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Friday, September 25, 2020

The Last Time Hereford Played At Gosport

With Hereford being drawn away at Gosport in the FA Cup BN looks back to the last time Hereford played at Gosport.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Stroll in the Port for Hereford



Hereford FC eased to three points with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over bottom placed Gosport Borough. Mike Symons headed in to hand Hereford the leads before goals a piece in the second-half from Jennison Myrie-Williams, Dara O’Shea and Symons once again sealed the points, although in truth, it could have been many more.

Following the cold snap and Saturday’s postponed trip to Hitchin, Peter Beadle had a relatively fit squad to choose from and opted to start Billy Murphy in midfield, alongside Pablo Haysham. John Mills had to be content with a place on the bench once again as he slowly eases himself back to fitness following his knee injury. The hosts named Rowan Vine, the former Luton and Portsmouth striker, in their starting eleven.

The visitors didn’t take long to find their feet on a huge and relatively decent playing surface; Symons outjumped the ‘keeper to meet a Haysham cross but looped it over the bar. The ‘Beast’ though wasn’t to be denied with his second attempt. Murphy collected the ball on the inside right position, taking a touch to get the ball out of his feet before lofting a ball into the box with his left where Symons eased his marker out of the way before flicking a header into the corner to hand Hereford the lead.






Further chances followed with James Bowen making good progress on the left with a determined run and a firm ball across the box found Reffell but his first-time shot was blocked by the ‘keeper’s legs. Martyn Horsell was having a peaceful night although he had to be on his toes when the hosts Craig McAllister twisted past Ryan Green in the box but his shot weak and Horsell held. Pablo Haysham’s excellent 30 yard free-kick looked to be heading for the top corner before a stunning save from Patrick O’Flaherty denied him. Moments later, Murphy’s curled strike from a standing start fell a foot past the post. Another free-kick was taken, this time by Myrie-Williams, in a similar position to Hayshams, but this time was off-target. Elliot Richards stung the palms of the goalie with a rasping drive before Symons was flagged offside on the follow-up, whilst the ‘Beast’ thought he should have had a penalty when he was dragged down on the edge of the box but the referee deemed it a free-kick. Richards took the resulting set-piece but was off-target.

The hosts rarely threatened and when they did it was down to Hereford’s lapse in concentration. Horsell’s early second-half clearance fell to the feet of McAllister but his first-time shot was off-target, with Horsell well out of his goal. That chance fell in the second minute of the second-half, and following that, Hereford dominated proceedings, keeping possession well and creating a host of chances. Reffell was providing good width for the Bulls and he collected the ball on the right before cutting in, hitting a left-foot shot just over the bar from an acute angle. Reffell was involved soon after, cutting back for Haysham on the edge of the box but his shot through a crowd of players was blocked.

Richards was then denied a goal, following a superbly threaded pass from Murphy but the former Merthyr man, despite showing good feet inside the box, saw his effort pushed away by the ‘keeper. Haysham’s dazzling feet on the left byline allowed him to get past the right-back but his cut-back was diverted off target by Symons from a couple of yards out, under immense pressure from his marker. Murphy then tried his luck from 25 yards with a powerful left-foot shot which the ‘keeper fumbled, but did enough to divert it behind the post.

The pressure though eventually became too much for Gosport and they succumbed to a second goal, through Myrie-Williams. It all came from a poor free-kick by the home goalie; Reffell headed into the path of Symons, who held up and turned on the half-way line, before sending Myrie-Williams racing clear. The former Bristol City youngster showed good composure to steady himself before sliding a shot into the corner past the helpless O’Flaherty.






Jimmy Oates’ nice inter-change with Haysham allowed the captain to fire goalwards but a defensive block deflected it over. Richards was then denied after a powerful shot from the left side of the box, following Bowen’s industrious running.

The game was put beyond doubt by young Irishman O’Shea with a crisp strike. A quick corner eventually found Haysham on the edge of the box; his attempt to beat the defender was blocked but the ball broke to O’Shea from 20 yards, who struck first-time into the bottom corner with the ‘keeper rooted to his spot. 











Hereford made it four minutes later when Bowen showed good pace on the left, dinking a cross to Symons and his deft header dropped into the far corner from six yards.




 
Hereford introduced Mills, Jamie Bird and Cameron Pring late on, replacing Haysham, Myrie-Williams and Symons respectively, and it didn’t take long for Mills to test O’Flaherty. A counter-attack allowed Bird to burst forward and he slid in Mills on the right. The leading marksman chopped inside his marker and sent a left-foot shot towards the far corner but the ‘keeper denied him with an outstretched leg.

Gosport are rooted to the bottom of the Southern League and the gulf in class was evident on the evening. Hereford could have, and should have, won by three or four more, but it was a pleasing performance. There was some good build-up play, especially down both wings as Hereford dominated possession. It was a strong performance all round, with all players playing their part in a resounding win. In particular, Haysham was at his creative best, whilst both Bowen and Reffell caused trouble for the hosts with their direct running and close control. Up next for Hereford is the visit of Kings Lynn on Saturday; the Bulls will be looking to gain revenge on Kings Lynn for ending the 53 game unbeaten away league run in January.

Hereford: Horsell, Oates, O’Shea, Green, Bowen, Reffell, Richards, Murphy, Haysham (Bird), Myrie-Williams (Mills), Symons (Pring).

Subs not used: Puddy, Deaman.

Gosport: O’Flaherty, Wakley, Medway, Ten-Grotenhuis, Flooks, Warren, Lea, Brooks, McAllister, Pennery, Vine.

Subs: Bombelenga, Smith, Sanders, Mayes, Watts.

Attendance: 539

Goals Scored: Symons (2), Myrie-Williams, O’Shea.

 

Hereford To Play Gosport Borough In FA Cup

Hereford FC will play Gosport Borough away in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup.

The tie is set to take play on Saturday October 3rd. 

Based in Hampshire Gosport are in the Southern League Premier Division South and play at Privett Park.

They won their previous FA Cup Tie at Tavistock 5-4 on penalties after the game finished 2-2.

Currently Gosport are allowed up to 600 spectators at games. They have sold over 100 season tickets.

As yet it is unknown whether Hereford supporters will be allowed to attend.

We Didn't Ask For 'Elite' Status Said Chester Chairman

Chester Chairman Andy Morris has said that National North clubs didn't ask for 'elite' status and he implied that if the FA allowed that term to be dropped it might help.

"We never asked to be made 'elite'," he said.

"Clubs at our level when we looked at the play-offs we got involved in this 'elite' discussion.

"Now the definition is set by the FA.

"It's not something we've requested, we've been told we're 'elite'.

"And that's caused us more difficulties than benefits at the moment." 

Morris said it was uncertainty and mixed messages that was making life difficult at the moment.

"From our prospective there is no point going ahead without fans.

"We've been very conservative in our business model, we were looking at vastly reduced attendances but going ahead without any spectators is half of our income gone in one stroke.

"Season tickets holders have bought season tickets in good faith. We've really explored the option of online streaming. But there is a difference between that at maybe £5 per stream as opposed to an average spend of £10 to £15 on the day.

"As chairman we have a legal and moral responsibilty to run businesses in a sensible fashion."

FA Cup Draw Details Released At 1pm Today

Hereford FC are in the draw for the second qualifying round of the FA Cup which takes place this lunchtime. Details will be released around 1pm.

All National North and South clubs enter the competition at this stage.

There will be 160 ties with the clubs split into five regions.

Winning clubs from this round will receive £3375 with the losers collecting £1125.

Ties are set to take place on Saturday October 3rd.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Chris Barker Inquest


An inquest into the death of former Hereford FC player coach Chris Barker has taken place.

According to the Daily Mail, Barker was found hanged in the garage of his Cardiff home on New Year's Day after losing both his parents. He had left notes before hanging himself.

Barker joined Hereford in July 2016 when Peter Beadle was manager but left in the following October to take up a post at Weston super Mare FC.

At the inquest his sister-in-law Tracey Barker said his death had 'shocked' the family and that there had been 'no warnings' that he had been having suicidal thoughts.

But she said he had been 'affected greatly' by the death of his father, who had motor neurone disease, and his mother, who died of cancer.

The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide.

Outline Of Government Support For National Leagues By Midweek?

BBC Five Live Sport had an item about today's statement from the National League Board earlier this evening.

Here's some of what their Simon Stone had to say:

"The National League didn't say in their statement that the National League would start on October 3rd as planned but that is my understanding.

"They expect the Government to come back to them early next week with the outline of what they intend to do in terms of funding the National League system through a season where they could be without fans for a long, long time.

"Bearing in mind a week ago I was speaking to people who associate with the National League who said it would be impossible to play without fans, it would be a major achievement if that was to happen because there is a whole eco-system around these clubs in terms of full-time employees, not just the players but admin staff. 

"So it is to be hoped this crictical support is forthcoming early next week because the National League say it is imperative that the revenue is responsibly addressed by the League and the League can only start when that happens.

"Bearing in mind there are 24 teams in the National League, 22 in National North and 21 in National South so that's 67 in total, you can only assume that this package to get them through this season that could run to next June, that's going to run into the low millions of pounds in total.

"The clubs have made it perfectly clear that they need this money.

"The National League North as a collective put out a statement before the board meeting today saying they took a vote at a meeting last night and 81% of clubs said they would not play and could not play unless funding was assured for them to start the season.

"Without it (funding) there doesn't seem any way that the club can find a way of financing themselves in order to play games with no spectators." 

As regards streaming Stone felt some clubs such as Notts County would make money from it whereas Curzon Ashton with their much smaller supporter base would not.

"It's elaying the fears of clubs who won't is the reason behind these talks with the Government and that is why unless that comes to fruition there will no football even if the streams are allowed which they will be because the block on streaming at 3pm on Saturday has been removed for now."

National League Statement

This from the National League:

Following a meeting of its Board of Directors this afternoon, the following update is issued on behalf of The National League:

In recognition of the financial uncertainty facing its member clubs, The National League is actively engaged with Government, with the assistance of The Football Association, to secure a critical financial support package, and it is hoped this can be announced very soon.

It is imperative the revenue shortfall caused by the pause to the safe return of spectators is responsibly addressed so each club can operate sustainably over the course of the forthcoming season.

 

National League to start season as planned?

The BBC's Dan Roan has reported that it looks like the National League is poised to say that the new season will commence on October 3 as planned.

He added that that, if this is the case, it could mean that the league is confident that some kind of emergency funding will be forthcoming but 'could mean discord between it and the two regional divisions below'.

As reported here, 81% of clubs in National League North don't want the season to start without fans or some sort of emergency funding. 

A full statement from The National League is set to be released shortly.

York Want To Start Season As Planned

York City FC have released a statement in which they say they want to start the National North season as planned.

'York City Football Club has contacted the National League to confirm that we support starting the season as planned. 

We realise that this does not align with the stance of all clubs in the league, however every club's situation is unique and individual decisions must be taken in these extreme circumstances.

For York City, it is in our best interests to start the season as scheduled behind closed doors as outlined by the government, put out our newly formed squad who are under contract and have undertaken pre-season training, engage with our fans and try to create some much needed income for the club.'

York are due to play at Edgar Street on October 24th.

Most NLN clubs don't want season to start without fans or financial support

The majority of National League North clubs (81%) don't want the season to start without fans or financial support.

A Zoom meeting was held by most of the member clubs at 5.30pm yesterday (Wednesday) ahead of today's National League board meeting.

There seems to be concern about the impact of the FA Cup Second Qualifying Round on October 3 and the contractual status of players. Most contracts begin 'on the commencement of the football season', so if the FA Cup matches take place on that day, clubs will be contractually obliged to pay the players for the rest of the season. However, if clubs cannot play in front of fans or there is no financial support in place, the impact will be huge. You can read the joint letter below.



Bulls Await News From National League Meeting


Hereford FC are awaiting news from this afternoon's meeting of the National League Board which is set to take place at 2pm.

The meeting has been called to discuss the Government's latest statement about a delay in allowing a limited number of spectators to watch games.

The implications of a continued ban on spectators in stadiums are obvious. The revenue gained from ticket sales can not be made up in any other way. Whilst streaming of games would bring in some income there's little else that can be done other than hope faithful fans will buy season tickets. And every day uncertainty about spectators being allowed in to watch continues, increasing sales of season tickets seem unlikely. It hasn't helped that Hereford are only offering 50% back if the games are behind closed doors. 

Hereford streamed their friendly with Solihull on Tuesday evening. It's thought around 300 'tickets' were sold producing around £1800 before costs. However the club needs an income of at least £10,000 per week to run with even a relatively small squad.

According to non-league expert Ollie Bayliss, most clubs in the National Prem want the season to start on October 3rd whereas clubs in the National North and South feel they can't start without supporters being allowed in unless there is some external funding perhaps from the Government or the Premier League.

And there is the question of whether the National Leagues South and North should be considered 'elite'. 

For example Solihull Moors would like to start.

'The National League previously gained approval from the Government for our league to be classed as an elite sport. As of 23 September, all elite football in England above the National League has commenced (12 September) as well as other leagues below which are classed as non-elite.

It would appear that, as a league, we have been caught between elite and non-elite, causing serious uncertainty with regards to our 2020/21 fixture programme. As an elite league, we should be mirroring The EFL and Premier League, who commenced on 12 September.

In light of the Government’s latest announcement, we firmly believe that the season should commence on October 3 behind-closed-doors.'


On the other hand Hereford simply want more details.

'We are now waiting for confirmation from the National League as to what plans they have moving forward. As soon as we have more details ourselves, we will inform supporters of the next stage.'  

There is another reason why the clubs take different views. Most Premier clubs are full time, however North and South clubs are part-time and some may have players on contracts that only start when competitive games commence. It's thought Hereford have offered players that kind of contract. 

However even that may prove difficult as the first game for North and South clubs is an FA Cup tie on October 3rd. Clubs would probably have to start paying players from that date even if they wanted to see the season delayed until specators are allowed in.

On top of that the rules are so difficult to follow and to an extent ambigious.

Should Hereford be drawn to play away in the FA Cup against a team from a lower league then specators are likely to be able to watch. If they are drawn to play at Edgar Street then, as matters stand, the tie will be behind closed doors.

It has to be hoped that there will be some clarity coming out of this afternoon's National League Board meeting. Hopefully clubs will agree to an united approach. Divided they may be weaker.

Throwback Thursday | Woking 0-0 Hereford United - FA Cup 3rd Round : 4th January 1992

A superb defensive performance means that Hereford will take Woking back to Edgar Street for a replay.



Hereford Line Up

1 Alan Judge

2 Chris Fry

3 Greg Downs

4 Gavin Nebbeling

5 Steve Devine

6 Nigel Vaughan

7 Derek Hall

8 Shane Jones

9 Peter Heritage

10 Jon Narbett

11 Meshach Wade

Sub David Titterton

Attendance 4,500

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Colchester Chairman 'Astounded' By Government Decision About Spectators

Hereford Supporters At Colchester In December 2008

Colchester United chairman Robbie Cowling has sent an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

BN has reproduced the letter in full as we feel it reflects the views of many clubs.

Dear Boris

I wrote to Colchester United’s local MP, Will Quince, exactly two weeks ago to explain the extraordinary lengths we were going to so that we can get paying supporters back into our stadium.

I provided him with a link, which you can read by clicking here, which is to an article I wrote for our supporters detailing the changes we have made for their safe return. These include changes to:

1. Our ticketing system which we have had to completely revamp.
2. Our seating areas where we have removed 1800 seats just so that we can ensure no fan has to even brush past another unless they are in the same support bubble.
3. The areas that surround our stadium to provide additional space and ensure attendees can move around the stadium whilst complying with the social distancing requirements.

The main reason for that letter to Will Quince was to request that the alcohol restrictions are lifted whilst we are only allowing home supporters into our stadium because we could see how that would increase safety even further.

Therefore, I’m sure you can imagine how devastated I was yesterday to hear that you have taken a broad brush approach which has rendered all of that work in vain and has stopped us from doing the one fundamental thing that all businesses need to do and that is trade.

Whilst working towards the return of our fans, we have totally understood the need for safety and we have taken all of the measures required to ensure our stadium is safe

However, with this one decision you have not only threatened the livelihoods of the staff at Colchester United and the local businesses that rely on our club, and not only those staff and local businesses of every other football club in the EFL, but those of every club across every sport in the UK.

I appreciate you must be very busy and you are having to make very difficult decisions but this was one area where you didn’t need to do a thing because we had it all under control and everything is in place to allow professional clubs to open safely.

As a professional football club, we are compelled to comply with the regulations, guidance and measures of the Sports Ground Safety Authority and we can’t open our stadiums unless a Safety Advisory Group, (SAG), made up of relevant representatives including medical professionals certify us as being safe.

The SAG use their expertise to determine on a club by club basis if our stadiums are fit to open our gates to the public and how many of the public are safe to attend.

This process hasn’t just been introduced during the pandemic, it has been in place for all of the fourteen years that I have owned a football club. It’s the responsible way in which we operate our stadiums at all times.

The SAGs understand the risk that COVID-19 represents and they have detailed knowledge of each and every professional football stadium in the UK.

They can determine at what levels those stadiums can operate safely. There is absolutely no reason for the Government to apply a rule that rides roughshod over the expertise of the SAGs.

It astounds me that a Government that introduces a ‘Whack a Mole’ approach to locking down those areas that represent a higher risk can’t introduce a system that recognises areas where the risk is much lower.

I suggest your Government quickly returns the responsibility for deciding how many attendees I can have at Colchester United fixtures from October to the Safety Advisory Groups because they have experience in these specific matters and know exactly what they are doing.

However, just so I understand it when I’m having to lay off even more staff, can someone explain to me again how I can safely sit in a confined aeroplane with 300 other passengers and I can safely eat inside a restaurant or drink inside a pub until 10pm but I can’t safely attend a football match which is predominately outside and has been certificated as safe by a SAG?

Robbie Cowling – Chairman, Colchester United Football Club

Clarity Needed Says Chester Chairman

Chester FC chairman Andrew Morris has said that clarity is needed about the forthcoming season after plans for spectators to return to watching games were delayed by Government.

There is a meeting of National League Clubs tomorrow. Originally the League said that 'without spectators there is no football'.

"There are a number of chairman at different clubs that have a slightly different and varied view over that," said Morris as reported by CheshireLive.

"The clubs, at our level and the one above, are directly impacted, and there are splits about those who want to continue regardless, without spectators, and those who cannot function without spectators present.

"We very much fall along the lines of we need spectators within our ground for our business model to work. We rely on our matchday income, either directly through supporters coming through the turnstiles, sponsorship, or all of the things that are secondary spend through the bars and the kiosks."

Morris hopes the meeting will provide some clarity.

"If it is a case of, okay there are no fans on October 1, but actually it will be alright by the third week of October, then that is very different from saying there are no spectators in 2020 or no spectators for the rest of the season. We are just waiting for clarity as to where we stand."

Morris said Chester could lose between £200K and £300K this season if all games are played without fans and the club couldn't afford that.

However with live streaming of games and clauses in player's contracts that will reduce costs if the season is affected, Morris hopes costs can be lessened.

He remains very concerned about the future of football.

"I am privileged to be in contact with chairmen at other clubs involved in those conversations. There are clubs that are going to be in serious financial hardship because of this, because they perhaps haven’t prepared in such a way as we have to safeguard their future."

Supporters Vote To Consider Selling Wrexham

A meeting of the Wrexham Supporters Trust took place last night to discuss the possibility of selling the club to two un-named potential investors who are said to be 'extremely well-known individuals of high net worth.'

A vote was taken and around 97% agreed that WST should consider the offer.

'The investors will be permitted to present their vision for Wrexham AFC Limited to the members in writing or by audio visual means,' said a WST spokesman. 

'The WST Board will now proceed with talks, and will update members on the next steps as soon as possible.'

Rumours who these two individuals interested in buying Wrexham might be continue to circulate on social media.

Names include Mark Hughes, businessman Jay Sugerman and former Wolves owner Steve Morgan.

Update 10pm: Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds has been linked with the sale of Wrexham.


Match Report - Hereford 0 Solihull Moors 2

Last night Hereford entertained Solihull Moors in the final home pre-season friendly at Edgar Street. Although the Bulls lost 2-0 there were several positives to take from the game.

Josh Gowling still has a number of players on trial and three of them featured in the first half, one of who was James McQuilken, with several more coming on during the second period. However there was no sign of trialist keeper Rhys Lovett. 

Starting the game for the Bulls were: White in goal, a back four of Hodgkiss (C),  Klukowski, Grimes and Jones. In midfield Trialist, thought to be McQuilken, Coke, Pollock, and Trialist. Up front were Brown and a Trialist.

The behind closed doors game started brightly with Solihull kicking off and Hereford playing towards the Blackfriars End.

Early action saw Brown collect the ball around the halfway line, make 30 yards and pass to a trialist. But Solihull easily cleared the ball to safety.

McQuilken took a free kick into the area but Grimes could not quite get on the end of the ball. At the other end Grimes was on hand to stop some useful work by Solihull.

Pollock, sporting a new blonde hairstyle, was penalised for a rash challenge but the free kick was met by the Hereford midfielder and cleared.

On 10 minutes Solihull had to chance to take the lead. Cranston received the ball on the left and crossed into the area, however striker Beesley fired over.

Six minutes later Brown turned and directed a shot which the keeper pushed away for a corner taken by McQuilken which flew across the face of goal.

Brown was in possession shortly afterwards and was fouled just outside the area on the right. Another free kick taken by McQuilken followed by a corner which landed in the box but Brown could only direct the ball straight towards the keeper.

On 23 minutes Solihull took the lead. The ball fell to Osborne who turned and shot over the top of White. Little the Hereford keeper could do about that one.

Hereford were awarded a free kick when Coke was pushed in the back. McQuilken took it but it was easily cleared.

A mix-up in the Hereford box might have led to a second goal before Coke had a chance but shot wide.

On 43 minutes Solihull doubled their lead. A throw-in eventually found Beesley who headed over White into the back of the net.  A minute later Grimes cut out another Solihull effort before defender Cranston shot inches wide.

Half-time: Hereford 0 Solihull 2

Gowling made three changes bringing on Camwell and two trialists possibly including the player who scored the 35 yard goal for Hereford at Solihull last Saturday.

On 55 minutes Gowling brought on two more trialists and Raison and a few minutes later on came Finn and Owen-Evans.

A trialist was pulled back resulting in a Hereford free kick 30 yards out. But it came to nothing. The Bulls are lacking a striker.

More changes and the game becomes a bit disjointed. A Hereford player was yellow carded after a rash challenge.

A few Solihull changes appeared to lift their performance for ten minutes or so. They won several corners but White was able to deal with everything that came his way.

With five minutes to go Hereford had claims for a penalty when Finn appeared to be brought down in the area but the referee was not interested.

One more chance for the Bulls came from a corner when the ball landed close to the Solihull keeper with a Hereford trialist challenging.

Full-time: Hereford 0 Solihull 2

Overall a reasonable performance by Hereford. In particular the defence Gowling started with looks quite sound. There's a bit more beef out there and of note was one particular trialist who came on at half-time. He merited another look.

In midfield Pollock was busy when on the pitch and Coke looked assured. Trialist McQuilken took most of the corners and free-kicks, many of which were well placed, but he's remains lightweight. Finn and Owen-Evans came on in the second half, both perhaps not quite fit.

It's in attack that Gowling needs more options. John-Lewis didn't play which allowed the manager to give Brown 90 minutes. But he may need to do better to claim a starting place. And no trialist playing alongside Brown stood out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Gowling's reaction to Solihull defeat and fans not being allowed into stadiums

Hereford manager Josh Gowling gave his reaction to his side's 2-0 defeat to Solihull Moors in tonight's behind-closed-doors friendly at Edgar Street.

The Bulls boss also spoke about the government putting on hold the staged return of supporters to elite level grounds.

You can hear what he he had to say here.



Hereford lose to Solihull

Hereford lost 2-0 to Solihull Moors in tonight's behind-closed-doors friendly at Edgar Street.

Both goals were scored in the first half.
 
The first keeper Paul White was unable to do much about, the second looked like a defensive error.

In general tonight Hereford looked quite strong in defence, adequate in midfield but still lacking in front of goal. However striker Lenell John-Lewis didn't feature.

Match report will be posted tomorrow.

Team news for Hereford's home game versus Solihull

Hereford have three trialists in their starting line up for tonight's reverse game against Solihull, with a further seven on the bench. Paul White returns in goal.

White, Hodgkiss, Grimes, Klukowski, Jones, Pollock, Trialist 1, Coke, Trialist 2, Brown, Trialist 3.

Subs: Wright, John-Lewis, Raison, Owen-Evans, Trialist 4, Whitlock, Camwell, Trialist 5, Trialist 6, Finn, Trialists 7-10.

National League Board Meeting On Thursday

The National League is to hold a board meeting on Thursday. Members will discuss the implications of the Government's latest measures.

Before Thursday the League will consult with the clubs.

Meanwhile Chesterfield manager John Croot said he was 'astonished' at the latest measures.

"It was the first I had heard of it and nobody in the club had any idea that bombshell was coming our way.

"We're OK financially for the time being. Speaking to other clubs there are some out there who are weeks away from real issues."

 

Boston 'Suspend' Sale Of Season Tickets

Boston United have suspended the sale of season tickets after news that spectators are unlikely to be able to watch their home games for sometime.

Originally it had been hoped that supporters would be able to watch even if numbers were limited.

"Clearly, we now need to wait and see what happens in light of the Cabinet Office Minister's statement. The sale of season tickets will therefore be suspended," said Boston chairman David Newton.

Boston are moving to a new stadium but it is not yet ready so they are set to play at Gainsborough in the short term.

"We had stated that refunds would not be available if the season did not commence, however that was to cover the scenario where the start of the season was continually delayed and then commenced when the majority of the season costs had been incurred.

"Clearly this is a very difficult time for all clubs as it is now some seven months with very little income and clubs in non-league rely on the income from ticket sales and sponsorship.

"I hope a way forward can be found that not only protects the health of everyone, but also ensures clubs can survive this very difficult period."


 

Planned return of fans halted - What it means for clubs like Hereford

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has confirmed that fans will not be able to return to stadiums from October 1 as the government sets to put more restrictions in place due to the rise in coronavirus cases.

As it stands, Step 2 clubs of the National League System - which includes Hereford - are classed as 'elite' meaning that games can currently only be played behind closed doors. From Step 3 and below, clubs have been playing with fans in attendance with restricted capacities and social distancing rules in place.

The government have been planning to allow fans to return to elite level grounds from October 1, hence why the National League season was set to start from that date, with the first league games taking place after the second qualifying round of the FA Cup.

But speaking on BBC Breakfast earlier, Mr Gove said that plans for staged return of fans will be paused, as well as pilot events that have up to 1,000 fans.

"We were looking at a staged programme of more people returning - it wasn't going to be the case that we were going to have stadiums thronged with fans," he said.

"We're looking at how we can, for the moment, pause that programme, but what we do want to do is to make sure that, as and when circumstances allow, get more people back.

"The virus is less likely to spread outdoors than indoors but again it's in the nature of major sporting events that there's a lot of mingling."

Merthyr Town - who play at step three - have already asked the Southern League to suspend their season due to the restrictions that they have to operate under in Wales. Likewise, Guernsey have pulled out of the Isthmian League.

The National League have already told clubs that the season cannot go ahead without fans, so when it will now start remains unclear. And even if the season does eventually get the go ahead, you have to take into account the winter months and how the weather notoriously decimates the sporting calendar.

More than 100 sports bodies have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask for emergency funding, warning of a 'lost generation of activity' because of the pandemic. 

In the letter, the group urges the government to provide a 'sports recovery fund' so the sector can 'survive and stabilise'.

Some sort of funding will surely have to be provided, otherwise a lot of clubs will struggle to survive in the current climate. 


Watch Hereford Tonight Via Live Video

A quick reminder that supporters can 'watch' tonight's behind closed doors friendly between Hereford and Solihull Moors.

Coverage starts at 7.20pm and a match pass can by purchased here:

https://page.inplayer.com/hereford-fc/

More Behind Closed Doors Games For Hereford?

Tonight's friendly between Hereford and Solihull is being held behind closed doors. But, as matters stood early this morning, the next game at Edgar Street which is not due to take place until next month was set to have a limited number of spectators.

Later this morning Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to reveal changes to the current Covid-19 restrictions which may include measurers such as a 10pm pub shutdown.

Whilst that in itself wouldn't affect Hereford FC, he might also announce that the plans to allow limited numbers of spectators back into games may be put on hold.

If that happens, the financial consequences for clubs like Hereford would be substantial.

The news that the majority of Leyton Orient's squad have tested positive for Coronavirus won't help football's case. Orient play in League Two and don't have to regularily test players. However they were set to play Spurs this evening in the Carabao Cup and their opponents were so concerned about Coronavirus that they paid for Orient's players to be tested. 

The results are worrying. More than ten of the squad tested positive and it's expected tonight's game will be postponed.

That news will have filtered through to Government. 

And Michael Gove hinted in an interview this morning that the ban on spectators may continue.

“It was the case that we were looking at a staged programme of more people returning, it wasn’t going to be case that we would have stadiums thronged with fans, we’re looking for the moment at how we can pause that programme – but as and when circumstances allow we want to get more people back.”


 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Darlington Team Up With CJP To Stream Games

Darlington FC have teamed up with Ross on Wye based CJP Broadcast Solutions to 'stream' all their home games this season.

CJP will supply the club with a Streamstar X4 Live Production Studio which they will use for their 'Quakers TV' channel.

CJP is the company who recently streamed the friendly between Hereford and Newport.

"With all the uncertainty about attendances this coming season we knew we wanted to make sure we could provide a streaming service for our fans who might be shielding or unable to attend due to restrictions," said Stuart Armstrong who commentates on Darlo Fans Radio. 

"As well as that, we know from our work on DFR that we have lots of listeners already from all around the world who tune in religiously to keep up with the team and be part of the Darlo community through the chat rooms we have." 

The price for each game will be £7.99 or £125.99 for a 'season ticket'.

National League won't start without fans

It is being reported that the National League have told clubs that the season will not start without supporters.

The campaign is set to start on October 3 with the second qualifying round of the FA Cup, with the league season commencing three days later.

However, with coronavirus cases rising, there are fears that supporters may not be able to watch games at elite level from October as initially planned.

The Prime Minister is set to address the nation tomorrow where it is understood that new measures/restrictions may be made. What impact that has on sport is unclear at this stage.

FA Cup draw on Friday

It is understood that the draw for the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Cup will be at 1pm on Friday.

Hereford, along with the other National League North and South clubs, enter the competition at this stage.

The first qualifying round is taking place this week. 

Merthyr Ask To 'Suspend' Season

Merthyr FC have asked the Southern League if they can 'suspend' their season with immediate effect.

The request has been put in after Merthyr became the only Step Three club which can not allow spectators to home games. 

The situation at Merthyr is interesting in that it's the Welsh Assembly restrictions that are affecting the club. 

Should the club play their home games behind closed doors they could run out of playing budget money by the end of November

Here's their statement:

After significant debate and soul searching the Board Members ‪on Wednesday evening, concluded that due to the rise in cases in Wales caused by COVID-19, the current local lockdowns in place in neighbouring Caerphilly CBC and RCT, the fact that Merthyr and Newport are included on the ‘watch list’ of the Welsh Assembly Government, the level of testing that had been taking place in Merthyr last week, plus the Assembly's current restrictions that prevent any fans attending our home games, the Board extremely reluctantly decided to submit a request to the Southern League that our 2020/21 season is 'suspended' with immediate effect.

The initial outcome of the Board meeting was to request additional time to fully consult with our members. However, when we were advised on Thursday that the procedure would prevent this as the season was about to start, we were left with no choice but to start the process which is the last thing the Board wanted to do given the importance of the situation we now find ourselves in.

We anticipate that the restrictions regarding the blanket ban on allowing supporters into grounds in Wales are unlikely to be relaxed in the near future and that the next step taken will possibly be to actually increase the restrictions on gatherings which may not be lifted for a number weeks, even possibly months.

We are currently in a unique position out of the 88 Clubs at Step 3, as the only one that is prevented from playing home games in front of our own fans. The National Game Board has consistently stated that it would not be possible to start the season at Step 3 and below playing behind closed doors, but that’s exactly the position that we now find ourselves facing for an indefinite period.

To mitigate against all of the above the Board considered the following options:

Option One - We take our games across the border to play in England. Costs increase due to ground sharing and we lose significant match-day revenue including bar, catering, hospitality boxes, Match and ball sponsor, sale of Club merchandise and car parking income.

Option Two - We start the season playing behind closed doors. There is no match-day income generated that our business model needs, our anticipated and current financial reserves that we have already ‘ring-fenced’ to pay the playing budget would run out in late November with no fans in the ground. This would put the Club in a position where we would inevitably be eventually trading insolvently and we could not allow that to happen.

Option Three – We request that our season is ‘suspended’ subject to an agreement that we retain our place in the Southern League Premier Division. There is already precedent for this course of action with Guernsey and the Isle of Man being allowed to ‘hibernate’ for a season. In order to achieve any chance of obtaining approval the request had to be made on the Friday morning, to ensure that all of the necessary steps could be taken.

We have been advised that the National Game Board will not penalise any Clubs due to the pandemic and we would also be able to retain our place in next seasons FA Cup, due to the unprecedented circumstances that we currently face.

The Board fully appreciated the fact that it was an extremely difficult situation to request a suspension from the league on the very eve of the season, but we were advised that this option would not have been open to us if we had actually started the season.

Given the pressing timescales, the Board unfortunately had insufficient time to consult with all owners. However, on Thursday Board members carried out a representative sample telephone survey of the members whose contact details we had, in order to canvas a consensus of opinions. This resulted in a poll with 77% favouring suspension as the least-worse option.

The Board did consider releasing a holding statement, however, it was felt that this full factual statement would be preferable to the membership.

This suspension only involves the 'football side' of the Club and all of the community elements including hire of the 3G pitch and the hospitality section will continue to operate as normal.

We will also have to forfeit the FA Cup tie against Poole on Tuesday.

In closing, the Board would like to reiterate just how difficult it was making this decision in these unprecedented times. The Board’s intention was to only act with best interests in terms of the preservation and long-term viability of the Club.

 

Highlights From Friendly At Solihull

The highlights from last Saturday's pre-season friendly at Solihull are now available to watch.

Go to: https://www.herefordfc.co.uk/highlights-solihull-0-1-hereford/

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Hereford Start FA Cup Campaign On October 3rd

Hereford FC enter the FA Cup on Saturday October 3rd. Their first tie is in the Second Round Qualifying.

The First Round Qualifying is currently taking place with ties set to be played tomorrow and Tuesday evening. 

The draw for the Second Round Qualifying takes place on Wednesday.

Whether any spectators will be able to watch whoever Hereford are drawn against remains to be seen.