Football League One
3rd February 2007
Finally a return to the Yorkshire Borough of Kirklees and a visit to the ground which was dubbed the ‘stadium of the nineties’ when constructed in 1994-‘The Galpharm Stadium’ or if you still can’t get used to the new name ‘The McAlpine Stadium’
It’s almost 23 years since I last visited Huddersfield,back in the Leeds Road days,and as you may have read on these pages,it was way back in the days of amusing haircrimes(contributed comment of Helge of Munich) and a entirely different football era.
The Galpharm Stadium is a ground of true splendour, which won the RIBA Stirling Prize for architecture in 1995,the main contractor in the construction was Alfred McAlpine,at an estimated cost of £40 million,part of the original deal was the naming of the stadium after the firm for the next 10 years,an option which they didn’t prolong,so in 2004 Galpharm Healthcare Ltd took up the sponsorship,hence the new name.
The Terriers home has a capacity of 24500,the ground has a unique contour, there are four separate stands,all which are shaped like orange segments,the Panasonic Stand and the Riverside Stand are two-tiered and the Antich Stand along with the away end,Pink Link Stand are single tiers,the four corners are open,but this is the main characteristic of the stadium,as the structural supports meet and form which looks like four giant robotic legs which acts as a support for the floodlights.
I sat in the top tier of the Panasonic Stand,which seems to be the main stand for families and the view was excellent,to my left the Antich Stand is the main singing end,where there’s a constant din of a drum throughout,I don’t know what tune they were banging out but it sounded like ‘Shang-a-lang’ by the Bay City Rollers.
Behind the opposite goal is the away end which has an electric scoreboard,and the main stand has hospitality areas which not only benefits The Town’s supporters but also their Rugby League residents Huddersfield Giants,this stand also features a podium for the presentation of trophies and medals.
Before the main event the supporters are introduced to a special,but regular guest,who can this be,I wondered? Then on runs the one and only Terry The Terrier,the hairy faced one laps up the applause and does a wee lap of honour,to 'Who let the Dogs out'
On a glorious February summers day,the teams entered the arena to the sound of the tune from the ‘Old Spice’ aftershave advert (Carmina Burana)and it only takes 3 minutes for Town to take the lead,the goal is greeted by the jingle of the Mary Hopkins song ‘Those Were The Days’ covered by (not sure but sounded like) Black Lace,and within another 5 minutes I again had to suffer the same song as Town living legend “Boothy”celebrated his new improved contract with his opener of his two goal brace.
I travelled to Huddersfield by train,(1st class compartment,of course)my travelling companion when I went to Donny earlier in the season was best mucker Jimmy,but this time,we left each other at York,as he was on a all day bender with some of his work collegues,so I went on to Huddersfield alone.
I looked at the FGG for the best pubs to visit on arriving in the town,my first call was a social club on Leeds Road called the Bradley Mills Working Mens Club,I was looking forward to a few pints and watching the Merseyside derby on Sky.I got myself a pint and found the TV switched off,a lad appeared with the TV remote in his hand “Get in!,get the match on” I thought,but imaging my disappointment when he put the teletext on with the latest score from Anfield on view,I used to do that a good 20 odd years ago,but not now in the days of internet,mobile phones and satellite television.
I swiftly knocked my pint back after realising I was sitting in ‘a regulars seat' and after trying Rickys and the Market Tavern,no football on,just Rugby from the Beeb,my last call was the Gas Club just next to the stadium,there I found I had to pay to get in,”paying to get in a pub!!,it’s Huddersfield not bliddy Blackpool” so I gave it up as a bad job and went on to the stadium.
Overall another enjoyable trip to Yorkshire(although I can’t understand how the SkyTV satellite doesn’t seem to hit Kirklees) as far as ‘The Pharm’ is concerned it’s a Premiership ground in League One,a distinctive structure which the residents of Huddersfield can be proud of, not just another lifeless bowl that clubs knock up nowadays,so the Terriers are now barking away in a palace and not a rusty old kennel.
Match report. / Aerial picture