Exiled Bull compares his two footballing loves:
You need to see just how good football can be to really appreciate just how grim watching Bull watching has become. As I explain (ad infinitum) I actively watch two teams and the contrast couldn’t be greater. According to the League table as of Saturday night I support both the best and worst teams in the Midlands.
In midweek I saw an Albion reserve team side rip apart a strong-ish Man City side. WBA had loaned four first team experienced players out yet their second string still included eight current internationals. Fast attacking wing play, exquisite passing from the back, leadership from the middle and a proper centre forward. 6-1 would have fairly reflected the play. And next was Edgar Street. You don’t need me to start listing the problems – you either saw them for yourself or knew what was coming and stayed away.
One of the worse factors for me was the apathy. You’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’ . Five home games with one goal and no wins would provoke apoplexy elsewhere. On Saturday there was largely resigned acceptance. There is nothing worse than apathy for a football club. The "I’ve got enough problems of my own so I don’t want to pay to share somebody elses" argument. Its corrosive – without passion a football club is finished.
Admittedly the team is almost beyond criticism with all the satisfaction of stealing sweets from kids. All too easy and there’s nothing to fight back with. Reminds me of the years when the Dingles (Wolves) were in the Fourth Division, a club I’ve always had a healthy dislike for. They’d fallen so low they were no threat to anyone – except themselves. Hereford United – only a threat to themselves. Sad.
The current situation begs the question – what does loyalty at Edgar Street mean? It’s hard to have any empathy with a playing staff which largely changes every year and doesn’t have locals as first team regulars. As the only professional club in the county, community activity is vital. The players and owners should be out and about all the time building bridges and rapport. Admittedly I’m an exile but I don’t see enough ongoing evidence of such activity.
The main finger pointing is aimed at the manager. He hasn’t admittedly covered himself in glory. It was always a hard act to replace Graham Turner (who appears to have left his office in Blackfriars as a permanent reminder). Is it realistic to talk about sacking a man after 9 games? Were it to be suggested at any other club, we’d question the sanity of their supporters. To be practical unless Davey resigns, we’d have to pay him off which would severely limit options for new players for his replacement. We do like a scapegoat in this country yet with new owners, new manager and (mainly) new players it’s hard to fairly argue that any of them have had enough time to make a difference.
The big fear remains relegation to the Conference. Why is this? We know the Conference and what’s so great about the lower ranks of the League anyway? We’ve tried it out thoroughly and generally speaking it’s not much fun. Four of the five seasons to date were often grim and the fifth felt like never never land. It was too – there was no long term future in winning matches 1-0 with loanees. Go on, think about it.
Are Hereford’s League players more talented than their Conference counterparts? No – if anything they’re worse. There is no modern equivalent to Gav, Paz and Tam.
More interesting opposition? Come on – are Rotherham, Gillingham, Southend etc THAT fascinating?
Better facilities? Hardly. Although the new temporary seats look surprisingly permanent the reality is that the ground is becoming increasingly senile.
More local matches? Not really with Kiddy, the Gumps and now Newport County in the Conference.
A chance to see all United’s goals on TV? Yeah right.
I think Hereford just may be better off as a slightly bigger fish in a smaller pond. The ways things are going, we may not have a choice. In the short term I will be re-thinking my regular attendances at matches. The temptation to see more of the Best and less of the Worst is overwhelming.