MATCHDAY announcer Paul Ramsden has called on Huddersfield Town fans to forget watching on Sky TV and turn up in force to back their club's promotion bid.
Simon Grayson’s side travel to MK Dons on Saturday for the play-off semi-final first leg (12.30) before welcoming them to the Galpharm for a Tuesday decider (7.45).
The prize is a place at Wembley on Saturday, May 26, but Ramsden – 42 and a lifelong fan – says a united surge from all sections of the club is vital to help push Town towards their target of Championship football in 2012-13.
“Everybody you speak to in football knows we are set up for the next level and we are rolling in the right direction – we now just need that final push,” said Ramsden, who first watched in 1978 with his dad, Mike, and grandfather Frank Eggleton, who was a butcher on Huddersfield Road in Brighouse.
“I don’t think anyone at the football club has been trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes that we’ve been playing as well as we are capable of over the last couple of months – some might say longer – but we might need only to score a couple of goals to win promotion from here, so it’s crucial everyone gets behind the bid.
“It really would be great if Town could get up into the second tier of English football because it is, in its own right, one of the top half dozen leagues in Europe, and it would be fantastic to have that big-match atmosphere here at the Galpharm week in and week out.
“As supporters, we have a big part to play now in helping the club achieve those aims and I really do hope people don’t take the easy option of watching on Sky TV and come down to support the lads.
“I’m sure the travelling support down at stadium:mk will be like it normally is, but it would be great to have our own stadium bouncing for the second leg on Tuesday to help the team go through to Wembley.
“If we manage that – and we are more than capable – then it’s a fantastic occasion for our supporters and our club again and fingers crossed for a better result than we got last May at Old Trafford.”
Ramsden – a regional sales manager for outdoor clothing company Tog 24 – is confident Town can come through two tricky ties against Karl Robinson’s side to face either Sheffield United or Stevenage in the final (those two meet for the first time at the Lamex Stadium tomorrow, 7.45).
“As fans we have a lot to be grateful for and that’s why it’s so important to give as much backing as we can,” he explained.
“We have one of our own at the head of the club – someone who used to be on the terraces with us – and Dean Hoyle is doing a fantastic job, being totally committed to the club in every way.
“He has just cycled 280 miles on Pedal for Pounds III, he provides proper backing for the club in a way we’ve not seen before and he’s a fantastic bloke.
“In addition to Dean we’ve got a great chief executive in Nigel Clibbens, whose skill sets complement the chairman’s perfectly, and then we’ve got a tremendous commercial director in Sean Jarvis, with Ann Hough as operations director playing a fantastic role as well.
“Add to those Mr Huddersfield Town, Andy Booth, who is doing a great PR job across West Yorkshire and the nation as a whole, because he is so well respected, and we have everything set up.
“I also believe we have what it takes on the pitch as well.
“Personally, I think we are very solid at the back with Peter Clarke and Sean Morrison playing well, Jack Hunt and Calum Woods looking really strong and, for me, I think it’s great we have Damien Johnson back in midfield, because he is head and shoulders above what most clubs have got to offer in the centre.
“Then, of course, we’ve got the country’s leading scorer in Jordan Rhodes, who hasn’t been required in the starting line-up the last couple of weeks – a great move by the management – and if Jordan can take his tally to 40 goals then you can be pretty sure we won’t be far away from our promotion dream.
“No-one is getting carried away, of course, because while we’ve got a pretty decent record against MK Dons, they’ve not got a bad side and, in Alan Smith, they’ve got someone who is good quality at this level.
“I’m sure Simon and the coaching staff know all about them, and I’m also sure we are capable of beating them over two legs with the right performances and the right backing from the stands.”