It’s no secret that support from outside of a club’s immediate area, along with becoming quite common, has become more and more important to just about any club. Many fans from abroad are often assumed as only glory hunting for the top sides. This, however, simply isn’t the whole story. Therefore, I’ve decided to kick off a simple and straight forward series that looks to show individuals and supporters groups from around the world that promote the support of clubs that aren’t competing for champions league spots or league titles. This is Supporting Abroad.
Today’s article is on Huddersfield Town supporters in the United States. The club were in the Premier League most recently from 2017 to 2019 under the leadership of current Schalke 04 boss David Wagner. The West Yorkshire club, favorites of Sir Patrick Stewart, are most recently struggling in the bottom half of the EFL Championship.
The following Q&A with Mark and Chris of HTAFC in the USA, the official US supporters club network for Huddersfield Town. As you’ll see, supporting Huddersfield has proven a difficult passion, but a passion nonetheless.
Q: When did your group take form? How has it grown since its initial founding?
A/M: Chris formed the USA Terriers Twitter account a few years ago. I started the Stateside Terriers Facebook page. When we reached the Premier League two years ago the club realized it had zero formal presence in the USA so adopted us as the “official” North American supporters group. We have over 100 Facebook members & over 700 Twitter followers, but I think that Chris bought some Twitter followers a few years ago.
Q: What are some of the key reasons you support Huddersfield? What has been your favorite part of being a supporter?
A/M: There are only two reasons to be a Town fan. 1. Born there. 2. Dad supported them. For me & Chris it’s both. The 2017 season for Town is as good as we will ever know. Staying up had some great moments – beating Man Utd, drawing at Chelsea to stay up, winning 3-0 in our first ever PL game – but there were way too many defensive games, trying to grind out a point (and failing) or nick 3 for it to be considered true fun. If we get promoted it won’t be as good as 2017 when the odds were totally stacked against us, but destiny was with us. That season was special.
Q: What are some challenges you face supporting Huddersfield, whether that be during games or outside of the 90 minutes?
A/M: We’ve generally been somewhere between shit & average for all of my life, which is a challenge. That said, it’s a rare saeson that we haven’t had something to play for on the last day of the season & we are ridiculously successful in the play-oofs and penalty shootouts. I’d say the challenges we face as fans are pretty common for all teams outside the top six – media either ignores or patronizes us & we have no way to truly compete. All that just makes our moments of success all the sweeter.
Q: If a person is considering supporting Huddersfield, what would be your pitch to win them over?
A/M: In 2017 I convinced lots of Americans to follow us based on the fairytale we were living. Other than that it’s a pretty tough sell.
Q: What are some thoughts you have on the state of your current season? What are some things you hope or improve before the 20/21 season kicks off?
A/M: It’s been a shambles from day one with one exception – the appointment of the Cowley brothers as manager(s). They should just about see us safe, but after that we need the biggest overhaul we’ve ever seen. how frustrating/ridiculous given that we just earned $300 million from the Premier League over two seasons. If we can back them sufficiently, we might have a shot at promotion. Maybe.
A/C: Worth noting we have a pretty incredible history; we won the top league (now called the premier league) three times in a row. Only Huddersfield, Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool have ever done that before (then its a big debate who is the biggest of those 4, but I think Town just edge it). We are a northern team, with working class roots. I try pitch it that way when I’m in the mid-west or Texas.
Huddersfield is one of many examples of clubs that, despite being outside of the top class teams, has managed to piece together a following outside of England. Their working class roots and underdog status, particularly in their brief years in the premier league, has earned the respect and passion we place at the core of active support. Needless to say, HTAFC in the USA provide a reminder that international support for a club can come in all shapes and sizes.