They’re all off to Wembley!
As many as 39,000 people are expected to make the trip from Huddersfield to watch the Terriers take on Reading in the Premier League play-off final on Bank Holiday Monday.
With well over 35,000 tickets sold and an extra 1,000 seats released on Monday, will Huddersfield become a ghost town for the day?
Vernon O’Reilly, manager of the Piazza Shopping Centre, played down the prospect of deserted town centre streets next Monday.
He said: “None of my retailers have indicated that they want to close on that day. It’s a ‘pay-day’ weekend and while a lot of Town fans will head off that still leaves their families looking for something to do.”
The Piazza, which has stores including WH Smith, Outdoor World, Bodycare and Grainger Games, is holding a fun day on Saturday (May 27) with a children’s petting zoo and face-painting among the attractions to kick-off the Bank Holiday weekend.
“Bank Holiday Monday is a quieter day anyway in comparison to a busy Saturday with about 25% of the footfall,” said Vernon. “I would not expect it to be much different next Monday. People will be about in the morning and early afternoon before the 3pm kick-off.”
Jordan Beck, manager of Wyevale Garden Centre, Birchencliffe, said the situation was unprecedented, but didn’t think trade would be much affected given the older profile of its core customers. “I don’t think it will bottom us out,” he said. “We will have to wait and see.”
However bosses at two independent businesses are shutting up shop for the day to join Town at Wembley.
Chris Worlsey, of Easy Fireplaces, one of Town’s 100 main commercial partners, will close the showroom in Milnsbridge and join other sponsors in an executive suite at Wembley. He said it was an opportunity not to be missed for the company, which has its name on the jackets worn by the Town players as they walk out onto the pitch and on their training bibs and warm-up tops.
He said: “About 120m people will be watching the game worldwide which means our little family business is going to be ‘live’ around the world. It’s a chance to shout about Milnsbridge and how a business can survive and thrive here. If Town get into the Premier League it will be superb for the area, the businesses and the public. The amount of revenue it will generate in the area is phenomenal.”
Mike Oller, owner of the Carpet Clearance Centre at Lockwood, joked: “We tossed a coin to see who would go and I lost – so because I’m the boss, we’re shutting!” A blue-and-white sign on the building tells customers that the shop will be closed.
Mike, manager Luke Travers and employees Sam High and Alex Nikitin will all travel to the game. Said Mike: “It’s going to be wonderful. It would be excellent if Town got promotion. All those Premier League sides coming to Huddersfield – it has to be good.”