This week’s Huddersfield Town Supporters Association column is written by Aussie Town fan Genevieve Gao
If you’d have told me six months ago that I’d be a vocal supporter of Huddersfield Town, or even that I’d be hungrily watching the Premier League, I would have been pretty shocked.
Looking back, the circumstances don’t seem that odd. I played a variety of sports growing up, netball and karate among them, and I have a partner who’s both an avid fan of all things sport and Tottenham Hotspur.
Which leads me on to how I came to Town.
My desire to watch football first started during Australia’s FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign last year. It wasn’t the easiest introduction, with plenty of moans and groans to be had as we struggled our way through a grueling period – particularly our penultimate two-legged tie against Syria. But it was that introduction that truly got me thinking about following the game.
There was so much passion and fight – yet along with it the prospect of class, depth and precision – that made it a game I could get behind.
It was our own Aaron Mooy, with a penchant for precise crosses, quick thinking and creative play who was my direct gateway to Town and the Premier League. Watching him battle with the Socceroos and being instrumental for them made me want to see him on the world stage, and what better way to do that than follow his ups and downs in one of the greatest football leagues?
At this point you could be thinking, if Mooy took an opportunity at a more prestigious club – and there’s no doubting at least a little interest in him there – would I still be a Town fan?
I remember reading about the Terriers’ loss to Manchester City in November – Rajiv van La Parra getting sent off after the final whistle, minimal possession and a pretty intense atmosphere. But in those 90 minutes, Town exemplified all the fight that I’d seen Mooy embody throughout his time with the Socceroos, and against one of the best clubs in the world right now.
That’s when I started putting all future games into my calendar – and it didn’t stop there. I started building my dream formation for games, including having both strikers, Steve Mounié and Laurent Depoitre, on the field.
It’s an interesting thing being a Town fan from the other side of the world. As much as I want to follow the club on Twitter, I have to keep my distance in case a result is spoiled. I did bend the rules somewhat by following individual players, but that hasn’t always turned out for the best. I’d watch ‘Match Day’ videos and see the incredible atmosphere our fans bring, wishing I was at the John Smith’s Stadium instead of behind a computer screen in my bedroom.
Yet, it also makes the joy that much sweeter. Being surprised for my birthday with a Town jersey in a pizza box, having impassioned conversations with my dad – who’s a vocal Liverpool supporter and got to see his team play Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium – and my partner and I watching our teams play each other just a few weeks ago… Those are moments I won’t take for granted.
I’m grateful to my partner for bringing me into the football world, to Mooy for being the gateway to Town, and Wagner and the team for the spirit they bring to each game and the rest of us fans around the world.