Our very own ‘working’ on Christmas Day SeasideEssexeXile gives us the lowdown on our trip over the border
The John Smiths Stadium – Huddersfield Town
Well the run ended in an almost comical fashion. Having just watched Chelski win 8-0 I clocked that they had the same number of shots on target as we had, less than 48hrs after we did, the difference being they won at a canter whereas we came away shaking our proverbials asking how the hell did we lose that. Appleton`s post match interview said it all “the games are coming thick and fast, we can get straight on with the next game”.
That game is Huddersfield away, a bit like Friends Reunited, but without the £5 fee.
The stadium seats 24,499 people along with hospitality boxes and conference rooms.
The main stand, the Direct Golf UK Stand or Riverside Stand incorporates two-tiers of seats, with a row of 26 executive boxes running between them. This stand also houses the offices and suites. The Britannia Rescue Stand, opposite the Riverside and commonly referred to as the Kilner Bank Stand, is a large, single-tiered stand which seats over 7,000. It was previously sponsored by John Smith’s and is still called this by many today. The John Smith’s South Stand, which seats 4,054, is allocated to away fans. It is built into natural banking and is the most basic of the stands. The Fantastic Media North stand is the tallest stand with two tiers, 16 hospitality boxes and a viewing room for players’ guests, built into the leisure centre. The lower tier consists of temporary seating that can be removed for events such as concerts.
During planning and construction, the stadium was referred to as the Kirklees Stadium. It was built by Alfred McAlpine, designed by HOK Sport and was awarded the RIBA Building of the Year award for 1995.
The decision to build a new stadium for Huddersfield Town was made in August 1992. Construction began the following year and it was completed in time for the 1994-95 season, enabling the club to move to its new base after 86 years at Leeds Road.
When the stadium opened only the two side stands (the Riverside and Kilner Bank stands) were ready. The South Stand was opened in December 1994. Construction on the North (Panasonic) Stand began in 1996 and it was completed in 1998, bringing the overall capacity of the stadium to approximately 24,500. The estimated cost of construction was £40 million.
Initially, the stadium was owned by a consortium made up of Kirklees Metropolitan Council, Huddersfield Town F.C. and Huddersfield Giants in a 40:40:20 proportion. Following the purchase of Huddersfield Town F.C. from the administrators, Ken Davy became chairman of both sports clubs, which are owned by companies he controls. The present ownership of the stadium is Ken Davy’s company, Huddersfield Sporting Pride owns 60% and Kirklees Metropolitan Council 40%. The current Managing director of the stadium company is Gareth Davis who succeeded Ralph Rimmer in 2010. On 24 December 2009, Huddersfield Town announced that 40% of the shares owned by Huddersfield Sporting Pride would be transferred to the football club, owned by current chairman Dean Hoyle, but the deal has yet to be completed.
From 1994 until 2004 the stadium was known as the Alfred McAlpine Stadium. Alfred McAlpine had been the main construction contractor and its name was part of the payment contract for ten years. The company elected not to renew its sponsorship which was taken up by Galpharm Healthcare, leading to the new name. Individual stands are sponsored by local businesses. On 19 July 2012, it was announced that the brewery firm, Heineken had bought the sponsorship rights for the stadium, and as such the stadium was renamed as The John Smith’s Stadium on 1 August as part of a 5-year deal
How To Get There
By car – M55 M6 South. M61 then on to the M62. J25 of the 62 leads you onto the A62 (signposted Huddersfield). The stadium is visible from this road.
From the South not quite as easy – M1 J38, A637 then the A642. Heading towards the town centre the stadium is signposted but you will be looking out on the right hand side for Leeds Rd.
Train – the stadiums a 15-20 minute walk from the station. After coming out of the station, turn down past the front of The George Hotel. Go straight over the crossroads into Northumberland Street and walk down across the Ring Road straight on into Leeds Road. Turn right down Gasworks Street. Straight over the crossroads to the ground.
Where To Drink
Too many to mention. When I was a youth I used to spend some social time in Huddersfield with a work colleague who lived there. Johnny`s night club and Sly McFly`s pub bring back some good memories, both have probably been knocked down or renamed into ‘0` or ‘the` or some other fancy dan named drinking place. Enough reminiscing, there is the Head of Steam at the train station. In the town there is the Varsity, Blob shop (do they still do the winter warmer?) the Gas Club appears to be a Pool favourite and ale is also available in the ground, along with a bookmakers. nb Please remember that you never see a bookie on a bike.
Plod And Stewards
Now you`ll no doubt be a Lancastrian in Yarkshire is that enough said?
Fear Factor -2
On leaving Bloomers on Friday night I had the feeling that we had gifted Wolves 3 points. Merry Christmas from us.
A game we should have won, but that`s in the history books now, let`s look forward to renewing old acquaintances, Hamill, Clarke, Larry and Gnashers. In reality Huddersfield started our poor run, here`s hoping that come 5pm on Boxing day we`ve delivered a knockout blow to our old sparring partners.
Onwards + Upwards
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