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30 August 2012

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Mark Lillis recalls his favourite game

Huddersfield Town will use the upcoming npower Championship home clash against Derby County on 15 September to celebrate everyone’s favourite football memories.

Town will ask supporters to submit their favourite memories of their team in the run-up to and on the day of the game as the Club uses the next home fixture to raise awareness of dementia, a condition that involves loss of memory, mood changes and problems with communication and reasoning.

The first man to submit his own footballing memory to the campaign is the perfect fit for this fixture – Town’s Academy Manager Mark Lillis.

Currently the man in charge of guiding Town’s youngsters to their first professional contracts, Mark was a cult hero on the terraces at Leeds Road as a key part of Mick Buxton’s successful side in the early 1980s, netting 63 goals in 242 committed performances in the blue and white stripes.

However, he is also held in high esteem at Derby; not only did he play for the Rams during the 1986/87 campaign, but he also served as a coach for the Club and helped to bring through a golden generation of youngsters including the likes of Tom Huddlestone, Lee Camp, Marcus Tudgay and Lee Grant.

“Building memories is one of the best things about football; we all turn up every week in the hope of seeing an iconic moment. People tell you not to linger in the past, but I tend to use experience as an inspiration,” Mark told

“The first thing that springs to mind when I’m asked about my time with Huddersfield is the 1982/83 promotion season. I captained the team against Newport and at only 23 years old I was so proud to have been given the armband. I played centre half that day and I was facing off against John Aldridge and Tommy Tynan.

“We kept a clean sheet and Dave Cowling scored to give us a 1-0 win, which ensured promotion to Division Two.

“I can picture the scene in the dressing room afterwards – I just sat there soaking it all in as the lads celebrated. Nobody can take that away from me.”

Of course memories are not always positive and Mark’s time at Derby started on a sour note – but only got better and better. 

“In my first game for Derby, against Crystal Palace, a lad called Micky Droy took me out off the ball and nearly snapped my medial ligament. I was out for a lot of months at Derby, but even though I didn’t play a lot of games I ended up with a Championship medal and I scored a diving header against Plymouth Argyle to get us up. 

“I learned a lot of my coaching methods from the Derby Manager, Arthur Cox. He was very meticulous – we used to call him the Sergeant Major! I ended up going back there and coaching at Derby while they were in the Premiership, working with the likes of Fabrizio Ravanelli, Georgi Kinkladze, Rob Lee and Warren Barton. It was a fantastic experience.”

Promotion of this game is being run in tandem with the Sporting Memories network; an organisation established to promote and develop the use of sporting memories to improve the wellbeing of people through conversation and reminiscence. 

As part of the game, the Club is asking all fans to wear their favourite Town shirt to the game from through the years – is it the cult ‘Gola Flash’ away kit, the Central Mirfield home kit or even this season’s home shirt as tailored by Umbro? You decide!

Town fans are also being encouraged to bring down their favourite memory – whether it’s a picture or a written memory – and pin it to the Club’s ‘memory board’, which will be located at the Stadium for the Derby game.

More information on activities at the Derby game will be published next week, but you can make sure you are a part of the day now – click HERE to buy your ticket online and print it at home!

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