Having grown up in the Netherlands, former Huddersfield Town striker Clyde Wijnhard knows what good football looks like.
Wijnhard, who played for Town between 1999 and 2002, still keeps a close eye on the club and even though the current side sits in the Championship play-off positions, Wijnhard would like to see more ‘sexy football’ from Carlos Corberan’s side.
Town currently sit 5th in the table and are on a 13-match unbeaten run, something they haven’t achieved for a decade. Whilst results have been positive, the former Ajax striker – now 48 – wants to see the team go for it a bit more in games.
He said: “I still go to the stadium to watch the club. I have mixed feelings about this season. I miss the umph in the club, I know different managers have different ways of playing. I just don’t feel there are many leaders in the team. We can play football but it’s not very exciting or sexy.
“We don’t have any creative players really. In every team you need two or three of them. It’s only my opinion and that’s what football is about.
“Managers need to do what they need to do and that’s get results. I’m always a positive thinking person and I hope the club gets promoted again. It would be great to see. I still have a soft spot for them.”
Whilst Wijnhard was born in the South American republic of Suriname, he grew up in the Netherlands and recalls how he got into football at a young age.
He said: “My dad and older brothers all played the game and so I started to play it too. When I started to play football, I got into the Ajax youth system and eventually first team. I am from Amsterdam and so to play for Ajax was a boy’s dream.”
He played for a number of Dutch clubs before moving to Leeds United in England for £1.5m.
He said: “I was loaned out to FC Groningen from Ajax where I played a few positions but I have always felt I was best as a striker. I then moved to RKC Waalwijk and then moved to Willem II before moving to England and Leeds.”
Wijnhard was signed by then Leeds boss George Graham. However after two months of being in England, Graham left the Yorkshire club for Tottenham Hotspur. Graham was replaced by David O’Leary as manager. Things didn’t work out for Wijnhard at Leeds and so he signed for Steve Bruce and Huddersfield Town in 1999.
He said: “I knew about Steve Bruce who had played for Manchester United. Once we had a meeting it was a no brainer. Sometimes you go to a club and the manager has to convince you. However he was so relaxed, he made it an easy choice. I didn’t need to move house and the club was building a good side so everything was fantastic.”
After a good first campaign for Town where Wijnhard ended up being top scorer, the following two seasons went from bad to worse, with striker Marcus Stewart sold and Steve Bruce being sacked, Town were in a bad way from such a promising position.
On that time at the club, Wijnhard said: “The whole team gelled together well and we were looking to go up. Then we sold Marcus to our promotion rivals Ipswich. I was shocked. I think everyone was, those things happen but overall I was shocked and disappointed.
“The team was fantastic and the stadium was great, we played really sexy football. When Steve Bruce left, it left a big hole.
“We had the best atmosphere and team and if we would have all stayed together we should have gone up.
“I still, to this day, don’t really understand what happened. Marcus got sold, I got injured, Bruce was sacked. The atmosphere just went down in the club. From playing such good football the season before it just went in the opposite direction. It was like a ghost town.
“When I left Lou Macari was manager. He made some comments about my lifestyle in a newspaper article. I was just coming back from injury and I just thought it was a strange thing to say when you are my manager, so I thought if you don’t want me here I’ll go on loan.
“I went to play for Oldham not long after leaving Town. Huddersfield got relegated and they played Oldham. We won 4-0 and I scored a hat-trick. I was no more motivated to score because it was my previous club, but I am a striker and I had to do the business.”
Overall Wijnhard still looks back on his time at the club with fondness.
He said: “When we played 4-4-2 with Kenny Irons and Scott Sellars in the middle and with great wing backs we played good football.
“We were like a well oiled machine, it was sexy football. I remember when we beat Crystal Palace 7-1 we played fantastic football that day. We had good times at the club for sure, the fans were great.”
Wijnhard will once again be representing Town in a specially assembled legends squad for the Match For Heroes 3 game at Golcar United on May 1.
Wijnhard is looking forward to the match and it will be the third time he has taken part in the annual fixture as everyone involved will look to raise as much money as possible for armed forces charities.
“The first game was terrific to play in,” he said. “We had a lot of people there supporting us. Last year was a bit difficult because Leeds United were playing and so was the rugby and we had Covid-19 to work around, of course. Whilst the attendance was a bit low, it was still enjoyable.
“I’m looking forward to the game as ever and meeting up with former teammates, friends and fans to help raise as much money as we can for some great causes.”
Tickets for the game can be bought HERE.