HE WAS a disappointed spectator when Huddersfield Town won promotion at Wembley in 1995.
Now Paul Dixon is delighted the Galpharm club clinched another play-off final victory at the national stadium 11 years on.
It’s given him the chance to realise another footballing dream after proudly wearing the distinctive tangerine colours of his boyhood heroes Dundee United.
Dixon had set his heart on plying his trade in England, and after signing a three-year Town contract, the 25-year-old left-back has set his sights on helping the promoted club make their mark in the Championship.
“While I was born in Aberdeen, my mum’s home city, I’ve lived in Dundee since I was one,” explained Dixon, who will move to Huddersfield with wife Stef and seven-month-old son Lucas.
“But my dad is from the West Country and he’s a huge Bristol Rovers fan, so the two of us went to Wembley for the play-off final against Town in ’95.
“I was 11 and can clearly recall the excitement of the build-up and the game, then the misery of the (2-1) defeat.
“It’s funny, because after signing my contract, I walked straight into (Town’s club ambassador) Andy Booth in the corridor, and of course he scored in that game against Rovers.
“If dad wasn’t disappointed enough, a year later, Town signed Marcus Stewart, who had scored Rovers’ goal at Wembley and was a huge hero there.
“I don’t think my dad has ever forgiven Huddersfield, but I think that on the sly, he’ll be cheering them on now!”
With his maternal grandad having grown up alongside Town legend Denis Law and his brothers in Aberdeen, Dixon knows all about Huddersfield’s footballing heritage, and is keen to play his part of writing another chapter in the club’s story.
“It’s a big club with serious ambition, and it’s definitely the place for me,” added Dixon, who came through the ranks at Dundee before heading down the road (literally) to their next-door neighbours United.
“The chairman and manager are both determined men, the stadium is great and the new training ground looks like it will be fantastic.
“Getting promoted from League I was a major achievement, and the great thing about the Championship is you’re just one good season off the Premier League.
“It’s a massive incentive, and while nobody at Huddersfield is getting carried away, you have to aim as high as you can.”
If reports are to be believed, Town pipped divisional rivals Leeds and Middlesbrough to the signature of Dixon, who was out of contract after four seasons at Tannadice.
“There were other offers,” he admitted. “But as I said after signing, Huddersfield made me feel wanted, and their reputation as a club which is friendly but also serious about being successful was important to me.
“In many ways they are like an English version of Dundee United, and having had some very happy years there, I’m hoping I’ll end up with just as good memories of Huddersfield.”
Dixon helped United finish fifth, third, fourth and fourth in the Scottish Premier League and leaves them looking forward to Europa League football for the third season running.
“United have got a proud heritage of European football, so it’s a big thing for the club and the fans,” explained Dixon, who missed the 2010 Scottish Cup final victory over Ross County because of a foot injury.
“They got to the European Cup semi-finals in 1984 and the UEFA Cup final in 87 and have twice knocked Barcelona out of Europe.
“It was a great experience to play in the Europa League, against AEK Athens in 2010 then the Polish team Slask Wroclaw last season.
“We competed strongly both times, losing 2-1 on aggregate to Athens, then going out on away goals against Wroclaw.”
While he’s made his name at Tannadice, the foundations for Dixon’s career were laid at their rivals Dundee, whose Dens Park ground is just 170 yards away on the same road.
Spotted playing junior football in the city, Dundee signed Dixon at 12 and he went on to make 111 appearances for them, scoring twice, before his switch to United (145 games, five goals).
“Like any place with two teams, there is rivalry between the clubs, but it’s only for a minority that it’s hatred,” he said.
“That’s possibly because the two grounds are so close together, so that people at the two clubs know each other well.
“I got a good grounding at Dundee, but United were the team I supported, so it was a great to go and play for them. Now I’m ready for a new challenge, and I can’t wait to get started at Huddersfield.”