Five hundred Huddersfield Town fans queued in soaring temperatures for precious autographs at the club’s Welcome to the Season open day.
The exclusive ticket-only event – supported by the Examiner – was a sell-out and fans lapped up the sunshine and the chance to get up close to their favourite players.
Town boss Mark Robins and new assistant Steve Thompson put the first team squad through their paces on the training pitch at the PPG Canalside HQ, watched by fans on the sidelines.
They practised corners and free-kicks before the players split into two groups for a Town v Town training match.
After lunch, the players lined up at tables as families waited patiently to snap up signatures.
Fans young and not-so-young asked players to sign a variety of memorabilia from footballs and shirts to autograph books and team pictures.
But the oddest request came from 15-year-old Oliver Rath, of Holmfirth, who asked them to sign the pot on his left wrist.
He was playing dodge ball a week ago – and failed to dodge the ball.
Oliver, at the open day with his auntie Dawn Whiteley and brother Tom, 14, got all the players to sign his cast “because I’ve got nothing else with me!”
First in the queue for the signing session was David Hill, 49, of Linthwaite, with sons George, 13, and Charlie, 12.
“I don’t know how we ended up at the front,” said David. “We just wandered over and ended up here!”
The family watch Town from the Fantastic Media Stand and George attended his first game – at just a month old.
“We went in a box with a friend,” said David, who obviously likes to start them young. Other son Charlie was some way behind his brother. He was two when he went to his first game.
David said Town still need a couple of players – including a box-to-box midfielder.
“I’m available if Mark Robins needs any tips,” he said.
Asked what his footballing credentials were, he grinned: “I’m just a terrace manager. We are all good managers from there!”
Some other management material were pals Sam Hirst, 11, and Sam Singh, 12, both from Dalton, Finlay Jowett, 11, of Longwood, and Marcus Leadbeater, 11, of Quarmby.
Being kept in check by Marcus’s mum Lesley, the boys ran the rule over the players on the training pitch.
Obviously a precocious talent spotter, Sam Singh pronounced: “It was good to see the players and be able to assess their strengths and weaknesses.”
Asked who stood out under his expert eye, he said: “Adam Clayton. I can’t say Sean Scannell because my dad knows him!”
Finlay enjoyed a kickabout on the pitch but he doesn’t rate Joe Lolley’s chances of dislodging strike duo James Vaughan and Nahki Wells this season.
“I think he’ll be a bench-warmer,” he chirped.
The lads also loved climbing aboard Town’s team bus but were probably exaggerating when they claimed to have beaten Mark Robins at poker!
Matthew Green, eight, of Crosland Moor, there with brother Luke, 13, got his precious football signed. He received the ball as a reward for collecting £20 in a school sponsored event and made sure all the players signed it.
Also enjoying the day were Clayton West brothers Timmy and Gabriel Rhodes, aged nine and seven, who were there with mum Joanna and grandad Ronnie Hardcastle.
“We’ve had a great time,” said Joanna. “It’s been a brilliant day all round.”
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