After yesterday’s magnificent result away at Pete Winkleman’s Business Deal FC, you would think this post would contain nothing but unbridled bombast about how Jordan Rhodes and Theo Robinson are going to score fifty goals between them and Leeds and Charlton are just keeping the top two places warm for us while we go through the gears. Before that, however, I have two matters that must be addressed – and they are nothing to do with Huddersfield Town. I won’t even attempt to tenuously link them with a metaphor, as I previously did with the Sainsbury’s oranges.
First, what in blazers are KP snack foods thinking? While I am delighted that my ten pack Nik Naks multi-pack contained not one, not two, not even three but four extree bags of delicious extruded corn goodness, it appears there is no place left in the world for my all-time favourite flavour – namely scampi ‘n’ lemon – as they have been replaced by pickle ‘n’ onion (they’re taking this ‘n’ idea too far now – rib ‘n’ saucy was bad enough).
Now, I know this is probably a contentious issue, with half of the readership (about two-or-three of you, yeah?) now thinking “what the hell are you on about? Scampi ‘n’ lemon Nik Naks smell and taste like socks worn by someone with athlete’s foot for a week, then left down the radiator for four weeks”. Well you lot are wrong – they are magnificent. One of my regular memories from school was having a sneaky bag of sweets or crisps in one of my blazer pockets (yes, I went to Grammar school – it was a brown blazer) and the only time I ever got caught, and made to leave the classroom completely, was when I had secreted a bag of these wonderful things upon myself and several of my fellow classmates (who, to be fair, rarely snitched) could not stand the odour being given off. Anyway, scampi ‘n’ lemon – bring them back KP, or I’ll set up an online petition. You have been warned.
The second matter that must be addressed is best explained in the form of a photograph, taken by myself in Sainsbury’s car park:
Sweet Jesus – what on earth were you thinking, you massive bell-end? Do you hold your fellow human beings in such utter contempt as to not even attempt to park your huge gas-guzzling monstrosity properly? I certainly wouldn’t do it, but one day, you will reap the whirlwind in the form of a slashed tyre or a big key mark for this kind of shit.
Anyway, now the non-footballing stuff is out of the way, I should first recap how Huddersfield Town did at the arse-end of last season. After my rambling ‘Taste The Difference’ post, we played 11 – winning five, drawing three and losing three. We finished a mediocre ninth and if we hadn’t gone to sleep in the last minute against Stockport, Colchester and Millwall… we would still have finished outside the play-offs, so it didn’t matter anyway. Results in the run-in included a 3-1 defeat away at Tranmere, which pretty much killed our play-off hopes. This match was also notable for Tranmere’s useful-looking left-footed centre-back-converted-into-a-midfielder scoring a brace – more on him later. The 2-2 home game against Cheltenham featured them racing into a two-goal lead, before we pulled one back, missed a penalty (taken by Robbie Williams? Why?!?!) before finally scraping a draw in the last minute through an Andy Butler header. It also contained one of the most blatant sendings-off I have ever seen as Josh Low (he is no stranger to the red card) stamped on Tom Clarke right in front of the referee. Southend won 1-0 at our place, just as we had done at theirs earlier in the season. An excellent away win at Scunthorpe was followed by a rubbish 1-0 home win against Carlisle, which was only interesting as Andy Booth scored his 146th goal of his Huddersfield Town career. With three games left, could the big man score four more to get to 150? Incredibly, he could, as a fantastic 3-2 away win at Walsall (two for Booth), a 2-2 home draw against Brighton (one for Booth) and finally a 1-1 draw away at Leyton Orient (Boothy putting us in front) meant he ended his career on that magical 150 goals for Huddersfield Town. There’s another article in itself about this talismanic player and what he meant (and still means) to Huddersfield Town supporters, but instead I’ll just end this section with a picture of Andy doing what he did better than any other player I’ve ever seen at any level – winning the ball in the air and nutting it into the opposition net. Legend:
Anyway, Lee Clark was extremely busy during the summer. The welcome signing of Andy Kiwomya as fitness coach and the coup signing of Andrew “outstanding” Cole as striker coach meant the Town bench would probably need reinforcing due to the amount of bodies present. On the playing side, Clark adopted a sensible strategy of signing other teams in this division’s player of the year, plus players from the division above. Yeovil’s classy right-back Lee Peltier was the first signing for an ‘undisclosed fee’ (quelle surprise). Lee was followed by Peter Clarke and Antony Kay from Southend and Tranmere respectively (the latter being the useful-looking left-footed centre-back-converted-into-a-midfielder I mentioned earlier). Finally, we needed some decent strikers. Out went Keigan Parker (two goals all season – free to Oldham), Phil Jevons (four goals all season – two for us and two on loan at Bury – loaned to Morecambe for the season) and Tom Denton (two goals on loan at Woking – loaned to Cheltenham for the season) and in came Robbie Simpson (£300k from Coventry – wow! an actual amount!), Theo Robinson (undisclosed from Watford) and Jordan Rhodes (undisclosed from Ipswich). The signed of Rhodes raised a few eyebrows – especially among Ipswich fans, who had seen the lad knock in plenty of goals pre-season and heard Roy Keane say how he was going to be an important part of the season ahead. These three, plus the returning Lee Novak, who’s goals had helped Gateshead win promotion to the Conference, meant we had a strike-force that could potentially cause defences problems in this division. Just how many problems, I was entirely unprepared for.
After a so-so pre-season – winning against all the smaller clubs (apart from a 2-2 draw at Gateshead), drawing 0-0 at home to Coventry (predictably, the only one I went to see), losing 1-0 at home to Newcastle (featuring a massive fight between the players leading to Habib Beye getting booted in the chest and Lee Novak getting a whack on the chin) – Town began the season with a tricky away game at Southend. After going 2-0 down, the Town players finally started the season and goals from Pilkington and Rhodes on his début could have had the tin hat put on them by a winner, had Michael Collins not stupidly got himself sent off. Comprehensive 3-1 home wins to Stockport in the Carling Cup and Southampton in the league (Rhodes bagged a brace in each game, Robinson and Kay were the other scorers in each game respectively) were followed by an incredible 7-1 home league win against Brighton. It could have been a lot more, as Town were denied twice by the woodwork, once by an incorrect ‘had-it-crossed-the-line?’ decision and Rhodes missed a penalty. Amazingly, he didn’t score all night – Robinson got 2 and Kay, Peter Clarke, Novak (pen), Roberts and Danny Drinkwater (on-loan from Man United) were the other scorers. The best goal of the night was the Brighton equaliser, a superb volley on the turn scored by blast-from-last-season Liam Dickinson.
It was Typical Town™ the following Saturday as they travelled, full of confidence, to Bristol Rovers and promptly lost 1-0. After giving away a penalty in the first half, which Smithies saved, it was no such luck in the second as another penalty was awarded in the 84th minute and walloped in by Jeff Hughes. The next match was an action-packed 4-3 defeat at St James’ Park, Newcastle, where Town lead 3-1 just after half-time (Robinson twice and Rhodes) but Shola Ameobi broke the travelling fans’ hearts by first netting a 64th minute penalty, then setting up Kevin Nolan to slot in the winner six minutes from the end. It was tremendous radio and I am jealous of anyone who was actually there. Yesterday’s delicious 3-2 defeat of Franchise FC (Rhodes, Robinson and Kay) was preceded by a tough 2-1 home win against Yeovil (Robinson and Collins) and a slightly less-tough 2-1 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy away win at Rotherham (Peter Clarke and Robbie Simpson) on a pitch half-decimated by a U2 concert a few weeks earlier:
So Town currently sit third in the league on 13 points (played 6, won 4, drawn 1, lost 1) and have two on-fire strikers in Theo Robinson and Jordan Rhodes with 4 goals in 6 league games apiece). Ordinarily, this would have probably put us in the top two, but Charlton and those wretches from Beeston have gone and won every single game they’ve played so far and both sit joint top with 18 points. Still, we mustn’t worry or panic, as there’s only one club in the top three who has a decent chairman and they’ll both probably lose all their best players in January. Now, if KP snack foods and that twat of a 4×4 driver above could just ‘fall-in’ by respectively bringing back scampi ‘n’ lemon and learning how to park, my small world would be a god damn fantastic place right now.