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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Alvechurch and the Arch


Hereford fan and university history graduate Spencer Preece has written a short piece on his blog (link) about the Bulls' inaugural season.

Joel Edwards doing his let's all have a disco chant
Pictures from Bulls News
Well, what a year this has been. By now, the story about the demise of Hereford United has been well documented (including by myself in a couple of articles on here) and for many, the events of this season have not came as a surprise.

On the pitch, we’ve been treated to some absolutely brilliant football. You can attribute this to the opposition and Hereford’s superior resources but we really have seen some excellent stuff, with much of it happening on less than excellent pitches. The student from Sierra Leone, Mustapha Bundu has been brilliant and I’ve no doubt that he’ll play at a far higher level, once his student visa restrictions are lifted. 

Mustapha Bundu and Sirdic Grant with the County Challenge Cup
It is he and 50+ goal hitman John Mills who often get the plaudits but special mention has to be given to Herefordian and ex-Hereford United left back, and our captain this season, Joel Edwards, who has amazing throughout. 

Also deserving of special mentions are: our hero from our 2006 Conference final, Ryan Green, who also has been magnificent since he returned to the Whites, midfield dynamo Pablo Haysham and Cheltenham loanee Adam Page, who sadly got injured, but would doubtlessly be welcomed back with open arms next season, particularly after he appeared at various games since his injury and his loan expired. He was in our end and was as buzzing as anyone when we reached the Vase final and for a Robin, he’s a good ‘un. 

Adam Page in action for Hereford against Quorn in October
The connection with the supporters this season has been amazing and it is clear that the lads actually appreciate those who traipse across the country to cheer them on. As for that Vase final, credit to Morpeth and that’s all I’m going to say about that…

Off the pitch, people have continued to flock to Edgar Street in their droves, with the turnouts being phenomenal. with league and Vase attendances never dipping below the 2,000 mark and reaching highs of 4,000+ on four occasions. 

Away from home, the support and vocal support has been magnificent, with hundreds of Herefordians following the lads around the Midlands. Credit has to be given to the hundreds who made trips such as the one to Long Eaton on a Thursday evening. As for the away games I’ve been to, I can say that with the utmost respect, I’d never heard of Heanor, Hartley Wintney and Rocester, but going to these new places and experiencing them is something that will live long in the memory, no matter how high we climb in the coming years. 

Salisbury away was something special and we could have sold that away section out over and over again and the chaos that ensued in our end shall never be forgotten. What has also been refreshing, is the amount of new support and a renewed interest that was unseen for several of the final years as Hereford United. 

Particularly pleasing is the fact that so many of the supporters are younger, choosing to idolise Haysham instead of Hazard and Oates instead of Ozil. This in part has been down to the club’s inclusive price structure, so thanks must be given to Jon Hale and the rest of the board for their shrewdness in that regard. 

From left-right: Mike Langford, Jon Hale and Chris Williams
Obviously the club and board has its detractors, but I think they have been excellent this season and they certainly aren’t creating headlines like the Agombar and Lonsdale regime. 

Hopefully the support levels can continue next season, when the team will find it more difficult and hopefully at least some of the newcomers, in the crowd 20,000 strong Hereford section at Wembley, will be following the Whites next season.
The Hereford section of Wembley filling up prior to kick off
I must say that as an exile because of university, missing most of the inaugural season and such a successful one, has been less than brilliant! Kudos has to be given to the lads who have been creating video highlights packages all season and the fellas who have been commentating on games both home and away. 

It is one element of modern football that I’m certainly thankful for, because I’ve only managed to get to eight (and a half) games at home and seven games away from home. Oh, and Wembley, of course. It’s been torturous at times but getting to see highlights within a few moments of them happening and having live commentary has been a godsend.

So, after a fierce battle with serial penalty-missers Alvechurch, we finally secured the Midland League title and the Midland League Cup, as well as the Herefordshire County Cup and a day out at Wembley. It’s been relieving and pleasing to be able to just enjoy the football and enjoy our city once again having a team to represent us and to go watch at Edgar Street. 

I think I speak for the city of Hereford and the county of Herefordshire when I say I’m so proud of my football club. It’s been an amazing year and to quote the song that echoes around every ground we visit, we’re on our way!