Guest: Raising the Town's profile

Updated: Jul 25, 2018

It's not often Huddersfield is taken seriously. Our town has an unfortunate name - drop the H, and by birth or bad joke you're a Northern nuuuumbskuuuull.

So when the pundits relegated David Wagner's Terriers - Huddersfield Town AFC - from the Premier League before they'd kicked off match one, the people of Kirklees shrugged it off and prepared for business, as usual. 

As we had expected, match reports mostly focused on the opposition, though to give him his due, the 'Special One' credited Huddersfield as the better side when we beat Man Utd 2-1 for the first time since 1952.

We were still a solid favourite for the drop, even though, as Wagner politely pointed out last week, we were only in the relegation zone once all season. Now, suddenly, we're the poster child of the Premier League, the Northern star, the real Special Ones. 

The team of course isn't all from Huddersfield, and German manager Wagner is the first non-Brit in that role, but they've drunk the millstone-grit spiked water, and quite brilliantly, Wagner has tapped into the essence of what makes Huddersfield sparkle - yes, sparkle.

Thanks to the Premier League, Huddersfield has attracted more visitors lately, but for those who've never been, Huddersfield isn't a bad joke. The town centre isn't much cop, but the surrounding countryside, especially as it makes its way westward to the Pennines, offers uncrowded and unspoiled reaches glittering with historical gems. And that history is what makes Town special. 

Like the team, Huddersfield has recovered with guts and spirit, over the past century, from depression, grime, gasworks, and poor performance. Soot-blackened Huddersfield, birthplace of Lord Harold Wilson, has been sandblasted into gold.

Canals have re-opened as navigable waterways; parks are in boom again, and old mills have either vanished or reinvented themselves as student housing. Indeed, Huddersfield's University campus is a hub of breathtaking architecture and diversity which makes those of us who grew up here contemplate with awe how such a creature emerged from the literal surrounding rubble.

And yet to be surprised puts us of the same mindset as the outsiders, with disrespectful  expectations and gloomy predictions. From the media coverage, you could be forgiven for assuming Huddersfield would fit into Wembley Stadium, but it's actually the 11th largest town in the UK.

And of course the Terriers were the first football team to win the League 3 times in succession, a feat only equalled since by Manchester United, Arsenal, and Liverpool. We may be the underdogs, but never doubt that we know how to win.


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