SHEP'S TERRIER SHORTS
CLOSEST EVER! No top-level title race (old First Division or Premier League) has ever finished closer than that between Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town at the end of the 1923/24 season. On the final day of the First Division season (May 3rd 1924), City went into their last game (away to Birmingham) in top place, a point ahead of Huddersfield whose final game was at home to Nottingham Forest. In those days of two points for a win, victory for City would ensure the Football League Championship whatever Huddersfield did. But City could only draw 0-0 after top scorer and Wales International Len Davies saw his second-half penalty saved by Birmingham ‘keeper Dan Tremelling. That left City on 57 points while Huddersfield won their match 3-0 and also finished on 57 points. Equal-points positions were decided in those days by goal-average (goals-for divided by goals-against). City’s figures were 61-34, Huddersfield’s figures were 60-33. That meant Huddersfield winning the title by 0.024 of a goal. If modern-day goal-difference had been in operation, both clubs’ goal-difference would have been the same, but City would have taken the title having scored one goal more than Huddersfield.
TEN YEARS AGO: We have not visited Huddersfield for a decade, our last match there being on January 25th 2003 in what was then Division Two (third tier). We lost 1-0 with the following team: Alexander, Weston (Croft), Barker, Legg, Prior, Young, Zhiyi, Bonner (Mahon), Thorne, Earnshaw, Fortune-West (Campbell). Subs not used: Margetson, Bowen.
BIG WIN, BIG DEFEAT: In the 1920s, Huddersfield were the most consistent top-level team in the country – F.A. Cup Finalists 1920, F.A. Cup Winners 1922, League Champions 1924, 1925, 1926, League runners-up 1927 and 1928. In that latter 1927/28 season we lost 2-8 at their former Leeds Road ground on October 1st, our heaviest defeat of that that season, but in the return at Ninian Park on February 11th we beat them 4-0 in what was their heaviest defeat of the season and our biggest win.
THREE ABSENT – BUT WE WIN AT HUDDERSFIELD: When we last won promotion to top level (the original Division One) at the end of the 1959/60 season, we played at Huddersfield on October 17th 1959 in Division Two. It was the day of the Home International Championship fixture between Wales and England at Ninian Park and we were without three regular first-team players – full-back Alan Harrington and forwards Graham Moore and Derrick Sullivan – who were on Wales duty. In those days there was no International break, nor could clubs postpone matches if they had players on International duty. With three reserves – full-back Alec Milne and forwards Harry Knowles and Joe Bonson - we were 1-0 winners through a Derek Tapscott goal.
BARGAIN SIGNING: One of our best-ever signings came from Huddersfield Town. Former Bristol City forward Brian Clark had spent eighteen months with Huddersfield and in February 1968 had been out of first-team contention for some months. Our manager Jimmy Scoular signed him for a modest £10,000 fee on February 2nd 1968, he scored twice in our 4-3 Second Division win at Derby County the next day, and went on to score over 100 League and Cup goals in two spells with us.
HOME AND AWAY: Between 1919 and 1924, League clubs would play each other home and away in successive matches (Saturday to Saturday). We therefore met Huddersfield for the first time in the 1921/22 season after we had won promotion, and our two matches against them took place at Ninian Park on December 17th 1921 when 25,000 saw a 0-0 draw, while a week later on December 24th we were 1-0 winners at Leeds Road through winger Billy Grimshaw’s goal in front of 15,000. The successive home and away system often led to vendettas and the League disbanded the system at the end of the 1923/24 season.