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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 Predictions League is 'len weston's last stand', and 'bully' wins the April league. Well done to both; could you please email, 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.

Bulls crash in late goal flurry

Hereford United 2 - 4 Doncaster Rovers

A late goal flurry saw Hereford United crash in their final league match of the season as Doncaster Rovers won 4-2, but still finish 6th in the Nationwide Conference, equalling their highest-ever final position.

With John Grant and Ian Wright absent, Hereford started brightly and Albano Correia, Steve Guinan and Richard Teesdale all failed to hit the target by inches. At the other end, a superb low save by Matt Baker kept Paul Barnes at bay when he shot from an acute angle, but it was United who drew first blood. A Danny Williams free-kick twenty five yards from goal found its way past Andy Warrington and into the Doncaster net with seven minutes of the first half remaining.

After the restart, Baker was forced to push a John Doolan effort over his crossbar and Paul Barnes fired across goal and narrowly wide of the far post as Rovers looked for an equaliser, which eventually came on sixty-two minutes. A cross from the left from Chris Beech saw Andy Watson scramble the ball into the net after it had gone over Baker's head.

With the scores level, a flurry of goals in the last fifteen minutes saw Albano Correia first put Hereford back into the lead, when he finished off a good move involving Paul Parry, Rob Purdie and Danny Williams, but two minutes later substitute Greg Blundell and Paul Barnes linked for Tristan Whitman fired home to level.

Karl Hawley then his the upright in the dying minutes, before Barnes put Doncaster ahead when he fired home from ten yards out after beating a couple of United defenders, and Blundell notched his first for Rovers when he fed in from the right, and then hit a low ball past Baker and in off the far post.

Doncaster benefactor John Ryan entered the arena in added time to a varied response from the crowd, but failed to make an impact in the dying minutes.

Written by Terry Goodwin - 26th April 2003.
Hereford United Doncaster Rovers
Matt Baker Andy Warrington
Matt Clarke Simon Marples
Michael Rose Steve Foster
Richard Teesdale (off, 70 minutes) Tim Ryan
Tony James (captain) Chris Beech
Paul Parry Francis Tierney (off, 71 minutes)
Jamie Pitman (off, 66 minutes) Ricky Ravenhill
Albano Correia Andy Watson
Ben Smith John Doolan (off, 75 minutes)
Steve Guinan (off, 80 minutes) Tristan Whitman
Danny Williams Paul Barnes (captain, off, 90 minutes)
Subs Subs
Rob Sawyers David Morley
Ken Griffiths Stuart Nelson
Andy Tretton (on, 70 minutes) John Ryan (on, 90 minutes)
Karl Hawley (on, 80 minutes) Greg Blundell (on, 71 minutes)
Rob Purdie (on, 66 minutes) Jason Blunt (on, 75 minutes)
Yellow cards Yellow cards
Steve Guinan (foul, 30 minutes) Francis Tierney (foul, 31 minutes)
Albano Correia (dissent, 45 minutes)
Red cards Red cards
- -
Scorers Scorers
Danny Williams (38 minutes) Andy Watson (62 minutes)
Albano Correia (76 minutes) Tristan Whitmman (78 minutes)
Paul Barnes (85 minutes)
Greg Blundell (88 minutes)
Man of the Match Danny Williams
Attendance 2499
Referee Mr. S. Brand (The Wirral) - The Independent Hereford United Online Resource © Terry Goodwin since 1999

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. 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 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.
Cool Correia puts Southport in danger
Southport 1 - 2 Hereford United
A late Albano Correia strike put Southport in grave danger of relegation after Hereford United collected the points with a 2-1 victory at Haig Avenue.

Missing Paul Parry, Andy Tretton and Matt Clarke, Graham Turner's men earned their first away victory for over two months thanks to substitute Correia, whose surging run on the right channel allowed him to beat off the challenge of a defender, cut inside and strike from an acute angle. The ball hit the crossbar, bounced down onto the far post and then into the back of the net.

Hereford, though, had Matt Baker to thank for their victory too, after keeping them in the match on several occasions. His point-blank save from Steve Soley on twenty-one minutes ensured the scores remained level, and three minutes later a dipping from Lee Ashcroft in the right channel was pushed over the crossbar by a back-tracking Baker.

Karl Hawley, though, should have opened the scoring in the second minute, but his shot was pushed away by Sandgrounders stopper Steve Dickinson, and Steve Guinan's effort in added time at the end of the half went narrowly wide of the target as the game looked to have 'draw' written all over it.

Just eight minutes after the restart, though, the deadlock was broken. Ben Smith's ball from the halfway line found John Grant in the right channel, and he played Danny Williams in, who ran onto the ball and fired home from twelve yards to put Hereford ahead. On the hour, though, Southport substitute Dean Howell released Steve Pickford who slid a low ball past Baker to level proceedings.

As the game went on, both sides looked for the winner and only an excellent punch by Baker with twelve minutes to go kept another Pickford effort at bay, while Howell missed the target by inches with five minutes remaining. The Bulls lost skipper Ian Wright with a head injury, and Rob Purdie replaced him, but it was Albano Correia, on as a substitute for Karl Hawley, who ensured Hereford travelled home with a win.

The crowd of 1,103, including about 150 from Hereford, almost saw Lee Ashcroft equalise in added time, but his effort from twelve yards out was well saved by star man Baker.
Written by Terry Goodwin - 21st April 2003.
Southport Hereford United
Steve Dickinson Matt Baker
Chris Lane Richard Teesdale
Martin Clark Michael Rose
Barry Jones (captain) Tony James
Neil Moore Ian Wright (captain, off, 84 minutes)
Andy Scott Ben Smith
Liam McGuire Jamie Pitman
Steve Pickford Steve Guinan
Steve Soley John Grant
Lee Ashcroft Karl Hawley (off, 73 minutes)
Steve Jones (off, half time) Danny Williams
Subs Subs
Dean Howell (on, half time) Rob Sawyers
Ian Nolan Ken Griffiths
Tom Lamb Rob Purdie (on, 84 minutes)
Paul Wheatcroft Albano Correia (on, 73 minutes)
Kieran Charnock Richard O'Kelly
Yellow cards Yellow cards
Laim McGuire (foul, 83 minutes) Steve Guinan (foul, 45 minutes)
Lee Ashcroft (unsporting behaviour, 88 minutes) Karl Hawley (dissent, 56 minutes)
  Ian Wright (unsporting behaviour, 79 minutes)
Red cards Red cards
- -
Scorers Scorers
Steve Pickford (59 minutes) Danny Williams (53 minutes)
  Albano Correia (87 minutes)
Man of the Match Matt Baker
Attendance 1103
Referee Mr. M. Atkinson (Leeds)

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Two to go!

There are just two games to go in the 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.
United slump to second defeat
Hereford United 0 - 1 Leigh RMI
In a disappointing end-of-season encounter, Hereford United lost out to their second consecutive single goal defeat as Leigh RMI eased their relegation worries.

Graham Turner missed three of his regular first-teamers, with Paul Parry and Andy Tretton joined on the sidelines by Ben Smith, who had an upset stomach. Missing Parry appeared to be the biggest hinderance, as Hereford failed to utilise the wings sufficiently to break down the Lancastrians, whose twenty-four travelling fans will be delighted with their victory.

The game's only goal came seven minutes before the break, when a Phil Salt shot from the Leigh left channel sailed over Matt Baker and into the far corner of the net. It was a superb ball from outside the box, and came after United had wasted several chances. Steve Guinan fired wide of the far post early on, and on the half hour a John Grant shot was saved well by RMI stopper Stuart Coburn after Danny Williams had charged into the box.

Having gone behind, Hereford looked as if they might scramble a goal back before the break when Jamie Pitman fired over from the edge of the box, and in added time a Steve Guinan shot from eight yards out was pushed away by Coburn. The ball stood loose in the area, but nobody could pounce and a defender hooked the ball to safety.

After the restart, Neil Campbell tried his luck as Leigh looked to extend their advantage, but his close-range effort was charged down. He then had the ball in the back of the net, latching onto a Phil Salt ball, but it was ruled out for offside. At the other end, John Grant's far post header found the top of the net instead of the back of it, and Karl Hawley and Steve Guinan both wasted chances.

Late on, Karl Hawley had a goal disallowed for a foul and in added time, John Grant's effort from the edge of the box missed the target by yards as United fell to a sorry defeat.
Written by Terry Goodwin - 19th April 2003.
Hereford United Leigh RMI
Matt Baker Stuart Coburn
Matt Clarke (off, 78 minutes) Neil Durkin
Michael Rose Ian Pendlebury (off, 53 minutes)
Ian Wright (captain) Mark Ford
Tony James Ian Monk
Rob Purdie (off, 69 minutes) Neil Campbell
Jamie Pitman Neil Prince (off, 89 minutes)
Karl Hawley Wayne Maden
John Grant Gerry Harrison (captain)
Steve Guinan Phil Salt
Danny Williams Neil Fitzhenry
Subs Subs
Rob Sawyers Ged Kielty
Ken Griffiths Andy Heald (on, 89 minutes)
Richard Teesdale (on, 78 minutes) Keith Scott
Albano Correia (on, 69 minutes) Guy Hefferan (on, 53 minutes)
Richard O'Kelly Ged Courtney
Yellow cards Yellow cards
Ian Wright (foul, 32 minutes) Wayne Maden (foul, 29 minutes)
Michael Rose (foul, 59 minutes) Phil Salt (unsporting behaviour, 33 minutes)
  Neil Campbell (unsporting behaviour, 81 minutes)
Red cards Red cards
- -
Scorers Scorers
- Phil Salt (39 minutes)
Man of the Match Not awarded
Attendance 1690
Referee Mr. R. Lewis (Shrewsbury)

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." 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 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.
Quailey kills United's play-off hopes
Halifax Town 1 - 0 Hereford United
Hereford United's play-off dream is now over after Halifax Town won 1-0 in today's game at the Shay.

The Bulls lie a clear ten points behind fifth-placed Chester City, which is an insurmountable deficit, and this was despite throwing everythnig forward in the second half in search of an equaliser to keep their hopes of the promotion play-off spot alive.

Missing Paul Parry with an ankle injury, United boss Graham Turner drafted Rob Sawyers into midfield as Tony James and Jamie Pitman had to settle for places on the bench, but it was Halifax who dominated the opening period. Hereford only really tested Town goalkeeper Lee Butler on one occasion, when a Karl Hawley shot was tipped around the post from twenty-five yards out.

At the other end, Matt Baker was had a busy first half. Andy Farrell struck the bar from an acute angle on twelve minutes, and the next Halifax attack saw the ball in the back of the net, only to be disallowed by the linesman for offside. The Bulls' fragile defence was further hit when Andy Tretton was stretchered off with an ankle knock on sixteen minutes, and Tony James made a premature return from his injury to fill-in alongside Ian Wright.

With six minutes of the half remaining, Halifax notched the only goal of the game. Andy Farrell provided a low pass from the right for Phil Clarkson to strike and Brian Quailey to turn in at the far post, leaving Baker helpless.

Graham Turner made a double substitution at the break, with ineffective attacker Albano Correia and midfielder Rob Sawyers removed for John Grant and Jamie Pitman respectively. The move appeared to pay dividends as United were on-top for the second period, with Ian Wright having a header cleared off the line minutes after the restart and Butler was forced to tip a Ben Smith header around the post with eighteen minutes remaining.

Matt Clarke could have snatched an equaliser in the last ten minutes but he failed to connect onto a low ball from the left, and at the other end Baker tipped over a Brian Quailey effort just before the hour mark before Halifax substitute Ian Fitzpatrick somehow managed to fire a close-range shot wide in injury time which would have confirmed the victory.
Written by Terry Goodwin - 12th April 2003.
Halifax Town Hereford United
Lee Butler Matt Baker
Alastair Asher Matt Clarke
Neil Grayston Michael Rose
Shaun Garnett (captain) Andy Tretton (off, 16 minutes)
Adam Quinn Ian Wright (captain)
Steve Bushell Ben Smith
Phil Clarkson Rob Sawyers (off, half time)
Craig Midgley (off, 86 minutes) Steve Guinan
Andy Farrell Albano Correia (off, half time)
Neil Tolson (off, 53 minutes) Karl Hawley
Brian Quailey (off, 76 minutes) Rob Purdie
Subs Subs
Sean McAuley (on, 86 minutes) Tony James (on, 16 minutes)
Tom Morgan Ken Griffiths
Ian Fitzpatrick (on, 76 minutes) John Grant (on, half time)
Simon Parke (on, 53 minutes) Jamie Pitman (on, half time)
Mark Monington Danny Williams
Yellow cards Yellow cards
Adam Quinn (foul, 18 minutes) Matt Clarke (unsporting behaviour, 44 minutes)
Simon Parke (foul, 72 minutes) Tony James (foul, 58 minutes)
Red cards Red cards
- -
Scorers Scorers
Brian Quailey (39 minutes) -
Man of the Match Matt Clarke
Attendance 1299
Referee Mr. R. Booth (Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire)

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."