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GUEST BLOG: FROM SPAIN TO THE TERRACES

27 April 2020

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Overseas supporters tell us their favourite Town memories

- International fan group members tell us about their connection with HTAFC
- Today’s blog is from Spain-based supporter Andy Bednarek
- Get in touch if you would like to feature in future blogs

My name is Andy Bednarek, I’m 65 and I live in Spain at Villamartin on the Costa Blanca. I was born in Huddersfield but left aged 16, initially to work in Scarborough, before joining the Army where I spent 23 years.

I’ve been a Town fan since the age of 13 and my wife and I have had Season Cards since I left the Army 22 years ago. After leaving the Army I lived in Clowne, North Derbyshire for 11 years and Kendal in the Lake District for seven years, so every Town game seems like an away game to me.

I take part in P4P each year, having done eight of them, and I manage to get to a few games each season. Our two Season Cards don’t go to waste, the Ticket Office use them for people who, for financial reasons, wouldn’t normally be able to get to games. I still see most of Town’s games via iFollow, so it’s not all bad.

Like many in the late 1960’s I got hooked on football due to England’s success in the World Cup. My parents didn’t have a lot of money so it wasn’t until I got a part-time job at The George Hotel that I could afford to go to watch Town at Leeds Road. The first match I attended was against Derby County in August 1968, Town won the game 2-0 with Paul Aimson getting both. My job at The George Hotel resulted in me getting another part-time job at Leeds Road Stadium as a waiter in the Directors Lounge on match days; one of the perks was being able to get to home games for free, particularly during Town’s two seasons in League Division 1, even watching from the Tunnel on occasion.

Town have had some truly great players over the years, names such as Frank Worthington, Marcus Stewart, Jordan Rhodes and more recently Aaron Mooy, but for me my all-time favourite player has to be Andy Booth, particularly during his second spell with the Club. On his return he may have lost a little pace but his work rate, determination and desire to win was undiminished. You could tell that he loved the Club as much as the fans loved him; every time he got the ball in or around the opposition’s penalty area you could feel expectation levels rise in the Stadium.

There have been many memorable matches over the years, who could forget the successful Play-Off Final matches against Mansfield, Sheffield United and Reading! Or that devasting Saturday afternoon on the 6 May 2001 against Birmingham City, a match we lost 2-1, when everything that could go against Town did and we were relegated.

My most memorable match was another one of those dramatic afternoons on the final day of the season when Town’s future was uncertain; it was 4 May 2013 and Barnsley were at the John Smith’s Stadium. Both teams could potentially be relegated but a 2-2 draw along with Crystal Palace beating Peterborough 3-2 meant that both Town and Barnsley avoided the drop and Peterborough were relegated. The atmosphere and tension for the final 10 minutes were palpable with both sets of fans singing ‘we are staying up’ and ‘we’re Yorkshire’ how could anyone forget it!

Spain is now into week six of lockdown with another extension until the 11th May looking likely. Restrictions are tougher here than in the UK, we are not even allowed any outdoor exercise. Mind you it’s given me plenty of time to catch-up on videos of past Town games on #HTTV and YouTube.

If I had to persuade someone to follow Town, I would tell them that if they are looking for a rollercoaster ride of emotions with a working-class club who has it’s community at heart then you need look no further than The Terriers. Stay safe everyone!


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