Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Why no offer for Parry?

Despite several weeks of speculation there does not appear to have been a definite offer from Cardiff City for Hereford United's Paul Parry.

The Bluebirds appear to be desperate to sign a left-winger but have been thwarted in their latest efforts as Rotherham have stopped the possible loan of Andy Monkhouse in time for Sautrday's Cup game with Sheffield United.

Monkhouse was scheduled to arrive at Ninian Park tomorrow to complete a temporary move, but Millers manager Ronnie Moore called a halt to the deal.

"I have 17 fit players and nobody is going out right now," Moore told icwales.

"Maybe in a week or so, but not right now."

If Lennie Lawrence, the Cardiff manager, wants to sign anyone for the Cup game he has to act before midday Friday.

However the quote from the Rotherham manager implies that a loan of Monkhouse is possible shortly. Whether that means that Cardiff will still look to sign Parry is unclear.

Beesley set for first start

Graham Turner is expected to hand new signing Mark Beesley his full debut in tomorrow's Nationwide Conference trip to Exeter City, kick off 1pm.

Hereford United miss the suspended David Brown and Ryan Green, so Beesley is likely to partner Rob Purdie in the United attack.

It is also hoped that Steve Guinan will play a part after his recent knee injury, but he is unlikely to make the starting eleven.

Of the match, United boss Turner told the Evening News: "We have to stay in touch with Chester and that means winning at Exeter. With our trip to St James' Park and Stevenage it's fair to say we've probably got the harder task than Chester who you expect to beat Leigh RMI again.

"But we can't afford to let Chester get nine points in front."

"We know it is going to be a tough game and we've got a couple of suspensions. But Steve Guinan is making good progress and could come into contention while Mark Beesley will probably start."

Chester, though, have not yet wrapped up the title, adds Turner. "There's still a long way to go and a lot of football to be played," he said.

United star in TV draw appearance

Former Liverpool and Wales star Ian Rush will team up with Hereford United attacker Steve Guinan to make the fourth round draw of this season's FA Cup.

Guinan, who scored a hatrick and was handed 'player of the round' for the fourth-qualifying stage of the competition as United beat Harrow Borough 6-1

"This is a real honour for me, the club and supporters," said the ex-Nottingham Forest striker. "I think it shows how the FA is rewarding and acknowledging the achievement of smaller clubs as part of the Player of the Round award."

He added in today's Evening News: "To team up with an FA Cup legend like Ian Rush is a dream, especially when I remember how my dad used to take me to watch him when I was a kid."

Liverpool fan Guinan will join Rush on BBC2 at 1pm on Monday, 5th January.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Bulls look for a Happy New Year

Hereford United look forward to gaining revenge on Exeter City for Boxing Day's 1-1 draw when they travel to St. James' Park on New Year's Day, kick off 1pm.

Rob Purdie's goal was cancelled out by Steve Flack's strike at Edgar Street, but the Grecians had goalkeeper James Bittner sent-off for a foul on Paul Parry.

Purdie is confident that Hereford can bounce back. "I think we can go to Exeter and get the three points, and four points over the two fixtures won't be a bad return," he told BBC Hereford & Worcester. "We're good enough, on our day, to beat anyone in the Conference quite comfortably."

Bittner picked up a knee injury in that challenge on Parry, but is fit to play and told the Express & Echo: "I have put the red card to the back of my mind because I am determined not to let it affect me mentally. In hindsight I should have never come for the ball. But I did and the result was costly for me. Instead of dwelling on it I have replaced the disappointment with a fierce determination to make amends on Thursday."

The red card means Bittner misses the FA Trophy third round game against Hereford on January 10th, but he has only picked up a one-match ban after referee Bob Desmond reviewed his initial decision. City boss Eamonn Dolan added: "I was hugely impressed with this referee and his decision is a huge boost for James."

Of Hereford, Bittner continued: "They are very good going forward and show a lot of movement up front. They play a crisp and neat one-touch game but I thought they looked quite vulnerable at the back."

"We are well capable of beating them at home because we are creating a lot of chances at the moment. And we have the psychological edge because we came from a goal behind to earn a draw when they must have thought they would get all three points.

"All in all it is set up to be a real thriller and I hope we can get a bumper crowd to drive us on."

Hereford miss Ryan Green and David Brown through suspension, while defender Andy Tretton is out. Graham Turner waits over the fitness of striker Steve Guinan, and also midfielder Danny Williams, who picked up a knock on Boxing Day.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Lawrence looking for fresh faces

The pressure on Cardiff City boss Lennie Lawrence could tip the balance in favour of signing Paul Parry.

Lawrence is rumoured to be mulling over a possible £100,000 bid for the Hereford United winger, and faces pressure from supporters at Ninian Park to bounce back from a run of four consecutive league defeats.

The Bluebirds manager said after their latest defeat, a 2-1 reversal at Watford yesterday: "Managers have to take all the responsibility and I feel under pressure. We will have to see how the chairman reacts — it’s the first time I’ve faced this situation in two years at the club. We have been making some ridiculous errors and it’s getting to be a huge cause for concern.

"I'm increasingly concerned about our situation. Any cushion we had in the First Division has been wiped out by our own ineptitude," report "We are still in mid-table but unless we put this right and stop the rot we will start looking behind us."

City chairman Sam Hamman is eager to bring success to the Welsh capital, and has the finances to back Lawrence with. "Bringing in new players is a solution but that's easier said than done. I've tried to loan players but that hasn't been easy to do," added Lawrence.

The impetus of fresh faces at Ninian Park could be what is required, and Parry is one player who Lawrence has been tracking with great interest.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Guinan rues misses - but backs Bulls for the top!

Hereford United's top scorer Steve Guinan not only reckons that the side should have netted fifteen more goals this season, but adds that the Bulls can clinch the Conference championship.

United have netted fity-seven times this season, and Guinan told the Non-League Paper: "We have missed some absolute sitters and been creating an unbelievable amount of chances."

"We are very capable of winning the Conference. We are only halfway through the season, but no one thinks we are genuine contenders.

"It makes no difference to any of us what people think - and in fact, it is adding to our resilience."

However, Guinan recognises the limits of the squad's size. "As long as we stay injury free, we have players who are more than good enough to win this league."

One clash that could decide the destination of the title is on the final day, when Hereford host Chester City at Edgar Street. "No on would want it to go down to the wire and hopefully, we could win the title before that, but I wouldn't be surprised if that game was crucial. If it was than I am sure Edgar Street would be packed to the rafters."

Smith set for England call

The England National Game XI boss Paul Fairclough is looking to call Ben Smith up into his next squad.

Speaking to the Non-League Paper, he said of the Hereford United midfielder: "I have seen Smith a couple of times and he was outstanding on both occasions.

"I like the way that Hereford play their football and Smith is very much a key playmaker. If they do go up, he certainly won't have any problem playing League football."

Smith could participate in a major tournament in the USA in June, involving England, the USA, Haiti, Canada and Trinidad, if the FA backs the idea, while there may be a new European Championships at the end of next year. This could include Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, Italy and France.

  • This season's play-off semi-finals and final will be decided with a silver goal, if the scores are level after ninety minutes. Thirty minutes of extra time will then be played, and if one team is ahead after fifteen minutes, then the game will end. Penalties will then follow if required.

  • Two former Hereford attackers are looking to revive their careers. Scott Voice has joined Redditch United from Hinckley United for a club-record fee, while Adrian Foster had an achilles operation in the summer and is now getting back to full fitness. He is currently on-the-books of Taunton Town.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Parry - the latest from Ninian Park

The Cardiff City Sleeping Giant website is carrying the following article, written by Sean Wozencraft, which appears to sum-up the latest from Cardiff.

Lennie Lawrence was at Hereford last night to watch Paul Parry in action against Exeter City. Lennie is very interested in the midfielder, who is described as the best player in the Conference.

He has watched Parry a number of times and the youngster has impressed on each occasion. Last night was no exception, Parry putting in a good performance as United recorded a 1-1 draw.

But Lennie has said that he will not make any signings until after the FA Cup match against Sheffield United on January 3. He will have to move quickly to capture Parry's signature as more clubs become interested. Parry carries a price tag of around £100,000.

The time has come for Lennie to stop dithering. Of course there is no guarantee that he would be able to cut it at this level, but for £100,000, it seems like a worthwhile bet. He is a left sided creative player, just what we need to end this slump. If we don't take the risk, someone else will and we may be left regretting it.

Hereford boss Graham Turner has said that he would not stand in Parry's way if a top club made a move for him, but the price has to be right. He spent a couple of days on trial at Ninian Park earlier this month in which he trained with the rest of the squad.

Beesley set for New Year debut

With David Brown missing against Exeter City on January 1st, Hereford United's new signing Mark Beesley could make his first start for the club.

The prolific striker has the potential to bring a lot to the squad, says United midfielder Jamie Pitman: "With suspensions coming up Mark Beesley's arrival is going to help a lot," said Pitman. "When he was at Chester he scored 20 odd goals and has obviously got a knack of finding the net.

"I would imagine he would fit in quite well with the way we play and he's come in from a good level," he told the Evening News.

"He trained for the first time on Monday and he looked fairly sharp. He just needs to get back the pace of the game which will take a little bit of time."

Ryan Green also is banned for the Exeter match because of his sending-off against Tamworth, while Jamie Pitman has picked up five bookings so will miss the visit of Stevenage Borough a week today (Saturday 3rd January). A week later, Danny Williams will be suspended for the FA Trophy trip to Exeter, but James Bittner's dismissal last night means he also misses that match.

Hereford still have Andy Tretton missing with his long-term injury, while Steve Guinan is a doubt after missing the last couple of games.

Dolan disheartened by dismissal

After last night's game, Exeter City manager Eamonn Dolan said he was pleased with the 1-1 draw at Edgar Street.

"If you come to Hereford and take a point, that's not a bad result," he told BBC Radio Devon. "I thought the lads showed great character."

He added that the dismissal of goalkeeper James Bittner was "harsh" and continued: "My main concern now is that he does not have a serious injury because he's the only professional goalkeeper we've got."

United midfielder Rob Purdie looked at the league table and feels that Chester can be overhauled at the top. "Between now and the last month, we've really got to push and get as many points as we can.

"We can't keep dropping points against teams that are lower down. We've got to get three points at home and away if we want to win the league," he told BBC Hereford & Worcester."

Parry watched again

Cardiff City manager Lennie Lawrence watched Paul Parry again last night at Edgar Street, according to today's Evening News.

Lawrence, whose team lost again yesterday, is known to be looking for a left-sided player to replace Julian Gray who recently returned to Crystal Palace.

However, the Western Mail reports that it is unlikely that Lawrence will make any signings until after the third round of the FA.Cup on January 3rd.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Scorer happy, but would have preferred to win

Rob Purdie was delighted with his strike tonight, but was disappointed that it didn't lead to a Hereford United victory.

His goal came eight minutes into the second period, but Steve Flack's equaliser eighteen minutes from time ensured that Exeter City gained a share of the spoils.

"It was one of those shots which either ends up in the corner of the net or flies out of the stadium," he told BBC Hereford & Worcester. "For twenty minutes in the second half, we were passing it around well, we got the goal, and we looked dangerous."

"While I was pleased with it, I would have been much more pleased with three points."

United held by Exeter

Hereford United failed to take all three points tonight at Edgar Street. Rob Purdie put the Bulls into the lead in the 53rd minute but Exeter equalised later. An exciting game to watch but with too many missed chances.

Danny Williams was injuried and yellow carded which means he will miss the Trophy game at Exeter.

Terry's report is here.

Game is definitely ON

Tonight's game at Edgar Street is definitely ON.

Hereford United Director Joan Fennessy has confirmed to late this afternoon that the rain has stopped at Edgar Street and the game goes ahead.

United need to make up ground

Hereford United are now seven points adrift of Chester City, but do have two games in hand, as they scramble for the Conference title.

Mark Wright's men beat Leigh RMI 5-0 at the Deva Stadium this afternoon, while Hereford host Exeter City at Edgar Street this evening. The game, which is currently on, is live on Sky Sports 1.

In the other matches, Aldershot moved to within three points of United with a 3-2 to win at Dagenham & Redbridge, but Barnet remain three points behind the Bulls as Ian Selley's late strike shares the points in a 2-2 draw at Woking.

Shrewsbury Town easily disposed of Northwich Victoria 3-1, while Telford United's home match against Forest Green Rovers was abandoned at half-time with the score at 1-1.

Finally, Graham Westley took his Stevenage Borough side to Farnborough Town, his old club. The struggling Hampshire side won 2-0, with Stevenage dropping into the bottom half of the Nationwide Conference.

Follow the rules, says Turner

In a Sky Sports preview to this evening's game with Exeter City, Graham Turner has once again taken the opportunity to speak out about the potential points deduction facing Exeter as well as hoping to get back the Bulls to the League.

The cameras focused on the old river bridge before moving onto a Bulls training session earlier this week with the reporter commenting about the beautiful city of Hereford. When the camera cut to Turner, he said:"You do miss league status. I've always said to clubs coming down that there is life after the Football League but you don't want to be out of it too long.

"We've been a long time in the Conference. Lovely people, lovely clubs in there but we want to be back in the League.

Turning to Exeter, Turner added: "I just find it a ludicrous situation that a club can challenge a regulation that was brought democratically in the summer and could effect a lot of clubs in the Conference by the amount of money we have to spend to legally uphold the regulations that have been brought in."

Long day for Bulls fans

With three Conference games starting at Midday and Hereford United's game not kicking-off until 7.45pm, Bulls fans will have a long day of football ahead of them.

Of the early starts the game at Dagenham where Aldershot are the visitors will be of most interest to Hereford supporters. Aldershot will be looking to get back to winning ways after their surprise defeat at home by Margate last Saturday if they are to keep up their fight for a play-off place.

Leaders Chester have what should be an excellent chance to take three points off lowly Leigh RMI at the Deva Stadium. That game starts at 3pm as does the Shrewsbury game with Northwich which again should result in a home win.

Of the other play-off candidates Barnet travel to an in-form Woking side who have won four of their last six outings.

Whether knowing the other Conference results will spur Hereford on this evening remains to be seen, but the visit of Exeter for the second time this season to Edgar Street looks likely to produce an exciting game.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Happy Christmas

Festive greetings to all of our visitors.

Thank you for your support throughout 2003, long may it continue.

Thoughts about the Chester game

With just 121 days to the end of the Conference season, Talie the Dragon Slayer's Dad looks ahead to what could be a potentially cracking game between Hereford United and Chester City at Edgar Street.

This may seem a little premature but I feel it is none the less relevant. We’ve all considered the end of season scenario with regard to the last game at home to Chester City. Just image, both sides go into the match needing some kind of positive result to secure the championship, the flip side to the coin that sent us down on the 3rd May 1997 (last day of the season) against Brighton and Hove Albion.

We, the loyal fans, have been there at the ‘Street’ every other weekend and a fair few midweekers as well and we’ll all be there for the finale, won’t we. Or will we? Because, suddenly all those who only ever turn up for the high profile matches will stand outside in the queue to the club shop and nab a ticket whilst the rest of us are inside (as one of 4,000ish crowd) watching the Bulls play Barnet at home. I’m sure you are starting to get the picture I’m painting here. It doesn’t even have to be a championship decider. Alternatively it could be to secure a place in the play-offs or even (please!) a celebration party with the championship already in the bag and the nation’s media in attendance. Either way, there are going to be some mightily peeved people who, having paid their dues all season long, are going to miss out on the icing on the cake to some 'Glory hunter'.

Now before someone comes on and slates me for using the term 'Glory hunter', I don’t mean someone who has noticed the upturn in results this season and has started attending matches just this year or even only the occasional paying customer who never watches more than a few matches each season. Even when these are added to the die-hard fans and other regular attendees our total attendance would not top much more than 4,500. No I mean the true 'Glory hunters'. You know the type? They were there for match verses Manchester United way back in 1990 but haven't been back since. Most of us know at least one person who fits this profile.

So here’s a stab at a solution. The club put a sizable chuck of tickets for the final game of the season on sale now (or within a reasonable time scale) at current prices and we can all make our purchase now and be safe in the knowledge that our respective places at the big event are assured (barring death, pestilence, war, etc.). Then if/when the big event actually nears the remainder of the tickets (less the appropriate amount put aside for Chester City fans) can be sold off at a considerable mark up on normal admission price so as to boost the club’s coffers.

Even if the match is a meaningless end of season run out the clubs will still have made some money from the enterprise and let's face it no one is having a gun put to their head and being told buy or else. The choice is there for all to make. If you snap up the tickets and the match matters, then you’re quids in. If the match doesn’t matter well, if like me you were going anyway what does it matter? If you don’t take up the offer and the match becomes vital and you’re not there, well tough I say. You’ll have had your chance.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Suspensions confirmed for Brown and Green

As expected two Hereford United players will be suspended from Saturday. This means that they will both miss the New Year Day's match at Exeter City.

Details from Confguide:

DAVID ALISTAIR BROWN: Suspended from ALL FOOTBALL until the Club have completed 1 FIRST TEAM MATCH from 27/12/2003 for 5/10/15 Cautions.

RYAN MICHAEL GREEN: Suspended from ALL FOOTBALL until the Club have completed 1 FIRST TEAM MATCH from 27/12/2003 for a Sending Off.

The following players are on four yellow cards:

ANTHONY JAMES ..... 4 Cautions


BENJIMAN SMITH ..... 4 Cautions

Dolan looks to Bulls' scoring strength

In a preview to the Boxing Day clash between Hereford United and Exeter City, Grecians boss Eamonn Dolan looked at the Bulls' ability to score goals from all over the field as a major strength.

Dolan told the Exeter Express and Echo: "Every (Hereford) player looks as if he wants to score goals. Even the full backs push right forward and it has been paying dividends because they score so many.

"We are totally positive about the prospect of playing Hereford twice within the space of a week. There is no fear because we know we can beat anyone in this league.

"I have been up there to watch them recently and they have assembled a young and vibrant side. They are a credit to the Conference because they will always have a go."

Exeter may have to bring in players from their youth side as several first team members are injury doubts. Dolan continued: "It is a worry having the likes of Santos and Chris struggling ahead of this Christmas programme. But we will have to get on with it."

Meanwhile Sean Devine, the Exeter striker, hopes to rediscover his scoring touch at the expense of the Bulls as he has failed to score in his last three games. He started the season in fine form netting 14 goals in 12 games.

"This is a huge game for the club and I am hungry to get back scoring again," insisted Devine.

"I have set myself high standards and people probably expect me to score every game. But as a striker you have purple patches and then lean spells, that's the way it goes. The most important thing is we start winning again and once we do that I am sure one will fly in off my bum or something like that."

Exeter face double trouble from Pitman

Jamie Pitman, the Hereford United midfielder is looking to collect six points from the Exeter City double-header, a move which would leave Eamonn Dolan's men twelve points behind the Bulls.

"Two wins would put them out of sight," he told the Evening News. "They are both important games and it's important we take maximum points especially with suspensions coming up so we need to get these games over and done with while we have a full squad."

"Anyone is capable of beating anyone in the Conference but if we play to our capabilities we should beat them and that's what we've got to do.

"Our away form has been excellent because we can counter attack but at home there is added pressure with everyone expecting us to hit four or five goals each game.

"The expectation from fans does add pressure but that's the standards we've set ourselves."

Bulls seek festive cheer

Hereford United host Exeter City at Edgar Street on Boxing Day eager to claw back the deficit at the top of the Nationwide Conference, kick off 7.45pm.

The Bulls are four points behind Chester City at the summit of the league, but have been boosted by the signing of former Cestrians attacker Mark Beesley, but are likely to miss top scorer Steve Guinan through injury.

Beesley's signing was a relatively swift one last Friday, according to Graham Turner. "It was one of the quickest deals I've done," he proclaimed in the Hereford Times. "I phoned him at 9am on Friday, he called back half-an-hour later to accept and drove down from his home on Merseyside to sign at 2pm.

"He's coming here to resurrect his career and I like those circumstances. Money was not an object. It's a similar situation to when Michael Rose joined us and I hope it works out as well as that deal did."

However, defender Andy Tretton's thigh injury again keeps him out of the team.

Looking ahead to the game, Turner told BBC Hereford & Worcester: "If there's no interest after the Forest Green result then we are banging our heads against a brick wall. Despite the difficult time of the kick-off, it's still an attractive fixture and I would hope that the supporters are going to turn out in force."

Exeter manager Eamonn Dolan could miss Brazilian centre-back Santos Gaia with a hamstring problem, and striker Barry McConnell is definitely missing with a broken collarbone. Chris Todd sustained concussion in last Saturday's 3-0 home defeat to Telford United, so is in the recovery stage and could feature if this is a success.

The game is live from 7.30pm on Sky Sports 1.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Stats look good for hopeful Hereford

With Christmas approaching, Hereford United are second in the Conference and lead many of the statistics tables too.

Steve Guinan has scored fourteen league goals, and Ben Smith has netted thirteen, but Giuliano Grazioli of Barnet is top scorer with eighteen.

Before the Forest Green game, United's top striker was Guinan, with fifty-eight shots, thirty-four of which were on target. Ben Smith has missed the most for the Bulls, hitting off-target twenty-six times, while Paul Parry has supplied the most assists and crosses (sixty-nine in total). Guinan has been caught offside thirty times, conceded thirty fouls, but won thirty-eight free-kicks.

The Bulls are also doing quite well in the team stats tables too. They have been awarded most corners, 168, and committed the least fouls, 232. Their recent form sees them lie fourth in the form table, having collected twelve points from a possible eighteen.

As for their totak number of goals, Hereford's fifty-seven is the highest in any of the national leagues, and also the top level of the feeder leagues too. They have scored four or more goals in a league game five times this season, more so than any other Conference side.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Hereford players score more often

Hereford United players have scored more often than any other team in the top five English leagues.

To date this season the ratio of goals scored to games played for the Bulls is 2.48 or 57 goals in 23 league games.

In the Premiership, Manchester United are top with a ratio of exactly 2.0 goals per game and in Division One Ipswich have the best ratio but it is only 1.79.

Division Two's top scorers are Plymouth with a ratio of 2.18 and Division Three Mansfield come in front also with 2.18 goals per game.

Perhaps it is time for the club shop at Edgar Street to be selling some items connected with this achievement?

Chester still favourites to top league

Chester City are still favourites to win the Conference this season. With more than half of the matches completed they have dropped as low as 4-6 at one bookmaker.

Best prices from a selection of top bookmakers put Chester at 2-1, Hereford at 5-1, Shrewsbury at 13-2 and Barnet at 11-1.

Aldershot can be found at 20-1 but prices for the other clubs are drifting out.

For example, both Telford and Stevenage are available at 66-1 for anyone who really likes a gamble.

Captain aims for Christmas success

Tony James is eager to continue the rich vein of form that saw his Hereford United side beat Forest Green Rovers 7-1 on Friday night.

The Bulls' skipper is looking forward to the double header against Exeter City, which should give them the opportunity to claw back the four point advantage held by Chester City.

"I think the league is quite tight," James told the Evening News. "There are a lot of teams below us with just two or three points between each other and everyone is beating each other and no one is running away with it.

"There is no way we can relax or take things easy we have to carry on full speed ahead."

The festive period is a crucial one, adds James, especially given the number of points on offer. "It's definitely a key time over Christmas with some difficult games and it's going to be hard especially with the pitches getting heavier which will make it harder for us to play the style of football we do.

"But we won't change. We just have to be more careful, not make any silly errors and keep it simple at the back and get it forward and let the others play."

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Lawrence to watch Parry again

Lennie Lawrence is reported to be coming to Edgar Street on Boxing Day to take a final look at Paul Parry.

Conditions were not good at the Lawn on Friday and the Cardiff manager may wish to see how Parry performs on a better pitch when Hereford play Exeter.

Teamtalk reports that Lawrence was left suitably impressed last Friday when the Wales semi-professional international scored a brilliant hat-trick in Hereford's 7-1 win at Forest Green Rovers.

Previous to that, Parry had spent a week on trial at Ninian Park and played in a reserve-team friendly against Derby.

"There's no question at all that Paul will be able to cut it at that level, no question," said Hereford manager Graham Turner. "If it's not to be Cardiff, then it will be another club - and quickly."

Parry impressed Lawrence

Wales on Sunday reports that Paul Parry will have definitely impressed Cardiff City boss Lennie Lawrence last Friday at Forest Green but there are no signs yet of a firm offer for the Bulls star.

"I treat Sam Hammam's (Cardiff owner) money like my own - I want to make an investment when we pay out for a player," said Lawrence who is stressing that there are unlikely to be a glut of new arrivals at Ninian Park in January.

However Lawrence has missed to buy two wingers already and with Cardiff well-beaten by Milwall yesterday, he is thought to be considering his options for the £100,000 rated player.

Lawrence saw most of the Forest Green game on Friday including Parry's hatrick.

Meanwhile Hereford based official, Andy Williams, was hit by a coin beleived to have been thrown by a Cardiff supporter at Ninian Park yesterday.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Chester revive lead but others slump

Chester City have re-established their four point lead over Hereford United at the top of the Nationwide Conference this afternoon, but a gap has emerged between the top two after some surprising results elsewhere.

Mark Wright's men did what Hereford could not last weekend, in defeating Tamworth. They did it convincingly too, with a 5-1 win at the Lamb thanks to a Daryl Clare hatrick.

Third placed Barnet slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Underhill to one-from-bottom Farnborough Town, while Shrewsbury Town's home match against Burton Albion was postponed. Aldershot Town lost 2-0 at the Recreation Ground against Margate, and Exeter City also suffered a home defeat, crashing 3-0 against Telford United.

As a result, Chester have fifty points, United are four points behind, and Barnet have forty-three. Two points further adrift are Aldershot. All of these teams have a game in hand over the league leaders.

The next round of games is on Boxing Day. Hereford United host Exeter City in an evening kick-off, live on Sky Sports, while Chester City play Leigh RMI at the Deva Stadium. Shrewsbury Town are also at home, against Northwich Victoria, and Barnet are on their travels, as they go to Woking.

Pitman to miss Stevenage game

Hereford United midfielder Jamie Pitman will miss the Stevenage game on the first Saturday of the New Year as he was booked last night at Forest Green and has now received five yellow cards.

Of the game, Rovers' manager, Colin Addison said: "It was embarrassing. We were beaten by a very good side and, on that performance, I have no doubt they will get back into Division Three."

Many Bulls supporters will have been watching with interest the performance of the Westfields striker Sam Bowen who played for Forest Green. There have been calls from some that Bowen should have been tried out at Edgar Street. But he failed to make much contribution to the game and on that showing it is understandable that Graham Turner has not expressed any interest in him.

Meanwhile, new signing Mark Beesley is twenty-two years-old. He joined Preston North End as a trainee in 1998 and moved to Chester in 2000. Beesley is five foot ten inches tall.

During his time at the Deva Stadium he scored 40 goals and was the leading scorer in the 2001/2002 season with 18 goals but suffered with injuries in the 2002/2003 season. He has recently been out on loan at Southport.

It is believed that Graham Turner only took half an hour to sign Beesley yesterday morning after Mark Wright, the Chester manager, had formally released him.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Beesley joins the Bulls

Hereford United have sealed the signing of former Chester City attacker Mark Beesley.

Graham Turner captured the signature of the player on Friday morning after he was released by the Cestrians earlier this month. The Bulls beat off competition from Northwich Victoria and Leigh RMI to secure his services, and he will be available on Boxing Day.

Twenty-four year-old Beesley, who started out at Preston North End, has featured four times for Chester this season, but in the three previous campaigns netted thirty-two goals in seventy-nine starts.

Turner proclaimed: "He was a player I tried to get last season but because we were both in contention for a play-off place, Chester wouldn't allow him to come to us.

"I think he's a good acquisition," he told BBC Hereford & Worcester.

Win delights Turner

After tonight's 7-1 win at Forest Green Rovers, Hereford United manager Graham Turner told of his delight with the team's work.

A Paul Parry hatrick, a brace from Ben Smith, and goals from ROb Purdie and Jamie Pitman handed United the points, with Damon Searle's late strike nothing more than a consolation for Rovers.

"It was a terrific performance," Turner said on BBC Hereford & Worcester. "The response from the players after last Saturday was incredible, and it speaks volumes for the character that we have got in the side."

Of Paul Parry's performance, Turner added: "It was a good hatrick. I understand that Cardiff were in force tonight, and although the conditions were not brilliant for wing-play, his contribution in terms of goals was excellent."

Seventh heaven

Hereford United recorded their second 7-1 win of the season away at Forest Green Rovers.

Paul Parry netted a hatrick, Ben Smith got two, and Rob Purdie and Jamie Pitman also found the net.

Terry's report on tonight's match is here.

Bulls tipped for promotion

Former Hereford United boss Colin Addison has tipped the Bulls to gain promotion ahead of tonight's clash with his current club Forest Green Rovers.

"Hereford are a very good side, that is why they've been in the top three all season and we won't be underestimating them," said Addison in the Evening News. "Under Graham Turner they have a good manager and if they can stay free of injuries they can achieve their aim of getting back into the league."

Turner added: "Forest Green had a good win against Northwich and Colin Addison's sides are well organised and work hard but the biggest thing is how we bounce back from the Tamworth defeat," said Turner.

"We did it after the Shrewsbury defeat when we turned in an excellent performance against Halifax and we must look to do the same."

Meanwhile, unsubstantiated rumours are suggesting that ex-Chester City attacker Mark Beesley has signed for United, snubbing offers from Northwich Victoria and Leigh RMI.

Parry speculation suggests bid is imminent

Ahead of tonight's game against Forest Green Rovers, Hereford United midfielder Paul Parry is the subject of continued interest from Cardiff City.

The Welsh semi-professional international could make the switch to Ninian Park sooner rather than later, according to HTV Wales News Online, and United boss Graham Turner has said that any move would need to be right for both the player and the club.

"Cardiff are genuinely interested," Turner told HTV. "We would not stand in his way to better himself in a deal that we were happy with."

Parry is out of contract at the end of the season, and it is thought that a bid of £100,000 may be made by the Bluebirds.

Turner backs Brown

Graham Turner is backing David Brown to help bring some Christmas cheer to Hereford United and their supporters.

With Steve Guinan out, Brown will lead the attack at Forest Green tonight at the Lawn.

"David Brown has come into the side. He's had a bit of a checkard start to his career at Hereford. He's been in, he's been out. Maybe a little bit of reassurance there and another game might do his confidence a liitle bit of good," Turner told BBC Hereford & Worcester.

"He's got technical ability. He knows where the goal is and he has scored some decent goals this season. So it might be persevere with David and hope that he gets that confidence in front of goal."

Of Forest Green, Turner added that he had seen them play at Exeter and was quite impressed. "I am aware that they are missing seven or eight players and they had a terrific win at Northwich last week 4-0.

"We know it wont be easy so we've got to go there and contain them," he said.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Parry not going to Cardiff - yet

Paul Parry will not be going to Cardiff City this year.

The Cardiff boss Lennie Lawrence has said that he will not be bringing in any new players until January, but is still expected to be watching the Hereford United midfielder at Forest Green tomorrow night.

"I won't be bringing in anyone this week and it's unlikely that I will be signing anyone until January," said the City chief in the Western Mail. "It's very difficult to sign players at the moment because most clubs are keeping their powder dry.

"They don't want to loan out players because of all the Christmas games coming up. Then the transfer window reopens in January, so they are waiting to see what happens. If something really good emerges and it's beneficial to Cardiff then we will have to look at it."

"I'm not going to pay more than what I think the player is worth. And I'm not going to sign players just for the sake of it. I want to bring in players who will add something to the squad."

However, former Bluebird Ian Walsh has said that boosting the squad would improve the Welshmen's play-off chances. "There are a number of good players in the team, but it is in midfield where Cardiff would benefit from one or two changes. They do need a left-sided player. You need players who can go out wide and break the back of the defence - and chip in with goals."

Striker hopeful of Boxing Day return

Hereford United will want to repeat their 5-1 win earlier in the season when they face Forest Green Rovers at the Lawn tomorrow night, kick off 7.45pm.

The Bulls, though, continue to wait on the fitness of striker Steve Guinan, as his troublesome knee kept him out of last weekend's defeat to Tamworth. He is unlikely to feature, but Graham Turner remains hopeful that Guinan will face Exeter City on Boxing Day.

Forest Green, managed by former Hereford boss Colin Addison, could field Sam Bowen in attack again but are set to miss Kevin Langan, Jamie Moralee, Neil Grayson, Gareth Stoker and Jon Richardson through injury.

Just fifteen players were available for last weekend's 4-0 win over Northwich Victoria, but Alex Sykes, once of Westfields, has returned from suspension, as has Scott Rodgers, and both are in the squad.

A Forest Green club spokesperson added that the game should go ahead, but the club have covers which can be put in place if it is deemed neccessary.

Taxman takes his share

The Inland Revenue has been taking a hardened line with football clubs recently as Graham Turner has found out. In his weekly column in the Hereford Times, he tells of recent dealings with them and again mentions the Exeter situation which is being contested today.

Of the situation at Edgar Street he said: "Two years ago there was an extra bill of £88,000 and we negotiated a deal where we could pay £20,000 down and spread the balance over seven months.

"This year, the shortfall was £47,000... but the Inland Revenue replied that if the full amount was not received within seven days they would start winding up proceedings.

"There was also an additional £10,000 of VAT to pay and they discovered a further £8,000 dating back to 1997 that they asked us to pay."

Luckily, improved gates this season has meant that the club will be able to pay but that leaves less for other purposes. "We recently made an offer to settle our CVA - we had originally paid 40p in the pound, leaving 60p to pay from the planned relocation," Turner added. "Now the relocation is not likely to take place we made an offer but the taxman threw that out, too."

Turner will no doubt watch the outcome of the Exeter City and the Inland Revenue dispute with great interest.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Council discuss Edgar Street plans

Hereford Council's cabinet are to discuss the Edgar Street plans tomorrow.

The plan has been out for consulation and Councillors will look at issues put forward by those who have made comments. Included in those comments are suggestions that the football ground should be moved to the edge of the city.

Meanwhile Conservative candidate for Hereford, Virginia Taylor has said it is possible that Waitrose may be interested in the Edgar Street site for a food hall incorporating a Waitrose store.

"Although I have said that I am not particularly keen to see yey another supermarket in Hereford on the Edgar Street site, if the financial viability of the new development dictates that this is the only way forward, I would be very interested to possibility of such a joint venture with Waitrose," she told the Hereford Journal.

Guinan a doubt for Rovers trip

Hereford United look set to be without top scorer Steve Guinan once again as they go to Forest Green Rovers on Friday night, kick off 7.45pm.

The former Nottingham Forest striker had a scan on his knee before the 1-0 defeat to Tamworth last Saturday morning, and Graham Turner told the Hereford Journal: "Steve had no chance of playing on Saturday, and we don't know now about Forest Green. But we did miss him in holding up the ball, and the clever things that he does."

The Bulls must also be careful as Jamie Pitman, Danny Williams, Ben Smith and Tony James are all just one booking away from a one-match ban.

After that Tamworth loss, Turner looked at the video of the match, particularly studying the incident that saw Ryan Green dismissed.

"I think it is difficult to avoid with referees we had like the one that sent off Ryan Green," he said in today's Evening News. "I've studied the video and it's a diabolical sending off. For some of the other bookings I think referees are devoid of common sense and the art of communication.

"Almost every foul prompts a yellow card at our level. Referees seem to be more tolerant higher up but in the Conference they leave you pulling out your hair at times."

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Rovers expect big following

Forest Green Rovers are expecting a large crowd for the visit of Hereford United on Friday evening and are hoping to keep congestion to a minimum around their Lawn ground.

They have persuaded Stroud College to re-open their car-park next to the ground for the match, and they are also running the Park and Ride scheme from Nailsworth town centre in anticipation of the large crowd expected. Forest Green have not played a Friday night fixture since the season they won promotion to the Conference in 1998 and are keen to see whether the scheduling and provision of parking will attract a substantial home support to counter the 1,500 or so travelling Bulls fans.

"As an experiment for a Friday night, we hope people will turn out to see if it works out," said operations manager Colin Peake. "We are very appreciative of the co-operation from Stroud College to open the car-park. Because the sale of the site is on-going, it is difficult to confirm accessibility well in advance, so we hope supporters will bear with us."

Meanwhile it is not certain whether Sam Bowen will play for Colin Addison's side on Friday. The Herefordshire born striker was called into action last Saturday as Addison's team was facing an injury crisis and scored a hat-trick. Bowen had been playing for Westfields.

Exeter points decision deferred

The appeal by Exeter City against a twelve point deduction for entering a CVA has been deferred to January.

According to the Exeter Official Site, the wrong appeal forum heard the proceedings so all parties have to go through the same procedure with a different forum on January 9th.

It seems that the appeal has to be to a Conference forum not the FA in the first instance. Should this appeal fail then Exeter can then go to the FA.

The cost of today's appeal will be split between Exeter and the Conference.

The effect of today is that Exeter still do not know if they will be deducted twelve points, given a lesser deduction, or indeed given any punishment at all.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Guinan has scan on knee

Hereford United's Steve Guinan had a scan on a knee injury Saturday morning, reports the Western Daily Press.

"I should get the results of the scan tommorrow and hopefully I won't be out for too long," said Guinan.

United's top scorer was badly missed on Saturday, especially as Tamworth had several tall defenders in their squad. Rob Purdie and David Brown lead the attack as Hereford crashed to a 1-0 defeat.

"We were always going to miss a player like Steve who puts the ball into the back of the net regularly," added midfielder Danny Williams.

Meanwhile this afternoon a Hereford United under 20 team played a friendly match at Cardiff City. The result was 1-1.

Hereford scored on 39 minutes but Cardiff equalised early in the second period.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Bulls miss two for Exeter trip

Hereford United will miss two of their first team for their New Year's Day trip to Exeter City.

Striker David Brown has now collected five yellow cards, earning him a one-match ban, and Ryan Green's sending-off yesterday means he also misses the trip to St. James' Park.

The Bulls are also likely to be without defender Andy Tretton, who is a long-term injury victim, and so Graham Turner will be forced to reshuffle his cards for the visit to the former Football League side.

Jamie Pitman could be shifted to right-back and Jordan King drafted into midfield, while Steve Guinan and Rob Purdie are favourites to lead the attack.

To add to Turner's worries, four players are just one booking away from serving one-match bans too. Jamie Pitman, Tony James, Danny Williams and Ben Smith provide the heart to the team, and if a couple of these players are booked on a single day, it will considerably weaken the United side.

Any of these booked at Forest Green next Friday will miss the crucial home encounter against in-form Stevenage Borough on January 3rd. Graham Westley's men defeated Chester City yesterday and have won four of their last six matches. However, Brown and Green will be available for the Boro' match having served their bans.

Turner supports points deduction for Exeter

In his notes published in yesterday's match programme, Graham Turner put his views on the Exeter situation into print. He watched Exeter play Forest Green last week.

"They are trying to enter a CVA but the tax man is challenging it, which in turn means that Exeter are starting proceedings against the Conference to contest the right of football creditors to be treated as preferential creditors. An appeal to the FA is also in motion contesting the right of the Conference to deduct 12 points for entering the CVA.

"Exeter are currently losing £30,000 per month and that on an average gate of over 3,000. They have a wage bill for 16 players.

"It appears to be a real mess. However their current £4.5 million debt will be reduced to less than £500,000 should they succeed with the CVA. Their ground has undergone significant improvements (which will) produce future income.

"I voted for a points deduction at last years AGM for any club entering into a CVA or administration. It was designed to get Clubs to act with financial responsibilty and not as happened in the past, Clubs running up big debts, as we once did, and being able to relinquish a lot of the responsibilities by entering into a CVA.

"Undoubtedly, Exeter will have advantages, the ground improvements, an academy and an expensive squad of players, whilst the likes of Leigh RMI, Northwich and others live within their means.

"A motion was carried to deduct points and that should be strictly adhered to, it will make a complete mockery of the democratic manner in which the League is run if the FA capitulate."

Exeter City are in Bristol court on Thursday to contest the challenge from the Inland Revenue and they will be in London on Tuesday to launch their appeal against the Conference points deduction.

Cardiff contemplate Parry move

If Paul Parry does the business next Friday at Forest Green Rovers, he will be the subject of a £50,000 bid, report the Non-League Paper.

Cardiff City manager Lennie Lawrence will be at the game, and is eager to see the United star perform after he featured in the Bluebirds' reserve side in his trial period.

The NLP also suggests that Graham Turner wants "around £100,000" for Parry, who attracted interest from Celtic, Liverpool and Leicester City at earlier points in his career.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Williams slams referee's performance

After Hereford United's defeat to Tamworth at Edgar Street this afternoon, midfielder Danny Williams told BBC Hereford & Worcester that Tamworth's negative tactics denied the Bulls from their third win in a row.

"Tamworth have come here today and for 90 minutes and defended and we found it really hard to break them down today," Williams commented.

He also went on to say about the poor standard of the referee today stifled the crowd's hope of watching a decent game. "He was shocking today. Even for their (Tamworth's) guy who got sent off, it was a harsh decision and at the end he's sent Ryan (Green) off, and Ryan's not even touched the guy!

"He must have been going into double figures with the Cards!"

Graham Turner agreed telling the Non-League Paper:"I thought the referee spoiled the game. There was not enough out there to warrent a sending-off. Ryan said he was trying to jump out of the way when he got his second yellow."

Mark Cooper, the Tamworth player-coach, was much more upbeat, however. He told "It was a fantastic team performance," he said. "For all their pressure I don't think they created any clear-cut chances and Jim Rodwell was outstanding on his debut."

Tamworth score then defend

Tamworth came to Edgar Street, scored, and then defended for the rest of the game to defeat the Bulls by 1-0.

Hereford sorely missed Steve Guinan as they failed to finish a number of good moves, and it was another game spoilt by a card-happy referee.

Terry's report is here.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Parry and Cardiff City

Paul Parry is back at Edgar Street after spending a week training at Cardiff. Bulls manager, Graham Turner, has told BBC Hereford & Worcester how he faired at Ninian Park.

"In accordance with the terms of Paul Parry's contract if any league club want him to go and train with them we would allow them to do so," said Turner. "Last week was a ideal time as we had no game on the Saturday. He went and spent a week with them. He played on the Wednesday in a friendly reserve match up at Derby. By all accounts he did extremely well.

"I've spoken to Cardiff since. In fact I've been down there to watch the reserves playing. What they want to do is watch him over the few matches so there will be a contingent from Cardiff watching him play, as I think there have been from other clubs in the League.

"At this stage we don't want anybody to leave as we are going well ourselves. The ambition is to get back into the Football League. But you also have to treat players fairly and Paul has been a terrific servant for the club. I think he is our longest serving player now. If the right sort of offer comes in from Cardiff, we could not stand in his way.

"But right at the moment I want him as part of the side and we want to keep up there in a challenging position.

"He is 23 at the moment, coming 24. His contract is up in the summer but as we have said before there is no certainty that Paul would leave. Yeovil and Bristol Rovers have both asked about him sometime ago. The offers were not acceptable.

"I always thought he was better than a Third Division club. When you get a club the size of Cardiff being interested, you know that's the sort of area he should be looking at and should be going into.

"I think given a few weeks to adjust to the extra pace of first division football, he can go and deal with it comfortably.

"If something materialises over the next four to five weeks for him then that fine. We will face that when it comes."

Shrews may have peaked

Graham Turner has been comparing the form of near-neighbours Shrewsbury Town with that of Hereford united since the two teams met at the Gay Meadow.

"They (Shrewsbury) beat us well and after the game they thought they had won the league. Since then I think they have taken two points from three matches and we have taken six points from two games.

"Having reached a peak they were unable to do it against Exeter, Tamworth and Telford in the three subsequent matches," Turner told BBC Hereford & Worcester.

And in the Evening News, Turner said of tommorrow's encounter with Tamworth: "We expect it to be a tough game. We had difficulty breaking down Farnborough and we expect Tamworth to be similar and make life difficult for us too.

"But we go into the weekend on back of two home wins, full of confidence and refreshed after two weeks off. There is a danger when you've had a break that you can come back rusty but we won't know that till the game."

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Guinan doubt for Bulls against Lambs

After two weeks without a match, Hereford United get back into action tomorrow with a home game against Tamworth, kick off 3pm.

Graham Turner's men lie second in the Nationwide Conference, four points behind Chester City, and have been boosted by the loan signing of Anwar Uddin from Bristol City in defence. He is likely to partner Tony James at centre back.

However, United face a doubt over the fitness of striker Steve Guinan, who has netted fourteen goals already this season. The ex-Nottingham Forest man has a knee injury, and so David Brown could take over in the leading attack role.

Tamworth, who were defeated 3-1 by United on the opening day of the campaign, will be without Paul Barnes in attack after his recent move from Doncaster Rovers, as he is suspended. Darron Gee's men are precauriously placed outside the relegation zone on goal difference, so they will expect a tough game at Edgar Street.

Jason Blunt's ban doesn't help the Lambs' cause, while Marcus Ebdon is out with knee ligament damage. Phil Whitehead and Mark Turner are also missing, but Dave Robinson and Richard Dryden are back in the squad.

Assistant boss Mark Cooper told the Tamworth Herald: "We are without key players for Saturday but we have to get on with it. It doesn't get any easier with a trip to Hereford but the players who come in now have a chance to win a first team place."

Meanwhile, the Hereford Times reports that there will be no postal applications for tickets for the Exeter City away match on New Years Day, because of the problems generated by the Christmas mail.

Goodwin leaves Tamworth

Midfielder Scott Goodwin, a non-contract player, has been released by Tamworth due to travelling and other commitments. The 25-year-old, whose previous clubs include Coventry City, Hednesford Town, Hereford United and Kettering Town where he lives, made seven appearances, including three as sub, during his short spell at The Lamb.

Goodwin was released by Graham Turner at the end of the 2001/2002 season. He made 32 appearances for the Bulls and scored 3 goals during his spell at Edgar Street.

Anwar Uddin - career details

Anwar Uddin was born on November 1st 1981 and as a schoolboy player, a number of London clubs were keen to sign him, but he decided to go to West Ham where he spent seven years. At Upton Park he played alongside Joe Cole and Michael Crick and trained with Rio Ferdinand amidst others.

However he failed to get a first team position and in February 2002 he moved to Sheffield Wednesday having been on a two-week trial. After playing some reserve games he was made captain and it was hoped he would feature for the first team but it didn't happen.

In May 2002 he was released from Hillsborough by Terry Yorath and then signed a two year deal with Bristol Rovers

Uddin is regarded as a tough tackling central defender who can also play in midfield but he has not established himself as a first choice player as yet at Bristol. He has also suffered with injuries. Back in April he spent sometime at Lilleshall, the FA rehabilitation centre, as he had been struggling with a groin problem over the previous few months.

New Hereford United book

A new book entitled Hereford United Football Club is to be published on Saturday. Well-known Bulls supporters Denise Powell and David Edge have written the book which covers the period from 1970. Much of the material has come from the Hereford Times.

It charts the ups and downs of the club including the great Cup games of the time and the relegation to the Conference. Both authors will be at the Hereford United club shop on Saturday at 10.30am when the book goes on sale. They will be pleased to sign copies.

All proceeds from the book are to go to help the club.

The book is part of the Images of sport series produced by Tempus Publishing which is based at Stroud in Gloucestershire. The company has been in existance since 1993. Another book, published by Tempus, which may be of interest to Conference fans is "Homes of Non-league Football" by Peter Miles.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Uddin joins Bulls on-loan

Speculation on the independent Hereford United fans forum last night that a midfielder from Bristol Rovers might join the Bulls is correct.

Anwar Uddin, a 22 year old 6ft 2in cetral defender, is to join United from Bristol Rovers for a month, reports the Hereford Times.

He started his career at West Ham and has also been at Sheffield Wednesday. He has made 19 appeaances for Rovers scoring one goal, and his loan will plug the gap left when Tamika Mkandawire returned to West Bromwich.

Bristol Rovers manager, Ray Graydon, said yesterday that he was looking to loan out a few players as he wanted to cut his wage bill.

Meanwhile, Graham Turner is playing down transfer talk regarding Paul Parry. He said that the Bulls don't need to sell him for financial reasons and added: "We certainly don't want to lose him at this stage."

Creditors accept 13% at Barry

Reports this evening in the Welsh media say that Barry Town has been bought from the creditors for about £130,000.

Local businessman Stuart Lovering put forward an offer of £130,000 in place of full payment of Barry's debts, which were thought to be close to £1 million.

His proposal was agreed to by 94% of the creditors at a meeting in the club today.

Lovering told BBC Wales:"All the debts have been paid off, we must keep within budget but there is money available for players and for improving facilities.

"We want Barry back challenging for the Welsh Premier title and playing in Europe."

The buy-out at Barry will be of interest to Conference followers because of the situation at Exeter City who face a twelve point deduction for being in a CVA by the Conference chiefs and also have the Inland Revenue looking at their 10p in the Pound payment to creditors.

The low payments offered by both Barry and Exeter to their creditors contrast with Hereford United's pledge to pay 100% to its creditors.

Selection problems for Tamworth

Tamworth manager, Darron Gee, has to pick his team to play at Edgar Street on Saturday without three of his first team.

Out of Saturday's trip to Hereford United are new signing Paul Barnes, Jason Blunt and Marcus Ebdon.

Barnes, who made his debut for Tamworth at Morecambe last Saturday, has a three match ban collected while playing for Doncaster. Blunt has a one-match punishment for an accumulation of bookings.

Ebdon could be out for four to six weeks. He suffered knee ligament damage in the first half at Morecambe.

Gee admitted the Ebdon injury was a major blow. He told the Tams' website: "From the early prognosis it doesn't look good but we'll have a better idea when an assessment is done this week."

Keeper Phil Whitehead (groin) is not expected back until the New Year and Mark Turner, son of Bulls manager Graham Turner, is a long-term absentee. At least Gee should be able to call on defenders Richard Dryden, who was on the bench at Morecambe but not used, and Dave Robinson after injury lay-offs.

Hereford United defeated Tamworth 3-1 on the first Saturday of the Conference season.

Bulls aim to stay in running

Graham Turner is adamant that Hereford United can keep up the pressure at the top of the Nationwide Conference over the Christmas period.

The Bulls are currently four points behind Chester City with a game in hand, and Turner told BBC Sport Online: "We know that this period is very important.

"You can pick up momentum going into the New Year that can carry you a long way."

"Chester are on a great run but we're right in touch with them and it's important that we don't allow them to get away. Everyone seems to feel that the Conference will be much closer this year than last and I agree with that.

"It's up to us to build on our return to winning ways to keep up the pressure on the teams around us at the top of the table."

Meanwhile it is understood that Paul Parry did not feature for Cardiff Reserves this afternoon in their 4-0 win over Bournmouth.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Biggest gate so far

The biggest Conference gate of the season, 6,738, saw Shrewsbury Town draw 0-0 with Telford United at the Gay Meadow tonight. This compares with an attendance of 6585 when Hereford United played at Shrewsbury.

Telford had Andy Wilkinson sent off midway thgrough the second half for serious foul play on Shrews substitute and lively new signing Jody Banim. The result means that Shrewsbury stay in sixth place in the Conference.

In the other Conference game Farnborough defeated Woking 1-0.

Tonight's results will be helpful to Hereford United. Of the top six teams only Aldershot have now played less games than the Bulls. And despite recently being beaten by Shrewsbury, the Bulls are now six points ahead of their near neighbours. Both sides have played the same number of matches.

Conference play-off details

With thanks to the Conference Guide, we publish the credentials required to participate in this season's Conference play-offs:

Qualification for the promotion play-offs.

The teams finishing 2nd through 5th in the final table qualify for the play-offs, after the fiddle-factor is applied to keep out teams in administration /CVA (see more info here).

In addition to finishing in an appropriate position in the table, the clubs must meet the Football League Entry Criteria (details) by 1st March, i.e. the clubs must be eligible for promotion. Any club not meeting the requirement cannot take place in the play-offs. Numbers are not made up to four by including teams in 6th or below - instead, byes are used as required.

Promotion semi-finals

Byes notwithstanding, the semi-final matches pitch the team finishing 2nd against the team finishing 5th, and 3rd against 4th (our copy of the rules handbook actually state it's 2nd against 4th and 3rd against 5th - I think this is a typo).

The matches are staged over two legs, with the lower placed team home first. Ties may be switched if the higher place team cannot host its home tie on the appropriate date.

If aggregate scores are level after 90 minutes of the 2nd leg, "silver goal" extra time applies. If still level, then the usual penalty shoot-out separates the sides. At no point does an "away goal counts extra" rule apply.

For the 2003/4 season, the semi-final legs will be on 29th April and 3rd May 2004.

Promotion final

The promotion final is a single leg on a neutral ground. Silver goal and penalties apply as tie-breakers if necessary. For the 2003/4 season, the final will be on 15th May 2004.

Finances etc

For the semi-finals, the net gate receipts are divided equally among the participating clubs, after deduction of allowable expenses and an unspecified levy to the Conference. The visiting club in each match is entitled to 10% of the ticket allocation, or a minimum of 600 were that's greater.

For the final, the clubs act as agents for the Conference, and ticket fees go to a central pot. The money left after expenses and a levy for the Conference is split between the participating clubs.

TV income is accounted for separately, and goes straight to the Conference.

No move from Cardiff yet

Today's Evening News says that Graham Turner has not heard from Cardiff about Paul Parry.

"The situation is that Cardiff wanted to have a look at him," said Turner.

"It's in his contract to do that but we have not heard anything since. As far as we are concerned we have not heard anything from Cardiff but obviously if they made an offer we would have to consider it."

Lennie Lawrence, manager of the Bluebirds, added: Cardiff "We are looking at Paul Parry and hope he will be able to play for the reserves again this week."

Monday, December 08, 2003

Lawrence short of a left-winger

Two players have left Cardiff City today. Midfielder Layton Maxwell has left by mutual consent, but more importantly left-winger Julian Gray has returned to Crystal Palace.

According to HTV Wales, Cardiff had the chance of buying Gray from Palace but the fee was deemed too high. Gray has featured in the last five Cardiff games and was reported as giving the Bluebirds "several exhilarating pereformances down the left flank".

Lennie Lawrence, the Cardiff manager, may now watch Hereford United's Paul Parry with even more interest. There are not that many left-wingers with Parry's talent available and a good showing from him on Wednesday, when he is due to play again for Cardiff reserves, in front of Lawrence may mean a transfer is that much more likely.

Local derby over the border

Shropshire's two Conference clubs will meet each other for the first time in the league tomorrow evening at the Gay Meadow. The game was originally postponed because Shrewsbury had players on international duty. And with Telford on a high after their victory over Brentford in the FA Cup on Saturday, the result could be close.

Mick Jones, the Telford manager, says the game is more important to Telford than the FA Cup win as his club need to win if they are to get close to a play-off place.

However, as Hereford United found, the Gay Meadow will not be an easy place to take points from. Shrewsbury have only lost once at home this season whilst Telford have only won twice away.

Jody Banim is likely to feature for the Shrews. He was signed from Radcliffe Borough last week for £20,000 and manager Jimmy Quinn has suggested that he was "the hottest property outside the Conference". In 125 games he scored 97 goals for the UniBond side.

If Shrewsbury win, they will move up to fifth in the table. Should Telford win they could rise to eighth position but that assumes the result in the other Conference game tomorrow evening, between Farnborough and Woking, is a home win and that is no means certain.

Away trips made all-ticket

Hereford United fans must purchase tickets before either of the journeys to Exeter City in January.

The United official website reports that both the New Years Day league match and the FA Trophy tie on January 10th are all-ticket for away fans.

Tickets for the league game will be placed on sale at 9am on Tuesday, and are priced as follows:

Standing: Adults - £10, Senior Citizens - £7, Children - £3.

Seating: Adults - £12, Senior Citizens - £9, Children - £3.

The club report that they have yet to receive the Trophy tickets, so these are not yet on sale. Cash or cheques are the only forms of payment - no credit cards will be accepted, and Hereford United will not take responsibility for tickets late or lost in the post.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Good draw for local rivals

Stevenage Borough's FA Cup elimination to Swansea City yesterday means United host Graham Westley's men on January 3rd, the day of the third round.

There are several games of note. Old rivals Yeovil Town host Liverpool, while Kidderminster Harriers will play Wolves at Aggborough. Cheltenham town make the trip to Fulham, and Telford United, the only non-league team definitely through on Saturday, go to Crewe Alexandra.

Of the other Conference sides, Accrington Stanley must beat Bournemouth to earn a third round tie against Colchester United, while Scarborough, who beat Port Vale 1-0 this afternoon, will go to Southend United.

Unfortunately for the smaller teams, several big draws are likely to earn the television money. Notable ties include Watford vs Chelsea, Arsenal at Leeds United, Southampton vs Newcastle United, Aston Villa at home against Manchester United and Manchester City hosting Leicester City.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Chester stretch lead

Chester City extended their advantage at the top of the Nationwide Conference today as they collected another three points.

Mark Wright's men won 3-0 over Halifax Town, leaving the Cestrians on 47 points while Hereford, with a game in hand, are four points behind.

Exeter City moved into third with a 2-2 draw at home against Forest Green Rovers, but the rest of the top teams were without matches or in FA Cup second round action.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Are some clubs breaking the rules?

Chester City owner Stephen Vaughan has said that several clubs have been contacted by Nationwide Conference chiefs over possible breaking of the new and very complicated turnover rules. It is understood that the clubs, including Chester, may have "excessive wage bills".

In essence clubs have to operate with a wage bill that is dependent on their turnover. A Conference sub-committee is charged with checking that the rules are being kept to and they are beleived to think that Chester and certain other clubs may be breaking these rules.

Vaughan told the Daily Post: "I am annoyed that somebody at the Conference appears to have leaked these findings and equally annoyed that Chester City appears to have been singled out. Are they trying to penalise success I wonder?" has produced some updated information about the rules and gives examples of the relationship between turnover and wages.

For a club with a turnover of £500,000, the wage bill is deemed to be £325,000. But there are ways to change these figures as there are two review dates, Nov 30th and Jan 31st.

This year, Hereford United might have the chance to increase their wage bill as turnover has risen through better gate receipts.

Chester could move further ahead

Chester City could increase their lead at the top of the Conference to four points over Hereford United should they defeat Halifax Town tomorrow.

With several Conference clubs involved in the FA Cup, there are only five games in the league. Chester go to the Shaymen, who were recently defeated 7-1 by Hereford, and will be expected to take all three points. However, Halifax have only lost twice at home so far this season so Chester may have to work hard for a victory.

Exeter, currently fourth, will move up to third above Barnet if they can defeat Forest Green in their home match.

Meanwhile, the bookies are still expecting Chester to win the Conference. The best price available for them is 2-1, while Hereford are up to 5-1. Shrewsbury can be found up to 6-1.

Of the others in the top six, best price for Barnet is 11-1, Aldershot 16-1 and Exeter 20-1.

Parry speculation flares up again

Hereford United midfielder Paul Parry is being looked at by Division One Welshmen Cardiff City.

As well as training with the Bluebirds this week, he played for the Welsh team against Derby County on Wednesday afternoon in a reserve game which finished 2-1 to the Rams, and Lennie Lawrence confirmed that his club, backed by Sam Hamman, are casting an eye over the player.

However, a move is not imminent, as no offer has been made and Lawrence wants to look at him at the Forest Green match before deciding whether to make an offer for Parry, who is under contract until the end of the season.

"We are looking at Paul Parry and hope he will be able to play for the reserves again next week," said Lawrence. "I have also pencilled in a trip to watch him play for Hereford later this month and we'll make a decision after that."

The South Wales Echo reports that Parry will play for the Bluebirds in a reserve game at home against Bournemouth on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, both the away matches at Exeter City on New Years Day, and the FA Trophy game on January 10th, are now 1pm kick-offs. They have been moved on police advice.

Captain consistent leads local league

Hereford United's good form this season has seen skipper Tony James be the most consistent player in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, according to the Evening News.

The Ray Mercer Memorial Trophy ratings are led by James, who averages 7.54 per match, with Ben Smith joint-third on 7.09 and Worcester City's Leon Kelly on 7.1.

Former United reserve goalkeeper Lee Evans is averaging 6.75 for his current club Stourport Swifts, who ply their trade in the Dr. Martens Western Division.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Mkandawire plays for Baggies reserves

The official West Bromwich Albion website has stated that Tamika Mkandawire has returned to the club and is in the squad for the reserve game against Manchester United tonight, following his two month loan spell at Edgar Street.

A 2-0 win for the Reds was the result of the match played at Altrincham.

Exeter appeal on December 16th

Exeter City's bid to overturn a 12 point penalty will be heard by a three man FA appeal panel on December 16th. The appeal is being backed by near neighbours Plymouth Argyle and Torquay United.

The penalty has been given by the Conference chiefs because Exeter have gone into a CVA. The club has debts of about £4.8 million but at a recent creditors meeting agreement was reached to pay back 10p in the pound.

Since then the Inland Revenue have started investigations as it appears they are unhappy with the CVA arrangements.

But the main problems facing Exeter is the possible 12 point deduction which they consider to be very harsh. On their side is the fact that the Conference said that the penalty for going into a CVA would be similar to that of the Football League.

However the League is not going to punish clubs going into administration until next season.

Paul Stapleton, the Plymouth chairman, told the Exeter Express and Echo: "I think it was a mistake for the Conference to have been the trend-setters on this issue when they said they would follow our line.

"The principle for points deduction for clubs in administration is probably right in the current marketplace, but I feel Exeter City have been made into a scapegoat."

Exeter are currently fourth in the Conference, just four points behind second-place Hereford United. The two clubs meet twice in the league in the Xmas/New Year period. If twelve points are deducted Exeter would drop to 13th place. The effect would make it very difficult for them to get back to a play-off position.

It is not known whether the FA panel will annouce their decision on the day of the appeal.

Questions to be asked

Supporters keep wondering when there will be additions to the Hereford United squad. And in today's Hereford Times, Graham Turner sets out how he goes about looking for new players.

Before he signs a new player there are four questions he asks. Firstly, is he good enough? Secondly, will he drop into the Conference? Thirdly, can we afford him? And lastly, is he of the right character?

"The last factor is crucial when signing a player," says Turner. "We do our homework by asking his former managers and playing colleagues what sort of lad he is around the club, what's he like in training and generally whether he is a 'good pro'.

"We were interested in bringing in a defender last week but reports of his attitude were not over complimentary so that was quickly dropped.

"But we have a second viewing of a couple of players this week and if that seems OK then there may be some developements over the next fortnight.

"If we avoid injuries, I think we still need to add three players, whether on loan or permanently, ant that's not taking into account any problems with the present squad."

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Sport provides Christmas cheer in the county

Things are looking up for sport in Herefordshire, both in terms of horse racing and football.

Cornelius Lysaght, BBC Radio Five Live's racing correspondent, wrote on the BBC website of his delight at the local successes that are occurring.

"We are buoyant, basking in the memory of giant-killing footballers, the quality of our beef and scenery and the scrumptious produce of our apple orchards.

"All these things are still, of course, massive in our small but perfectly formed county, and so too is jump racing."

Moving on to football, Lysaght added: "Supporting their heroes nearly as loyally as any Hereford United fan that believes the team can rise again, the area's punters had never had it so good."

And of racing: "We have got some outstanding people at the moment, and it is odds-on that a future star is on a pony somewhere in Herefordshire right now, pointing it at a hedge and pretending to be Richard Johnson.

I hope so, and raise a glass - of cider, naturally - to the longevity and prosperity of such a tradition."

  • In last night's youth team match, Hereford United crashed out of the League Cup, losing 7-3 at Sutton Coldfield.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Good prize money

The prize money for defeating Exeter City in the third round of the FA Trophy, and progressing to win the competition outright, is £50,000.

So although the money would swell the Bulls coffers, Graham Turner still says that the Conference is his priority.

"It's a certainly a tough one but a good draw and we can go there with some confidence," Turner told the Evening News. "We are going to play them three times in 14 days and out of the three the Trophy match will be the least important.

"But there is good prize money available."

The winner of this third-round tie will receive a prize of £4,000 from the Football Association.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Council back Asda scheme

It is understood that the Herefordshire council has decided to back the Asda scheme for a new supermarket scheme close to the River Wye despite the doubts of their planners.

The scheme, which would regenerate a derelict part of the city, is now expected to be sent to the Secretary of State for a final decision. His response could take up to eighteen months.

The fact that the council vote in favour was substantial should send a message to Government that Hereford wants to improve it's facilities.

It should also send out a signal that the council are taking the Edgar Street Grid proposals seriously.

Hereford United should welcome this news as a move in the right direction. Assuming the Government gives the go-ahead, Asda coming to Hereford could be the start of attracting more investment in the city and the spin-off could make the Edgar Street proposals that bit more attractive.

Stand tickets for Forest Green game

Hereford United supporters can purchase tickets for the Forest Green away game on December 19th from Edgar Street, but the numbers are limited.

The tickets are for seats in the Trevor Horsley stand and are priced at £10 each.

Since the last visit of the Bulls, improvements have been made to the away side of the ground with more of that area being undercover.

Meanwhile former Hereford United striker Steve Piearce has re-joined Dr Martens League Western Division club Halesowen Town from ICIS Midland Combination side West Midlands Police.

Another Exeter cup tie

Hereford United will travel to Exeter City in the third round of the FA Trophy.

The game, billed as tie of the round, sees United make the trip to Devon on January 10th, after playing the Grecians twice in the league over the Christmas period.

The Bulls have already eliminated Exeter out of one cup competition, as they won 2-0 at Edgar Street in the LDV Vans Trophy first round.

Other notable ties include Shrewsbury Town vs Morecambe and Chester City's game against Halifax Town.