Make it so: It's party time for Huddersfield Town at long last

THE last time Huddersfield Town were in football's top division, the Ford Cortina was the country's most popular car, Ted Heath was Prime Minister and the UK was still a few months away from joining the European Economic Community.

The moment when Huddersfield Town were promoted. Picture: Simon Hulme

A pint of beer cost 13p, Emily Nugent had just married Ernest Bishop on Coronation Street and Love Thy Neighbour was the politically incorrect hit comedy of the year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner celebrates winning the Sky Bet Championship play-off final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner celebrates winning the Sky Bet Championship play-off final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

That was 1972. Now the Terriers – so-called since the 1960s because of their supposed tenacity – are top dogs, back in the big-time which seemed to be beyond even the wildest dreams of their most die-hard supporters.

They beat Reading at Wembley Stadium in the most dramatic of fashions via a penalty shoot-out. The victory is said to be worth £200m when television money and sponsorship is accounted for.

Some 40,000 supporters travelled to the national stadium –many in a convoy of more than 80 coaches – and many were still partying back in West Yorkshire in the early hours of today.

Town in the Premier League might seem ‘highly illogical’, as Star Trek’s Spock might have said. Sir Patrick Stewart, a lifelong Town fan from Mirfield, must surely have responded with his character Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s catchphrase ‘Make it so’.

He was in the crowd and looked overjoyed at the victory. Town owner Dean Hoyle may have been overjoyed, too, but he looked shattered. Spending £200m is a big responsibility.

Town supporters could hardly contain their relief after two successful penalty shoot-outs in the play-offs, having beaten Sheffield Wednesday in similar fashion.

Long-time supporter Phill Hamlett, 34, an assistant head teacher of Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, said: “It was incredible. The atmosphere was fantastic. It was an even game and towards the end both sides were desperate not to lose.

“The atmosphere was tense but we were so sure in the penalties even after we missed one.

“Who do I want for the first match? Chelsea. It would be good to welcome the champions for the first game.

“I’ve never been to a game like it. To have 40,000 from Huddersfield there is tremendous.”

Town fan Stan Frontczak, of Almondbury, Huddersfield, said: “It has been my life-long dream to see Town in the top flight and now it has come true. It is 
unbelievable. I couldn’t enjoy the match because I was so nervous.

“But what a way to do it. The atmosphere was great and the banter was good – all very good-natured. We went in a pub before the match which had been designated a Reading pub and they were taking the mickey out of my 
Huddersfield jester’s hat, but it was all in fun. Huddersfield Town never do it the easy way but we have done it, that’s the important thing. If we only last one season, I don’t care.”

Michael Hefele missed his own spot-kick early in the shoot-out and admitted: “It was the worst moment in my career but I think we just stick together. Such a small club is now in the best league in the world, it’s just crazy.”

Christopher Schindler, the man who took the winning penalty, said: “I’m so happy that I’m here with this wonderful team. I think we are going to have a party now.”

Read more: