Huddersfield Gaints - The Galpharm Stadium |
I canâ€™t help it - I still call it â€˜the McAlpineâ€™ and it will probably be so for some time to come, because the Galpharm sounds so naff!
The â€˜Pharmâ€™ does hold some memories, but not necessarily of Superleague matches against Giants. It has also been the venue for some classic Playoffs and Cup semis, etc.
...my memories are still coloured by that Cup match in March 2000 at the end of which we saw police horses galloping across the pitch towards the Hull maniacs who had escaped from their pens and were charging over to pull down the sticks. It was one of the darkest days of my â€˜Rhinowatchingâ€™ years as we looked on helplessly as the good name of RL was besmirched. The considerable restraint shown by both the young and old Rhino fans to the goading, however, generated praise in the National press and made us feel better.
...there was the match when after a period of drought the fireworks, that you canâ€™t even see if you are in The John Smithâ€™s stand, set fire to the grass on the hill behind the stand.
The â€˜bananaâ€™ struts mean it is an elegant stadium and there is an excellent view of the action on the pitch, but at this time of the year the wind can whip round and if you are sitting near the ends you need thermals!
Giants have never been known for their huge crowds since the original RL club moved from Fartown and this may go some way to explaining the lack of atmosphere. Strangely, the ghosts of Fartown linger around this modern stadium and there is still an apparent a gulf between Giants fans and the soccer supporters of Huddersfield Town FC who wonâ€™t turn out in their numbers to support RL. When there are only about 3500 home fans in, they are usually outnumbered by Rhino fans.
They have a good contender for worst â€˜mascotâ€™ in Big G who looks like something from a bad amateur pantomime.
Home chant? Never enough Giants fans singing for us to hear! They have one a bit like one of ours though...something on the lines of â€˜Johnny Sharp has no hair, but we donâ€™t careâ€™ etc. If you are very very quiet you might just hear a variation of Townâ€™s songs.
Reply chant? Anything with Rhinos in it!
Place to sit: We have tried all but the south stand and prefer the Panasonic or the John Smithâ€™s for league games.
Place to park: not easy to get in or out of official car parks but lots of street parking on the other side of the Leeds Road and then a short walk over the footbridge.
Over to John D for the eating and drinking.
Having lived in the charming Pennine town of Huddersfield for the past 12 years, I'm almost considered a native. I just have to go complete another 37 years before I qualify... So who better to guide you round the pubs and eateries of my adopted home town? What? Eh? Oh. Well tough, you're stuck with me.
For the train traveller, there is an obvious stop off point - The Head Of Steam. This pub is in the station complex (although the word complex is probably over-egging things). DO NOT confuse it with the Station Tavern, a place where the pool balls stop rolling, jukebox stops and cigarettes stop burning when a stranger enters. The Head Of Steam has a decent menu for most tastes and a quality selection of beers, even for the CAMRA men among you, wines and spirits.
The town has undergone some serious regeneration over the last few years, and it's the bottom end of town, down by the University, that has benefitted most. The area around the Kingsgate shopping centre boasts a selection of pubs and cafes. All tastes are catered for - there are trendy glass-fronted neon-lit steel-chaired plastic-treed wine bars, and the chav element hasn't been forgotten with the provision of both a Lloyds' and a Yates's. My personal picks are Isaacs on Cross Church Street and Zephyr on King Street. Isaacs do really good food and they actually care about it. Zephyr have a bizarre and wonderful selection of beers. Try the raspberry flavour Timmerman's. I dare you.
Round the corner from there on Zetland Street there is The Warehouse, Varsity, O'Neills and the newly refitted Bar Amour which all cater for the student market. On Queensgate you have Livingstones and the Blob Shop and the Courthouse is just round the corner. Livingstones and the Blob Shop are holes, the Courthouse is alright. A word of warning - DO NOT EAT AT CASPIANS TAKE AWAY ON QUEENSGATE. It's rancid.
Also on Queensgate you'll find the College Arms. You won't get any food, but you will get a cheery welcome and a decent pint in homely surroundings. You can also get me one.
Not far from there, situated by the marina, there is the Aspley. This is a Brewers Fayre place, which I think tells you all you need to know. It's handy for the ground as well.
Down near the ground there is a Pizza Hut and the Ropewalk in the cinema complex. It is notoriously difficult to get served in the Ropewalk, despite their new fangled queueing system. Your best bet there is to nip up the road to Bradley Mills Cricket Club, where a pint can be yours at a fraction of the cost. They'll also let you park up.
So to sum up. My top tips:
Head of Steam
(If you're really early) The Ropewalk
All of the above plus
Bradley Mills Cricket Club
AVOID AT ALL COSTS
The chav pubs (Lloyds, Cherry Tree, Yates's)
Caspian take away
Have a good day out y'all...
Don't forget Barries' 'A Question of League' on Monday night.