Ahead of Town’s fixture against Manchester United, we spoke to Peter Fletcher, a man who has played for both clubs over the course of his career.
Despite starting his professional career at Manchester United, Fletcher’s best years on the pitch would come at Huddersfield Town as he played a pivotal role as part of the 1979-80 side which went on to win the Division 4 title under the tutelage of Mick Buxton.
We at Talk of the Town were fortunate enough to get to interview Fletcher about life at Manchester United; his time at Huddersfield Town and what his thoughts are on David Wagner and the current Town side.
Having played for both clubs, did you ever imagine the day that Huddersfield Town would be going toe to toe with Manchester United in the top flight of English football?
“You live in hope but I must admit I didn’t think I’d ever see the day that they were playing each other in a league game. It’s amazing when you consider that when I joined Town we were scratching round in the nether regions of the old Fourth Division”.
How would you compare your experiences at Manchester United to that when you were at Huddersfield Town?
“There was no comparison really. I went to United when I was a young lad just after they’d been crowned European champions and were renowned across the world. I was rubbing shoulders with people like George Best as I came through the ranks. There was a void between the clubs but I had a great time at Town because we had a great set of lads and we won the Fourth Division title in style and won silverware, which is what the game is all about”.
In the modern-day side, which current Town player do you think that you share the most similarities with when you were a player?
“The game has changed massively since I was playing so it’s difficult to draw comparisons. Everyone is an athlete these days and they play a high-intensity game under David Wagner and it will be interesting to see how long they can keep it up. It’s served them well so far but when you go up it’s a completely different ball game”.
Do you think that you would have enjoyed being part of this current Town side and being managed by David Wagner?
“In my day you would get kicked up in the air by centre halves but since there has been a crackdown on dirty play and coming in from behind on strikers, it would give me a lot more confidence knowing that someone isn’t going to come down the back of your calves in the first five minutes and they’d get off with a booking if they were unlucky.
“The pitches are a lot better now which lends itself to faster more skilful play and that would suit forwards like me down to the ground”.
There has been growing concerns among some of the fans about Town’s recent dip in form, should they be concerned or is it part and parcel of life in the Premier League?
“When you go up you’re a bit of an unknown quantity and Town were successful in the opening games because their high-intensity game caught teams out. When teams suss you out and work out ways to get a grip of you then you need to come up with a Plan B. Injuries haven’t helped and so the depth of squad will be important so you’ve got to hope Lady Luck smiles on us”.
Who is your favourite Town player in the current side?
“I like what I see of Kasey Palmer because he adds a lot to Town when they’re on the front foot. He’s a quick-thinking, clever player and the sooner he gets back on frontline duties he better because he’s got something special about him”.
As a former striker yourself, what do you make of Town’s difficulties in front of goal and how do you think David Wagner and his squad will go about rectifying that?
“I know it gets hard when the goals stop flowing but the only way to improve things is out on there on the training ground. You’ve just got to keep going and hope that something clicks. But it’s also important that the defence does it bit to make sure that they keep clean sheets to make the most of that goal that gets things moving in the right direction”.
What qualities do Town need to show that they can survive in the premier league?
“They just have to stick together and work their socks off. It will be a great achievement if Town can survive and they should draw confidence from those opening games. They might take a tonking every now and again but they need to be resilient”.
Which town players could If any go onto play for a top 4 team or champions league football?
“I haven’t seen enough of them to make that call but Aaron Mooy and Steve Mounie look as though they have bright futures ahead of them as does Kasey Palmer”.
Do you see any similarities with Wagner and previously successful town managers like Mick Buxton?
“I imagine that they are both positive characters who know exactly what they want from their teams, stick with it and prepare them meticulously. He has clearly got them working well together which is what Mick Buxton did with us. We were always singing from the same hymn sheet”.
Peter Fletcher spoke to TOTT to promote the new Town book, The 101 Club, which is published by Great Northern Books in November. To order a copy go to gnbooks.co.uk or call 01274 735056