It is 11 years since that memorable first Wembley trip of the new millennium when Huddersfield Town took on Sheffield United in the League One play-off final.
On a baking hot day in London, the League One play-off final went all the way to penalties with Town keeper Alex Smithies scoring the decisive kick with Town winning 8-7 on spotkicks.
Not many of the players who played for Town that day stayed at the club long, with Smithies being the longest surviving member but he departed in 2015, three years after that Wembley appearance.
A couple came back, of course, but – of the others – where are they now?
Smithies was one of Town’s academy products. Joining the academy at the age of eight, he made his debut for the Terriers in 2007. He played over 270 games for the club in all competitions. Smithies will always be known to Town fans as the hero that day scoring the winning penalty to get them promoted.
He left Town in 2015 to move to QPR, he has since gone on to play for Cardiff City. In the summer of 2022 he joined the then Premier League side Leicester City but has yet to make a single appearance for the Foxes to date. With Leicester being relegated to the Championship it will be interesting to see whether Smithies now gets game time.
Jack Hunt is another player who has come straight out of the Town academy. Signing for Town at just the age of nine, he made his debut for the club in 2011. Hunt left the Terriers in 2013 having played over 100 times for the club. He was sold to Crystal Palace for £2 million but immediately suffered a devastating ankle injury.
He had various loan spells whilst at Palace before moving to Sheffield Wednesday in 2016. Since then he has moved to Bristol City and returned to Sheffield Wednesday. He helped the Owls secure promotion back to the Championship after beating Barnsley in the League One play-off final and left the club in June.
Sean Morrison only had a short but significant loan spell at Town. Signing on loan from Reading he helped play a big part in the club securing promotion. Town were interested in signing the central defender permanently but this never came off and he moved to Cardiff City in 2014. He went on to play over eight years at Cardiff making over 270 appearances.
Morrison, 32, plagued by injury problems in the last 18 months or so, joined Rotherham United in January on a deal until the end of the season.
Peter Clarke is now 41 and still playing football which is testament to his longevity and passion. Clarke, who began his career at Premier League Everton, has played for 11 different clubs over a 23-year career. He played for Oldham on loan in the National League this season and has been released by his parent club Walsall.
He is now a free agent. Clarke was at Huddersfield for five packed years and was captain of the club when he lifted the League One play-off final trophy at Wembley.
Calum Woods was always a dependable full-back, a no-frills type of player he was calm under pressure. He played for Town from 2011 to 2014 and made over 70 appearances for the club. He went on to play for Preston and Bradford City. He now plays in the highest division in Wales, the Cymru Premier, with Bala Town FC.
Kallum Higginbotham is one of those players that you’ll likely not remember. He played seven times for Town and three of those were in the League One play-off campaign. He was later released by Town after just six months at the Terriers. His last club was Kelty Hearts with the 33 year old finishing the 2023 season at the Scottish League One side.
Damien Johnson played on loan at Huddersfield Town in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 season. He was an important part of Lee Clark’s and Simon Grayson’s League One team. Johnson had a wealth of experience having played at Blackburn Rovers, Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City. He retired from playing in 2013 and has since gone into a coaching role at Blackburn Rovers. The midfielder played over 40 times for Town across two seasons.
Tommy Miller was another experienced midfielder who helped guide Town to promotion. He played over 25 times for the Terriers in just one season at the club.
After his year at Huddersfield he went to play for Swindon, Bury and Hartlepool. Miller has gone into management and was in charge of Spennymoor Town for seven months in 2021. He was sacked in December with the club 13th in the National League North. He has since become the South Shields assistant manager.
Danny Ward was signed on loan from Bolton Wanderers in 2011, a move that became permanent. Ward’s first stint at Town was between 2011 and 2015. He left at the end of that campaign and went on to play for Rotherham and Cardiff City before moving back to Huddersfield in 2020. He’s just signed a new contract with the Terriers.
Jordan Rhodes, just like Danny Ward, has had two spells at the club. He signed from Ipswich in 2009 for just £250,000. Rhodes scored 87 goals in 148 appearances between 2009 and 2012. He was sold to Blackburn Rovers for £8 million in the summer of 2012.
He arrived back at the club in 2021 and has gone on to play another 61 times for Town scoring 10 goals. There is no doubting Rhodes’ ability in front of goal, scoring a huge 40 goals in 2012 for the club to help them achieve promotion. However, he only scored five goals last season and hardly featured under Neil Warnock. He has a year left on his contract but is expected to move on.
Lee Novak was the perfect strike partner for Rhodes. The now 34-year-old would make room in opposition defences for Rhodes to get his goals. Novak played over 140 games for Town scoring over 30 times. He went on to play for Birmingham City, Charlton, Scunthorpe and Bradford City who were his last club. He has since retired from playing through injury. Novak was hoping to become a football agent and to help the next generation of players in the game.
Nick Colgan came to Huddersfield Town at the back end of his career and was a third back-up choice goalkeeper and rarely made an appearance for the club. However, due to second choice keeper Ian Bennett’s injury for the League One play-off final, Colgan was put on the substitutes’ bench.
Tom Clarke was another player to be a product of the Town academy. He made his debut in 2006 and didn’t leave the club until 2013. He played over 100 games for the Terriers. He has since gone on to play for Preston North End, Salford and Fleetwood. He joined hometown club FC Halifax Town in 2022 and, though he’ll be 36 in December, he’s under contract for next season.
Gary Roberts played over 160 times for the club between 2008 and 2012. He’s still widely regarded as one of the best wingers at the club in modern times. Roberts left the Terriers after they had achieved promotion. Roberts went on to play for a host of clubs including Portsmouth and Wigan. He has since gone into coaching and is first team coach at Chesterfield in the National League.
Alan Lee is a cult hero at Town, known for his hairband and the occasional red card, Lee played over 80 times for Town across three years. Town were the Inishman’s second to last club with him rejoining Ipswich, a team he had played for between 2006-2008.
Manager Simon Grayson
Simon Grayson replaced Lee Clark as manager in February 2012, he eventually guided the Terriers to promotion. However his stint at the John Smith’s Stadium didn’t last long as he was sacked on January 13 2013 with the club struggling in the Championship. Grayson has gone on to manage Preston, Sunderland and Bradford City. He currently manages Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League.