SUPER-FAN Ian Richardson is gearing up for Town’s play-off tilt with a little more effort than most.
The man who has followed the club since the 1950s is ready to fly 11,500 miles to see if Lee Clark’s team can make the Championship.
But in a cruel blow, the New Zealand-based supporter will miss the semi-final against Bournemouth.
He was told the semi-final was on Thursday, May 19, whereas it’s actually taking place 24 hours earlier – just as Ian is 30,000-feet above the Atlantic.
“I’d looked on a sports website and got the dates. I was planning to come to the UK in June so it was a question of re-arranging flights to get here for the play-offs.
“I could not make this Saturday’s game, nor would I have been able to get a ticket, but I had hoped to be at the Galpharm for the second leg.
“Sadly that will not be the case but I will be there in spirit and I’m confident I will be taking my seat at Old Trafford to see Town in the final on May 29.”
Ian, 63, emigrated to New Zealand four years ago from his home in New Mill, where he worked as an electronics engineer.
He made the decision to live in Auckland with his son Andrew, daughter in law Deborah, and grandchildren Alina, Molly, Lucas and Danny.
He manages to get back to the UK each summer to visit family and friends in Huddersfield but his visits to see his blue and white heroes are limited.
He said: “I first started going in the late 50s, with an uncle who had season tickets.
“But my first real memories are of Denis Law playing for Town. I went to game after game and became a diehard supporter.
“Now I have to content myself with video clips on the Town website and the reports online from the Examiner.
“I think we have a great chance, although I fear Peterborough.
“My top players this season have been Anthony Pilkington and Damien Johnson, who are both now injured, but I think Lee Clark and especially chairman Dean Hoyle deserve a lot of credit.”
Ian, a keen golfer and deep-sea fisherman, is hoping that a previous trip to see his beloved team in action isn’t repeated.
In 1970 he was in the Middle East but flew home.
Ian explained: “I’d frustratingly spent the whole of Town’s promotion season in the Middle East. I flew in on the Tuesday afternoon of the final match day when Town were to play Watford but my flight was late.
My father Cyril and sister Gillian picked me up from Wakefield station at around 7.30pm, a mad dash to Leeds Road took place but we arrived at half time to find all gates shut!
“Fortunately in those days there was a commissionaire on the players’ and directors’ entrance, we explained the case and my suntan provided the evidence he required to kindly let us in – free of charge.
“We were ushered through the doors, down the players tunnel on to the pitch and over the wall into the terrace to see Town win 3-1.”
If you’re defying the odds to see Town’s play-off bid contact our Newsdesk on 01484 437712 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org