THE RECENT experiences of English clubs and their supporters in Italy has led to concerns being raised over the award of this year’s Champions League final to Rome.
But the problems caused by highly partisan fans in the land of the Azzurri appears to be nothing new.
Town had first-hand experience of their ‘passion’ as long ago as 1971, when they competed in the Anglo-Italian Cup.
Having beaten Sampdoria 2-0 in the home leg, Town followed up with a 3-2 victory in the return in Genoa, where Trevor Cherry scored a late winner.
Home supporters were already calling for the head of Sampdoria chairman Mario Colanantuoni before the match.
As their protests continued after the final whistle, things turned nasty as Town players were pelted with coins, stones, firecrackers and stand cushions.
Fans then invaded the pitch and surged up the tunnel and towards the dressing-room area, battering on doors.
It took a good half hour for police to restore order, and they completely cleared the streets surrounding the stadium before the Town party were allowed to leave.
The episode is one of many recounted in the second book produced to mark Town’s centenary.
Written by former Town secretary George Binns, Alan Hodgson and club historians Gwen and Ian Thomas, ‘100 Years: All That’s Worth Knowing’ is a companion volume to ‘99 Years and Counting: Stats and Stories’.
Once again, it’s a lavishly illustrated A4 hard-back volume, topping 400 pages and available now from the club’s stadium superstore at £29.99 (the first volume is still on sale at £27.99).
A season-by-season analysis, this time in narrative rather than statistical form, is the backbone of the book, and it’s intriguing the learn the detailed stories behind the club’s formative seasons, the triple title triumph of the twenties and Town’s last appearance in the top flight (1970-71 and 71-72).
But there’s plenty more besides, and particularly pleasing are the Did You Know? snippets which also featured in the first volume.
How many people, for example, realise that Town’s first trainer, a Mr Rudge, doubled up as groundsman, that one of their earliest goalkeepers, Ronald Brebner, was also a dentist, and that Town’s Easter Tuesday clash with Bristol City in 1915, which Town won 5-3, was recorded on film and shown in Huddersfield’s Olympia Picture House?
Meanwhile, as Barcelona bask in the glory of their recent Champions League demolition of Bayern Munich, it’s fascinating that in 1931, Town turned down their offer of an exhibition match in Spain, preferring instead to tour Sweden.
Amos Brook Hirst, a Huddersfield solicitor who was instrumental in Town’s formation and later became one of the most powerful men in the game as chairman of the Football Association and earned a knighthood, is one of the ‘Super Six’ club officials featured, the others being the Crowther brothers, who rescued Town from their first major financial crisis of 1919-20, Ken Davy, who led them out of administration in 2003, long-serving board member Dick Parker and forward-thinking manager Herbert Chapman, who built the celebrated title hat-trick team.
And also in the spotlight are a selection of journalists who have covered Town over the years, including the Examiner’s Alan Driscoll, Martin Hardy, Paul Clark and Mel Booth.