Birstall Terrier: The Perfect Day

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Over three decades of following Huddersfield Town, there have been many memorable games. Some of them memorable for all the wrong reasons, but I prefer not to dwell on those!

The one match I will never forget is Town v Sheffield United at Wembley on the 26th May 2012.

It was the League One Play Off Final with a coveted place in the Championship at stake. A chance to play football with the big boys.

Every football fan dreams of seeing their team at Wembley and that day for me was one of those rare perfect days that you get in life.

The sun was shining and it was very warm. On the journey to London we passed cars and coaches full of blue and white-shirted fans waving at us. When we stopped off at a service station the atmosphere was electric.

Everyone is all too aware of the nightmare of parking these days and we had heard it was especially bad around Wembley stadium.

However we found an ideal, secure place just a stone’s throw from the ground.

Having a walk is a pleasant activity, but walking down Wembley Way is magical. I had dreamt of doing that walk for so long and there I was, my dream had come true.

We had fantastic seats inside Wembley with a clear view of the hallowed turf.

We also had very pleasant people sat at either side of us. So far so good.

The game itself could best be described as cagey, with Town creating most of the chances. It was 0-0 after ninety minutes and the nerves stepped up a gear as went into extra time.

But that was nothing compared to the agony and ecstasy of the penalties that followed, more so when Town missed their first three.

I remember turning to the lad at the side of me and saying “We’ve blown it”. However the score was 2-2 after five penalties and it went to sudden death. Not for the faint hearted.

Both sides scored their next five penalties and our goalkeeper, Alex Smithies, was the last of the 11 Town players to take a penalty and he scored.

Sheffield United’s keeper, Steve Simonsen, took their last penalty and fired over the bar, meaning Town had won 8-7 and were in the Championship.

The words don’t exist to describe the pure joy during the celebrations. We were laughing and crying at the same time and the mere thought of it now still moves me.

Like I said, the perfect day.