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Huddersfield's young guns heading to the top

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Paul Fletcher | 12:46 UK time, Monday, 23 November 2009

Nobody older than 27 has pulled on the famous blue and white stripes of Huddersfield Town this season, with every matchday squad rich in players to have graduated from the club's Academy.

In recent years of financial difficulty it had been out of necessity. Now, with the Terriers bankrolled by local lad done good Dean Hoyle, it appears to be a firm policy.

"The criteria I set out for signings is this - I want young and hungry players who want to get better and have the desire to play at a higher level," said manager Lee Clark, who has been in charge since last December.

Town have now had Academy status for 10 years and although League One rivals such as Leeds, Norwich and MK Dons have them too, the Terriers' is particularly successful.

Goalkeeper Alex Smithies is extremely highly rated, yet Nathan and Tom Clarke, Joe Skarz, Michael Collins and James Berrett have been in and around the first team this season. Three of them started against Hartlepool on Saturday and two more were on the bench.

Tom Clarke, Smithies and Collins have been at the club since they were nine. All are from the Huddersfield area and I think it is both admirable and refreshing that in an age when football is a global game Town have retained a culture of producing local lads.

I canvassed Huddersfield supporters on the 606 boards recently about their club and one theme that emerged more than just about any other was the pride they felt in the club's Academy. I think it has something to do with identity and the excitement of seeing a local lad play for your team.

A lot of the credit for its success is given to Gerry Murphy. As well as three spells as caretaker manager of the first team, the Irishman was in charge of the youth set up at the club for almost 20 years before retiring in February.

Huddersfield celebrate scoring in a League One fixture at Oldham Huddersfield's young players need to work on their goal celebrations

Graham Mitchell is now the Academy Manager. A local lad who lives in Baildon, he had a long playing career with the club and has been on the coaching staff since 2002.

"I wish I had a magic formula but one of the biggest things for me is the quality of opposition we play against," said Mitchell when I asked him about Academy success.

"Most of our opposition teams are from clubs in the Premier League or the Championship and that is a big factor in bringing on our boys."

Between 15 and 18 - the years Mitchell terms the "nitty gritty" - there is an emphasis placed on the importance of learning how to win games.

"They need to learn that because if they become professional they will go into an environment where the bottom line is all about winning," he said.

But ultimately a lot of the success of Town's Academy comes down to the strength of their recruitment. The logic is simple - the more talented the youngster, the better quality of player they can ultimately produce.

"We can always improve boys but they have always got to have that little bit of something," said Mitchell.

"We have scouts all over the place and we work extremely hard to try to get the best players in at the start."

Recruitment - it is a crucial factor in the success of any club and is as relevant to Clark as it is to Mitchell.

"It is a major aspect of being a manager," said Clark. "You have to get more signings right than wrong or you could be looking at falling on your sword."

The curmudgeonly Stan Ternent, Clark's predecessor as manager, signed several experienced players nearing the end of their careers such as David Unsworth and Chris Lucketti.

In contrast, Clark has signed almost exclusively young players, his oldest recruit being 27-year-old defender Peter Clarke.

He does not care where they come from - Danny Drinkwater is on loan from Manchester United while Lee Novak arrived from Gateshead - as long as they have the potential, hunger and desire.

Clark reckons he is looking at players most nights and is constantly discussing with Hoyle or chief executive Nigel Clibbens how his squad can be improved. If he likes a player he will check them out himself several times, compile a dossier on them and dig into all aspects of their life.

Clark, a talented midfielder who came through the ranks at Newcastle, his hometown club, is undoubtedly fortunate to be at such a financially secure club so early in his managerial career.

Town ended the summer with a reputation as League One's big spenders after recruiting the likes of Peter Clarke, Lee Peltier, Antony Kay, Robbie Simpson, Theo Robinson and Jordan Rhodes, while Anthony Pilkington was signed for £500,000 in January.

But having money to spend is one thing, doing so wisely another entirely.

The fact that Town are currently third in a very tough-looking League One suggests he has bought well. Town have conceded just twice in their last five games while scoring 19 in the process.

Rhodes, 19, has nine League One goals so far and is a particularly interesting example of Clark's buying policy. The Town manager first became aware of him two years ago when Rhodes, then 17, was at Ipswich and Clark was reserve team boss at Norwich.

Jordan Rhodes in action for Huddersfield Town Rhodes is one of the players attracting interest from other clubs

Rhodes was gaining a big reputation and impressed playing against Norwich's reserves. Clark monitored his progress and noticed that his goals-to-game ratio remained at roughly one in two during several loan spells. Roy Keane replaced Jim Magilton as Ipswich manager towards the end of last season and Clark decided to test the water.

"I was really just trying my luck in the summer but we were never turned away or our advances rejected - we just had to come to an agreement over figures," said the manager.

Many Ipswich fans were dismayed by Rhodes' departure. Was Clark surprised to get him? "I was pleasantly surprised," is all he will say.

The potential of Town's squad has not gone unnoticed and more scouts have been at their games this season than attend a jamboree - something that 37-year-old Clark is fully aware of.

"We don't have to sell any player," said Clark, whose sentences are sparse and economical, with few words wasted. After a long pause, he continued: "For any price."

It is a luxury beyond most managers in the lower divisions - and the strength of his resolve could be severely tested in January.

Whether the squad can last the distance this season remains to be seen. Clark is confident that the fitness work done by performance coach Steve Black, who has mentored Jonny Wilkinson throughout his career, will ensure his team do not run out of steam.

Clark is fiercely ambitious and is constructing a squad to match.

Yet if Town do start to move through the leagues it will surely make it harder for the Academy to produce first-team players.

Mitchell reckons: "One of our major pulling points is the success rate we have had in getting boys into the first team. That is a big attraction to parents."

Will they still want to sign for Town if those opportunities become increasingly scarce?

Clark himself is adamant that Huddersfield's Academy must remain a central part of the club.

"Manchester United still produces its own players and it is vitally important," he said.

"My ultimate goal and vision is for the first team and the Academy to be located on the same site so that my staff and I get to know the younger lads on a personal basis."

Perhaps the last word should go to Mitchell.

"The standards that we set will have to be higher but Huddersfield has always been my club and I hope we see a lot more boys from the area pull on the blue and white in the future," he said.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    woo first comment :)

    seriously though good on huddersfield as they are doing incredibly well to be where they are.........and rhodes is a brillaint player

  • Comment number 2.

    We are having a great system but this year is the culmination of that hard work, and a realisation that success can;t only come from the academy....it is a blend of bringing local, hungy, talented players through and pairing them with established quality players from elsewhere...we've also shown an eye for players that are a bit of both - Rhodes, Pilkington, Lee Peltier are all examples of players who've shown bags of promise elswehere and been snapped up....

    Clark was very canny in the summer - we signed three players for next to nowt who were their clubs best players - Peltier was Yeovil's player of the year last year, Antony Kay was Tranmere's and many people think that Peter Clarke (a free!) has been our player of the season so far...

  • Comment number 3.

    Paul, it’s Antony Kay, not Anthony, but I’m not going to nit-pick in what is an excellent article.

    While I’m still bitter about them nicking said player from Tranmere in the summer, it’s the signing of these experienced yet still fairly young players (Kay, 26, Peter Clarke, 27) as a spine mixed with young hungry playrs like Rhodes that seems to have worked well thus far.

    That being said, I would have liked to have seen how Clark would have done without being bankrolled, as while I regard him as a good coach, whether he could manage without such resources would’ve been an interesting test.

  • Comment number 4.

    "Whether the squad can last the distance this season remains to be seen. Clark is confident that the fitness work done by performance coach Steve Black, who has mentored Jonny Wilkinson throughout his career, will ensure his team do not run out of steam."

    Well Paul, judging by Wilkinsons fitness - or lack of - we will doubtless see a number of injuries plight Town's chances of promotion!!!

    Huddersfield should at least make the play offs this year, they have the team capable of doing it. And this should be the very least that they aim for as they have more money to throw around than most clubs in this division.

  • Comment number 5.

    At last!!

    An article written about Town that is well researched and gives credit where it is due. The staff who have been assembled throughout all levels of the club - senior management, team management, office staff and, of course, the players - are absolutely top notch and have made many a Town fan proud to be a supporter.

    We've had some tough times in recent years and if we are not challenging for promotion come May of next year then it won't be for a lack of trying or raw talent. I'm struggling to think of a Town team who have played as attractive football or who have displayed such determination to go out there and win as the present set-up - at least in my lifetime.

    I can't express how good it feels to be a Town fan at the moment and kudos, Fletch, for conveying that in your article.

    We'll make mistakes before the end of the season, no doubt, but we're heading in the right direction and for once in what seems like ages proper foundations are being laid to support a future outside and above this league.

    Up the Town!

  • Comment number 6.

    Good read as always Fletch. Can't believe you say the players have to work on their celebration! The swan is top class!

    As for Huddersfield I think they'll be there or thereabouts come May. They have the nucleus of a good side and are extremely dangerous going forward whilst being solid at the back.

    Poster #2 made a good point about the free signings. Peter Clarke, Lee Peltier and Antony Kay have been just as important to Huddersfield as the big money buys.

  • Comment number 7.

    Now then,

    Thanks for your comments. I'd like to know whether Town fans - or indeed supporters of any club - think the Terriers will win promotion this season. If not, then who?

    Clark doesn't waste words when you interview him, he sounds like a man who has things to be getting on with. But I have been very impressed with his buying policy so far and he has assembled an experienced backroom team, which I think is always a shrewd move for a young manager in his first job.

  • Comment number 8.

    I do think Huddersfield will make the play-offs at least, whether they can overtake Charlton or not is the real object.

    The play-offs, as we all well know, are a lottery and any side can win. Scunthorpe sneaked in at the expense of my team, Tranmere, on the last day of the season then went and won the play-offs so you never know what will happen.

    As I said earlier, they'll be there or thereabouts come May but obviously it'll be the games against the sides around them that decide whether they go up automatically or face the pot luck of the play-offs.

    Leeds will win the league comfortably IMO, second place is still up for grabs.

  • Comment number 9.

    In response to poster #3 I think Lee Clark with no money would be a damn sight better than John Barnes with £1bn.

  • Comment number 10.

    Poster #9 I don't doubt that whatsoever.

  • Comment number 11.

    Paul

    After our decent start we went on a really bad run and did'nt win in 6 games and we have come back stronger winning 6 out of the last 7 games our defence was struggling at the start of the season and we could'nt keep a clean sheet but now we seem to of sorted this out and have the joint 3rd best defence in the league and we are currently top scorers in the league, the most impressive thing is we have played the same 11 players for the last 7 games and out of them 11, 9 of them have all got on the score sheet this season plus we have Theo Robinson on the bench who has scored 9 goals and has spent most of the season sat on the bench so we have goals throughout the team,we arent relying on 1 player, i beleve we have had our blip nice and early in the season and will go from strength to strength and finish second with leeds winning the league we have strength in depth in the squad and money is available in January if needed.
    Clark is always looking at players but will only sign if they will improve the squad. Alot of credit has to go to Steve Black our injuries have been kept to a minimum since he came in, at the moment we have 2 players sidelined, I think the most we have had this season is 3 and we have a big squad.If we dont get automatic i think we will only just miss out by 2-3 points i think it will be between us,Norwich and Colchester.

  • Comment number 12.

    Huddersfield town will be in the top 2 if they sort out there awful away form we can beat anybody at home but all that matters is consitensy if we get a good run goin till jan we will easily go up automaticly ive got to give credit to lee clark for bringing the good years back to huddersfield if we go up this year next year the money and the foundations are there this club is going places watch this space...

  • Comment number 13.

    First of all I would like to applaud the work done behind the scenes since Dean Hoyle has taken the helm - this all started long before this season in his chairman elect role last year... most notably £100 season tickets, sacking stan ternant (who could of taken the club back five years) and the impressive backroom staff he has appointed since.

    The end of last year was a transitional period and the hope amongst town fans is to be in the mix come May - there are those who will get carried away and expect automatic promotion, but a realistic ambition has to be the playoffs... after our impressive recent form, anything short of this, may prove to be a big disappointment.

    Something for people to consider when looking at our form this season, and is backed up by facts is this... our home form is brilliant but we haven't played anyone of the top 10 at the Galpharm this season. In contrast our away form is less than impressive, however, come the 19th of December we will have played all the top ten away from home (current league standings).

    Although this is the best team I have seen in a blue and white shirt for a while, we need to make sure we add the grit and determination, to the flair and the free scoring, to make sure we are able to pick up the points when necessary... the number one objective has to be to have either the most or 2nd most points in the league - not to be the top scorers!!

    So... the summary is this - good solid steps, but keep our feet on the ground, and keep working hard day in day out.

    come on the terriers

  • Comment number 14.

    dannytrfc - thanks for that mate. I do wish people didn't bother with unusual spellings.

    Deats80 - Bit harsh to blame Steve Black for Wilkinson's injuries. I think Blackie's role with him is more to do with the mental side.

    Chris Carter - Glad to oblige. Feeling a touch unloved?

    Lee Clarks Barmy Army - I guess that one of the risks of using so many young players, namely that they lack experience of nitty-gritty situations. Then again, they might play without fear and not be as vulnerable to pressure.

    Will all Town fans be buying their Christmas cards from one particular supplier?

  • Comment number 15.

    Im unsure of his role Paul, i was merely commenting that Wilkinson has had an atrocious record with injuries, thus pointing out he was associated with Wilkinson isn't the biggest compliment ever, as the guy has hardly kicked a ball since the 2003 WC success.

    As for promotion from the division. You can't look further than Leeds can you? Not only are they winning, but they are winning comfortably and with style - both home and away.

    After that its anyones guess. I fancied Charlton at the start of the season, so i wont change now. But i can see Norwich and Huddersfield giving them a good run for there money. Not sure Colchester will go the distance, but i expect them to make the play offs along with MK Dons.

    Saying that one team normally sneaks into the play offs, but they are my 5 to follow Leeds who will win the league by 10+ points.

  • Comment number 16.

    I must say well done to Huddersfield, however I do think the article ignores the other leading light of youth development in league 1, which has been Stockport County. We have done it well for the past 4-5 years but the main difference has been that due to financial constraints we have had to sell our leading talents year on year, Harry Worley to chelski, Ryan Crowther to Liverpool, Josh Tompson to Celtic, and a host of other talent to other clubs. Tommy Rowe to Peterbourgh, Pilks to Huddersfield, Tunnicliffe to Brighton county (they've got 6 ex players) , even Le Fondre at Rotheram came through our youth squad.

    I appreciate Huddersfield in the past have had similar issues to us in the shadow of big local teams but I really hope they get up this year as Clarke seems to be a good guy! + i'd like to see leeds suffer playoff heartbreak again!!!

  • Comment number 17.

    What a small minded mentality #16. Stockport and Leeds have rivalry because... oh thats right they don't. Its like me saying i hope Stockport go bust, But wheres the point? Very petty.

    In case you forget Leeds did Stockport a big favour this season by loaning them Huntington when they had a defensive crisis and no money to spend, or have you forgotten that already? Talk about ungrateful!

  • Comment number 18.

    Fletch - a little, yes. ;)

    I think the thing that winds me up is the constant reference to us being 'big spenders', as if it is some sort of tainted praise if we happen to win.

    Make no doubt about it - we probably spend more on wages than most clubs in this division, but I believe that these are still within sensible realms. We've refused to splash out huge transfer fees too - we've spent nothing near to Southampton's fee for Rickie Lambert, for example.

    Anyway, it doesn't matter at the end of the day - if that's all I have to moan about at the moment then I'm happy!

  • Comment number 19.

    Fletch - I'm sure all Town fans will be buying their Christmas cards from a certain well known card retailer. However, the satisfaction from seeing the good people of Leeds and Bradford spending their hand earned cash at said retailer is hard to measure.

  • Comment number 20.

    @Deats

    If you'd seen some of the performances Huntingdon put in for us I don't think you're term it "a favour". "Sabotage" would be more accurate!

    Good article, but I'm still bitter about 'udders getting Pilks off us.

  • Comment number 21.

    Oh, and Deats, we did apparently have a little money to spend, but had to get around a limit on the size of our squad imposed by the football league (20 players, kindly including one player with a broken leg). I'm not sure Leeds are quite as selfless as you claim. I'm not sure any club is!

  • Comment number 22.

    Good article Paul.

    Town fans may disagree with me here, but I think there's a general view that several other products of our Academy over the last decade had the potential to be playing at a higher level (Stead being the exception, but now is back in the Championship). This goes for players like Collins, Nathan and Tom Clarke, and the now departed David Mirfin, John Worthington, Andrew Holdsworth, Danny Schofield, even all the way back to Delroy Facey.

    For whatever reason, under the old regimes, these players just didn't develop as much as they should have, and most are now languishing in League 1 and 2. As such, the mix of players/staff at the moment is very promising: it feels like we're fulfilling the promise we've had for the last 9 or 10 years.

    By the sounds of it, though, at Charlton we were beaten by the better team, so I think playoffs will be as high as we can achieve this year.

  • Comment number 23.

    Joe - interesting point. Just how highly do you rate the latest crop to have made it into the first team? How far can they go?

    I watched the game against Wycombe on TV recently and saw all too clearly Town's attacking threat but about people like Alex Smithies, who I hear is very highly rated?


  • Comment number 24.

    In terms of the players brought in over the summer, I've sadly had little chance to see them regularly. There's some absolute finds there (Drinkwater and Rhodes in particular have a lot of talent), and Smithies I like and is developing well (generally his judgement, I think, is already very good at the age of 20).

    What excites me about Lee Clark (and Steve Black's contribution, in particular) is that he has got some 'older' players playing at the top of their game. Against Hartlepool this weekend, Robbie Williams was the hero, whereas some of his performances under Stan Ternent were abject. Gary Roberts has played well for Town ever since he joined, but is currently in the form of his life. These are the kind of players who, in previous seasons, turned up and collected their wages but didn't do much else. Now, I think the youth and goals around them makes them believe they can win.

    If there is a missing link, I think it might be that we still need more from Antony Kay, who I still think isn't playing as well as he was last year; a more robust midfield and we'll start to see the away wins we need more of for promotion.

  • Comment number 25.

    During the Centenary I bought a bick which is currently outside the stadium and says '100 years of HTAFC...it just seemed longer'. I was getting cynical about a rudderles club (my club!) going nowhere. The turnaround is astonishing! The credit for this must go to Dean Hoyle - at last some sensible, innovative, direction and management not some of the self serving dinosaurs that we have had (with the exception of those involved in building the stadium!). It was he that refused to be browbeaten by the previous Manager who it seems seriously underestimated Dean's resolve to do the right thing and who also was not a fan of the acadamy prefering as you point out Unsworth, Lucketti etc. It is Dean who has led us to all the other good things ...Lee Clarke, Jordon Rhodes, Pilks et al....I mean Terry McDermott / Derek Fazak...Fazac..Faz...you know who I mean.... at Huddersfield - these people wouldn't have given Town a second look a couple of years ago.
    Thank you Dean, can't wait for the next match....when is it? ....tonight at Swindon!....I'll get me coat!.....Oh! by the way does Swindon have a branch of that well known card shop....

  • Comment number 26.

    Funnily enough I bought a brick as well!!!

  • Comment number 27.

    good

  • Comment number 28.

    Town are doing fantastically this year, but we need to sign one or two more older players to get a good blend of youth and experience towards the end of the season. I hear we might be linked to a lad called Ruari Murphy, (captain of the Kaiser Clowns). Does anyone know if he is any good? I hear he has a mean tackle, which would add back bone to our defense if true.

  • Comment number 29.

    The problem with signing so many youngsters is that if they do get promoted they may struggle at a higher level. Town have two of our (Barnsley) ex-academy players, Robbie Williams and Antony Kay, both seemed to struggle at Championship level after we were promoted (though Williams never got much of a chance). Having young players with a lot of pace and drive can reap huge rewards in lower leagues, but they can often get found out by genuine quality when they step up.

    All the best to them though.

  • Comment number 30.

    Great article and comments by others. Havent been able to feel as positive about Town for many years. I think we have to keep our feet on the ground, there are some good sides up there and if we dont quite make it we have to stay intact and keep progressing. The support and atmosphere is as good as ive ever known it at the Galpharm, perhaps barring the period when Bruce almost got us in the play offs and we had some decent players around then, but no this current side takes some beating and they just try to attack and attack which is a pleasure to see. Black quite rightly gets lots of plaudits but i think overall the coaching/managerial set up is as good as you'll find outside the Premier league and credit to Hoyle for allowing this to happen. Fazackerly (no spelling prats bother replying please) has coached at the highest level, Terry Mac has been and seen it all and in Paul Stephenson we have a much respected young coach who was very highly thought of at Hartlepool and was entrusted with a caretaker manager role not long back. Lets keep enjoying the ride. p.s I have one slight niggling worry - i seem to notice Clark wearing a black tie a lot - i really hope this isnt his allegiance to Newcastle coming through again as we know its inevitable where he'll go eventually - but please wait until we are in the promised land!

  • Comment number 31.

    I hope 'the promised land' means the Champions League!

    PS Has anyone heard any more rumours regarding new signings in January? I have heard Jon Walters may be signing, which I think would be a fantastic addition if we can't agree terms with Ruari Murphy. Also there is rumours of us signing a keeper called Jon Gray as back up...

  • Comment number 32.

    I've heard a few whispers on the grapevine.
    Apparently we have been linked with a 15 year old wonderkid called Sean Goorah.
    He's 6'4" already apparently!
    I think we'll pip leeds to the title this year

    Those were the days my friends........

  • Comment number 33.

    Selling Jordan Rhodes was one of the worst decisions Keane has made so far at Ipswich (and there have been a few) - we're crying out for someone with his goal threat.

    Any chance we can loan him back?!!

  • Comment number 34.

    No

  • Comment number 35.

    Fantastic article, I think the only question now is if Lee Clark can do what no other Town manager has been able to do for what seems like a life time and get this undoubtedly talented team to perform away from home, somwhere near the standard that they do at home?!

  • Comment number 36.

    post 35 - No doubt you have suffered as I have over the years wondering how we go away from home and look so different. With this squad we have now I would just urge us to go for it away from home just as we do so well on our own patch. Ok we'll lose a few but we'll win plenty. The way we got at Oldham was a good indicator. Lets take the game to the other team wherever we are. We've possibly tried to be a bit clever at Bristol Rovers and maybe Colchester too , lets just go for it cos if we keep banging the number of shots at goal we do and with our pace and fitness (we look fittest Town team i have ever seen btw, we never stop)then we'll get plenty of joy on our travels. I spoke to a Charlton fan who was seriously impressed with us and barring some sloppy defending from dead ball situations then we'd have probably been worth all 3 points down there..if we got to Elland Road and try and alter things we'll come unstuck im certain of that, lets go to these teams and play at our tempo and cause havoc with width and pace all over the pitch.

  • Comment number 37.

    Paul - great article. It's very refreshing to have someone take an intelligent approach to reporting Town or any other lower league team. You asked about the latest crop of academy players that are coming through at the moment. I've been to all but one home game this season (missed the 4-0 against Orient)and like the other respondents here have been very impressed. I said at the start of the season that Clark has a similar kind of temperament to Ferguson, Ramsey and Shankly (ex Town of course) - sometimes a little bit terse but absolutley knows his own mind from the off and he has tremendous self belief. It doesn't mean to say that he has the same abilities as the others but his leadership allied with Dean Hoyle's is what has created this hunger and belief. He is also prepared to take the tough decisions. He played Drinkwater for the first few games - pleasing Mr Ferguson I am sure, but while technically probably our most proficient player he lacked the impact of Michael Collins and so was sacificed.

    Of the current recent crop of Academy players we are really talking only Smithies and Skarz as players who have had a decent number of starts. James Berret makes the bench and I would like to see him make a start at some point - he has a great range of passes. The other recent notable graduate is Tom Clarke who was our standout player until injury forced him out for a couple of months. So that averages out at the equivalent of two recent Academy players featuring in all games with older graduates N Clarke and Collins also starting regularly. 4/11 is not a bad ratio for a team that is flying.

    I have suffered following Town for long periods with occasional spikes of joy - the Buxton era being one - completley messed up my A levels that did, but aside from the all too brief time we went top of the second tier before selling Marcus Stewart, I don't remember when we last attacked with such flair and certainly we have never, in my nigh on 40 years of watching us, had this wonderful potential of complete youth.

    Let's hope I'm not crying in my beer at 09:30pm. Would be on my way to Swindon now but for a customer needing a last minute favour! :-(

    Looking forward to your next insight on Town.

    PS would just like to compliment Liddle of Hartlepool and their manager on their sporting comments on Town. Happens a lot in the lower leagues, this mutual respect, like the way we all spontaneously applauded the Dagenham and Redbridge fans at the end of the match for making the effort. The Premier league could learn from Football League players and fans.

  • Comment number 38.

    CBPodge, im not trying to make Leeds martyrs, i just get a bit fed up of all the senseless Leeds bashing. I understand it from local rivals, but from a Stockport fan!?!? All the Udders fans have been ever so well mannered, which is unlike them :D Just joshing lads.

    I didn't actually hear anything about Huntys performances, but im surprised he was no good for you. He came with a big reputation from Newcastle and played well for us but has been plagued with injuries. He certainly wouldnt have been match fit when he joined you, so maybe this had something to do with his under par performances.

    Leeds have been in serious trouble these last few years, including having 20 points docked. We are now a very profitable football club, yet we still dont spend money on players. We get free transfers and thats that. I think Grayson and the Leeds board should be commended for this. We have the cash but have not splashed it and still end up top of the table and sitting pretty. Yet still we get people slagging us off for no apparent reason.

    And when we talk about youth development, very rarely are Leeds given any credit in the media at all. In the last two decades we have brought through: Paul Robinson, Scott Carson, Gary Kelly, Ian Harte, Jonathon Woodgate, Matt Killgallon, David Batty, Gary Speed, Steve McPhail, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Alan Smith, Fabian Delph to name but a few

    In our current team we have Parker, White, Howson, Not to mention the ones who were poached like Taiwo, Woods, Garbutt etc etc

    I think this must be just about the most successful youth academy in football? Clubs like Leeds are providing England players left right and centre. Hopefully some other Yorkshire clubs like Town can also bring through some quality youth players as its good for our national game. And there is nothing better than seeing local boys pull on the jersey, because you know they will always give 100%

  • Comment number 39.

    PS should have said "for making the effort on a wet and dark Friday night all the way from London" about the D&R fans. One thing we're not at Hudders is patronising! Not after sufering gates of less than 5,000 on occasion in the bottom tier and travelling to places like Haig Avenue and t'Shay.

  • Comment number 40.

    Good article and well done to Town for their achievements this season. That said, they have spent big for League 1, so should really be where they are.

    If they dont go up, then will they need to spend the same again to maintain a challenge next season? And would they keep hold of their star players if they didnt go up?

    Paul, Id appreciate an article on similar happenings over at Valley Parade - an equal mix of youth and determination has led to the most optimism us Bradford fans have had for a while.

  • Comment number 41.

    38 and 40 - we're in danger of harmony breaking out over Yorkshire. Well the West Riding (as was) anyway. Come on YRA, we have to do something to rival those 7 Lancashire (as was) Premier League clubs.

  • Comment number 42.

    Deats 80..

    Must apoligise for my misjudged swipe at leeds yesterday, Best of luck for the rest of the season. Its just I have a very very very annoying leeds fan at my work who constantly goes on about what a BIG club leeds are and laughs at Stockports plight.

    He'd wound me up yesterday so comment more at him than at the majority of leeds fans. It was a cheap shot sorry! I do think leeds need credit also for the young lads they have brought through over the years. I appreciate i didn't watch Delph every week but the few times I saw him play I thought he was massively over-rated, tidy player like but not a multi million £ player. Then again I thought that about Ashley Young at Watford and he's been superb since at Villa so what do I know!!!!!!

  • Comment number 43.

    Cheers exiled, fair play to you mate. I agree about Delph, he had his moments, but i was surprised so much was paid for him. But he is still raw talent and give him 3 or 4 years then he will start to peak (not fully of course, but reach a more mature age physically and mentally). It took Milner a few years to find his feet too. To be honest we havent missed Delph at all, in fact we have been better without him.

    Im a die hard Leeds fan and i know we have local rivalries, but i always want to see Yorkshire clubs doing well. I was brought up Leeds, but my old man would take me to local grounds when we had long away days. Thus i also grew up watching Bradford, York, Scarborough, Wednesday and thus find it hard to 'hate' them. I was even a mascot for Bradford vs Pompey in Sept '89! Sad but true haha. COME ON YORKSHIRE!!! :)

  • Comment number 44.

  • Comment number 45.

    A generalised article!
    If Huddersfield Towns youth set up was that good, why did they not keep hold of Cameron Jerome? Huddersfield home grown lad who was a very good player as youth. My main argument is, if Huddersfield Town nurtured their footballers through real education about life as a footballer along with on-field training you would find a winning formula! Their have been so many exceptionally good players which Town have released.
    It really does look like Lee Clark is doing a good job with what Town have as a squad, but the Acadamy Youth set up is flawed and they are only producing the odd average player.
    You really don't need a genius to help nurture raw talent!
    Its a pity though the amount of overseas recruits big premier leauge clubs are always trying make, ex Town boss Steve Bruce a good example! Why not help breed our own ENGLISH born players!

  • Comment number 46.

    Steve Bruce is a great example - its ok to say breed english borm players but I guess its all about results. If a boss sticks with home grown talent and they flop he gets slated - if he buys abroad he gets slated too - who'd be a manager. I think championship managers get away with it mcuh more than prem do though.
    Dean Hoyles an interesting bloke think hes good for Town, I'd happily put a wager that his Christmas cards sales in Huddersfield will rocket this year. Mind you I bet his Leeds shops are pretty quiet now - mind you having read his bio I think he can afford it - lol

  • Comment number 47.

    It's such an exciting time to be a Town fan!! I've been a fan all my life, though work has meant that I rarely get to see them play (I live in the North of Scotland and travel extensively). However, I've managed to get to a couple of games since Lee Clarke took over and suddenly the beautiful game has returned! At last we have a team that seems capable of playing the game like it should be played...on the ground...pass and move. Ex-Academy players are the foundation of the team, and this is bound to bode well for the future. I was centre back at school with Graham Mitchell in Baildon - he's a good lad and will do a first rate job carrying on what was already a successful operation. My only concern is whether Lee Clarke will stay with us if he doesn't get promotion this season. I think he has what it takes to get us a long way, but, God forbid, if things went wrong and we didn't go up, I wonder if he'll look for something bigger??? I really, really hope not! Got tickets with my mother (season ticket holder for centuries!) for WBA in the Cup on the 2nd Jan. and currently reading Adrian Chiles's book! Can't wait to give him another sleepless night!! COME ON TOWN!

  • Comment number 48.

    im from huddersfield and have a lot of town fan mates, and are, (as most town fans are) completely deluded! they do this every year and always faid away at the end and i believe the same will happen this year. town are not a big club. to be honest i think they have the best side for a while im a big fan of rhodes and would have him at forest but i dont think they have what it takes to go up. leeds charlton and norwich. and if soton get into the play offs town it will be even more unlikely.

  • Comment number 49.

    We proud of Huddersfield . http://american-schools.net

 

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