NEXT HOME GAME - ALFRETON ON MONDAY APRIL 21TH AT 3.00PM
NEXT AWAY GAME - TAMWORTH ON GOOD FRIDAY APRIL 18TH AT 7.45PM

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Success in the sun for disabled side

Hereford United's Disabled Team returned from their recent tournament in Spain having competed successfully. Their results are listed below:

Five-a-side - Third overall
Hereford 1 Llandudno B 5
Hereford 0 All Stars 1
Hereford 0 Chelsea 2
Hereford 1 Llandudno C 0

Eleven-a-side with Sheffield Wednesday - Third overall
Sheff Wed/Hereford 0 Chelsea 0
Sheff Wed/Hereford 0 Millwall 1
Sheff Wed/Hereord 1 Llandudno A 3
Sheff Wed/Hereford 8 Llandudno B 1

Co-ordinator Phil Hall thanked Graham Turner for the use of the Hereford United kit and the Herefordshire Football Association for their funding of the trip.


The search begins

Graham Turner says he's looking forward to bringing new talent into the club.

He told BBC Hereford and Worcester: "We know exactly the profile of a couple of players we need. I think most supporters recognise that we need a goalscorer to play alongside Steve Guinan and we could add another three or four players. Over the next two to three weeks, lists will be coming in from clubs as they annouce their release lists and we will be looking at them very closely and following them up and seeing who we can get signed."

The football club have revealed through their official website that Jamie Pitman, Ben Smith, Steve Guinan and Matt Clarke should have their new deals wrapped up by Friday evening.

Meanwhile, the club have announced that the funeral of Hereford United supporter Fred Bradley will take place this coming Friday at Hereford Crematorium at 10:40am. He was a great servant at the club, and a minute's silence was held before the match against Doncaster Rovers last Saturday as a mark of respect.


Sportingbet shares rise

In addition to the companies and individuals mentioned in our article dated April 28th, founder of Sportingbet and Hereford United supporter Mark Blandford could be in line for some profit from his company.

It is believed that there has been a heavy volume of trading in Sportingbet's shares recently. The shares have risen from 29p to 38p this week.

A statement released by Sportingbet states: "The Directors of Sportingbet note the recent movement in the Company's share price."

The company is in discussions over re-financing, and it is understood that this could lead to a takeover approach. Mark Blandford is believed to own some 23 million shares which if the company is sold could come to £9 million.


Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Shrews drop into Conference

Shrewsbury Town have joined the sizeable former Football League contingent in the Nationwide Conference after their relegation from Division Three was confirmed tonight.

Kevin Ratcliffe's men lost 3-2 at the Gay Meadow to Carlisle United this evening, and are the first of two sides to be relegated to the Conference this season, with Carlisle preserving their league status for another season.

Exeter City and Swansea City will fight out the final place on Saturday, with Swansea having the upper hand. The Welshmen know that if they win at the Vetch against Hull City, they will be safe.


Deal for non-contract striker?

Albano Correia may be offered a new deal at Hereford United, according to the Evening News.

It reports that his agent is in Portugal but when he returns, Graham Turner will speak to him and he 'retains an open mind' about the former Bristol City attacker.

Three players have been released so far, including skipper Ian Wright, who Turner highly rates. "Ian Wright has given five years good service and has been a fine captain but things move on," he said. "Sometimes ruthless decisions have to be made and I felt it was appropriate for Ian to go but I'm sure he will find a good club."


So how good are we?

The league table doesn't lie. At the end of a forty two game season, teams generally end up where they deserve to be. So that puts us quite a way short of the required quality for playoff status, but the best of the rest. Graham Turner was quite right in what he said in the Hereford Times recently. In previous seasons we have been erratic, beating the good sides and slipping up against the weak ones, whereas this year we've generally beaten the sides we should beat, but not been good enough to take many points off the top sides. Yeovil are easily the best team the Conference has seen for years, and if I was a betting man I'd have a few quid on them for the Div 3 title next season. The playoff contenders are nothing too special, but still have the edge on us, so what did we lack, and what should we be looking to bring in before next season?

We have lacked an authentic goal scorer, a 20 plus goals per season man. Guinan has worked his nuts off all season, and has produced the sort of goal tally you'd expect from your second striker, and certainly deserves a contract for next season. Hawley fills the same sort of role but isn't a good header of the ball. Correia will be a frustrating player, sometimes producing the unexpectedly brilliant, sometimes the disastrous. We saw this in his first game against Margate. Early in the game he went on a meandering run into the penalty area before thumping the ball against the bar from an impossible angle. Late in the game he overdid the fancy footwork, and gave away the ball for Margate to score a late winner. However the thing that counts with a striker is goals, goals, goals, and he scored three for us in a handful of games, whereas Grant (who has now left the club) scored only four in well over twenty appearances. I think Correia is worth giving a contract to. At least he gives us a chuckle with his unfeasibly long legs and his style of play. He doesn't seem to know what he's doing next so it should give the opposition a few problems figuring it out. GT should still go shopping for someone with a proven goalscoring record at this level.

The defence is a bit of a mystery. During the long unbeaten run which started with the 4-0 win over Barnet, Clarke, Tretton, James and Rose looked a solid back four, James in particular being outstanding. Baker was a good shot stopper behind them. In the last couple of months this seems to have gone to pieces, destabilised by the injuries to James & Tretton and the changes that resulted. Baker has made a lot of handling errors, including a real howler against Doncaster when he let a cross float over his head for their equaliser. If the confidence and understanding can be rebuilt, then they should be OK again. However I think Ian Wright's best days are behind him, so maybe Turner should be looking for another centre back. (Since I wrote this I understand that GT has released Mr. Wright - glad he's not too proud to take advice).

That leaves midfield. Parry will always be a threat on the left (if he stays), but he needs to develop a bit more guile in his play. He relies too much on pushing the ball past the full back and beating him for speed on the outside. Smith's goals from midfield have been valuable, but mainly we have players who are good in a supporting role, but no-one who can dictate the play and influence the game. In particular we need someone who can shake things up and take control when things aren't going well - anyone can turn on the style when 3-0 up. What I think we need is an older, more experienced, central midfielder who can bring the best out of the rest of them.

Graham Turner should still be congratulated for putting together a squad which has mounted a credible challenge for promotion on very limited resources. The team spirit and effort put in never seemed to flag. They are a young squad with potential. A couple of new players, a lot of hard work, and the bit of luck that we all need now and then could see us challenging again next season. It won't be easy but there are grounds for optimism.


Youth team finish with win

Despite winning the Midland Floodlit Youth League Southern Division title last Thursday with a 4-1 win at Cinderford Town, Hereford United's youth team rounded off a spectular season with a 7-1 victory at Evesham United's Common Road ground last night.

The Bulls finish five points clear of Wellington, have collected fifty-two points from twenty matches and conceding just eleven goals in the process. It is a phenomenal achievement for a side who are a year younger than most other teams, including Wellington. They are set to take their place in the Premier Division next season, alongside the likes of West Bromwich Albion, Walsall, Kidderminster Harriers and Burton Albion.

It is the first season that the youth team have been based in Leominster and linked with the Holme Lacy College, after their partnership with North Birmingham College came to an end after last season's top-half finish in the Northern Division. In that season, Hereford played their home matches at Midland Alliance club Pelsall Villa.


Monday, April 28, 2003

Two more released but four agree to stay

Ken Griffiths and Ian Wright have been released by Hereford United manager Graham Turner, but six new contract offers have been made.

Goalkeeper Griffiths, who didn't feature in the first-team this season, and skipper Wright, have left the club, as has John Grant, but Turner told Hereford United ClubCall that Steve Guinan, Jamie Pitman, Matt Clarke and Ben Smith have had contract offers after meetings today, and have agreed to re-sign for next season.

Both Rob Purdie and Richard Teesdale have been made written offers, and only other first-team player who has not had an offer is Danny Williams, but Turner said: "I've indicated that we would be offering him a new contract but he's yet to come in and see me."

Turner added that Purdie seemed close to signing and there has been no response from Teesdale, who was made his offer last Friday.

A full interview can be heard on the Hereford United ClubCall line on 09068 121645.


Skipper to leave Edgar Street

Ian Wright's Hereford United career looks to have ended as he is set to be released by the club.

Tomorrow, Graham Turner will unveil his retained list but Wright, club captain for the last five seasons, is not expected to feature.

Attacker John Grant has already left the club, but it is thought that new deals have been offered to the rest of the squad, bar Paul Parry, Matt Baker, Andy Tretton, Michael Rose, Rob Sawyers and Tony James, who are under contract until the end of next season.

Please note that updates to the player section and archives of this season's material will be undertaken throughout the summer. It is a relatively big job, and not something I can do instantly. Please bear with us!


There's money about

There have been several items of financial news which could be of interest to Hereford United.

Bulmers, the cider makers whose headquarters are only a couple of hundred metres from Edgar Street, is likely to be sold and it could be known who the new owners are by the end of the week. Press speculation suggests both Interbrew and Scottish and Newcastle are interested.

For some years Bulmers have not supported the Bulls to any great degree. A change of ownership may bring the possibility of extra support for the football club.

Meanwhile the Richardson Brothers, who are involved in the possible regeneration of Hereford with Carillion through the Formsole company, feature in the Sunday Times Rich List. Twins Don and Roy, who celebrated their 73rd birthday last Friday, are deemed to be worth £300m. They were born close to Dudley steelworks and left school when only 14. They first started to trade in army surplus before moving into property.

They are best known for the Merry Hill shopping centre, which they sold in 1992 for £50m profit, and have since been involved in other flagship projects.

Also featured in the Sunday Times list is Viscount Portman and Family who own a large chunk of central London as well as 3,000 acres in Herefordshire, some of it at Peterchurch. Their net assets are said to be £1070m. Perhaps the Hereford United directors could have a word with Viscount Portman!

After all it worked at Conference club Woking, where Chris Ingram, the media magnate was persuaded to purchase the club for £350,000 last year (and has put more money in since) and backed the management buy-out of the Non-League Paper.


Sunday, April 27, 2003

Winners revealed!

This season's champion of the HU-FC.co.uk Predictions League is 'len weston's last stand', and 'bully' wins the April league. Well done to both; could you please email predictions@hu-fc.co.uk, confirming your usernames and passwords.


Bulls look for another local derby

Shrewsbury Town, bottom of Division Three, took a step closer to the Conference yesterday when they lost 3-0 at second-placed Hartlepool United.

Only a miracle will save the Shropshire side now, and a win for Carlisle United in their game against Kevin Ratcliffe's men on Tuesday would relegate Shrewsbury, and save the Cumbrians, who won 3-2 at Torquay United.

Of the other strugglers, Exeter City emerged surprise 2-0 winners at York City while Swansea City won 2-0 against Rochdale, but both the Devon and Welsh clubs can drop out on the final day.

In the Conference, Southport and Nuneaton Borough were relegated. Both dropped into the relegation zone on the final day as Nuneaton lost 2-0 against Farnborough and Southport, who were fourth in the table in November, slumped 3-0 at Stevenage Borough. Leigh RMI, Gravesend & Northfleet and Woking all saved themselves, winning 1-0 at Kettering Town, 1-0 over Halifax Town and 3-0 against Telford United respectively.


Buy your season ticket now

Hereford United has announced that the cost of next years season tickets is to remain the same as this year provided they are purchased before the end of May. After that date they rise as usual by about 15%.

A typical adult ticket will cost £154 for a seat in the Len Weston or Merton Stands but £180 after the increase. If United rise to fifth place or above, as opposed to third place this season, Matchday prices will rise by £1.

Graham Turner wrote in yesterday's programme about the prices: "Satisfying everybody all of the time is impossible particularly when it comes to financial matters and in this case that means admission prices. We have decided that although in need of extra revenue, admission prices will remain the same but the extra pound, which goes on when we are in the top three will now be extended to the top five.

"I'm sure most people will accept the extra pound increase when the team is performing well providing us that extra income to keep the club going. This certainly makes the purchase of a season ticket great value."


Saturday, April 26, 2003

Parry is Player of the year

Paul Parry has been chosen as Player of the year both at home and away by HUISA. The results were announced at the Legends Club tonight, and Tony James was runner-up.

Danny Williams won the Best Goal of the year for his outstanding shot on a wet night at Farnborough, while Graham Turner presented an award to Ian Wright for his work for the team.

Meanwhile, the Confguide reports that attendances at Edgar Street has risen by 31% this season to average 2038 for Conference games only. The increase is the fourth highest in the league.


Top of the league

One title has come Hereford's way this season.

The Bulls have the best discipline record in the Conference with only three red cards and fifty six yellow cards. Jamie Pitman received the most bookings but a few players had no cards at all.

Winning this accolade usually means a financial reward for the club.



Ryan failed to touch the ball

Doncaster benefactor John Ryan came on as a substitute for the last few minutes of the game and was thrilled to have played a part in their victory although he failed to touch the ball.

Ryan told the media afterwards that as the game was not too important he had reminded the manager Dave Penney about the commitment that had been agreed earlier in the season to allow him to play for a few minutes.

"I have throughly enjoyed the day. It was great to sit on the subs bench because when you are the owner of a football club you are normally sat at the back. You get a different perspective when you are on the bench and realise you are at the sharp end.

"The fans were fantastic even the home fans weren't too bad either. I thought I might get a few "you fat so and so" but no it was all very good natured. Graham Turner was very nice about things and I actually feel that I probably put five or six hundred extra people on the gate today so I am delighted for Hereford to get that."

It had been hoped that Ian Wright might have been able to make an appearance today possibly when Ryan came on but it was not to be.

Even Richard O'Kelly was dropped from the Hereford bench today. Trevor Owens when interviewing him suggested that he would have looked like a positive YTS against Ryan!

O'Kelly commented: "After being on the bench last week I was dropped without a word from the manager. It has left me deeply scarred!"


Better than last year

To finish in sixth position in the Conference with a team that cost nothing, an average age of 23 and with only five of the previous year's squad is commendable.

However Richard O'Kelly was a little disappointed with today's performance. "We were on top with a fanastic free kick from Danny Williams, and at half time it looked good," he said. "We turned around with the wind behind us. But we didn't really get started. Albano Correia had some fearful stick in the first half from a couple of their defenders and also from their supporters. You can gather for yourself what sort of abuse it was he was getting, so he was chuffed to put us 2-1 ahead.

"From that moment on we just capitulated.I thought we just packed in and they went on to win the game quite comfortably.

It should be remembered that at this point that Richard Teasdale who had played so well suffered cramp or a dead leg and had to be replaced by Andy Tretton who did not look to be fully recovered from his injury.


Grant has left Edgar Street

It has been confirmed that John Grant has left Edgar Street.

He has had a difficult season first with a suspension and then with injury and has failed to impress in front of goal.

Richard O'Kelly confirmed the news in an interview after this afternoon's game when talking to BBC Hereford & Worcester.

O'Kelly told Trevor Owens that Grant who lives in the Manchester area has found settling in the Hereford district difficult.

"He did alright for us on the pitch but he found a problem with the travelling side. It was probably better that he left the club and got somewhere closer to his home. It wasn't a one way decision.


United finish sixth

Despite losing an entertaining game against Doncaster this afternoon Hereford United finish sixth in the Conference. The Bulls were 2-1 up at one stage in the second half with goals from Danny Williams and Albarno Correia but Doncaster finished strongly to win 4-2.

Terry's report is here.



Friday, April 25, 2003

Rumours point to Grant exit

Rumours are rife that John Grant has been released by Hereford United.

Attacker Grant, who joined last summer from Crewe Alexandra, is not expected to be at Edgar Street for tomorrow's match against Doncaster Rovers, while Ian Wright, who is likely to miss the match with a head injury, is said to be following him out of Edgar Street.

It has been suggested that there has been interest in Grant from other Conference sides. When at Crewe, he spent a loan spell at Northwich Victoria.

As yet, these reports are unconfirmed.


Defensive three could miss final match

Hereford United have a couple of injury worries ahead of tomorrow's match at Edgar Street against Doncaster Rovers, their last of the Conference season, kick off 3pm.

Central defender Ian Wright has had eleven stitches above the eye after picking up a gash at Southport on Monday, and will miss the game, while Matt Clarke is a slight doubt with a dead leg which kept him out of Monday's 2-1 win. Andy Tretton could feature, but needs to fully recover from his injury, and Paul Parry is expected to return after missing the last few matches with a knee injury.

Of the season as a whole, Graham Turner reckons Hereford United's failure to make the play-offs doesn't mean it's been an unsuccessful campaign.

"I think there has been more positives than negatives," he told the Evening News. "We've brought some young lads into the side and we've had some good performances, played some bright football and been far more entertaining. Up until two weeks ago we were still in with a shout and I think the play-offs have worked well.

"Overall there is a lot of room for optimism for next season and we would like to finish with a flourish against Doncaster who have made the play-offs. Overall it's been a good season and I would like to finish off on a high.

"We've got the player of the year awards on Saturday night where the players will get accolades from the fans and we want to go there and meet them on the back of a good display."

Doncaster manager Dave Penney may hand a debut to striker Greg Blundell, who has been out with a hamstring injury since his deadline day move from Northwich Victoria, after he scored for the reserve team earlier this week. Ricky Ravenhill returns from suspension, but Don Goodman, rumoured earlier in the season to be a transfer target for United boss Graham Turner, is still short of fitness after a calf injury.

Main financial backer John Ryan, who has pumped over four million pounds into the Rovers, is expected to feature. "John is nearly 53 and he would be the oldest player to make an appearance for a professional club," said club spokesman Steve Uttley.

However, supporters' director Andy Liney told the Doncaster Free Press: "I fully understand why John would want to do it - if anyone deserves to it's him. But I'm a bit concerned about the appropriateness of it all and the Hereford fans' reaction."

Liney then resigned as a director of the club, but has been asked to stay on, and the Free Press reports that Penney is believed to be be talking to Ryan over whether it would be right to play.

Chairman Trevor Milton commented: "It's always been an ambition of his and if anybody deserves to wear the Rovers jersey it's him considering the money he has put into the club."


Thursday, April 24, 2003

Public relations at the club

The annoucement that the webmasters of the official Hereford United site are considering their future is regretable but understandable. They suggest that the lack of co-operation from the club in providing a news service is particually frustrating. Most other Conference sites do not appear to have this problem.

An official website could be a valuable way to promote the club but the impression is that the chairman and directors for whatever reason do not want to use this medium. The PR at Hereford United in general is not regarded as very good. The fiasco over the £1 extra charge, without concessions, to go in at the start of the season is an example.

Another is the Graham Turner column in the Hereford Times. Having made the effort to talk to the press why can't a copy have been given to the website? There could be an agreed embargo on publication until the Hereford Times was on the newsstands.

The late publication of the accounts for the upteenth time is another PR disaster. Why give supporters and possible investors the impression that the club needs up to fifteen months to get the figures sorted. Any business with a similar turnover should be able to produce accounts within two months of the year end. To face a possible fine for the late production of accounts is beyond belief when the club needed help to pay a water bill earlier in the season.

Recently a young fan asked the club if he could take pictures at the ground. Despite several approaches he could not even get a reply according to a thread on the official forum.

The match programmes produced this season has been poor. Similar programmes costing £2 at other Conference clubs have been better value. It is understood that to produce a bigger programme more advertising has to be found but it has to be questioned how much effort goes into this task. Another criticism is that the information given to other clubs for inclusion in their programmes does not appear to be revised as the season goes on.

There have been a few new advertising boards around Edgar Street recently but a look at some of the others reveals that several need updating. Even ClubCall features an out of date telephone number!

Perhaps there is a good reason why the chairman and directors appear content with this situation. However, it has to be asked how they expect to attract investors to come on-board when there is so much that could be improved quite easily.

It is to be hoped that a change of heart at the club will help the webmasters continue with the official site. An interesting and informative site creates a good impression of the club.


Five million pounds for a first-team place!

Hereford United director of football Graham Turner has accepted a request from Doncaster Rovers for chairman John Ryan to play in Saturday's match at Edgar Street, kick off 3pm.

The news broke on Sunday that Ryan, who has pumped over four million pounds into the Yorkshire club, intended to play against Hereford having been registered as a player on the first day of the season.

In today's Hereford Times, Turner said: "Considering that he has invested nearly five million pounds over the last couple of seasons, nobody could deny him his moment of fulfilment. If anybody would like to put five million pounds into Hereford United, I could guarantee that they would play every week!"

The Bulls are likely to miss skipper Ian Wright on Saturday, as he required eleven stitches after the Southport match, but it is hoped that Andy Tretton, Matt Clarke and Paul Parry could return. A win for Hereford would see them finish in sixth place with 67 points, equal with their record in 1997/98, although this is reliant on scores elsewhere.

Turner continued: "We want to put on a good display, win the match, and finish the season in sixth. The last game of a season always sticks in the mind of supporters and we do not want to attend the HUISA awards evening on Saturday on the back of a defeat."

The HUISA Player of the Year event is to be held on Saturday in Legends, starting at 7.30pm. There will be a buffet and disco, and tickets are still available from HUISA Committee Members priced £5 each.


Two to play for Wales

The Conference season may end on Saturday for Hereford United but at least two of their star players will have to wait another four weeks for their summer holidays.

Paul Parry and Tony James are almost certain to play a large part in Welsh manager Tommi Morgan's plans to try and retain the Unibond Four Nations Semi-Professional Tournament title.

Morgan told the Hereford Times: "Parry and James performed very well for us last year and I want them to feature for us this time. They are both top quality players and I have been keeping an eye on their performances this season. There will be more pressure on us this year because nobody expected us to win the tournament last season, but we are all looking forward to it."

Ex-Hereford player Gavin Williams, now with Yeovil, is also likely to play for Wales. It is not clear whether Michael Rose will feature for England at present. Graham Turner has said that Rose has made some good performances this season and is hopeful he will be selected. Matt Baker could also gain a squad place.

HU-FC.co.uk will follow the competition and will report on the important games involving Hereford players. The competition kicks off on Tuesday, May 20th.


Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Football marathon details revealed

On May 10th and 11th, Hereford United's Edgar Street ground will be the venue for the annual Football Marathon.

This year, it will run for twelve hours on each day instead of the twenty-four hours slot as it normally does, and sides need to raise a minimum £300 to enter for each day, or £400 for both.

Anyone wishing to take part should contact the club on 01432 276666 or pop into the club during office hours or before the game against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.

Meanwhile, that stadium can be rented at the end of the season on the following dates: 28th April 2002 - 2nd May, 6th May and 9th May. The cost is £350 and includes the use of the pitch and dressing rooms, as reported on the official website. Once again, interested parties should contact the club.


Monday, April 21, 2003

Bully set for April title

'Bully' leads the April division of the HU-FC.co.uk Predictions League, and is two points clear of his nearest challengers. In the overall league, 'len weston's last stand' looks set to emerge victorious as he opens up a solid lead over 'cheesy'. There's one game left to make a difference to your final position!


Aldershot promoted to Conference

Nobody managed to get relegated from the Third Division or Nationwide Conference today, but Aldershot Town confirmed their places in the Conference for next season.

Aldershot were declared Ryman League champions, and join Tamworth and Accrington Stanley as feeder league champions to move into the Conference. Kettering Town, relegated several weeks ago, will be joined by two of seemingly four sides, as Leigh RMI, Gravesend & Northfleet, Woking and Southport will play out the last day of the season to see who drops out. Nuneaton Borough aren't safe yet, but Farnborough's goal difference will mean they are basically assured of Conference football next season.

In Division Three, Exeter City's 1-0 win at Swansea City means Shrewsbury Town, defeated 2-1 at Bournemouth, drop to the foot of the table. Carlisle United and Swansea are both in trouble, and mathematically, Bristol Rovers can still go down despite winning today.


Scorer delighted with away victory

Hereford United midfielder Danny Williams was pleased with his goal in the 2-1 win at Southport today.

"It was about time we got back to winning ways," he told BBC Hereford & Worcester. "It was a good performance today. We are good players, but we've got to go out and prove that in every game and it worked for us today."

"It's been a while since I last scored and it was a well worked goal. Albano's winner could've gone anywhere, but it was a stunning goal!"

Looking ahead to the Doncaster match on Saturday, Williams said: "We want to get a good home result and give the fans something to cheer. To beat Doncaster will be a good scalp."

Southport boss Mike Walsh, who was battling against injuries and crucially required the points for their relegation battle, praised Albano Correia's winner. "I could not fault my players for their effort and application, but nobody could have stopped Hereford's winning goal," he said. "It was either one of the best of the season or a big fluke."

"I'm devastated, as are the players, but the supporters were magnificent. All credit to Hereford, you would have thought they were going for a play-off spot in the way they played."

United captain Ian Wright, who came off with a head injury towards the end of today's game, is expected to be fit for Saturday's clash against Doncaster Rovers.


Away win for Hereford

An entertaining game was played at Southport today, with Hereford United winning 2-1. Danny Williams opened the scoring, but Southport's Steve Pickford equalised on the hour mark. Albano Correia won the game three minutes from time, and about 150 Hereford fans attended the match.

Terry's report is here.


Sunday, April 20, 2003

Two to go!

There are just two games to go in the HU-FC.co.uk Predictions League, so entrants need to get there guesses in for the Southport game before 2pm tomorrow.

After the Leigh RMI game, there is a five-team tie in the April division and in the overall league, 'len weston's last stand' leads.


Hereford hope for fitness boost

Hereford United make the Easter Monday trip to Southport tomorrow against a team who still need points to secure their Conference survival, kick off 3pm.

The Sandgrounders lie just a point clear of the drop zone after they lost 2-1 at Northwich Victoria yesterday, and will be looking to match this season's score at Edgar Street between the two, when the away side won 2-0.

Graham Turner will hope to have Ben Smith available after he missed yesterday's 1-0 defeat to Leigh RMI with an upset stomach, but Paul Parry and Andy Tretton are both likely to miss out with their respective injuries.

Managed by Mike Walsh, Southport may recall Lee Ashcroft and top scorer Peter Thomson after injury, and former Hereford defender Chris Lane is set to feature against his old club.


Tamworth clinch Dr. Martens title

Tamworth will be playing Conference football next season after beating Cambridge City 1-0 yesterday to win the Dr. Martens Premier Division championship.

The Lambs were pipped by Kettering Town last season, but will make the step up to the Conference as they lead the division by sixteen points.

At the bottom of Division Three, it now looks like two of six to drop into the Conference. Exeter City's 2-2 draw with Oxford leaves them four points from safety with three games to play, while Shrewsbury Town lost again, 2-1 against Boston United which eases the Lincolnshire side's relegation fears. Carlisle United lost 2-1 to Rushden & Diamonds, who clinch promotion to the second division, and Bristol Rovers collected three points with a 3-1 win over Cambridge United. Swansea City, though, slumped 3-1 against Leyton Orient.

Pos.  Club		P    GD	Pts

19 Boston United 43 -4 45
20 Bristol Rovers 43 -9 44
21 Swansea City 43 -19 43
22 Carlisle United 42 -21 43
23 Shrewsbury Town 42 -24 41
24 Exeter City 43 -18 39

Meanwhile, the Non-League Paper report that the FA Cup television deal with the BBC and Sky Sports is set to half in value. Discussions for a new contract open soon but without the competition of ITV Digital and NTL, and an apparent lack of interest from ITV, a severe drop in revenue is expected from its current £135 million. This will hit non-league teams hard, who can currently earn £100,000 from a television appearance in the first couple of rounds.

However, the Football Association are expected to pass a new proposal to expand the Conference to twenty-four teams for 2004/05. The move is expected to raise each Conference side an extra £50,000 annually.

Bulls to face Rovers chairman!

Hereford United will face Doncaster Rovers chairman John Ryan in next Saturday's match at Edgar Street.

The Non-League Paper report that Ryan, 52, was signed on as a player at the start of the season and will come on as a substitute after spending £4 million on the Belle Vue outfit.

Ryan made his millions from surgical implants, and his services were utilised by Melinda Messenger among others, and is currently in Majorca training for his big day.

He said: "I will be having a word with Graham Turner at Hereford beforehand because I don't want him to think that I'm taking the mickey. I really will only come on if there is nothing at stake. And, anyway, it is all dependent on whether my manager picks me, but I am sure he will make the right decision!"


Saturday, April 19, 2003

One to forget

This afternoon's game was one best forgotten. The Bulls performance was pretty dreadful against a team near the bottom of the Conference. It seemed that the Hereford side were not that interested in winning and once Leigh had scored they held onto that lead by strong defending.

Several of the Hereford players had indifferent games. None of the four strikers used impressed and the midfield was not very creative. At the back even Tony James was not his usual self - only Ian Wright and Michael Rose tried to make something of the game.

The Bulls were missing Paul Parry and Andy Tretton with injuries and Ben Smith was out with a bug.

It showed.

After the game Tony James spoke to BBC Hereford & Worcester. Trevor Owens suggested that the game was a bit end of season. "Yes, a bit of a disappointing game. They got a lot of players behind the ball after they went 1-0 up and we found it really hard to break them down. They needed it more than us and I think it showed especially in the first half.

"We did not start very well. They got their goal and they just camped themselves in their half and we could not break them down."

Asked about getting motivated for the last few games, James continued: "You have got your own pride when you are playing games. I think we have acheived quite a lot this season as a new team put together. I think we need to work on things for next season."

On Monday the Bulls travel to Southport. "It is not a bad place to go," continued James. "It will be a decent game for us to go and sort things out and hopefully get a few goals."

What was surprising was the attendance today of 1690, including twenty-four from Leigh. Many feared that with the play-offs missed supporters might have stayed away in bigger numbers. In fact the number of Hereford fans attending was 150 or so more than at the Burton game two weeks ago.


Hereford lose again

Hereford United lost 1-0 to Leigh RMI this afternoon at Edgar Street. The visitors went ahead in the first half and despite several chances the Bulls once again could not find the back of the net.

Terry's report is here.


Patterson eager to impress at United

Leigh RMI manager Mark Patterson is confident of collecting the points at Edgar Street today to ease the Lancashire side's relegation worries.

Patterson, who took over as manager midway through the season, feels that now Hereford United are unable to make the play-offs, RMI might be in for an easier ride.

He told the Bolton Evening News: "They might ease off now but we've got to give it everything.

"I understand that we have a good record at Hereford as well, so maybe all the plusses can work in our favour."


Friday, April 18, 2003

The season is not over

Despite not being able to make the play-offs, the season is not yet over according to Graham Turner. He is hoping that Hereford United can finish in sixth place in the Conference. Firstly, Leigh RMI have to be defeated tomorrow.

"The Leigh side have a little bit of experience, particularly upfront," Turner said on BBC Hereford & Worcester. "They are fighting for their lives so we expect a bit of a dogfight. From our own point of view we want to finish on a high. I think there are a number of players whose contracts are up in a week's time. They have got to be looking over their shoulders wondering what is happening at the club. They have got to continue to impress as there is still a lot to play for.

"There are one or two players just come into the side, like Rob Purdie and Karl Hawley. They have got things to prove so what we want to do is finish on a high. It is without doubt the youngest and most talented side we have had since coming into the Conference," he continued. "The nucleus of the squad is here and if we can bring in the right players then we can look forward to next season with optimism.

"If we can beat Leigh RMI and go to Southport and get points there, we would like the game against Doncaster to mean a little bit. We want to finish sixth if we possibly can and it would cap what really has been on reflection a reasonable season. When you look back to where we started from it argues well for the future."


Defender misses out against fully-fit Leigh

Hereford United will be without Andy Tretton for tomorrow's game at Leigh RMI.

Graham Turner has said that Tretton's ankle injury will keep him out of the match, and he is also likely to miss Monday's trip to Southport.

Paul Parry, though, returns to the squad against Leigh, who are struggling in the drop zone and crucially need all three points. Mark Patterson's men are all fit for the game, although defender Martin Lancaster is suspended for the match.

Meanwhile, there is a HUISA Members Meeting tomorrow in the Richmond Club, which starts at midday.


Statistics point to a successful campaign

Despite just missing out on the play-offs, Hereford United's average attendance for the season looks set to reach the 2,000 mark.

Currently, the Bulls are fourth in the average attendance table, behind Yeovil Town, Doncaster Rovers and Chester City, three sides inside the promotion spots. Behind Hereford, Woking and Stevenage Borough are fifth and sixth, with other play-off sides Dagenham & Redbridge ninth and Morecambe eleventh. At the other end, Leigh average just 486 per game and Margate 695. Six sides fail to hit the four-figure average.

In terms of United's discipline, Graham Turner's menm have led the fair-play league for much of the season and Jamie Pitman's nine yellow cards is the highest in the squad. In comparison, at least three players at Leigh have surpassed that figure.

Steve Guinan's fourteen Conference goals means he features in the leading scorers charts, on par with Warren Patmore of Woking and Telford United's Paul Moore. Paul Barnes of Doncaster Rovers leads the charts with twenty-three goals, but Paul Parry's ten goals give him a 20% success rate with shots on-target. His fifty is the highest of any Hereford player, but he's also missed the target thirty-seven times this season. Parry's contribution the the team, though, is further underlined by his twelve assists, having made 112 crosses. Matt Baker has also played more minutes than any other Conference players with two exceptions, Martin Matthews of Kettering Town and Doncaster's Andy Warrington. Michael Rose also features in the Conference top ten, and is currently ninth.

Steve Guinan has also been caught offside twenty-six times, more than any other Hereford player but a small figure when compared with the Conference's top offender, Junior Agogo of Barnet, who has been signalled offside on sixty-four occasions. Andy Tretton has committed forty-three fouls, the highest for Hereford, while Steve Guinan has won fifty-eight free-kicks.

The team as a whole has scored 1.51 goals per Conference game, but have failed to find the net in ten of the thirty-nine played so far. In a third of the matches, the Bulls have scored two goals and have surpassed this figure on seven occasions. Of United's 482 shots, 240 have hit the target and nine have found the woodwork. The Bulls have had 229 corners, been flagged offside 110 times and haven't had a no score draw in thirty-one matches.


Tamworth and Aldershot set for Conference

Issues below the Conference can be sorted out tomorrow as both Aldershot and Tamworth could secure promotion.

Accrington Stanley have already been confirmed as UniBond Premier League champions, and a win for Tamworth over Cambridge City would see them promoted to the Conference. If Aldershot are victorious over St. Albans, and Canvey Island fail to beat Chesham United, the former Football League side would also be promoted.

In Division Three, the race hots up to avoid the drop into non-league football. Bottom club Exeter City play play-off prospects Oxford United, while the other side in the drop zone, Shrewsbury Town, host fellow strugglers Boston United. Bristol Rovers and Carlisle United both face tricky ties, while Swansea, still in trouble, go to Leyton Orient, who look to have secured their league status for another year.

With three games left in the Conference, any one of eleven sides could join Kettering Town in dropping out of the league. Leigh RMI go to Hereford United, while Woking, who occupy the last relegation place, host fifth-placed Dagenham & Redbridge. Telford United need all three points at Forest Green Rovers, and Barnet need a point to secure their survival at Gravesend & Northfleet. Nuneaton Borough, just one point above Woking, have a tricky task in hosting Chester City at Manor Park.


Thursday, April 17, 2003

Sell-on clause could benefit Bulls

It has already been reported that Hereford United will receive £5,000 from Yeovil Town, following their promotion from the Conference, as part of the Michael McIndoe transfer deal from February 2001.

At the time Hereford were in even more financial trouble than usual and the income was needed to pay pressing bills.

Many supporters were unhappy to see McIndoe go but Graham Turner probably had little option at the time. However Turner was shrewd enough to add a sell-on clause as well as the promotion clause in the deal.

It is beleived that should McIndoe be sold on by Yeovil, Hereford will receive 25% of the fee. McIndoe, who has been tracked by amongst others Southampton, has featured strongly in the Yeovil campaign this season and is probably their most promising player.

Yeovil can afford to wait for a substantial offer for McIndoe as at present they are a very profitable club. On the other hand McIndoe, who came to Hereford from Luton, will no doubt feel that he can make the grade at a higher level.

It must be on the cards that he will move in the next year or two.The financial reward of any sale could benefit the Bulls by at least a five figure amount. A good return for a player who was signed from Luton for nothing.


Turner's view prevails

Graham Turner's fight to keep three up and three down at the bottom end of the Conference appears to have succeeded. Turner voted against the move, but the decision to extend the league to 24 instead of 22 - which would have meant just the bottom club from the league being relegated - was passed at a meeting last month of the Nationwide Conference chairman. This week the FA's Registration and Sanctions committee met and recommended that there be no change this season. The FA Council are expected to ratify the decision on June 21st.

Turner's argument was that it was unfair to change the rules in mid-season and his view seems to have prevailed.

He spoke to BBC Hereford & Worcester about the situation. "The word on the street is that three clubs will still be relegated," he said. "The FA and the feeder leagues will not accept just before the close of the season a change in the rules like this, so I think it will still be three clubs going down."

Graham Turner should be congratulated on his stand.


Centre back missing for Leigh match

Defender Andy Tretton is unlikely to feature in Saturday's home match against Leigh RMI, kick off 3pm.

The Hereford United centre-back picked up an ankle knock that saw him stretchered off in last Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Halifax Town, and it could also keep him out of Monday's trip to Southport.

Ian Wright and Tony James should fill in for the ex-Shrewsbury Town man, but the Bulls are boosted as Paul Parry returns after injury. Manager Graham Turner told the Hereford Times: "It is important to beat Leigh and put on a decent performance. The same goes for the match at Southport, while we are also looking forward to Doncaster game. Doncaster should bring a big following to Edgar Street and we desperately wanted to go into that last game of the season within touching distance of them."

As it turned out, results last Saturday saw United's hopes of the play-off place extinguished but Saturday's match will be a major one for Leigh, who still haven't secured their Conference status for next season. They lie one-from-bottom of the league, two points away from safety with three matches left, and Hereford won 2-0 up at Hilton Park back in October.

Looking ahead to Monday, United go to Southport hopeful of gaining revenge for a 2-0 reversal at Edgar Street last Autumn, and a supporters coach is running. However, if you're not making the trip, go to Edgar Street and watch the Herefordshire Challenge Cup final between Westfields and Kington Town. Entry is via. the main stand, and it is a repeat of last season's encounter which was a decent match and Westfields emerged 3-0 victors. Kick-off on Easter Monday is 11am for the game between the top two in the Express & Star West Midlands League Premier Division.

If Kington overhaul Westfields at the end of the season, chairman Bill Mayglothling has said that they will play their home matches at Edgar Street. "I can confirm that if we win the league, we will be playing at Edgar Street in the Midland Alliance next season," he said. "I am delighted that Hereford have agreed to the move and at least it gives us a massive incentive to win the league. We won it four years ago and weren't allowed to go up and I didn't want to get in that position again.


Turner confident for next season

Graham Turner is adamant that the nucleus of this year's squad will be retained and Hereford United will secure a play-off place next season.

The Bulls just missed out this time around, but Turner told Ian Morgan of the Hereford Times: "We have done OK this season, but might have done a lot better. The squad is without doubt the youngest and most talented we have had since coming into the Conference."

"We already have a profile of the kind of players that we would be looking for. The nucleus of the squad is here - if we can add to it by signing players who fit our profile, then we can look forward to next season with a great deal of optimism."

Meanwhile, former Hereford United director Michael Hancocks will be sentenced on May 1st after Bristol Crown Court heard yesterday that he plotted to contaminate Bulmers' cider. A report is being sought into the state of his health, says today's Hereford Times.


O'Kelly to stay

One of the highlights of the season has been the coming of Richard O'Kelly to Edgar Street. The former Walsall junior coach appears to have fitted in well, even featuring on the bench when required.

Graham Turner has spoken of his number two in the Hereford Times. Turner must feel that some of the pressure has been taken off him this season with O'Kelly's presence.

"I have enjoyed my greater involvement in team affairs this season, working alongside Richard who has proven to be a good acquisition for the club. Having talked to Richard about the future; he has enjoyed his involvement, we do not plan to do anything different."

HU-FC.co.uk sponsored O'Kelly this season and will be happy to continue our support for him.


Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Gap can close

Hereford United may have missed a play-off place for this season but three points from the home match against Leigh RMI on Saturday will keep them in sixth place in the table.

Realistically, only Halifax and Scarborough have a chance of overtaking the Bulls. Halifax travel to Kettering Town, who are already relegated, so should take all three points. Scarborough cross the Pennines to Morecambe and will be very lucky to go back with anything as the home team have only lost once throughout this campaign on their own territory. Morecambe could move ahead of the other play-off contenders as they all have away games.

Chester City, who were beaten at home by Farnborough Town on Tuesday, travel to lowly Nuneaton Borough and could find three points hard to obtain. Dagenham & Redbridge are at Woking and, with the home team battling to avoid the drop, form points to a probable draw.

Doncaster Rovers, who were on the end of a 4-0 thrasing by champions Yeovil Town last Saturday, may find in-form Stevenage Borough too much and drop down to fifth place in the league. If Donny are beaten the gap between them and the Bulls could close to seven points by 5pm Saturday.

Meanwhile, Hereford United have failed to submit their accounts for 2001/2002 to Companies House in the required time. The club can be fined for this error.


Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Shrews sink to depressing defeat

The likelihood of Hereford United playing a local derby against arch-rivals Shrewsbury Town increased tonight as the Shropshire side fell deeper into the Division Three relegation mire.

Just a few months after knocking Everton out of the FA Cup, Kevin Ratcliffe's hapless Shrews went down to a last minute defeat as Macclesfield Town took all three points in a 3-2 victory at Gay Meadow. The result leaves Shrewsbury in the drop zone, level on points with 22nd placed Bristol Rovers but with a game in hand. Bottom club Exeter City are three points adrift, and Macclesfield are almost safe.

Carlisle United edged away from the drop zone as they drew 1-1 with York City, while Chester City went down to a surprise 2-0 defeat at the Deva Stadium against Farnborough Town in the Conference. Mark Wright's men have already secured a promotion play-off place, but Farnborough have now eased the threat of relegation.


Air of optimism for next term

As the season draws to a close, the best Hereford United can hope for is a sixth-placed finish but the foundations put in place since last summer will give the club a superb opportunity for next season.

The Bulls' slim hopes of making the play-offs this season were ended when they lost 1-0 at Halifax Town on Saturday, but it will be fine-tuning in the summer rather than a complete overhaul that will propel United onto bigger and better things next term.

Last May, Hereford had just six players left after Graham Turner wielded his axe to chop the squad down; Paul Parry, Matt Baker, Matt Clarke, Ian Wright, Tony James and Scott Voice were the only players who remained from the team which finished seventeenth and narrowly avoided relegation.

This term, an almost-new squad graced Edgar Street and although they took some time to get to know each other, it is clear that they are a talented bunch and some small changes will make United a force to be reckoned with next term.

Michael Rose's contract extension means he joins Matt Baker, Andy Tretton, Tony James, Rob Sawyers and Paul Parry in the squad for next season. Most other players are expected to be offered new deals within the next few weeks.


Sunday, April 13, 2003

Ties all around!

At the top of the monthly division of the HU-FC.co.uk Predictions League, no less than seven players are tied with five points.

In the overall league, cheesy and len weston's last stand remain level at the top on 77 points each with three games to play.


Bulls set for promotion groundshare?

Kington Town could play their home matches at Edgar Street next season, according to a report in the Non-League Paper.

The Express & Star West Midlands League Premier Division club still have an outside chance of promotion, although county rivals Westfields appear to have the title wrapped up.

After being rejected for promotion on the standard of their ground in 1999, chairman Bill Mayglothing suggests that a switch to Hereford United's stadium could be made after more than three decades playing in the Welsh pyramid.

Kington are nine points behind Westfields with seven games left to play, but the two have got to play each other twice in May.

Meanwhile, Greg Fee, the manager in charge of the National Leagues, has been made redundant as the FA look to cut costs.

Finally, the Non-League Paper confirms that Hereford United will receive a windfall of £5,000 after Yeovil Town were promoted yesterday. The money is part of the transfer deal with Michael McIndoe, and United will also pick-up 25% of any future sell-on fee.


Saturday, April 12, 2003

Yeovil and Accrington clinch promotion

Hereford United will not play a Conference match at Huish Park next season, because Yeovil Town clinched the championship today.

They now take their place in Division Three next season and despite beating Doncaster Rovers 4-0 in an evening kick-off today, they actually went up at about 4.50pm as Chester City failed to beat Woking, meaning they couldn't be caught at the top of the league.

As Hereford can no longer make the play-offs, the four sides in the end-of-season lottery have been decided. Dagenham & Redbridge, Doncaster Rovers, Chester City and Morecambe will battle it out for the second promotion spot to the Football League

Accrington Stanley clinched the UniBond League Premier Division championship and promotion to the Nationwide Conference after beating former Conference side Altrincham 3-1 this afternoon, and while Tamworth and Aldershot look favourites to be promoted from the other feeder leagues, they have yet to shake off the challangers.

In Division Three, the race to avoid dropping into the Conference is hotting up. Exeter City remain rooted to the bottom and favourites for relegation after losing to a late minute goal at Cambridge United, the game finishing 2-1. Shrewsbury Town occupy the other trapdoor spot, as they crashed 5-1 at Darlington, but have two games in hand over Bristol Rovers, defeated 3-2 at Wrexham, who are equal on points with the Shropshire side. Just above those three, Swansea City eased their relegation fears with a 1-1 draw against Scunthorpe United, and Macclesfield Town and Carlisle United also collected a point. Boston United, though, remain in trouble as they lost to a late goal against Hull City.

Things look equally as tight at the bottom of the Conference. Leigh RMI and Woking occupy the available relegation spots but Nuneaton Borough, Gravesend & Northfleet, Telford United, Farnborough Town and Southport all remain in serious trouble. Not even Barnet, in eleventh place, are yet safe after they lost 2-0 at Underhill against already-doomed Kettering Town today.


Coach upbeat despite play-off disappointment

Following today's 1-0 defeat at Halifax Town, Hereford United coach Richard O'Kelly assessed the team's performance, despite obviously being disappointed on missing out on the Conference play-offs.

After a scrappy first half in which the team never really got out of first gear, O'Kelly said: "We improved greatly in the second half. The communication between the players was better and we created much more."

Andy Tretton's first half ankle injury is not serious, and he is likely to be in contention for next week's game against Leigh RMI at Edgar Street. Tony James, who replaced Tretton after recovering from an ankle knock of his own, commented: "Tretts' injury should be OK for next Saturday."

He also mentioned that he got through the game confortably, despite having to pass a late fitness test to take his place on the bench.

Halifax manager Chris Wilder was delighted with the result, which he put down to his players' competition for new deals. "We won for the first time in seven matches with the kind of performance that I expect, but the players have not shown the application or desire over the last month to secure a place in the play-offs," he said.


Hereford's hopes dashed

Hereford United went down 1-0 to Halifax this afternoon, a defeat which ends Hereford's play-off hopes.

Terry's report is here.


Friday, April 11, 2003

Turner expects physical game

Graham Turner thinks tomorrow's game at Halifax will be tough.

"Just looking through the discipline records, they have the second worst disciplinary record in the league," he told BBC Hereford & Worcester. "I'm sure they will say that most of it has been unjust but they have had plenty of sending offs and bookings so you know from that record that it is going to be a physical game. We have got to go and be prepared to face up to that and if we can then I'm sure that the way we play and the way we pass the ball, we are capable of winning the game."

Talking about Halifax and other clubs that have dropped down into the Conference, Turner said that they all have had financial problems stemming from the Third Division.

"Gradually one or two clubs have sorted themselves out.Scarborough have come out of administration, Halifax have come out of administration and got into a CVA. So they are beginning to make strides in terms of putting their own houses in order. Have a look in the League now, the amount of clubs in finacial difficulty, the amount of clubs fighting against relegation to the Conference. All think it is the road to oblivion being relegated.It isn't; it is an oppurtunity to get themselves sorted out financially and they have to do that in the Conference. They can't rely on grants from television and the Football :eague so they need to look at it closely and for those clubs teetering on the brink of relegation it is not the end of the world as the Conference is a good competition and to all intensive purposes it is the Fourth Division."


James set to miss crucial Conference clash

Defender Tony James looks likely to sit out his third game in succession as Hereford United make the trip to Halifax Town in the Nationwide Conference tomorrow, kick off 3pm.

James' ankle injury will once again rule him out for the game at the Shay, but Jamie Pitman's return from suspension will boost the Bulls who won 4-0 over Burton Albion last week.

"We had a very good win last week so we will have to wait and see what team we put out but Jamie is a fine competitor and has been a driving force in midfield," said United boss Graham Turner in tonight's Evening News.

Karl Hawley has a cold and Paul Parry is suffering with a knee problem but is likely to play against a Halifax side who haven't won in their last seven matches. "They are a strong, physical side but we have to win to keep our hopes alive," Turner added. "We hope to do well and will keep an eye on what happens elsewhere. There's a big gap between us and the top four now, but it's not over till it's over."

Halifax Town defender Kevin Sandwith misses out on the game against Hereford United through suspension, as Chris Wilder's side have several players unavailable.

Michael Senior remains sidelined for the match with a back problem, while Mark Monnington and Simon Parke remain on the bench despite injuries. Manager Chris Wilder said: "We need to get back to winning ways. We've had a poor couple of months and we need to finish the season well."


Late fitness tests for three

Three Hereford United players face late fitness tests before Graham Turner can select his squad for tomorrow's match at Halifax.

Paul Parry has a knee problem, Karl Hawley missed training yesterday due to a heavy cold, and Tony James is still having trouble with his ankle.

Turner told BBC Hereford & Worcester: "It's really been an unsatisfactory month for us through March with the three defeats which has left us hoping rather than having it in our own hands. We have got to hope that one of them (teams above us) slips up and we cash in on it."


Thursday, April 10, 2003

Policing charges being reviewed

Richard Caborn, the sports minister, has told Supporters Direct, the football fans organisation, that fans may have to pay the price for the behaviour of "lowlife in rip-off designer clothing".

He said that there was one officer on duty for every forty-eight spectators at last week's England - Turkey game in Sunderland.

It is believed that both Whitehall and many Chief Constables are concerned that football clubs do not pick up the bill for policing town centres on match days where violence often occurs.

Caborn said that unless hooliganism ends, the momentum towards charging clubs for policing outside grounds will be unstoppable.

However it is the view of many true supporters that those who cause trouble are often not followers of any club. They simply use the excuse of a match to cause trouble. To charge the clubs for policing would therefore be unfair.


United face tricky tie at Halifax

Hereford United make the Nationwide Conference trip north on Saturday when they play Halifax Town at their Shay ground, kick off 3pm.

Halifax, who were relegated from the Third Division last season, drew 1-1 at Edgar Street in October and Bulls' attacker Steve Guinan is expecting a similarly difficult game: "It's not going to be an easy game at Halifax because they are a solid team and have done quite well this season after slipping out of the Football League."

The main injury worry for boss Graham Turner is over centre-back Tony James, who may not recover from an ankle injury in time to make the starting eleven. Jamie Pitman returns from suspension in midfield while Paul Parry should recover from an ankle injury in time.

Guinan said that he is still confident that Hereford can push for the play-offs, but knows that a win on Saturday is vital in ensuring that it occurs.

Meanwhile, Tuesday's reserve team friendly against Halesowen Harriers resulted in a 1-0 win for Hereford.


Ex-Bulls director pleads guilty

Michael Hancocks, the former Hereford United director, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud Bulmers, the city's cider company.

At Bristol Crown Court, Hancocks, 63, of Hereford, pleaded guilty to the charge, but a statement heard in court from Hancocks said he 'merely wanted to achieve a degree of nuisance value' but did not intend to contaminate the product that left the site, report the Hereford Times.

Meanwhile, the website to view the Edgar Street development proposals can be visited at www.herefordshirepartnership.com, and then clicking on the relevant section.


Guinan hopes to stay

Steve Guinan wants to stay at Edgar Street next season. He has briefly spoken to Bulls manager Graham Turner about the situation.

"I would be more than happy to stay for next season because I have enjoyed my time here. The lads are great and so, too, are the coach and manager.

"If we don't make the playoffs this season, the club can go for it next season and , hopefully, I will still be part of it," he told the Hereford Times after last Saturday's 4-0 win against Burton in which he scored twice. He played in a different position in that match (right side of midfield) and thought that he had done reasonably well.

"I have played right midfield, centre-half and centre midfield before, but I am probably a better player going forward."

Speaking about his contribution to the Bulls' goal tally this season, he said: "Fourteen goals is a decent record at this stage but I have also hit the woodwork about four times and missed a few when I probably should have scored. I know that I have more to give to the club."


Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Youth team set for title glory

While Hereford United's first team lie just outside the Nationwide Conference play-off places, the club's youth side look set to be crowned champions of the Midland Floodlit Youth League Southern Division.

The Bulls need two more points to make sure of the title, as Wellington can still overtake United as both teams have two matches to play. Hereford are currently five points clear, and have won fifteen of their eighteen matches this season. Star striker Adam Kite has notched thirteen goals, and will hope to build on that figure as the season comes to a close.

Hereford can wrap up the title next Wednesday when they travel to Evesham United, but they need to overcome title rivals Wellington first at Edgar Street, when the two meet in the semi-final of the Herefordshire Football Association Youth Cup. The winners will play either Newport County or Kidderminster Harriers in the final.

For more details on the youth team, click here.


Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Poppies relegated back to Dr. Martens

Kettering Town were the first team to be relegated from the Nationwide Conference this season as they lost 3-2 at Rockingham Road against Forest Green Rovers tonight.

Just 422 turned up to see the match, which confirms their demotion back to the Dr. Martens League Premier Division after just one season as, with four games left, the deficit is thirteen points.

In the feeder leagues, Accrington Stanley look set for promotion from the Unibond League, Tamworth could be crowned champions of the Dr. Martens Premier on Saturday if results go their way, and Aldershot have a clear advantage over Canvey Island in the Ryman League. All three are thought to have grounds and facilities which are eligible for promotion to the Conference.


Bulls look for injury recoveries

Paul Parry has missed training at the start of this week after he picked up a knee injury in Hereford United's 4-0 win over Burton Albion on Saturday.

The official Hereford United website also reported that Tony James and Jamie Pitman are likely to be in the squad for Saturday's visit to Halifax Town, as is Steve Guinan, who came off a minute before the end of the match with cramp.

The reserves play in a friendly at Halesowen Harriers tonight, and this could give manager Graham Turner a chance to test James' fitness after he missed the last two games with an ankle injury.

Meanwhile, Yeovil Town attacker Gavin Williams, who moved from Edgar Street to Huish Park last summer, claims that promotion for the Glovers to the Football League will make up for Hereford's relegation in 1997.

A youth player in the demotion season, Williams told the Western Daily Press: "I didn't play for Hereford the year they went down, but it was horrible. I was only a young lad but to go into the dressing room and see all the players faces was awful.

"It was my first year in football when I got relegated with Hereford. Getting promoted now makes up for that. It (relegation) was something I never wanted to happen in my career and hopefully I'll never get relegated again. It's a totally different feeling now, going up, and a much better one."


Monday, April 07, 2003

United's promotion hopes dented

Hereford United's hopes of making the Nationwide Conference play-offs were dealt a bitter blow tonight as Dagenham & Redbridge won their game in hand.

Garry Hill's side won 3-1 at Leigh RMI's Hilton Park, with Steve West scoring a hatrick, which leaves Hereford seven points adrift of the play-off zone in sixth place. With four games left, both Morecambe and Dagenham are on 68 points, with United on 61 and Scarborough further behind on 58.

Hereford look to be the only side with any real chance of ousting one of the play-off teams, but will need to win all four remaining matches and hope that Morecambe or Dagenham have a drastic loss of form in this crucial run-in stage. Scarborough and Halifax Town can still mathematically reach the play-offs, but that now looks even more unlikely.


Committee elections for BOLSA

BOLSA, the Hereford United Bulls Online Supporters' Association, will hold its Annual General Meeting online soon, and is currently looking at ways to do this.

However, all committee members have to re-apply for their positions. John Perkins (jensenbull) has re-applied as secretary, Martin Watson (MW) as PR Officer, Jamie Griffiths (Uncle Larry) as committee member and Graham Johnson (Grayham) remains as chairman.

Terry Goodwin (me) intends to step down as committee member due to increasing work commitments, while Richard Price (Bolton Bulls) has also left as vice-chairman as he no longer has internet access. Darren Coates (Billy the Bull) is currently treasurer, and has yet to give a firm response either way.

Anyone wishing to apply for any of the above positions should be sixteen years of age or over and should contact BOLSA at contact@bolsa-hufc.com, stating your preferred position. Further details will then be sent.

Meanwhile, a local Hereford United supporter has contacted HU-FC.co.uk about the possible purchase of some shares in the club. The person wishes to buy a small amount and asks if anyone has any available and are willing to sell them, please contact terrygoodwin@hu-fc.co.uk, and details will be forwarded.


Sunday, April 06, 2003

Clash effects gate

Yesterday's attendance at Edgar Street was 179 less than the previous Saturday when Margate beat the Bulls 3-2. Even worse had it not been for an excellent following of 255 from Burton, the gate could have been down to around 1500. Did Bulls fans stay away because of recent poor form or were there other reasons as well?

The probability of another poor result may have put several supporters off . The Grand National, too, could have kept a few at home. However the most likely reason was the Sun Valley sponsorship of the racecard at Hereford Racecourse.

On a spring-like afternoon the thought of some time at the races must have appealed to many Sun Valley employees, some of whom might have come to Edgar Street on a different day.

Perhaps Hereford United should have foreseen this clash and played the game on the Friday evening. The previous match between the two clubs was played at this time so there would not have been opposition from Burton.

Meanwhile, the gap between Dagenham, in fifth place, and Hereford could widen again tomorrow evening as the Daggers have a game at Leigh RMI which they would be expected to win.


Barnetbull wins play-off

Barnetbull is the winner of the March HU-FC.co.uk Predictions League after he scored more points than Swindon Whites in the play-off. Barnetbull now needs to email predictions@hu-fc.co.uk, confirming his username and password.

After the Burton Albion match yesterday, cheesy leads the April league and also takes over at the top of the overall league.


Saturday, April 05, 2003

Confidence returns to the squad

Some supporters have called today's performance "brilliant". A four-nil won is good but Burton were not the team that defeated the Bulls at Eton Park last October.

It should be remembered that they were without Christian Moore, who has scored eighteen goals for them this season, and for what ever reason Nigel Clough did not play. That said, today's win will put confidence back into the Hereford side.

It was difficult to pick a man of the match today. Several players could have deserved the accolade. Rob Purdie had perhaps his best game in an United shirt so far. He seemed to run and run and was a little unlucky not to score. It is to be hoped that Graham Turner offers him another contract.

Steve Guinan, so missed last week until he came on as a sub, must have found his new position as a right wing midfielder (at least that's what Hawley called it) to his liking as he scored two good goals. The second one from the right was a low drive from twenty yards or so.He has now scored 14 Conference league goals this season which for a player who is not a natural striker isn't bad. He, too, deserves to be offered a new contract.

Of the two new strikers Albarno Correia and Karl Hawley, both had good games. Correia looked fresher than last week and scored in the second half. Hawley, however, seems to be more talented.He held the ball better and challenged strongly. His goal early in the first half was a delection off Ben Smith and he was unlucky not to have scored again later. If only Walsall would let him go, he could make a massive contribution to the Bulls.

A word of praise for the officials is due today. The referee had a good game and the linemen kept up with the play. So much different to some officials we have seen at Edgar Street recently.Although Ian Wright picked up a yellow card for a late challenge which was probably deserved, the game produced some good flowing football with the referee waving play-on several times as opposed to blowing his whistle.

Graham Turner selected a team without Tony James,who failed a late fitness test, Jamie Pitman, serving time, John Grant, and Danny Williams who came on for three minutes for Guinan when he appeared to have injuried his left thigh. To have won by four goals without these four players shows that Turner has put together a useful squad. He will have another selection problem next week of who to leave out and there's still Richard Teesdale and Rob Sawyers looking to get a game. If only Turner can hold onto the vast majority of the squad then even if things don't quite work out this season the Bulls must be in with a real chance of promotion next season.


There is still a chance

There is still a chance that Hereford United can make the playoffs. With Dagenham losing at Morecambe the Bulls are still in sixth place but only four points adrift.

After the game Karl Hawley, the Bull's on-loan forward from Walsall spoke to BBC Hereford & Worcester. He was asked what he made of the game and his goal. "I got the first. It was a shot by Smith and I deflected it in. It was a good result this afternoon."

Asked about having three strikers in the team, he said: "Steve Guinan was like a right mid-field striker. He was told to attack more than defend so it was all positive."

He talked of the difference between his previous club Raith Rovers where he had also been on-loan and Conference football. "It's not too different to Scotland as I went on loan to a second division club up there," he continued.

"We've got no complaints," said Burton player-manager Nigel Clough after the game."The game was dead for us after they scored three goals in the first 31 minutes."

Last autumn Hereford ended a lean run with a 4-0 win and went on to take ten points from the next four games. If only that sequence could be repeated it would give the Bulls a chance to make the play-offs.


The gap has closed

Hereford United closed the gap between them and the playoffs to four points this afternoon with a convincing 4-0 win over Burton Albion. New forwards Karl Hawley and Albano Correia both scored and Steve Guinan got a brace. It was a confident display by the Bulls.

Terry's report is here.


Bulls could close the gap

Assuming Hereford United beat Burton Albion at Edgar Street this afternoon, the gap between them and the teams currently in the top five could be reduced.

Both Doncaster and Chester are away and could drop a point or even three.But the game of the day should be at Morecambe where the visitors are Dagenham. Morecambe have only been defeated once at home this season and should take all three points.

Yeovil are at home to Telford and are hoping for an eight thousand plus crowd. They could be crowned champions of the Conference if they win and both Doncaster and Chester lose. But Yeovil may have to wait until next week to be absolutely certain.

Doncaster visit Forest Green whose form has been good recently, only losing one of their last six games. Colin Addison's side could prove difficult to overcome.

Chester travel to Gravesend. Current form would suggest an away win but as Gravesend are not safe from going down, they will be desperately looking for a win. Maybe a draw is on the cards.

So there is plenty for the Bulls to play for this afternoon with an opportunity to make up ground.


Semi-pro tournament details unveiled

This season's Unibond Four Nations tournament will be held at Merthyr Tydfil, Carmarthen Town and Haverfordwest County's grounds, all in South Wales.

Wales won the tournament last season, and the biggest game will be on Thursday 22nd May when Wales play England at Pendarryn Park, Merthyr, and HU-FC.co.uk will keep supporters up-to-date with all the action (because it's being played just down the road from our HQ).

Wales boss Tommi Morgan is likely to pick Tony James and Paul Parry in his squad, while Matt Baker and Michael Rose could feature in Paul Fairclough's England setup.

The fixtures are as follows:
Tuesday, 20th May 2003
Wales v. Scotland Carmarthen Town 7.30pm
England v. Republic of Ireland Merthyr Tydfil 7.30pm

Thursday, 22nd May 2003
Wales v. England Merthyr Tydfil 7.30pm
Scotland v. Republic of Ireland Haverfordwest 7.30pm

Saturday, 24th May 2003
Wales v. Republic of Ireland Haverfordwest 1.30pm
Scotland v. England Carmarthen 3.30pm


O'Kelly still hopfeul of play-off place

Hereford United coach Richard O'Kelly has said that even if the Bulls miss out on this season's Conference play-offs, next season will present a superb opportunity for promotion.

Speaking to the Evening News, he said: "If we don't make it, it will be a massive disappointment because we were in a great position but we're still there and other teams have still to play us and each other."

"As the season has progressed the group of players as a whole has improved," he continued. "What has impressed me most is the desire and enthusiasm to improve their skills. They are desperately disappointed they have not picked something up in the last few games but they are not throwing in the towel yet."

Since his move to Edgar Street last summer as coach and physiotherapist, O'Kelly has worked under Graham Turner. "It's been brilliant," he said enthusiastically. "Graham persuaded me to come and said I would enjoy it and I have learned so much. He has such a wealth of knowledge and has always been there for advice and encouragement."


Friday, April 04, 2003

Turner has selection problem

Graham Turner faces a selection problem for tomorrows match against Burton. Although Tony James faces a late fitness test and Jamie Pitman is still suspended, he is confident that he can pick a strong team.

"Whether it is time to make a few changes in the side or whether it's time to sit back and say look we have worked hard, we have created chances, we did not play badly and let the same players go out and give it another go," he told BBC Hereford & Worcester. "That's the dilemma at the moment. I've actually got to pick a side because we've got John Grant now available and a possibility that Tony James will be fit again so it's left us with a selection problem for one of the few times this season."

Commenting on Burton, Turner continued: "I saw them play Southport recently. They are a workmanlike side, a fairly solid Conference team this season. Away from home they have been a difficult side to beat. They play with a lot of enthusiasm and endeavour. So if we set about it and for a change do get the breaks then we 've got to take the three points.

"If we can, then we can sit back and see how Morecambe, Dagenham and Chester got on and hope that we have closed the gap a little bit."


James worry for United boss

Hereford United manager Graham Turner is sweating over the fitness of central defender Tony James ahead of tomorrow's game at Edgar Street against Burton Albion.

James picked up an ankle knock two weeks ago at Barnet and faces a late fitness test to decide whether he is fit enough to participate, but striker John Grant returns to the squad after a three match ban. Midfielder Jamie Pitman remains suspended.

Burton Albion have no suspensions and a clean bill of health. Manager Nigel Clough told the BBC: "We're looking to continue our recent good run of form. I'm especially pleased with our defending, which has played a major part in our recent performances."


Thursday, April 03, 2003

Disabled team in Spanish trip

Hereford United's very own disabled football team is to compete in a European tournament in Spain.

The team will be supported by financial assistance from the Herefordshire Football Association, and five players depart on April 22nd to play in the first ever Multi-Disabled European Club Championships.

Phil Hall, the Disability Sports Officer based at the RNC in Hereford, told HU-FC.co.uk: "The team will be playing against the likes of Chelsea, Millwall, Northampton and others in a 5-a-side tournament and joining Sheffield Wednesday to make an 11-a-side team. The only reason we are not taking our own 11-a-side team is because of funding."

Anyone wishing to financially support the team, or would like to make a donation to towards the trip, is urged to contact Phil Hall at the college on 01432 265725.


Fans turn to comment on development

The general public will now have their say on the development of the Edgar Street Grid, including Hereford United's football ground, reports today's Hereford Times

The 100 acre development, with its boundaries at Edgar Street, Barrs Court Road, Commercial Road and the ring-road, is the biggest of its kind ever undertaken in the city and will now be discussed between the council, various groups including Hereford United and HUISA, and the Herefordshire Citizens Panel. Meetings are also being held with the football club, which will be crucial to the development of the football stadium.

Hereford United chairman Graham Turner told Ian Morgan: "I have recently met the architects involved and have told them what we would like to see incorporated at the club. We spent some time assessing the ground and they could see the areas that need addressing and the potential that the ground possesses. There is 4.6 acres in total and the club does not need a site that size

"There is a plenty of scope for adjustment by moving the pitch towards one end and freeing some land for development at the other, or moving it laterally away from the A49, or even turning the pitch around. The first option is by far the cheapest in as much as the Merton Stand is serviceable. We need to have commercial ventures incorporated because a professional football club cannot survive on just money taken at the turnstiles once a fortnight.

"The catering facilities, the toilet blocks, the turnstiles and the general condition of the ground all need to be brought into the 21st century. The financial side of things would be the governing factor but I thought that there were some very encouraging noises coming from the architects."

The development will structure the future of the city, says Turner: "Whilst I always talk up the city and the county, it cannot remain a backwater forever. There may be the need for a new police headquarters, a city hall and land in the area earmarked as residential but there is also a requirement to provide facilities to attract people to Hereford on a regular basis."

"There is a hope that the football club can be an integral part of the future prosperity of the city. It is a great opportunity for the planners to rejuvenate the area - one that should not be missed."

Neil Pringle, the chief executive of Herefordshire Council, commented: "This is the major development opportunity of our time which will have a defining influence on the long term future of not just the city of Hereford by the county as a whole."

The development as a whole aims to improve the parking situation in the city, and integrate the site into the historical city centre. It would also new employment, leisure and culture opportunities.

"I understand that our supporters have been invited by Herefordshire Council to attend an advisory meeting and then to nominate a member to represent supporters on an advisory panel," continued Turner. "Last week the players did something a little bit different when they popped down to the Mayor's Parlour for a reception. It's nice to see that the Mayor, Alan Williams, is taking an interest in the club. We know there is a cost in certain areas, for instance extra policing and that might occur at the Doncaster Rovers match on the last day of the season. But, generally, the amount of visiting supporters does not affect the Saturday afternoon running of the city and they spend money in the city before and after our home games."

Anyone wishing to portray a view on the situation should write to Richard Evans, Edgar Street Consulation, 9 North Road, The Courtyard, Woodlands, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS32 4NQ, and a nwe website will also serve this purpose, and is expected soon.


Win or bust

Hereford United go into Saturday's match against Burton Albion knowing that less than three points would be catastrophic to any lingering play-off chances, kick off 3pm.

The Bulls host the Brewers at Edgar Street and after last weekend's 3-2 defeat to Margate, an upturn in fortunes is required. United won just once and lost four Conference games in March.

"Saturday's defeat was a severe blow to morale in the camp, but it's never over until it's over. We have to approach the Burton game as if the three points are vital to us," he told the Hereford Times. "It's now going to need a dramatic dip in form from one of the top clubs for us to get there. We must win our last five games to stand a chance."

After Margate's last minute winner appeared to be offside, Hereford's luck needs to turn. Turner continued: "The player tried to remain inside his own half, but, when the ball was played to him, he was at least three yards offside."

Meanwhile, former Hereford United player/physio Ian Rodgerson, who is working wit the medical team at Birmingham City, has signed on non-contract forms for Pegasus Juniors, from whom he first joined Hereford in 1984.