When 24,500 Huddersfield Town faithfuls in The John Smith’s Stadium at 3-0 down, stood and clapped off the man largely responsible, they unknowingly reminded the ‘big six’ and their disciples how football used to be.
It reminded us of the correct spirit Premier League, the thrill of seeing the likes of Harry Kane, Alexandre Lacazette and Sergio Aguero players who cost more than their entire squad, the thrill of Huddersfield being in the league of dreams.
The volcano of drive, devotion, passion and hard work that has taken to get them there is still there has erupted, and is spewing out through their support.
They, despite being 3-0 down, at 80 minutes hadn’t resorted to abusing the visiting fans or berating their players. Why? They didn’t even look unhappy. Why? Because they came to watch football.
They were too busy singing and roaring on their team, full support the whole way through, the ‘Huddersfield Massive’, parents, kids and grandparents.
Despite the 4-0 drubbing, the display put on by Pochettino’s men and those before them, was exactly what they came to see, and despite the heavy loss, they relished it.
Spurs Fans Return the Favour
The reaction of the Spurs fans, more used to anti-Semitic taunts than respect, was immediate.
Returning the compliment, the visitors cheering the home as the they as they left the stadium, touched but shocked that their hosts had given not only given Kane a standing ovation when substituted, they also applauded the team off at the end.
Something that hasn’t been seen very often in the English game at the highest level, for many a year.
They hadn’t once berated or insulted their players, visitors, or their fans, they were busy singing and trying to pull their team back, right up until the applause. Like fans used to.
Had they been fans of any of the top six, they probably would have already left, phones in hand to vent their disgust, expel the venom, having told the opposition what they think of them.
With the gifs, the tweets, the abuse, and the photo-shopped pictures of players and managers; derogatory Fan TV; podcasts; facebook; and instagram.
It’s a world where social media has become the new Football Factory, the remission of physical violence from the support of the English has replaced with a new breed of hate, spreading like an aggressive cancer.
Social media allows fans to have a virtual punch up. Instead of a few pints and fisticuffs, the I-phone is the new broken bottle. Anyone can join in, no riot police, no Black Mariahs. Men, women and children all get to join in, when their own or a club they hate takes a loss, or one of their players has a bad game. No arrests will be made, shops looted, tear gas expelled, or club bans imposed, but damage caused by the virtual rioting is not so easily fixed.
The glory of the Champions League has perhaps wiped away the the sport in the Premier League. Huddersfield, fresh from the Championship, haven’t yet been spoiled by the desperation for ‘marquee signings’ and the merciless charge for the top four.On The FieldThe Mourinhos, and the Guardiolas who snarl at snap at each other like, well, terrriers, also at referees, officials, and press showing little regard for the FA or indeed for their employers.
There is a new way to play your opponents, and the media. The mind as opposed to the football game. Giving a bad example to both players their fans, more poignantly, targets and excuses for all losses.
No ‘bitterness at the John Smiths’ Stadium
The capacity crowd at the John Smiths’ Stadium despite the heavy home loss, were not holding placards with ‘Wagner Out’. They simply shrugged off the defeat and respectfully applauded the display. Fans hoping the Terriers will give them a better game next time.
If Leicester’s starry eyed players and fans had held on to their mid table humility a bit longer, instead of assuming a Champion’s grandeur following their unexpected League Title, Claudio Ranieri may still be in charge.
Their ‘One Season Wonder’ taunts aimed at Harry Kane wouldn’t be so ironic; and they wouldn’t now be struggling with Craig Shakespeare.
If the Terriers’ and their fans are to learn anything from those teams they aspire to, and still enjoy the football like they did at the weekend, is to be smart.
The Premiership is angry. Don’t be angry. Be supportive. Be like Huddersfield Town.