They'll put three in their own net in the last five minutes: FAN'S EYE VIEW

No 139 Huddersfield
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The Independent Online
They did it again. Lost 3-1 at Wimbledon in the fifth-round replay, ruining their best showing in the FA Cup for 25 years. Correct me if I'm wrong: 25 years ago, weren't Wimbledon a youth team in the Spud-U-Like League Third Division South?

We, on the other hand, are a proper team: we've won the First Division (three times in a row, actually) and the Cup; we've got a proper strip, with nice blue and white stripes; even proper players like Denis Law have turned out for us.

Denis Law! The icon who invented that sticking-up-your-arm-in-the-air business when you score a goal didn't do that at Selhurst Park.

I drink out of the lucky mug all week, touch the team calendar every Saturday, rub the commemorative plate ("Second Division Play-Off Winners 1995 - Back in the Big Time") and still they fail me. In the first match we were 2-1 up in the third minute of injury time, and we let them equalise.

Alan Hansen even said it was our fault. We're on Match of the Day for the first time in donkey's years, and while it's "plucky" Preston or "hard- done-by" Hartlepool, we're "naive" - a point he rams home by showing 133 clips of naive play by a team 2-1 up with no time left on the clock.

They've been doing this my entire life. Ever since my mum took me to see them play Manchester United in 1971, they have consistently failed me. She wanted to see Georgie Best, and see him she did, waltzing merrily around our leaden-footed defenders.

Someone should have taken me to one side and said: "Son, don't waste your life with this mob. They'll lead you on, give you a whiff of success and then put three in their own net in the last five minutes."

But I wouldn't be told. Autoglass Trophy Final 1994, first time at Wembley since before the war, the entire town in London to see them, and they lose, on penalties, to Swansea. Swansea are Welsh - shouldn't even be in the League.

Take the Second Division play-offs against Peterborough a couple of years earlier. By some mysterious hand-of-God process, Huddersfield even contrived to win the first leg away from home. Then they managed to lose the home leg... How could this happen? Why? I drank out of the mug, I bloody did. That's how...

Here's a question. What team has come from behind by the biggest margin to win a League game? Answer: Charlton Athletic, 6-1 down at Huddersfield, where else, with 20 minutes to go. Result? 7-6 to Charlton. This was in the 1950s - I wasn't even born, you buffoons. How could I have touched the lucky plate?

But Huddersfield are challenging for promotion to the Premiership now, and we even have a fancy new stadium, do we not? Well, yes, but we're not fooled. Promotion last season was won by playing Neil Warnock long- ball ping-pong. We're not big fans of that in Huddersfield, where we like to think of ourselves as skilled artists.

And the stadium... Building of the Year in 1995, but we can't even do that right, because until they finish the far end, all the visiting fans get to taunt us with chants of: "Three stands, you've only got three stands."

Maybe, just maybe, the new manager, Brian Horton, is going to change all our lives. He's taught some of the players not to kick the ball quite so high, and he's even turned down serious money for our top scorer, Andy Booth. Alas, when there is some nifty one-two footwork, there are still too many of the team peering anxiously into the sky, looking for a non- existent long, high ball. While the opposition is rendered helpless with laughter, someone hoofs it into their net from 70 yards. We're currently in the top six, so it's worked so far, but it won't last.

No, we have already had the home and away defeats by bottom of the league (at the time) Port Vale to concentrate our minds. Even Sheffield United have turned us over at home. It's happening again. We could have been playing Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup but, mark my words, it's the magnificent fifth round of the Cup and First Division survival double for us this year.

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