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  • Gary Foxall

John Smith’s Stadium – Huddersfield Town AFC



Photos by Google Photos


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

John Smith’s Stadium Stadium Way Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD1 6PG United Kingdom


Huddersfield Town AFC website John Smith’s Stadium website

Year Opened: 1994 Capacity: 24,949

 

Home of the Terriers

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. The South Stand opened in 1996 and the North (Panasonic) Stand began debuting in 1998 bringing the overall capacity of the stadium to approximately 24,500. The estimated cost of construction was £40 million. With unique floodlight bases, this stadium, along with the Bolton Wanderers’ University of Bolton Stadium, were two different additions to the English stadium scene.


Huddersfield was founded in 1908 and spent 86 years at Leeds Road. The club was the first to win three straight First Division titles in England from 1924-1926. After the 1971-72 season, the Terriers were regulated from the First Division and spent the next 45 years between the second and fourth divisions before making it back to the Premier League from 2017-2019.


Food & Beverage 3

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.


Atmosphere 4

There is a Fan Zone that fills up before the game and features food and beverage, live music, and the chance to meet Terry and Till Terrier, the club’s two official mascots. There are various food and beer kiosks that offer craft beer and including Promise Land German Lager, High Wire Grapefruit West Coast IPA, Common Grounds Coffee Porter, and Saucey Session IPA.


The stadium’s signature feature is the four arched-shaped stands that set the stadium apart from other venues in England. The steel white tubing contours around each stand and then juts down to the ground. The design of the stadium allows each of its corners of the ground to be open. The North Stand and Riverside Stand are both two-tiered and feature a row of executive boxes. Adding to the ambiance are a set of four floodlights and a video scoreboard at the away end.


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.


Neighborhood 3

Situated halfway between Manchester and Leeds, Huddersfield is an industrial market town that 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 has little to offer the visitor. Around six miles away in the Pennine Hills the small town of Holmfirth is recommended for a visit. This was the setting for the long-running situational comedy program Last of the Summer Wine.


Pubs near the stadium include the Rope Walk, Yorkshire Rose Huddersfield, The Sportsman, Gas Club, and Turnbridge Working Men’s Club. The stadium’s surrounding area offers Pizza Hut, Costa Coffee, Bars, and a multi-screen cinema to fill in the time before a game. The town has many guest houses and both the Premier Inn and Travelodge Hotels are near the stadium.


Fans 3

The football club has a hardcore home support of between twelve and fifteen thousand fans. The supporter section is loud and boisterous during the match. The rest of the stands feature friendly banter among the home supporters. Local rivals are Leeds United, Bradford City, and both Sheffield clubs.


Access 3

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 on 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.


Return on Investment 3

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 sports 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.


Extras 3

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 program priced at £2, which is cheaper and different from that of most Football League and Premier League clubs who produce a more expensive and glossy version.


Final Thoughts

The John Smith Stadium is a modern, comfortable football stadium that is inexpensive, features a good range of concession items, and overall has a very good time. The home of the Terriers should not be overlooked when visiting English Football grounds,


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