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Interviews

WAYNE ALLISON’S BURNING DESIRE TO PLAY FOR TOWN

25 April 2020

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Chief discussed his time at Huddersfield Town and the Great Escape

- Wayne Allison explained why he joined Huddersfield Town
- Striker on his impact during the Great Escape season
- Chief detailed his role under Peter Jackson

Wayne Allison left his mark on Huddersfield Town, becoming a fan favourite for his style of football and hardworking attitude.

‘Chief’ was a junior in the Huddersfield Town youth setup before starting his professional career at Halifax Town, aged just 19.

The 6ft 1in target man impressed during his time at Halifax which prompted spells at Bristol City, Watford and Swindon Town.

The striker always had a huge desire to play for Huddersfield Town and that dream became a reality in 1997.

Despite being at a Swindon side that was at the top of the Division One table come November that year, the striker decided to leave and join a Town side battling relegation.

He explained that as soon as an offer came in from Huddersfield Town he knew he had to take it.

“As soon as the move to Huddersfield Town came up it was a no brainer for me; as a player, you always want to play for your hometown club.

“I remember being a ball boy for a couple of years and starting to watch Town properly at the age of 10 or 11, when I wasn’t playing a sport on a Saturday.

“I used to support Town especially when I was a junior at the football club. It was always an aim of mine to play for the senior side.”

The season known to everyone involved with Huddersfield Town as the ‘Great Escape’ was the one that wrote Chief’s name into Club folklore.

Town equalled their worst ever start to a league season with no victory in their opening 14 matches and it was the first time that the Club had failed to register a league victory before November.

Ex-player and Manager of Huddersfield Town, Peter Jackson, took over from Brian Horton in October and made changes to the playing squad almost immediately.

He brought in Barry Horne from Birmingham, Lee Richardson from Oldham and local boy Allison, who cost around £800,000 from Swindon. These signings immediately enthused the Huddersfield Town squad and on Allison’s debut for the Club they recorded their first away win of the season in front of the TV cameras at Manchester City’s Maine Road ground.

“When I joined Town that year it was always going to be hard work,” stated ‘Chief’.

“It was arguably an impossible task. At the time, I left Swindon who were top and joined Huddersfield Town who were bottom.

“I agreed to sign, and they played me straight away; we beat Manchester City 1-0 away from home and Rob Edwards scored the winner.

“That game kick start our season and for me, in my mind, it told me I did the right thing joining the Club.”

Upon his arrival, the Terriers won four of their next five games before ending the season with five wins out of 10 and finishing the season in 16th place; five points above the relegation zone.

“This was one of my key achievements because football is all about pride; you want to be successful and challenge yourself,” discussed the striker.

“We wanted to prove things to the fans and to ourselves. Peter Jackson did a superb job and we were an honest group of boys; we all pitched in and pulled off the Great Escape.”

That season Allison became a fan favourite and played a major role in one of the biggest turnarounds in the Club’s history.

‘Chief’ acted as a lynchpin between the defence and the attack being able to hold up the ball and bring into play the other talented players around him; the type of player Jacko’s Town side was lacking at the start of the season.

“My brand and style of football was really affective at Town and it was exactly what we needed at the time,” explained the 48-year-old.

“It was fantastic to be appreciated by the fans. I wasn’t quick and I didn’t have the skills to excite them; I was just doing my job as a target man and the fans just seemed to like that.

“Everyone has their specific role in a team and that was mine; at that particular time, it worked really well.”

In 1999 Peter Jackson was dismissed at the Huddersfield Town Manager in favour of Steve Bruce and months after his appointment, Allison found himself out of favour. In September of that year he left the Club for Tranmere Rovers.

Allison left his boyhood club with a positive feeling and understood when it was his time to move on.

“I loved my time at Huddersfield Town but when Steve Bruce came in, I wasn’t in his plans; that’s football and I understood his decision.”

 


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