From the Busby Babes to Chelsea’s lack of “history,” we all know quite a bit about the Premier League regulars Aston Villa are used to seeing on the fixture list. But this season brings a new challenge, and with it, a host of clubs the Villans haven’t seen in a while — if ever.
The basics: Huddersfield Town are best known for a five-year stretch when they ruled English football: The club won the FA Cup in 1922 and league titles in 1924, 1925 and 1926, becoming the first club to win three consecutive English top-flight crowns, a feat which has never been bettered. Nicknamed the Terriers, they wear white and light blue stripes at home, but despite their historic feat, have not played in first tier of English football since the 1970s.
How they got here: Huddersfield won promotion the best way you can: via a penalty shootout where the goalies kicked. Yes, if you remember back four years ago, they topped Sheffield United 8-7 in an 11-round shootout, sealing a promotion effort led by Jordan Rhodes. Since, the Terriers have been solid enough to get the job done, finishing 19th, 17th, 16th and 19th in their four seasons back in the Championship.
Brightest moments: Mentioned above, but their reign of glory in the 1920s takes the cake here.
Major rivals: Leeds United are the key rival for Terriers supporters, with other hatred being steered in the direction of Bradford City. The three clubs all sit within 16 miles of each other, so it’s no surprise to see the enmity.
Home ground: The John Smith’s Stadium plays host to Huddersfield, and has since 1994. With a capacity of 24,500, it’s one of those neat stands with the curved roofs and seating areas, but no “bowl,” kind of like the Macron Stadium in Bolton.
History with Villa: These two have played on 70 occasions — Villa hold a 31-20 edge in wins with 19 draws — but none since the 1987-88 season the Claret and Blues spent in the Second Division. The sides drew 1-1 that day, and you have to go back to 1969 to find the Terriers’ last win over the Villans, a 2-0 win at old Leeds Road.
Season outlook: It’s a perfect start for Huddersfield, who did extremely well at the weekend to down Newcastle to move to 2-0-0 this season, meaning thoughts of a comfortable mid-table finish can start to enter supporters’ minds. They’ve got some good players — I’m really impressed with their business in the loan market, bringing in Elias Kachunga from Ingolstadt and Aaron Mooy, now of Manchester City — and I think a nice, consolidated mid-table spot is well within reach.