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Wednesday, July 08, 2020

From The Archives - Turner's Back In Charge

For today's archive article BN looks back to July 8th 2002. Hereford United manager Graham Turner was back on the field after a period 'upstairs'.

GRAHAM Turner is delighted to have taken one step outside the boardroom as he looks to revive the fortunes of Hereford United, writes BBC Online's Pete Oliver.

Turner is back in charge of first-team affairs at Edgar Street after a spell "upstairs" as the club's chairman. And while the vastly experienced former Aston Villa, Wolves and Shrewsbury boss will still have to wear that hat as well, he admits that back in the dug-out is where he wants to be.

Speaking to Oliver, Turner said: "I've always been a football man and I've not totally enjoyed the other roles, although I've got to continue with them for the time being. I've certainly enjoyed the start of pre-season training."

Turner moved in at Hereford as the club's director of football in August 1995. He couldn't stop them tumbling out of the League following last-day heartbreak against Brighton two years later. Since then, the Bulls have struggled to make a significant impact in the Nationwide Conference amid a background of financial problems.

"All the clubs that have come down and been in financial difficulties is because of their time as League clubs. There are debts we've brought down with us. We've all been the same," Turner added.

Those problems haven't gone away with a £1m debt due to be paid to a property development company next May.

"We've got 10 months of concern," admitted the manager/chairman, who had relinquished the former role to try and stabilise the club off the field. But at least Hereford are starting to look ahead with positive intent and since replacing Phil Robinson at the helm again Turner has signed five new players.

Andrew Tretton, John Grant, Ben Smith, Michael Rose and Jamie Pitman have been added to the remnants of last season's squad. That gives Turner 11 players with another "six or seven" due in before the season starts.

He said: "There's been a big turn-around. We flirted with relegation last season and supporters sometimes want to see some new faces.

"We felt it was appropriate, and finances played a part in it too. It's nice to see some new faces around the place. People can get stale in the same environment. We certainly want to make sure we're not down there again, if at all possible.

"That's led to one or two changes and we're looking forward to the new season."

Turner is too long in the tooth to make any rash predictions about the coming campaign. But like Chester, Scarborough, Doncaster and Halifax there's only one thing that Hereford want.

"We want to return to the League - that's the aim of us all," said Turner. "Having two places for promotion makes a difference for everyone.

"You hope, but there are some very strong sides in the Conference, who are well organised clubs. We know what we are competing against and there are probably eight or 10 who are seriously expecting to maintain a challenge."