former reserve goalkeeper on a Premier League-winning team had been booed in his last few games of his debut season at the John Smith’s Stadium, as Town’s two-year adventure in the top flight came to an insufferable end.

Hamer would get jeered by his own fans at the ground then go home and check social media, where he would find yet more abuse. That summer, manager Jan Siewert left him under no illusions that while ever he was in charge of Huddersfield Town, Hamer would not have a future at the club.

So, aged 31, a man who made his name at Charlton Athletic and was on the books of Leicester City when they shocked football by winning the Premier League title, suddenly found himself unwanted and disliked.

Huddersfield Town goalkeeper Ben Hamer makes a save during the Sky Bet Championship match at The John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield. (Picture: PA)

“I expect a lot from myself and I was the first person to know it didn’t go to plan,” admits Hamer, who was loaned to Championship rivals Derby County after his first season with Town.

“I didn’t play well and that’s why supporters were on me. They weren’t very happy with me being in their goal, I could fully understand that.

“I wasn’t playing with freedom, I wasn’t playing with confidence.

“The abuse was tough to take. I was perhaps caring too much about what people thought of me.

Tough times - Huddersfield Town goalkeeper Ben Hamer during the Premier League era (Picture: PA)

“I’m completely the opposite now, I don’t read that stuff any more. Twitter was probably one of the more toxic places I have ever come across.

“I didn’t enjoy it. I wanted the supporters to take to me, I wanted to do well for them.

“It wasn’t working for me on the pitch and then it felt like double jeopardy when I was getting absolutely whacked on social media.

“It was probably the first time I had home supporters on my case, it was a new experience for me and one I didn’t handle as well as I could have done.”

Josh Koroma is out for three months (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Siewert’s dismissal of him from his plans forced Hamer to seek a solution just one year into a three-year contract at Town.

Derby, new rivals for Town as they prepared for life back in the Championship, threw Hamer a lifeline.

He played 24 games for the Rams and got his confidence back.

“That probably galvanised me,” he reflects. “I had a fresh start, got some games in, really enjoyed my time down there and got my confidence back.”

Not for a second, though – even despite not feeling welcome – did he ever not want to go back to Huddersfield to finish the job.

“I think the fans were hoping that was it for me,” he said with a rueful laugh about his move to Derby.

“I always knew I was coming back to Huddersfield. My mindset coming back was that I was coming in to a new club, so give it a right go.

“From a personal pride point of view I wanted to turn it around. I didn’t want to go to a club and leave there with a bad taste. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before, I’ve always done well for a club, so I didn’t want to come here and let the fans think I was the worst signing ever and had done terribly for the club.

“I really wanted to turn it around. That gave me a hunger and hopefully I’m making small strides in the right direction.”

Establishing himself as No 1 under Carlos Corberan, the head coach who promised him a fresh start back at Huddersfield in the summer, has helped. Two clean sheets in a week to take Town up to 12th in the table and continue their upturn in form, has continued Hamer’s revival.

And it all points to Hamer looking forward to playing in front of the Huddersfield fans again, to prove to them he is a different goalkeeper and person to the one that left in the summer of 2019.

“I’ve got so much more confidence now and anything anybody does say negative about me, I just don’t care,” he says.

“That’s the best way to be, especially in our industry. If you take criticism to heart you’re going to go under.

“So I’m really looking forward to the fans coming back in now, to see how we’re playing, how we’ve improved since the back end of the season.

“We want the fans back in, that’s why I play football. I get a buzz and an adrenalin rush playing in front of fans.

“We all love that roar.”

The part he has played in Corberan’s new philosophy, his distribution from the back being key to getting Town on the front foot, has been liberating.

If there is a disappointment it is that Hamer and Huddersfield will now have to make do without one of their promising attacking players, Josh Koroma, for three months after Corberan confirmed the injury the 22-year-old sustained against Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night is a hamstring tear.

“Koroma has been one of the important players this year,” said Corberan, of a player who has scored three goals in the last four games, each of them ending in victories for the Terriers.

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