|Graham Rivers - Picture From Ron Parrott|
Friday, April 07, 2017
By Organic Bull
“Like a stick of rock, Graham had “Hereford United” running through his veins. He had been a lifelong supporter and followed in the footsteps of his uncle Bill Bryan, who was a club supporter for over 50 years, a fund-raiser extraordinaire and a life-member of the Vice-Presidents’ Club. It was Bill who helped to nurture young Graham’s passion for the Club during his formative years.
A self-made businessman, Graham was owner and chairman of two companies in Hereford, Central Components and Hereford Engineering, both of which grew into major companies since he founded them in 1969. Graham was also a founder member and vice-chairman of the Hereford United Grandstand Fund committee that raised over £30,000 ( a staggering £426,000 in today’s terms!) to help fund the building of the Len Weston stand. Graham was also an original member when the Vice-Presidents’ Club was formed under the chairmanship of John Jackson in 1970. Never afraid of hard work, he duly became chairman for two seasons, including the season when United won the old Third Division championship, until pressure of work finally forced his resignation.
A fanatical follower of the team’s fortunes, he set a fantastic example to others and in seven seasons between 1970 and 1977, he only ever missed two league games, home and away and was undoubtedly the Club’s greatest fan! In the little spare time that Graham ever had, he was also an enthusiastic member of the Hereford Lions’ fund raising committee, of which he was chairman for two years and he also served as the organisation’s publicity officer.
Graham finally fulfilled his ambition when he was co-opted onto United’s Board of Directors in July 1979 and like everything else in his life, he threw himself wholeheartedly into his new role and was an immediate success, quickly earning the respect of his fellow directors and supporters alike. He remained a director for the next nine years and successfully oversaw several major projects before pressures of work finally brought about his resignation at the end of the 1987/88 season.
Until Graham’s ill health prevented him from attending Edgar Street, he remained a member of the Vice Presidents’ club and rarely missed a match, along with his wife Beryl. From a personal point of view, I loved talking to Graham because he always had a strong view on whatever football topic you discussed and although not always agreeing with him, I always respected his view. Graham was popular with everyone at the club and will be sadly missed by all.”