What happened to the last Huddersfield Town team to win promotion from League One

Huddersfield Town find themselves gearing up for a first League One campaign since 2012 following their relegation from the Championship.

The Terriers suffered their second relegation in six seasons last term, with Town finishing second from bottom in the second tier last time around.

The last time the Terriers dropped out of the second tier, it took them 11 years to get back. After dropping out of the First Division in 2001, they suffered another relegation from Division Two in 2003, before securing promotion from Division Three the following season.

Read more: League One transfer news as Huddersfield Town's rivals Rotherham United complete seventh signing

The Terriers went on to spend eight years at League One level, ending in their promotion via the play-offs in 2012. They beat Sheffield United in a dramatic penalty shootout in the final at Wembley, winning 8-7 on spot kicks following a 0-0 draw.

After missing their first three penalties, Town went on to score the eight that followed, with Blades’ keeper Steve Simonsen sending the final spot kick over the bar to seal Town’s place in the Championship.

With Town aiming to secure promotion at the first attempt this time around, we’ve taken a look back at those who managed to get the Terriers promoted in that play-off final victory 12 years ago, and where they have moved on to since.

Starting XI v Sheffield United

Alex Smithies

Town academy graduate Smithies made 15 appearances in the promotion-winning campaign, and replaced injured number one stopper Ian Bennett for the final. Smithies made three saves in the penalty shootout, as well as scoring a spotkick of his own. The keeper made 274 appearances for Town before joining QPR in 2015. He spent three seasons with the west Londoners before leaving to join Cardiff City. The keeper spent four years in south Wales, and went on to sign for Leicester City in 2022. After failing to make an appearance for the Foxes due to persistent injuries, Smithies announced his retirement from football in January.

Jack Hunt

Another Town academy graduate, Hunt was a mainstay of the Terriers’ defence in the promotion-winning season, featuring 50 times. Hunt left the Terriers in 2013 to join Premier League outfit Crystal Palace, but failed to make an appearance for the Eagles. After loan spells at Barnsley, Nottingham Forest and Rotherham United, Hunt signed permanently for Sheffield Wednesday in 2016. He spent three years with the Championship outfit before signing for divisional rivals Bristol City in 2018, before returning to the Owls in 2021. He spent a further two years with Wednesday before moving to Bristol Rovers, where he has been since last summer.

Sean Morrison

Morrison made 22 appearances for the Terriers in 2012 after joining on loan from Reading. After helping the Terriers to secure promotion, Morrison returned to the Royals, where he spent a further two seasons before joining Cardiff City in 2014. The centre-back went on to make just shy of 300 appearances for the Bluebirds across an eight-and-a-half year spell before joining Rotherham United in January 2023. After 18 months with the Millers, Morrison finds himself on the lookout for a new club, having been released by the relegated outfit last month.

Peter Clarke

After leading the Terriers to promotion as skipper, Clarke went on to have two further seasons in the Championship with Town before joining Blackpool in 2014. After a single season with the Seasiders, the centre-back spent a season with Bury before signing for Oldham Athletic in 2016, where he spent three years. Following permanent spells with Fleetwood Town, Tranmere Rovers and Walsall, the 42-year-old now finds himself at National League North outfit Warrington Town, where he made 42 appearances last term.

Calum Woods

Woods made 31 appearances in Town’s promotion-winning campaign, before the defender played another 50 games across the two Championship seasons that followed. He joined Preston North End in 2014, and made 82 appearances for the club across four seasons before moving to Bradford City in 2018. The defender signed for Tranmere Rovers a year later, before dropping into non-league with FC United of Manchester in 2020. Woods went on to play for Indian side East Bengal and Welsh outfit Bala Town.

Kallum Higginbotham

Higginbotham featured just seven times for the Terriers in his spell at the club, with one of those appearances coming in the play-off final. The winger joined from Falkirk in January 2012 but was sent out on loan to Barnsley in March. However, he was recalled to play a part in the final games of the campaign. Following promotion, Higginbotham failed to make a further appearance for the Terriers, having loan spells at Carlisle United and Motherwell before departing in 2013. The winger went on to spend several seasons in Scotland with Partick Thistle, Kilmarnock and Dunfermaline Athletic, before having a spell with Indian side Real Kashmir between 2019 and 2020. He returned to Scotland with Kelty Hearts that year, and went on to play for Tranent, before signing for Scottish League Two side Bonnyrigg Rose ahead of the upcoming campaign.

Damien Johnson

Johnson earned promotion with Town in his second loan spell at the club from Plymouth Argyle. Having previously played for Portadown, Blackburn Rovers, Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City before joining the Pilgrims, the Terriers proved to be the penultimate club of Johnson’s playing career. The midfielder went on to join League Two outfit Fleetwood Town in 2012, where he spent a season to conclude his playing days. Johnson is now a first-team coach at Blackburn Rovers, having been at the club since 2015.

Tommy Miller

Town were promoted in Miller’s single season with the club, with the midfielder having joined from Sheffield Wednesday in 2011. He listed Ipswich Town, Sunderland and Hartlepool United among his previous clubs prior to signing for the Terriers, and went on to join Swindon Town in 2012. Miller then played for Bury, Hartlepool and Halifax Town before turning to coaching. He spent four years as an assistant manager at Spennymoor Town between 2016 and 2020, before having a seven-month spell in charge the following year. He was most recently assistant at National League North outfit South Shields under Julio Arca, before the pair departed in December.

Danny Ward

Current Town forward Ward won promotion with the club during his first spell with the Terriers. Initially joining on loan from Bolton Wanderers in 2010, Ward made the move permanent a year later. He made 130 appearances for the Terriers in his first spell before joining Rotherham United in 2014. After three years with the Millers and a following three seasons with Cardiff City, the 33-year-old returned for a second Town stint in 2020, where he has chalked up another 113 appearances.

Jordan Rhodes

Rhodes capped a prolific three-year spell at Town with promotion, with the striker netting 87 goals in 148 games before departing to join Blackburn Rovers in 2012, shortly into the start of the following season. He went on to have spells with Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich City before returning for a second Town spell in 2021. After 64 appearances and ten goals scored, Rhodes was sent out on a season-long loan to Blackpool last term, with the forward having recently made the move to the Seasiders permanent following his release from the Terriers.

Lee Novak

Novak netted 17 goals in 49 appearances in Town’s promotion-winning campaign, and went on to join Birmingham City in 2013 after a four-year spell with the Terriers. After two seasons with the Blues, he spent a campaign on loan at Chesterfield before joining Charlton Athletic in 2016. After a year with the Addicks, Novak went on to spend three years at Scunthorpe United, before rounding off his career with a two-year stint at Bradford City.


Gary Roberts

Roberts rounded off his four-year stint at Town with a promotion, before departing that summer. He went on to spend a season with Swindon Town, before having two campaigns apiece with Chesterfield and Portsmouth. He joined Wigan Athletic in 2017 and spent four years with the Latics. After brief spells with Bala Town and Accrington Stanley, Roberts turned to coaching, where he is currently first-team coach at Chesterfield under Paul Cook.

Scott Arfield

After joining the Terriers from Falkirk in 2010, Arfield earned promotion in the middle of a three-year spell before joining Burnley in 2013. He went on to spend five years with the Clarets, three of which were in the Premier League, before signing for Rangers in 2018. After a further five years with the Scottish Premiership outfit, the 35-year-old joined MLS side Charlotte FC, where he has been since 2023.

Alan Lee

Lee joined Town towards the end of his career in 2010, having previously had stints at Burnley, Rotherham United, Cardiff City, Ipswich Town and Crystal Palace. After earning promotion, Lee spent a further season with the club in the Championship before returning to Ipswich Town in 2013 to coach in their academy. He then went on to join Bury Town.


Simon Grayson

Promotion-winning boss Grayson saw Town over the line following his appointment in February, but was sacked by the Terriers the following season with the club sitting 18th in the Championship. He went on to have a four-year spell at Preston North End, where he again won promotion via the League One play-offs in 2015. Grayson went on to join Sunderland in 2017, and then had spells with Bradford City, Blackpool and Fleetwood Town. Most recently, Grayson was manager of Indian side Bengaluru between 2022 and 2023, where he left his role by mutual consent in December.