When 24,500 Huddersfield Town faithfuls in The John Smith’s Stadium at 3-0 down, stood and clapped off the man largely responsible, they unknowingly reminded the ‘big six’ and their disciples how football used to be.
It reminded us of the correct spirit of the Premier League, the thrill of seeing the likes of Harry Kane, Alexandre Lacazette and Sergio Aguero players who cost more than their entire squad, the thrill of Huddersfield being in the league of dreams.
The volcano of drive, devotion, passion and hard work that has taken to get them there is still there has erupted, and is spewing out through their support.
Huddersfield Town put the Sport back into Football
They, despite being 3-0 down, at 80 minutes hadn’t resorted to abusing the visiting fans or berating their players. Why? They didn’t even look unhappy. Why? Because they came to watch football.
They were too busy singing and roaring on their team, full support the whole way through, the ‘Huddersfield Massive’, parents, kids and grandparents.
Despite the 4-0 drubbing, the display put on by Pochettino’s men and those before them, was exactly what they came to see, and despite the heavy loss, they relished it.
Spurs Fans Return the Favour
The reaction of the Spurs fans, more used to anti-Semitic taunts than respect, was immediate.
Returning the compliment, the visitors cheered the home fans as the they as they left the stadium, touched but shocked that their hosts had given not only given Kane a standing ovation when substituted, but they also applauded their team off at the end.
Something that hasn’t been seen very often in the English game at the highest level, for many a years. And what a shame that is.
They hadn’t once berated or insulted their players, visitors, or their fans. They too were busy singing and trying to pull their team back, right up until the applause. Like fans used to. All that was missing was the terraces, the discarded team sheets blowing around at the place, and the peanut man.
Had they been fans of any of the top six, they most likey would have already left. Phones in hand to vent their disgust, expel the venom, having told the opposition what they think of them. They had their own song to sing.
Bet they don’t have a variety of gifs, tweets, the abuse, the photo-shopped pictures of players and managers; derogatory Fan TV; podcasts; facebook; and Instagram, blah blah.
It’s a world where social media has become the new Football Factory, the remission of physical violence from the support of the English has replaced with a new breed of hate, spreading like an aggressive cancer. I’m sure there is a psychologist somewhere that could pick that up.
Social media allows fans to have a virtual punch up. Instead of a few pints and fisticuffs, the I-phone is the new broken bottle. Anyone can join in, no riot police, no Black Mariahs. No holds barred. Faceless violence, played in an arena with no referee.
Men, women and children all get to join in, when their club or one they hate takes a loss, or a player has a bad game.
No arrests made, shops looted, tear gas expelled, or club bans imposed. Damage caused by the virtual rioting though is not so easily fixed.
The glory of the Champions League has perhaps wiped away the the sport in the Premier League. Huddersfield, fresh from the Championship, haven’t yet been spoiled by the desperation for ‘marquee signings’ and the merciless charge for the top four.
On The Field
The Mourinhos, and the Guardiolas who snarl at snap at each other like, well, terrriers. Also at referees, officials, and press showing little regard for the FA or their employers. Little wonder some top money signings display the type of petulance we have seen, when it is indeed the done thing by one’s leader.
There is a new way to play opponents, and the media. The mind as opposed to the football game. Giving a bad example to players their fans, more poignantly, targets and excuses for all losses.
Guardiola and Pochettino
The most recent mark of disrespect being Pep Guardiola’s swipe at Tottenham, glibly calling them ‘The Harry Kane Team’ at a press conference.
In an ironic twist, it is was almost a year to the day since Manchester City were beaten 2-0 at White Hart Lane, without their star striker.
Pochettino’s dignified and simple response to this remark was it “Was disrespectful, and actually sad.”
Gone are the days where managers were judged by their performances and loyalty.
Gone are the days where the FA Cup was an event, a Holy Grail. A season in which you won it was hailed, and marked. It was a national event.
As Arsene Wenger knows, winning what used to be the trophy for the fifth time may still cost you your job. If not served with a Premiership or Champions League title. Arsenal players have recently blamed the likes of Arsenal Fan TV for the bitter river running’s through the club.
No ‘bitterness at the John Smiths’ Stadium
The capacity crowd at the John Smiths’ Stadium despite a heavy home loss, didnt hold placards with ‘Wagner Out’. They simply shrugged off the defeat and respectfully applauded the display. Miffed, but hoping their side will give them a result next time, and appreciated the football.
If Leicester’s starry eyed players and fans had retained their mid table humility a bit longer, the situation could have been, Instead of assuming a Champion’s grandeur, following their unexpected League Title. Claudio Ranieri may still be in charge.
Their ‘One Season Wonder’ taunts aimed at Harry Kane, also wouldn’t be now so ironic. They wouldn’t have struggled with their Shakespeare, only for the ruthless Leicester conspirators to stab their hero Ranieri Caesar style, and repeat the scene for Shakespears’ exit stage left.
If the Terriers’ fans want to learn anything from those teams they aspire to, and still enjoy the football like they did at the weekend, is to be smart. The Premiership is angry. Don’t be angry. Be supportive. Be like Huddersfield Town.
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