Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Second Club is Hereford

Various commentators will mention Hereford United over the next few days even if they are not their first club. Frank Keating, who writes for the Guardian, is one.

A fan is lumbered for life with one club. Neither devotion (nor exasperation) can ever waver. But you are allowed to watch out for a few other fond family favourites and, in my case, anxiety about Fulham has been calmed a tad by Hereford's nervelessly assured march into League One. Graham Turner's exemplary long stewardship at Edgar Street is almost knighthood-deserving.

Half a century ago, I cut my teeth reporting for the Hereford Times on the Bulls' away matches in the old Southern League. Home games were covered by the sports editor, crabby old-timer "Polly" Parrot, who had a spittoon beside his desk and would stamp his gammy leg in a self-harm fury every time I forgot the three semi-colons dividing the primeval 2-4-5 team formations, and when I invented the post-match loser's phrase "sick as a parrot" he'd violently excise it from my copy before hobbling to the editor's room again to demand my sacking.