It’s a historic weekend for Huddersfield sport when tens of thousands of fans are set to decamp to London for a never-to-be-repeated double header.

Huddersfield Giants are first up taking on Wigan Warriors at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday (3pm) in the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final.

The last time they lifted the trophy was in 1953, so only 69 years ago! By coincidence that was the year of the Queen’s coronation, very fitting for the Claret & Gold.

Then on Sunday (4.30pm) it’s Huddersfield Town’s turn when they take on Nottingham Forest in the Championship Play-off Final at Wembley Stadium.

It’s the biggest – and most valuable – domestic match in world football and Town are battling for a return to the Premier League.

They’ve been there and done it in the play-off final before, of course, having beaten Reading at Wembley in 2017 with skipper Christopher Schindler scoring the decisive penalty in a nerve-shredding shoot-out.

An estimated 40,000 fans are expected to travel to the capital with many likely to take in both matches, making a weekend of it in London.

Thousands will cram into cars, buses, trains and even planes for the chance to celebrate a unique sporting weekend and wouldn’t it be great if two pieces of silverware are heading back up the M1 to the John Smith’s Stadium come Sunday night?

Giants’ fans gave the team a send-off from the John Smith’s Stadium on Thursday (images, top)

For the Giants – Fartown – the Challenge Cup final is a reward for their fans.

Huddersfield Giants Supporters’ Association vice-chairman Martin Eastwood said: “The occasion will be special, win or lose. It feels like a big moment for us. I’ve been to the last two finals in 2006 and 2009 and I am just hoping this time is third time lucky.

“Lots of people – including our own fans in recent times – have had a dour attitude towards our club and this could be a moment to change that around. We now feel we have a coach and squad who are playing for us, who want to be here.

“Ian Watson (Giants’ head coach) has from day one told the players what playing for our club and this town means. He’s told them about our history and engrossed himself in our fan base. 

“We are planning a massive gathering of fans down there before the match. We feel close to this team because every penny HGSA raises goes towards the academy and there are lots of academy lads in this team and that’s something as a supporter group we are proud of.”

Martin also sees the weekend as a chance for Giants fans and Town fans to come together – and support Huddersfield as a town.

“There is a buzz around the town for the club again and I’m sure lots of Town fans will be hoping we win too,” he said. “This is a big moment for both clubs and the town.”

Giants’ club legend Eorl Crabtree is hoping to see a joint bus parade in the town if both sides succeed. Crabtree, who played over 400 games for the club, says it could be a magical weekend for Huddersfield. 

“How good would it be to see a joint bus parade in the town to celebrate both our clubs?” he said. “This feels like a big weekend for our town and to see so many people traveling down to London will be a sight to behold. 

“I’m looking forward to the Giants’ game and genuinely think we have a chance of winning it. Wigan are a good side but they aren’t Wigan teams of the past. I’m excited to see the stadium. 

“I’m hoping to be going to Wembley too on the Sunday to support Town and will be hoping they can win too. The stories both clubs have created this season is a true journey and reflects what our town is about. I just hope we’ll be celebrating across the whole weekend.”

With Eorl at Wembley on Sunday will be Huddersfield Town Supporters’ Association chairman Alasdair Bell and although just like HGSA they haven’t been able to organise coach travel, Alasdair says HTSA will be right behind the team. 

He said: “Due to the cost of coaches we haven’t been able to put one on however we have directed fans to the relevant transport links. Hopefully everyone who wants to go can do. 

“It should be a great day for the club and I think it’s a second golden chance to get it right in the Premier League since we hashed it last time.

“Hopefully we’ll see scenes at the end like we did five years ago. Win or lose we, as the supporters’ association, are proud of the team which has felt like it has a connection with the fans again.”

Former Town goalkeeper Matt Glennon, part of the commentary team on BBC Radio Leeds, believes success for both clubs can have a real positive impact on the town in general. 

“We saw how positive the town was five years ago when we won promotion and the same could happen again,” he said. “This time it could be enhanced if the Giants win too. 

“If you have success it has a positive impact on everyone including businesses because people will feel they want to invest here. 

“I’m very disappointed with how the general media has given no credit to Town for getting to the final, it feels like we don’t exist. I think it will be a tight game and we just have to go out there and prove people wrong.”

Meanwhile, there have been good luck messages from across the town and Prof Bob Cryan, Vice Chancellor at the University of Huddersfield, spoke for many when he said: “This weekend is a truly historical sporting weekend for Huddersfield.

“Virtually everyone I speak to are heading to London this weekend and on behalf of the University of Huddersfield I wish both teams every success and look forward to the trophies coming back to Huddersfield!

“I am delighted that the Huddersfield Giants are through to the Challenge Cup final and I will be there cheering them on, as will many colleagues from the university.

“Ken Davy’s continuous support over the years has made this possible and I look forward to seeing Ken holding the trophy outside the George Hotel, the birthplace of Rugby League.”

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