Next Game: Pre-Season Friendly - Melksham Town Away on Saturday 7th July

Friday, April 20, 2018

Three Down - Two To Go


Gomez the Mexican Cat believes that Hereford are getting closer to where they belong.

After what seems to have been the longest of seasons, we are getting up to closer where we belong. We have truly left the legacy of the season that never was behind us with promotion from the Southern League and we are now into what I consider to be the semi professional level. Firstly a huge thanks to Peter Beadle and all his staff and the players for another great season; they have worked incredibly hard to give us the success we have enjoyed. How fitting that Rob Purdie scored the goal that finally got us over the line. One of my favourite players for Hereford, both United and FC, he will be hugely missed, he is one of our true all-time legends. Who can forget that magical goal at Wembley – thanks Rob.

This season has been my busiest ever – by the time we have finished I’ll have attended 40 games, more away than home, and I for one am looking forward to a break. It has been a bit relentless, Saturday after Saturday and often mid-week I had no excuse to miss with grounds within easy reach of London and even those more distant like Fleetwood and King’s Lynn just had to be got to. I’d like to record thanks for the various lifts I’ve had over the season, the one back from King’s Lynn in particular was a god-send!

There have been some memorable moments on the way: best pre match meal (perhaps ever) was the fish and chips at Fleetwood, I’d honestly go back there just for that; most surreal sight was getting on a bus to go the ground at Basingstoke and following a gritting lorry, laying grit, at 2.30 in the afternoon half way through March (that should have been a sign that it was going to be a long miserable afternoon); seeing dogs in grounds, the spaniels at Royston were particularly cute (we won’t get that in the football league); three dreaded rail replacement bus services to endure (the most memorable was that from Worcester Shrub Hill to Hereford with a driver who didn’t know the way and as we turned in the wrong direction at Ledbury, the whole bus shouted at him); and the experience of doing two post-match reports for Bulls News (they were desperate).

We’ve scored, and conceded, some last minute goals, the one at King’s Lynn was particularly disappointing, but for those who had remained in the ground, the result at Slough was a real bonus (the lesson there is you NEVER leave before the final whistle) and it is those last minute goals that have got us over the line against some really good teams. King’s Lynn and Slough stand out but over the season we’ve had to battle some dogged opposition with recent games against Bishops Stortford and Biggleswade showing us there are no easy victories. There have been some very long games as well – at Eastleigh an additional 14 minutes due to the injury to Preen and at Slough with the referee having to go off, much to the consternation of Slough who were heard querying “where did that come from” over the tannoy! We’ve had out downside as well, the flares at Farnborough could have cost us dear and the club has rightly stepped up to deal with those misguided enough to throw them.
Of course the next thing to be decided is north or south? As a London based Bull, I’d prefer south, but not just for the more selfish reason of ease of travel. The National League North is littered with former league sides like us - Kidderminster, York, Stockport and Chester. While that would make for some cracking matches, the distances to be travelled and the competition level would be harder. I am not saying for one minute that National League South will be easy, we beat Oxford City but Wealdstone had done their work against us and we can expect some tough games ahead. The other advantage of yet another promotion is the lessening of what I’d call the “cup final factor”. Since we rose from the ashes we have become virtually everyone’s top game of the season, both home and away. While we have risen to the occasion, at times it has made life difficult, and to be more evenly matched will hopefully lead to more entertaining games as teams don’t feel the need to put 11 men
behind the ball and just frustrate us in the hope of getting something out of the game. With the rise to a more professional level of football will come other restrictions such as no-smoking within grounds for instance (which for a non-smoker would be hugely welcomed) and certainly a lot more segregation which is a shame, but I guess that is the way of things. No doubt Peter Beadle is already sorting out the squad requirements for next season, his tenure has been marked by his ruthlessness to get the right people for the team to match the requirements of the league we are in, I am sure that will not change and for that we should be grateful because it is what is the best needs of the club that counts.

So for now, let’s enjoy what is left of this season, three “free” games when we can celebrate all we have achieved and look to the future. We are on our way …