It has just been nine days since that moment, the moment that will stay with us forever. The ripple of the net as Christopher Schindler’s penalty sent Huddersfield Town to the Premier League and Town fans into delirium. Even mentioning Town and the Premier League in the same sentence feels surreal and yet it is a reality.
With the meteoric rise from a side treading water above the Championship drop zone to one that is now in the Premier League, change is on the horizon.
From the installation of a gantry for international press to Panini stickers to being last on Match of the Day, the glitz and glamour of the Premier League will bring memories for battle-hardened Town fans to cherish. Memories that they never expected to experience, not in this lifetime.
However, before we can fully reach the promised land, there is a conundrum that the club faces, the conundrum being the remaining season cards which have not yet been sold. From the reaction on social media, there is a distinct split between the fans. A split between those who have been on this journey to the Premier League from the very beginning and long before it even began and those who are deemed to be simply jumping on the bandwagon.
There is a frustration, possibly a justified one, that loyal fans who have dealt with the pain of experiencing administration and relegation now deserve this moment. From the pain and anguish that they’ve suffered as a Huddersfield Town fan, this is the good times that we have all dreamed about and there is a resentment towards those who appear to be reaping the reward without experiencing anguish.
Following the deadline for the £199 season card deal, it is almost certain that the remaining 1,500 season cards will be put on sale but at a costlier price. Some Town fans believe that these fans who waited until the outcome of the season before deciding to buy a season card should be charged a significantly higher price.
However, I don’t fall into that category. I think as a club we have been pioneers in the Football League and we will continue to be pioneers in the Premier League. We are unusual in the sense that we are a club that treats the fans with dignity and respect which frankly, simply doesn’t happen at some clubs. We are not treated like customers, instead, we are treated like custodians. A custodian of the club.
From the moment that Dean Hoyle with the aid of David Wagner offered us affordable attractive football, we became privileged and I think that kind inclusive gesture which brought us so much joy should be extended to new fans. We shouldn’t turn our nose up at new fans simply because we have supported the club longer. It is a privilege to be a Huddersfield Town fan.
Forget for a moment (if you can) Christopher Schindler’s winning penalty and instead, reflect on the season we have had prior to that moment of sheer bliss. Reflect on the buzz of anticipation from the very first whistle against Brentford to the very last against Cardiff. The optimism that circled around a packed John Smith Stadium, where generations of Huddersfield Town fans sat together to watch one of the best Huddersfield Town sides of their collective lifetimes. Where electric atmospheres were made under the lights which still to this day send shivers down my spine. This season was precisely what football was all about and we were privileged to witness it.
We should recognise how privileged we are and not take it for granted. Instead, we should extend that privilege to every single fan who is showing an interest in our club, young or old, new or returning. We should embrace them in open arms. We are in a unique position in which, we are a club in the heart of a sporting town and in the heart of the community and we should take advantage of that.
Rather than seeing these new fans in the simplistic frame that they are jumping on the bandwagon, it is an opportunity. An opportunity to create a whole new generation of Huddersfield Town fans who will fall in the love with the club like we all have already. More broadly, looking at the bigger picture, an opportunity to entrench this wonderful football club in the hearts and minds of those all across Huddersfield.
If I can leave you a message that resonates with you from this piece, it is this. We are not superior to those “who are jumping on the bandwagon”. The success we have had since Wagner’s arrival is based on a unity, a shared togetherness and a willingness to succeed, we should not forget that.
Rather than turn our back on new fans, we should embrace and welcome them to this brotherhood of Blue and White. We are united. We are one. We are Huddersfield Town.