Gef’s Uni Series: My placement year with the worst football club in Britain


Many of you who go to the University will have the option to undertake a work placement.

Some will be highly rewarding and some will be pretty boring, but what if you ended up in a workplace that suddenly became NATIONAL NEWS?!Well this was my experience with Hyde Football Club during the 2013/14 season, and here is my fateful tale.It all began during the final year of my Sports Journalism course at the University of Huddersfield. We were tasked with finding a sports club or publication to join and creating a portfolio of work.I had no idea who to pick, but after a chance meeting with the press officer at Hyde FC the year before, I contacted him again and secured a role.Hyde FC were based in Hyde just outside Manchester. The town boasted many famous faces such as Ricky Hatton, Ian Brady, Myra Hindley and Harold Shipman, quite the list.The club were looking forward to their second season in the Conference Premier and I was all ready to go for my placement as their press officer. My first game got off to a bad start with a 1-0 defeat to Cambridge United, followed by a terrifying train ride home sat with a man sporting peroxide blonde hair who claimed to have a machete hidden under his bed.The poor results continued to roll in and by December, Hyde still had not won a league game. All the while, I had been doing 18 hour round-midweek-trips to Salisbury, splitting my jeans at Braintree and being stranded in Lincoln after the team bus drove off without me.Each defeat saw me interview the increasingly despondent manager, Scott McNiven, who must have the patience of a saint dealing with my mumbling and stuttering interviews.However, during this win-less streak, Hyde’s twitter account had become a viral hit. It had swelled from 3,000 to 36,000 followers and was a regular in the top 10 trends for the UK.I can proudly say I was one of the admin for this account but to claim I was a catalyst to this success would be an exaggeration, I was the Ringo to the rest of the Beatles for sure but suddenly we had become famous!The likes of Four Four Two, various blogging sites and other football magazines were featuring Hyde FC and Jeff Stelling from Sky Sports Soccer Saturday was seen donning a scarf for “Hapless Hyde”.But then, on February 11th, the Tigers actually won a game! 2-0 away at Welling and what a feeling it was! Sadly, and typically, I was stuck in Huddersfield and missed the whole thing.The next week, Hyde were 3-2 up with 5 minutes to go against Lincoln City, Lincoln’s keeper was injured and their left back was in goal and they were down to 10 men, I was finally going to see a Hyde League win!Hyde lost 4-3.Sadly, the Welling victory would prove to be their only league win of the season.Hyde were eventually relegated on March 11th (the day before my 21st birthday) after losing 3-0 to Alfreton Town.I was given a lift home by two Hyde fans, a husband and wife, who spent the majority of their time speeding up the M1 and screaming at every other driver. I will never forget my first moments of turning 21 being quizzed by the increasingly erratic driver about which country the folk music blasting out from the radio was from.After 6 wrong guesses I was informed it was from the Czech Republic, you can imagine my embarrassment for not knowing this.The final points tally for the season was 11 points from 46 games; a new record low for a Conference side. But despite all this misery there was actually a chance of silverware.Hyde had somehow gotten into the Manchester Premier Cup final where they were to play Trafford at Gigg Lane, Bury.Trafford were 4 divisions lower so you would imagine it was going to be a walkover and sure enough Hyde quickly raced into a first half lead. Alas, my final memory of watching Hyde was to see them succumb to a penalty shootout defeat to Trafford, same old, same old.It was a fitting end to a bizarre season and yet despite all the stress and aggravation, the club itself was a brilliant place to work and I could not think of a better place to have completed my placement!// bannersnack_embed = {“hash”:”b19yu0ysk”,”width”:672,”height”:280,”t”:1548944822,”userId”:38193901,”responsive”:true,”type”:”html5″};//