Huddersfield Giants

The Huddersfield Giants have one of the very greatest histories in English rugby. In their early days, a squad known as the ‘Team of all Talents’, set records that have yet to be beaten, and the club took almost all the trophies available to them. However, post-war financial problems progressively destroyed any hopes for future success for the claret and gold ‘Fartowners’, who play in claret and gold, and time and again from the 1940s to the 1990s it looked as if they would sink. However, a series of investments and victories mean the side has been reborn, and, rechristened the ‘Huddersfield Giants’ in 1996, they have finally come back to take on the Super League.

Early Glory

Huddersfield Cricket and Athletics Club was a founder member of the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895. One of the first truly international teams, with players from around the British Empire, the Huddersfield rugby squad became known as ‘The Team of All Talents’ early in the 20th century when they took trophy after trophy.

In the five years leading up to the First World War, they won 13 trophies, with the first coming in 1910, when they took the Yorkshire Challenge Cup. The apex of this golden era came in 1913-14, when the club won an historic treble comprising the League Championship, the Challenge Cup and the Yorkshire League Cup. Remarkably, the next year they again captured all three, along with the Yorkshire Cup.

These truly were the glory years for Huddersfield, and the record-breaking team are still remembered today. Of the seventeen players to be elected to the British Rugby League Hall of Fame, no fewer than three were team-mates in that famous Huddersfield squad. One notable example of their individual achievements is Albert Rosenfeld’s incredible 80 tries in a single season in 1914, a record tally which still stands. Another came on 28 February 1914, when the club defeated Swinton Park by a record 119-2 (Rosenfeld contributing 7 tries) in a Challenge Cup tie at Fartown. Testifying to their pedigree, this record would stand until 1994 when Huddersfield broke their own record by defeating Blackpool Gladiators 142-4 in a Challenge Cup tie. Indeed, Huddersfield’s dominance prior to the First World War was such that they went unbeaten in 38 consecutive matches before the suspension of the league in 1914.

The Middle Years

However, two World Wars ravaged this unbeatable side. In the late 1940s, their play began to recuperate, hinting at the greatness of earlier days. In 1949, they won the championship play-off against Warrington in an exciting match watched by a (then) record crowd, and subsequently picked up the Yorkshire League Cup and the Northern League Cup.

This recovery continued thereafter, although the club never attained the success of its pre-war glory era. However, 1962 proved a turning point in their history. After losing the Yorkshire League title to Hull Kingston Rovers in the Eastern Division of the Yorkshire League, the club suffered a long decline which, by the 1970s, meant they simply stopped winning trophies.

The Barren Years

Things went from bad to worse in the 1980s, as the decline reached near terminal status for Huddersfield. Fartown stadium was in desperate need of repair, crowds were at an all time low, the club was languishing around the bottom of the league and, with both players and management jumping ship, the future looked decidedly grim.

However, a club takeover by a local businessman, plus some frantic behind-the-scenes appeals, managed to save Huddersfield and, by 1990, work was being carried out on Fartown. In 1991, the fortunes of the club showed signs of revival as Huddersfield became the first ever champions of the newly-formed third division in 1991-2, despite potentially fatal financial shortfall.

During the interim recovery period, the club moved temporarily to Huddersfield Town’s home ground at Leeds Road in 1992, a move that was very unpopular with fans loyal to Fartown. Fortunately, the club’s move to the brand-new McAlpine Stadium (now known as Galpharm Stadium) came in 1994 and, as well as restoring the independence of the club, helped resolve some of the problems with their financial and sporting status.

Rather curiously, prior to this move, Huddersfield took part in an international mini-tournament in 1993, which became a farce when everybody dropped out except for Huddersfield and the French team Treize Catalan. Huddersfield won the ‘competition’ and became 1993 European Champions.

Despite the ‘success’ on the field and the achievement of the McAlpine Stadium, the club hit another iceburg in mid-1994 when they were placed in administrative receivership due to debt totaling £500,000. Again fending off total collapse, the club were eventually taken out of receivership 10 months later and even managed to continue their on-pitch revival, reaching the quarter-final of the Silk Cut Challenge Cup. They had also made it to third in the League, and attendance was up. The Fartowners then pulled out all the stops and drove themselves to the Premiership Final, their first major final for 33 years.

With a new winning mentality, in 1996, the club made changes off the pitch, appointing a new chairman and adding the ‘Giants’ to their name. The end of the long decline had arrived and the club was looking at a bright future.

Super League

In 1998, the club was finally promoted to the Super League, and merged with Sheffield Eagles in late 1999, largely for financial reasons. Popularly known by the unfortunate title, ‘Shuddersfield’, the team soon reverted to Huddersfield’s name.

Their first seasons in the Super League were anything but glorious, and the Giants were dangling above relegation by the thinnest of threads. In 2001, they were sent down to the Premiership, although this proved a mere blip as they went unbeaten all season. Cup successes secured their promotion back into the Super League, and in 2003 they managed to consolidate their position. Further improvement came in 2004 when, under a new coach, they finished seventh in the league and made their first appearance in the Challenge Cup semi-finals since 1971.

Off the back of such success, the 2005 and 2006 seasons saw some high-profile international signings. The pay-off was immediate as, in 2006, a spectacular performance in the Challenge Cup saw the club return to form, and assert themselves as one of the very best English rugby clubs. Despite losing to St. Helens in the finals, fans and management alike were delighted with the team.

The Club Today

A policy of increased intake of new signings in 2007 season seemed to fall on its face when the club started badly at the beginning of the season. However, a swift, surprising turnaround gave 9 successive victories to the squad and secured them a place in the Challenge Cup playoffs. Coach John Sharp has asserted an unprecedented confidence in his new line-up and recruitment for 2008 is underway.

Club Honours

  • Yorkshire Cup (Rugby Union): 1889-90
  • Yorkshire Cup (Rugby league): 1909-10, 1911-12, 1913-14, 1914-15, 1918-19, 1919-20, 1926-27, 1931-32, 1938-39, 1950-51, 1952-53, 1957-58
  • Yorkshire League: 1911-12, 1912-13, 1913-4, 1914-15, 1919-20, 1921-22, 1928-29, 1929-30, 1948-49, 1949-50, 1951-52
  • Championship: 1911-12, 1912-13, 1914-15, 1928-29, 1929-30, 1948-49, 1961-62
  • Challenge Cup: 1912-13, 1914-15, 1919-20, 1932-33, 1944-45, 1952-53
  • All Four Cups: 1914-15
  • Division Two Championship (including Northern Ford Premiership): 1974-75, 2002
  • Division Three Championship: 1991-92
  • Divisional Premiership: 1998
  • National League Cup: 2002

Club Records

  • Highest Score: 142-4 vs Blackpool Gladiators, 26 November 1994
  • Highest Attendance: 32,912 vs Wigan, League, at Fartown, 4 March 1950

All time British Rugby League Records

  • Most tries by any player in a season: 80 by Albert Rosenfeld, 1913-14
  • Most tries by a centre in a season: 52 by Greg Austin, 1994-95
  • Most tries by a centre in a game: 9 by Greg Austin, vs Blackpool Gladiators, 26 November 1994
  • Longest Unbeaten run: 43 matches, 1914-1919
  • Unbeaten in a Season: 28 games (27 wins, 1 draw), 2001-02
  • Most Points scored in a Season: 1,156, 2001-2002

Travel Information

Galpharm Stadium is in north-east Huddersfield, just off the Leeds Road, and is well-signposted. The ground is a 10-15 minute walk from Huddersfield train or bus stations, and there are a number of bus services along the route. Away Day travel information, including directions, public transport and parking information, can be found on the website.

  • Local Travel Hotline: 0113 245 7676
  • Matchday helpline: 0870 44 44 677

Ticket Information

For tickets, either use the hotline (0870 44 44 552) or the online box office.

Contact Information

The Galpharm Stadium Stadium Way Leeds Road Huddersfield HD1 6PG