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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The John Smith’s Stadium was opened in 1994, originally taking the name of its builders Alfred McAlpine. Both of the town’s football and rugby league clubs left their former historic homes to take up residence at the new state of the art stadium. At a time when many new stadiums were being built in England following the Taylor Report, Huddersfield's new landmark was a breath of fresh air with its vastly different stadium design. Initially opened with two, then three stands and a fourth added some years later, the stadium was constructed with arch style roofs covering its stands. With unique floodlight bases, this stadium, along with Bolton Wanderers’ Reebok Stadium, were two totally different additions to the English stadium scene.
The stadium has an all seated capacity of 24,949. Two stands are double tiered with the other two stands being single tiered. The club crests of both Huddersfield Town Football Club and Huddersfield Giants Rugby League Club are visible by the main entrance. The venue hosted games during the 2013 Rugby League World Cup and some of the world’s top pop stars have also performed at the stadium. The stadium has won many design awards over the last two decades.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The stadium's interior concourse is well equipped with food and drink kiosks. As normal with Yorkshire clubs, top quality pies are essential and the ones of various varieties at Huddersfield do not disappoint. Hot dogs and beef burgers are also available, as are hot and cold drinks.
Pies are priced at £3 with hot dogs selling at £3.20. However having sat in the away supporters stand for my last visit it was a nice gesture by the club to sell leftover hot food at two for £1 to supporters on their way out after the game.
Even when not full, the stadium's acoustics are good and help add to the atmosphere. The most vocal of the home club's supporters are located in the North Stand, whilst visiting supporters are placed in the South Stand.
The friendliness of the club's staff and stewards makes a visit here all the more pleasant, adding to the atmosphere of a game and the day out in particular. I have only ever visited for soccer games, but would imagine that the atmosphere would be as good if not better for a Rugby League game as it is predominantly a northern sport.
Situated halfway between Manchester and Leeds, Huddersfield is an industrial market town which forms part of the West Riding District of Yorkshire. Former Prime Minister Harold Wilson and film star James Mason are the town's two most famous sons.
Other than shopping, the town as little to offer the visitor. Around six miles away in the Pennine Hills is the small town of Holmfirth that is recommended for a visit. This was the setting for the long running situational comedy programme Last of the Summer Wine.
The stadium's surrounding area offers Pizza Hut, Costa Coffee, Bars and a multi screen cinema to fill in time before a game. The town has many guest houses and both the Premier Inn and Travelodge Hotels are near to the stadium.
The football club has a hard core home support of between twelve and fifteen thousand fans. The team's last success was promotion to the Championship in 2012. However back in 1926 Huddersfield Town became the first club to win three consecutive Division One League Titles, now known as the English Premier League. The FA Cup was also won during this period. Local rivals are Leeds United, Bradford City and both Sheffield clubs.
The John Smith's Stadium is located just off the A62 Leeds Road in the Town Centre. The A62 runs directly off Junction 25 of the M62 motorway. There is plenty of car parking available at the ground, costing between £5 and £7. Other car parks are available within a short walk including that at the club's Canal Street training ground complex.
Huddersfield Railway Station with connections to both Manchester and Leeds is approximately a fifteen minute walk. The nearest airports are Manchester and Leeds/Bradford.
Games rarely sell out and tickets can be purchased on the day or via the club's website. Prices range between £20 and £32 with a category system in place dependent upon who the opposition is. Yorkshire is one of the cheaper areas to watch sport so this represents good value for the money, especially as you always receive a warm and friendly reception. Wherever you sit within the stadium you are guaranteed an excellent view of the playing area.
The stadium is also available for conferences, banquets and weddings and has much to offer.
Both the rugby and soccer clubs have club shops at the stadium. Huddersfield Town now produces a newspaper style match day programme priced at £2, which cheaper and different to that of most Football League and Premier League clubs who produce a more expensive and glossy version.
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Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD1 6PG
+44 1484 519203
Saint Andrew's Road
Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD1 6PG
+44 871 527 8528