Updated: Jan 7, 2021
The past few months have been challenging for everybody, but we want to assure you that we have continued to work on your behalf, both at the club and in the community.
Before we provide an update on that work, however, there are some important housekeeping items to consider.
First, we have a brand-new website, though you may find the domain reassuringly familiar (htsa-web.com). This will hopefully allow members to keep up to date with association’s latest campaigns, charity partners, and shareholder benefits, as well as scrutinise the minutes of Board meetings. Members are also now able to renew their membership online via PayPal (remember: half of all membership fees go to the Town Foundation and Welcome Centre).
Second, we have greatly reduced the number of HTSA email accounts in use, with only two remaining. If you have any travel-related enquiries—and not many do these days—please send an email to travel[at]htsa-web.com. For everything else, message contact[at]htsa-web.com.
Third, we say goodbye to three long-serving Board members this month. Robert (Bob) Pepper, Bryony Rowan, and James Chisem leave for pastures new having served their full terms. We wish them all the best and would like to place on record our thanks for all the time and effort they have devoted to the association specifically and fighting the corner of Town fans more generally. Special thanks are reserved for Bob, who, as many of you are no doubt aware, was a founding member of the Survival Trust and has been an omnipresent campaigner ever since.
As a result of these departures, we are asking members to lighten the load for the existing Board by volunteering to help out in whatever way they can. There are several roles available, covering everything from policy and disability advocacy to events and heritage. No level of commitment is too little, and we are a diverse, welcoming bunch, so feel free to express your interest and/or ask any questions by emailing contact[at]htsa-web.com.
You will have plenty to do if you so wish.
Recently, much of our time has been spent liaising with the club on a host of Covid-19 related issues. In June, we (virtually) attended a meeting of the All Together Town panel, which was chaired by chief executive Mark Devlin and communications director David Threlfall-Sykes. The resulting discussion—which included an overview of the club’s finances, an update on iFollow and 2019/20 season cards, and an appraisal of the ongoing development at PPG Canalside—was frank, amiable, and enlightening.
We are still awaiting substantive news on 2020/2021 season cards and potential return to stadium protocols. The latter will be based on guidelines issued by the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) and the judgement of the Kirklees Safety Advisory Group (SAG). To this end, we have (a) launched a survey to canvass the opinion of supporters on what measures they would accept and (b) requested that a representative from the local SAG be present at the next ATT, which we expect to take place some time this month. The survey elicited over 1,400 responses, with the club intending to use the results to inform their deliberations—we encourage everyone to review our analysis and provide further feedback.
One area where we have always received complaints—apocalypse or no apocalypse—is catering. Thankfully, those complaints now have the possibility of being addressed, since catering services have been brought in-house. We have pushed for this for years through the ATT and its catering sub-committee, not least because we believe it will result in improved accountability and services. Our priorities going forward are to (a) make the case for more reasonable prices, (b) promote the use of local suppliers (there are some issues with the stadium sponsorship, but if possible, it would be good to get some local beers on tap or in bottles), and (c) encourage the rollout of more vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
Away from literal bread-and-butter matters, the association has been fortunate enough to expand its community outreach and charitable fundraising efforts, in part due to an unexpected surplus generated by away travel.
As part of our Covid-19 plan, we have continued to fly the Fans For Foodbanks flag, working with the Cowshed Loyal to launch the Covid-19 Crisis fund, which, thanks to you, has so far benefitted the Welcome Centre to the tune of £1,325—enough to provide 1,200 meals to local families. Having seen their donations halve and referrals double during the pandemic, they need all the support they can get. If you have anything to spare, please consider donating to the appeal.
We also helped Destitute Asylum Seekers Huddersfield (DASH) raise money to provide all their clients with face masks. Many of the clients with whom DASH work are children whose families struggle to afford basic amenities, so they are always in need of donations.
In May, thanks to the generosity of Merseyside PPE Hub and Fans Supporting Foodbanks, we teamed up with NHS anchor organisation Co-operative Care Colne Valley (CCCV) to deliver 1,000 plastic face visors to key workers in Huddersfield and the surrounding areas. The success of this partnership led to an invitation to participate in CCCV’s food working group, which we gratefully accepted.
A month later, in June, we were more than pleased to add SANDS FC to our growing list of charity affiliates. SANDS is an amateur football team in Huddersfield for men affected by baby loss, offering a space where they can talk. Our own Board member, Stephen Booth, is a bereaved dad, so sponsoring their shirts was a no-brainer.
In terms of Huddersfield Town Women, we are once again running a crowdfunding campaign to sponsor players, who have to pay to play. 30 percent of the funds raised will go to Emma Elford, sister of striker Laura Elford, who has been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Last season, you all helped raise £425—we think we can beat that this season, so we’ve donated £250 to get the ball rolling, so to speak.
HTSA has, in addition, formally joined the Football Supporters’ Association Women’s Game Network, which covers fans of clubs playing in the FAWSL, FAWCL, and FAWNL. The network’s first meeting took the form of a fans’ forum, with the F.A.’s head of league operations for the women’s professional game in attendance.
But it is not just us who have been busy. Southern Terriers are raising money for the Town Foundation in all sorts of innovative ways, including a prize draw for a match-worn Collin Quaner jersey. All you have to enter is donate £5 on their Just Giving page, enter the words “Quaner shirt” in the message box and select ‘share your contact info’ so they know who to contact should you win. You can enter as many times as you would like by donating multiples of £5 (i.e. £15 buys you three entries, £20 buys four etc.).
And congratulations go to the Huddersfield Town Disabled Supporters’ Club (HTDSC) for winning the 2019/20 Terriers Together award, which recognises the commitment of individuals and groups that have gone above and beyond to advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion. Well deserved.
We have more exciting announcements planned in the coming months, especially around the Heritage Project, but in the meantime, stay safe, look after one another, and keep the faith.