During the 1920s and 30s, Huddersfield Town were part of the First Division Elite - the team finishing consistently high in the end-of-season table.
They won the League three times in succession (hence the three stars on the badge) in 1924, 1925 and 1926 but it is seldom mentioned that they were actually runners-up in both 1927 and 1928 as well.
They slipped to 16th in 1929, but went up to 10th in 1930 before finishing fifth, fourth, sixth, second, sixteenth and third in the next six seasons while in both 1937 and 1938 they finished fifteenth (but reached the FA Cup Final in the latter year).
In 1939 however, the last season before World War II, Town finished 19th - sadly a portent of things to come, because when football resumed after the war, the team struggled and finished 20th.
Thereafter they were always battling against relegation until finally, at the end of season 1951/52, they lost their First Division status for the first time.
Whilst the results were often poor, they had some good players and the Board tried to bring in better ones, pulling off something of a coup in December 1946 when they signed Peter Doherty from Derby County.
Born in Magherafelt, County Londonderry, Doherty was a brilliant Northern Ireland International who began his career with Glentoran in the Irish League, helping them to win the Irish Cup in 1933.
Shortly afterwards, at the age of 19, he was signed by Blackpool before Manchester City offered £10,000 for him and the Seasiders, in urgent need of the money, more or less forced him to go in February 1936.
Peter, happy and settled, about to marry a local girl and having just bought a house, did not want to leave Blackpool, but in those days a footballer’s wishes were seldom considered.
His debut with Manchester City against Preston North End was not a success - tightly marked by Bill Shankly (I wonder what happened to him?) he failed to make an impact and the crowd shouted “waste of money!” He played out the rest of the season and hoped for better things after the summer.
Next season (1936/37) City had a slow start but after Christmas they stormed through to win their first League championship and Peter Doherty's 30 goals were a major factor in their success.
Doherty scored 79 goals in 130 appearances at Maine Road and despite serving in the RAF during World War II, remained registered as a Manchester City player and scored 60 goals in 89 wartime matches.
After the war, he was transferred to Derby County and played in the 1946 FA Cup winning side, scoring one of the goals in a 4-1 win.
During the next season Doherty fell out with Derby and Town stepped in - they knew that they had signed an absolutely outstanding player, even though he was 33 years of age.
He was a very special player and it was such a privilege for Town supporters to be able to see him week after week, instead of just once a season.
He had all the attributes - he could trap the ball and move it forward in one smooth movement, no matter the height or speed or angle at which it arrived; he could feint and swerve, twist and turn in tight spaces; he kept perfect balance at all times; and he had very powerful, and above all very accurate shot.
He was a joy to watch for the sheer perfection of his control and use of the ball.
There were numerous ball artists around at the time, players who could “make the ball talk” but such players sometimes appeared to be showing off and playing for themselves. Peter Doherty could never be accused of doing such a selfish thing: he had all the individual tricks, but he was a team man through and through. Every subtle swerve, every little step-over, was for the team.
Matthews and Finney and Shackleton stood out in a match for their individualism but when you watched Doherty, he did not stand out in the same way because all his individual trickery was at the service of his team. He kept things ticking, with a touch here and a touch there, because he had consummate positional sense.
In addition, he was inventive and ready to do the unexpected - I remember a match in late 1948, just after I started watching Town. Doherty picked up the ball about ten yards inside the opposition half, near the left touchline. He started to run diagonally infield, and back into his own half.
You could sense that the crowd was puzzled. A man next to me shouted, “Nay lad, tha’s gooin’ t’wrang rooad!”- at which moment Doherty back-heeled the ball, straight as an arrow, right to the feet of Vic Metcalfe out on the left wing.
I can still see, in my mind’s eye, that back-heeled pass. Many footballers today have played for years, but still cannot achieve a pass like that, perfectly conceived, perfectly placed, perfectly weighted, even when they are facing forwards!
Town, with Peter Doherty in their ranks had a powerful forward line of Bateman, Glazzard, Whittingham, Doherty and Metcalfe. When Albert Nightingale came, Jimmy Glazzard moved to centre-forward instead of Alf Whittingham, who left for Halifax Town. Unfortunately, the defence was not up to the same standard and often let down the forwards.
Doherty moved to Doncaster Rovers as Player Manager in 1949 and retired as a player in 1953, but stayed on as Manager until 1958.
Fellow Professionals were in awe of Doherty’s ball skills, shooting power and work-rate. Len Shackleton, in his autobiography, called Peter “the genius among geniuses”, praised his “tremendous enthusiasm for the game” and said that he always “worked like a horse for ninety minutes”.
Doherty scored 36 goals in 87 appearances for Town, a terrific strike rate but his impact on every club he played for was the same: 29 in 87 for Blackpool; 79 in 130 for Manchester City; 17 in 27 for Derby County and 55 in 103 for Doncaster Rovers.
As a Manager, Doherty proved to be a thinker, using inventive coaching techniques. Not surprisingly, he emphasised ball practice and instead of endless laps of the pitch, he introduced volley-ball, "to promote jumping, timing and judgement"; basket-ball, "to encourage split-second decision-making and finding space"; and walking football, "to build up calf muscles".
After he had stopped playing League football, he and his old Derby County colleague Raich Carter played from time to time for an “Old Timers” team in the early nineteen-sixties.
I saw them play more than once after floodlights had been installed at Leeds Road where they had a party-trick. When a penalty was awarded (and I think the referee usually connived in this), Doherty would tap the ball diagonally forward and Carter would run in and slide the ball into the other corner.
It was all perfectly legal, for the Law merely states: The player taking the penalty kick must kick the ball forward.
It was an impish example of Doherty’s inventiveness and original thinking.
On the field, Doherty was never a flamboyant personality: off the field he was quiet and reserved, keeping himself to himself. He played at a time when everyone smoked, because no one knew how damaging to health that could be. His fellow professionals smoked cigarettes (probably to calm their nerves), but Peter Doherty, unusually, smoked a pipe.
It seems to me that, in a sense, that summed up his personality: calm, thoughtful and contented.