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About A Week: Blue And White For Ever And Ever...

Peter Hinchliffe, an unredeemable fan and loyal supporter of the blue-and-whites, the Huddersfield Town football team, looks forward to the start of another season.

So many blue and white memories….

My father first took me to a Huddersfield Town match more than 60 years ago. He carried me onto the terraces on his shoulders.

There was a big crowd, mostly men wearing flat caps or trilbies. The only blue-and-white shirts to be seen were worn by the Town players.

A brass band played before the match.

When the pieman came round the cinder track coins were passed forward from hand to hand, then pies were handed backwards. No-one tried to steal a bite from a pie they hadn’t paid for.

A piece of good play from either Town or the visiting team was greeted by polite applause. When Town scored there were cheers and louder, longer applause, though members of the crowd did not indulge in wild, ape-like gyrations.

Home fans and visiting fans stood shoulder to shoulder, talking amicably.

Of course I didn’t then appreciate the finer points of the game but my father left me in no doubt that Huddersfield Town were the finest team England had ever seen.

Dad left school at the age of 14 and went to work as an apprentice at ICI. The football ground was next-door to his work place.

He followed Town during their glory days. Cup winners 1922. First Division champions three seasons in a row. And this at a time when English football was the best of the best.

Town fans then could rightly claim to follow the greatest team in football the world had ever seen.

Blue and white memories…

Those players I saw when I went to watch Town with my dad. Peter Docherty, Raich Carter, Len Shackleton, Tom Finney, Stanley Matthews, Frank Swift…

Dare one say that some of those had ball skills which would make David Beckham feel envious?

When I joined the Huddersfield Examiner as a reporter 48 years ago I covered Town Reserves matches. In those days we did running reports of Reserves games as well as first team matches.

The first match I covered was Town Reserves v Wolverhampton Wanderers Reserves. I was the only reporter in the press box. I had to phone reports to The Examiner, two Birmingham evening newspapers, the Wolverhampton paper and Exchange Telegraph - a tall order for a sprog sports journalist.

I survived this fiery baptism then lived in hope that the then Town reporter, Alan Driscoll, who wrote under the name Longfellow, would have a mild 12-hour bout of flu on a Saturday so that I could step into his shoes. On a few treasured occasions I did get to do so.

When I emigrated to America in 1965 I had a real problem in discovering the results of Town matches. In those days there was no ICHuddersfield Web site to keep me informed minute by minute on match days.

Fortunately a friend of mine Gus Gioldasis was an amateur radio enthusiast. He made radio contact with another enthusiast who followed football, a railway worker in York. And so Town’s results were relayed to a blue and white fan baking in the heat of a Texas night.

During Town’s successful promotion season in 69-70 I was again working abroad, this time in Nairobi, Kenya. The early editions of the English Sunday papers arrived in Nairobi on an overnight plane.

One sunny Sunday morning I was sitting on my balcony, about to read the latest chapter in Town’s triumphant progress towards the First Division, when the paper was snatched from my grasp.

A monkey had vaulted onto the balcony and snatched the paper away, and now was carrying off across a stream into the depths of Karura forest.

Obviously an ape with blue and white blood in his veins.

Now we are on the brink of another football season. The Huddersfield Town players are back in full training.

And my season ticket, all shiny and new, is waiting to be used. So come on Town! Come on, come on!

This season we will be promoted, win the Cup, go down in history….


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