Thursday, 7 August 2014

HTFC-World offers Cherry Chimes some Rival Lines

Rival Lines
Blogger Interview: HTFC-World

Match Preview
Huddersfield Town V AFCB

Rival Lines is back for the new season! We are going to concentrate on the away games this year and some cup games for Rival Lines and we are starting off with AFCB's visit to Huddersfield and a little chat with Daniel Gee who runs the HTFC-World website which is among the most colourful blogs on the Internet. Comic lovers are always in for a real treat when they visit HTFC-World and I expect Dan will have his pen ready at the weekend to give AFCB characters a good write up after they come up against the Terriers in Yorkshire.

CC: It looks like you have a lot of fun on your site and it's certainly unique. How did you get started?

HTFCW: I read a similar style report on a game between Huddersfield and Fulham which was drawn with stick figures by a Fulham fan going under the nickname ‘Ormondroyd’. He used to do Fulham reports of his own as well as a feature in the Guardian covering England games and the Premiership. I decided to cover one game for a laugh and it got such good feedback I just kept it going... 15 years later it still is :)

CC: Have you had much feed back from Huddersfield Town FC or any of the players on your site?

HTFCW: I’ve had plenty of support from the club in that they don’t shut the site down (which they’d technically be entitled to do as I need their permission to use photos of the games). I’ve also done one or two official features such as videos for their ‘end of season awards’ events. They did ask me to do some cartoons for the programme but they were deemed a bit too offensive toward the players (even though I’d toned down the material I’d use on the site itself) so they never saw publication though they are tucked away in the site’s archives.

CC: Huddersfield have released a lot of players after last season including former captain Peter Clarke so do you feel excited or worried about a new look Huddersfield Town?

HTFCW: I’m a little concerned that Mark Robins’ signings this time last year turned out to be fairly poor – both Jon Stead and Martin Paterson were on their way out of the club on loan before the end of the season while Jonathan Hogg struggled to put in many good performances. If he doesn’t strengthen his squad sufficiently before the window closes at the end of August, it’s likely Robins himself will be on his way, rather than his signings.

CC: Mark Robins has some help now with coach Steve Eyre and Steve Thompson so do you expect a bit of a fresh approach in how the team plays?

HTFCW: The rumours were that the old coaching staff weren’t doing enough and that Robins was taking on most of the workload. Hopefully, Steve Thompson will bring in some fresh ideas as the football toward the end of last season was terrible. Steve Eyre had great success with our youth team last season so he deserves a chance at first team level – I think he could well have been poached by another club to work with their first team if we hadn’t given him the opportunity.

CC: Which players have you signed that you feel will make a big impact?

HTFCW: Radoslaw Majewski has just signed on a season long loan from Nottingham Forest. He’s a player who has taken us apart while at Forest – he scored a first-half hat-trick against us a couple of seasons ago. He could well offer the link between midfield and attack which we lacked last time around. The potential for him to link up and get the best from James Vaughan and Nahki Wells is exciting.

CC: How has pre-season been going in terms of results and performances?

HTFCW: Results and performances have been ok - we’ve won all but one at the time of writing. The biggest worry is that injury worries have resurfaced, particularly with James Vaughan who has missed a couple of games with ‘slight niggles’... the same excuse used for him missing several weeks of the 2013/14 season.

CC: You had 8 wins at home last season including a big one against the Cherries, but was the team playing too open at home last season or unlucky at losing 9 games at home?

HTFCW: We were poor and we lost James Vaughan. At the turn of the year, things looked great. We were in the top half of the table and playing some decent football, we even strengthened the team with the signing of Nahki Wells. However, that’s when complacency and injuries struck. The message coming out of the club from the chairman through to the management, was that we’d done well to achieve safety. This was in January and everybody appeared to take their foot off the gas. We loaned players out without bringing new players in, thinking we could rely on youth players, and the downturn in both results and performances left us securing safety with only a couple of weeks remaining.

CC: Vaughan and Ward did well last season, but do you expect Wells to start more games?

HTFCW: Ward was used as a striker mainly because of the reasons listed above – Vaughan was injured while we loaned out Stead and Paterson as they’d failed to deliver and it appeared we were trying to get them new clubs before the start of this season. Wells has real potential, he’s yet to partner a fully fit Vaughan but when he does, and they’re both on form, they could trouble any defence in the Championship. The problem is that Vaughan is rarely fully fit for more than a few weeks at a time. I think Wells is likely to start more games than any other striker at the club.

CC: Where do you think Huddersfield will finish in the league and which three teams do you expect to struggle this season?

HTFCW: I think we’ll be lower mid-table if we can stay injury free. However, if Vaughan does struggle to make the team, then I can only see us fighting for survival again. My predictions are terrible as I really don’t pay too much attention to the goings on at other clubs over the summer. It’s been impossible to miss Blackpool’s plight so I guess they’ll be down there, I’d expect Birmingham and Rotherham to struggle, too.

CC: What do you think the score will be for your first game of the season?

HTFCW: 1-1

CC: For AFCB supporters having their first visit to the John Smith stadium what can they expect to find in terms of ease of parking, pitch views, food and drink?

HTFCW: I’m not too clued up on the parking as I’ve had a season ticket holder’s car park space since the stadium opened. I’ve never read much feedback on the forums from away fans who have struggled to park so I’m sure it must be fairly easy to find somewhere. The pitch views will be fine – you’ll have the whole of the South Stand to yourselves which holds 4,000 so no problems there. Food and drink at the ground is average quality and overpriced. There are a few pubs and bars within walking distance of the ground – the Aspley is situated on the canal-side about a 10 minute walk away and is near a car park which opens on match days (used to be £5) though it may get busy on the opening day.

CC: Thank you Dan for such open and informative view on Town. I thought you might have been a little braver in predicting a home win for the first game of the season, but a draw would not be a bad result for either team and perhaps there is a good deal of respect between fans of both clubs following recent meetings. I hope for another entertaining game and for me it will be my first visit to the John Smith's stadium so I am very excited about the day and I will be keen to see how the cartoon shapes up like on HTFC-World after the game. May be there will not be so many lollipops as we had out in last year's cartoon - see HTFC reports for that.

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