Saturday, January 31, 2004

Transfer keeps United alive

The sale of Paul Parry has been crucial to the survival of Hereford United, given that the club haven't played a home match since January 3rd, when the Welshman scored a last-minute winner against Stevenage Borough.

Since then, Hereford have played two away games and return to action on Tuesday, again on their travels, at Scarborough. Next Saturday sees their first game at Edgar Street for over a month, when they play Burton Albion.

Parry was sold in the week after that win over Stevenage for £75,000 initially in a deal which reportedly could rise to as much as £200,000. His destination was Ninian Park, home of Cardiff City, where he has swiftly settled into life in Division One.

The financial benefit to United has been great, according to chairman Graham Turner. "We will have a lot of interest in Paul for probably a long time to come in terms of payments," he told the Evening News. "With some of the payments spread over appearances and so on, it could secure the financial shortfall that we make for the next 12 to 18 months.

"It is difficult to operate with our means but we are trying to do that and the transfer money from Paul will play a big part in keeping our head above water."

The Exeter situation - a summary

The following article appeared in this morning's Independent newspaper, reviewing the 'Exeter situation' so far:

A legal case, brewing quietly, involving Exeter City and the Inland Revenue, could have profound consequences for the football authorities' insistence that when clubs go into administration, football creditors, mostly players' wages, have to be paid in full, while other creditors have to accept as little as 10p in the pound or nothing.

This policy, which the Football League has repeatedly maintained as club after club has slipped into insolvency since the collapse of ITV Digital in April 2002, is now under genuine attack. The Inland Revenue argues it is illegal because it gives football creditors priority over all others. Previously, the Inland Revenue were legally classed as a preferential creditor, but were downgraded to the status of ordinary creditors by the Enterprise Act of 2002.

Exeter were the first club to drop into administration after the Act came into force, and the Inland Revenue sees this as a test case. It could have serious implications for the sums currently being done to save Leeds United. Exeter's settlement neatly illustrates the problem. The club owed £3.45m, debts left by the previous regime, which the Supporters Trust settled when they took over the club. The £450,000 owed to football creditors was paid in full, while others, including the Inland Revenue, owed £3m, had to settle for 10p in the pound - £300,000 altogether.

The case is due to be heard on 23 April. If the Revenue win, Exeter will have to pay all creditors, including football creditors, equally, which will not be in full. As football's rules stand, this will mean Exeter will be expelled from the Conference. The club has sought legal clarification of the insolvency rules from the Conference - as well as challenging the 12-point penalty imposed on the club for going into administration - and the Conference has reacted furiously, accusing Exeter of running up legal costs which the clubs cannot afford to pay.

"We're in a pickle here," said Ian Huxham, Exeter's managing director. "We really feel this is the football authorities' problem and we should all be coming together to sort it out. Instead we're being hung out to dry."

Friday, January 30, 2004

Everybody's fit at the moment

With Steve Guinan and Andy Tretton back in contention for a place in the Hereford United team, Graham Turner could have selection problems of who to leave out of the squad shortly.

"We've got everybody fit at the moment. Steve Guinan and Andy Tretton both joined in training from Tuesday onwards and both look okay and look in quite reasonable physical shape. So there has got to be some consideration for them for Scarborough, but certainly for Burton with those extra few days," Turner told BBC Hereford & Worcester.

"It's like two new signings for us having those two back. Looking around the squad of players last Tuesday morning, suddenly we look a substantial strong squad again."

Looking forward to Tuesday's game, Turner said: "We'll have Saturday off, the players will train on Sunday and Monday and then we're off up to Scarborough leaving lunch-time Tuesday."

More Telford games postponed

Telford face the prospect of another two weeks without a home game. Their FA Trophy match tommorrow has been postponed to allow the pitch to recover enough for their FA Cup game with Milwall to be played next Wednesday.

However even that fixture could be in doubt as rain is again forecast for the early part of next week.

Also postponed is Telford's Conference clash with Chester which was due to be played on February 14th. The Bucks will play their outstanding Trophy game that day.

It is still hoped to stage the Non-League International on February 11th at Telford, but that game too must now be a doubt.

All these problems with the ground at the Bucks Head suggest that the postponed game with Hereford United could be played in the last week of the season.

Only time will tell

Graham Turner hopes that another Saturday without a game will not hinder Hereford United's chances in the Conference.

"Only time will tell whether the break has been beneficial," Turner told the Evening News. "We will see at Scarborough on Tuesday.

"But a break is something we have not been averse to for some time, and the Premiership have now voted to have a break themselves from next season.

"I think it should have done the players a little bit of good. We have done some hard work in training and we played a practice match at Oxford this week of three half-hour periods, with all the players getting an hour."

Turner also spoke about his two players, Steve Guinan and Andy Tretton, who are on the way to returning to the squad after injury.

"We have to be careful. There is still a lot of football to be played and we don't want to race players back and then lose them for another period of time.

"We hope to ease them in but they won't be too far off being in contention for Tuesday."

Thursday, January 29, 2004

No return for injured players

Neither Steve Guinan nor Andy Tretton are likely to feature in next Tuesday's Hereford United squad to visit Scarborough reports this morning's Hereford Times.

Both are said to be making good progress and Graham Turner said: "It's like having two new signings."

There are hopes that they could be available for the Burton home game on February 7th.

Meanwhile the Bulls manager has commented on Rob Purdie being chosen for the England squad to play Italy next month.

"He has had a good season. He has worked very hard and it is due recognition for him."

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Promotion final at Stoke

The Conference Guide has reported that Stoke City's Britannia Stadium will host the Conference promotion final again this year.

The final is set for 1pm on Sunday 16th May 2004. The venue hosted last year's final in which Doncaster Rovers won promotion to the Football League with a golden-goal winner against Dagenham and Redbridge.

It had been reported that the final was to be on May 9th, but this has been changed.

There will still be two play-off semi-final days, provisionally on Thursday April 29th and Bank Holiday Monday May 3rd.

Purdie debut for England?

Hereford United forward Rob Purdie has been named in Paul Fairclough's English National Game XI squad for the first time.

The ex-Leicester City player is in the running to feature against Italy's U-23 squad on Wednesday 11th February at Telford United's New Bucks Head ground.

Kick-off is at 7.45pm and admission is free, with manager Fairclough adding on “A growing number of players are using this team as the launchpad into league football, and you may well see some of the future stars of English football at Telford, as we attempt to beat the best young talent in Italian football.”

The squad is a trial game for Fairclough, who has left out Hereford's Matt Baker and Michael Rose despite good performances for the team last season.

Meanwhile it has been confirmed that Rose will miss one game because of a sending-off. That is likely to be the Scarborough away match next Tuesday.

Two Scarborough players are also suspended for the game. Mark Qualye and Ashley Lyth both have one match bans.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Chester still firm favourites

Chester City are still firm favourites to win the Conference. Prices have eased to about 4-6 or in some cases even less.

Hereford United can be found at 3-1 at most bookies but 7-2 is available at Skybet. Of the others with a chance to win the league, Shrewsbury are around 15-2, Barnet 12-1 and Aldershot 14-1.

The bookies are expecting the Barnet striker Grazioli to score the most goals this season in the Conference. Skybet only offer 4-7 against him.

The two Hereford United top goalscorers, Steve Guinan and Ben Smith, are now quoted at 20-1 and 66-1 respectively.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Hawley to leave Walsall

Karl Hawley is being released by Walsall. He has been told that his current deal will not be renewed and he is being allowed to leave the club if he can get fixed up with another club.

Hawley spent a spell at Edgar Street towards the end of last season on-loan from Walsall. Since then he has been at Raith Rovers.

The Walsall manager said : "It was only fair that he is informed of our intentions now. That way it gives him a chance to get fixed up before the summer rush."

Hawley is a 22 year-old striker, who made five appearances for the Bulls while on-loan scoring one goal.

Meanwhile there are doubts about whether Telford can stage the England versus Italy Non-League game on February 11th. The Bucks ground has drainage problems and already various games have had to be cancelled.

Several Hereford United players could feature in the English squad.

Bulls trounced in friendly game

Hereford United slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Oxford United in this afternoon's closed-doors friendly at the Division Three club.

In a game played over three periods of thirty minutes Steve Basham scored twice in two minutes to seal the win after Lee Steele had opened the scoring.

Hereford, going well in the Conference, showed why they are pressing to get back into the league and tested Andy Woodman with at least three good strikes, but Oxford had by far the clearer openings.

The Bulls return to competitive first team action a week tomorrow, when they go to Scarborough.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Purdie may get selected for England game

Rob Purdie is in the running for a call-up to the English Non-League team.

The young Hereford United player could join Matt Baker and Michael Rose for an international against an Italian team on February 11th.

Today's Non-League Paper says that Purdie has impressed the English boss, Paul Fairclough, with his consistent showings this season.

Elsewhere former Hereford United player Chris Lane has joined Leigh RMI after being released by Morecambe. According to press reports he had a useful debut for his new club who beat his former club 3-1 yesterday.

Meanwhile the Exeter crisis shows no signs of being resolved. A Conference spokeman has been quoted as saying that the Conference chiefs have offered to sit down and discuss the matter with Exeter but the only correspondence has been through solicitors.

Telford's ground needs work

Not for the first time this season Telford had to postpone a game yesterday because its new ground was water-logged. As it was a FA Cup tie, it will have to be played as soon as possible. At present that date looks like a week next Tuesday.

However with a Trophy game scheduled for next Saturday against Weston-super-Mare, there is the possibility that game could be postponed if the pitch is not playable causing a further delay for the Bucks.

Telford have only played twelve conference games at home this season so far and have a back-log of four games already, one of which is against Hereford United. Their recent game against Forest Green was abandoned at half-time because it was raining.

This probably explains their request to play the match against the Bulls on the last Tuesday of the season which Graham Turner is protesting about. The pitch in April should be drier although it appears that drainage is the real problem there so heavy rain could cause postponements at any time.

There have been suggestions on forums that the pitch could have been played on yesterday but a postponement may lead to TV coverage when the tie finally goes ahead bringing a financial windfall for the Bucks. Another thought is that with a bigger squad Telford can play games with shorter intervals between them, something Graham Turner with his small squad would find difficult especially towards the end of the season with the Chester game on the last day.

Whites set-up friendly date

Hereford United will play a behind-closed-doors friendly on Monday evening to keep the players fit in a spell when they have two and a half weeks off.

The Bulls will travel to the Kassam Stadium, the home of Oxford United, to play Ian Atkins' Division Three high-flyers.

Oxford return to league action next Saturday against Kidderminster Harriers while Hereford's next match is a week on Tuesday, when they go to Scarborough.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Legal costs are unacceptable

The Hereford United manager Graham Turner is unhappy that clubs like his, who are trying to run their affairs carefully, now face substantial legal costs from the Conference because of the Exeter crisis.

Turner already faces the prospect of losing the fee from Sky for televising the Boxing day fixture.

"The feedback I am getting is that chairmen are getting quite annoyed with the situation. When you think that clubs like ourselves trying to run things quite prudently and live within our means, may be facing fairly substantial legal costs for something we are not involved in, I find that unacceptable," he told BBC Hereford and Worcester yesterday.

Moving on to the fee received for Paul Parry Turner noted: "We will have a lot of interest in Paul for probably a long time to come in terms of payments. With some of the payments spread over appearances and so-on, it could secure the financial shortfall that we make for the next twelve to eighteen months.

"It is difficult to operate with our means but we are trying to do that and the transfer money from Paul will play a big part in keeping our head above water."

City extend lead over Bulls

Chester City made the most of Hereford United's free weekend by extending their advantage at the top of the Nationwide Conference.

Mark Wright's side won 4-0 at Northwich Victoria to go six points clear, although Hereford do have two games in hand.

Aldershot Town could have gone level on points with Hereford, but they crashed to a 4-0 defeat at local rivals Farnborough Town in a game where the kick-off was delayed by fifteen minutes due to crowd congestion. Barnet have made up the deficit, and now have the same points total as Aldershot after beating Margate 3-1.

Shrewsbury Town remain in the final play-off spot as they drew 0-0 at Halifax Town, while neither of the two Conference sides still in the FA Cup had a productive day in the fourth round. Telford United's home match against Millwall of Division One was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, and Scarborough lost 1-0 to Premiership giants Chelsea, with John Terry scoring the only goal after just ten minutes at the McCain Stadium.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Public enemy number one

Exeter City are fast becoming 'public enemy number one' says Graham Turner. Interviewed by Nicola Goodwin on BBC Hereford & Worcester, Turner says he is concerned about the situation at Exeter City.

"We are getting more information by the day on what is going on. It doesn't look good for all the member clubs. It looks as though it is going to be quite an expensive operation at the moment and I think Exeter are fast becoming public enemy number one as far as all the member clubs are concerned.

"It does concern us that we have just had a circular round from the Conference to say that no more television money should be paid out. Now we played a televised match ironically against Exeter on Boxing Day. We just hope we get that television fee but the way it is looking at the moment there is no guarantee.

"I can't understand for the life of me the route that Exeter have chosen to contest the twelve deduction and the dispute with the taxman.

"We have a chairman's meeting on February 12th. Perhaps we will be enlightened on that date."

Ticket sales help cash-flow

As there is a gap of five weeks between home matches at present, Graham Turner has thanked supporters for suggesting that tickets for the games against Shrewsbury and Chester should go on sale early.

Speaking to BBC Hereford & Worcester he said: "The good supporter, the loyal supporter has the opportunity of getting a ticket irespective of what might be at stake on the last day of the season. And so the Shrewsbury game, it helps us with the cash flow.

"We have had a reasonable season as far as finance is concerned because of the increase in attendances, but if you go five weeks as we will have done without a home match, you are still paying wages every week. You have still got all the expenses of running the club and it can cause a cash-flow problem so the income at the moment from Shrewsbury ticket sales is very welcome."

More fixtures may be moved

With no game until February 3rd, Graham Turner, the Hereford United manager, says that with things going reasonably well the last thing you want is a couple of Saturdays off.

"What is has done is given us a chance to take stock, to give the players a little break, to do almost a mini pre-season in preparation for the Scarborough match," Turner told BBC Hereford & Worcester. "It's that chance to recharge the batteries and hope that when we go to Scarborough there will be that freshness about us. There is always that chance that when you miss games, you do lose a little match-sharpness.

"For those players that are fully-fit, they want to be playing. We had a battling draw up at Morecambe and that followed some good results over Christmas and we want to be playing.

"What concerns me is that we could lose several more games over the next few weeks. Shrewsbury for instance are still involved in the Trophy, so if they continue to be involved in it there is a possibilty that our game with them is on a Trophy date.

"What we don't want is some fixture congestion at the end of the season. We have had difficulty in rearranging the Telford match. They have suggested the last week of the season but we don't want to leave it that long just in case we lose any more matches.

"If the weather turns as has been forecast there is the possibilty of further postponements, if not for us for other clubs which leads to congestion later in the season."

Date of Telford game uncertain

The date of the away game against Telford United is still uncertain, after the match originally scheduled for tomorrow was postponed because Mick Jones' men are still involved in the FA Cup.

They host first division Millwall at their New Bucks Head ground tomorrow, hoping to overturn the side managed by Dennis Wise. The only other Conference club in the competition after Scarborough, who host Chelsea in a 12.30pm televised match tomorrow.

Of the Telford postponed match, it is understood that the Bucks are hoping to stage the match in the last week of the season but Graham Turner is thought to dislike that idea.

If the game is played on Tuesday April 20th, it will be just four days before the end of season clash with Chester City.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Chester could go six points ahead

There may be no game for Hereford United this weekend but most of the Conference teams are in action with two of them, Scarborough and Telford involved in FA Cup matches.

In the Conference, leaders Chester visit bottom of the league Northwich and so would be expected to win that game. A result for them would put them six points ahead of the Bulls but they will have played two more games.

And the Bulls face the prospect of seeing Aldershot draw level with them on points as the Shots visit their near-neighbours Farnborough. Although the home team's form has improved lately by winning three of their last five Conference games, the Shots must be fancied to return home with three points.

Of the other teams in the running for a play-off place Barnet, who lost at home to Dagenham and Redbridge last Saturday, could find Margate a difficult team to beat.

Shrewsbury travel to Halifax and Exeter to Dagenham and Redbridge. Current form suggests that the Shrews ought to collect something from their game but Exeter could find the Daggers too much for them especially as they are without their top scorer Sean Devine.

With Morecambe, Accrington and Woking all close to a play-off place, no team above them can afford to slip-up at present.

£25,000 put aside for Exeter case

Hereford United director and club secretary, Joan Fennessy, has confirmed in this morning's Hereford Times that the club has received a letter from the Conference instructing the club to keep £25,000 to help meet possible costs of the dispute between Exeter City and the Conference.

Added to the amount of tax due which Graham Turner said was £47,000, United will have already potentially spent almost all of the £75,000 transfer payment from the sale of Paul Parry.

The club has been asked to pay an initial £2,000 towards the first case concerning Exeter which was heard last Friday.

Meanwhile Conference Chief Executive John Moules today confirmed he is having crunch talks with the "football authorities" in an effort to resolve their expensive legal battle with Exeter City. Moules acted swiftly after the Conference had their application to settle the dispute by an independent arbitration expert booted out during a special six-hour hearing at Bristol County Court last Friday reports the Exeter Express and Echo.

He has since launched emergency talks with his counterparts at the FA and Football League over the next step forward.

Moules may be ordered by the FA to open negotiations with Grecians officials to seek a solution to an issue that could have wide-ranging ramifications for the whole of football.

His next move will hinge on the verdict of Judge Weekes QC - who is set to outline his reasons next week behind his decision to commit the case for trial at the end of March.

"We are now in discussions with the football authorities regarding the decision by Justice Weekes on Friday," said Moules.

He added: "Until we finish those, we can't really say anything more at the moment. We will also need a copy of the judge's reason for making that decision. It would therefore be wrong for me to comment any further at this time."

Bulls forced to fund Exeter battle

Hereford United have reacted to the news that they will have to contribute towards the Conference's legal bill as Exeter City fight to keep their twelve points.

The Grecians have had the deduction as they have entered a CVA, and company secretary Joan Fennessy told the Hereford Times: "Many clubs will struggle to meet this cost," adding that £25,000 will be put aside per club.

The club add that they have sold 500 tickets for the all-ticket game against Shrewsbury Town on March 27th.

Meanwhile, the Conference have confirmed that Droylsden will not be promoted if they win the Unibond League. Their application was too late to be considered, although they lie a point behind Hucknall Town at the moment, having played two more games.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Hereford are the poor relation

Hereford United appear to be the poor relation at present of the four Conference clubs based close to the Welsh Border. But the Bulls appear to be observing the new Conference rules on turnover and wages.

Chester are said to be losing £65,000 per month and Telford are probably in a like-wise position. Chester is being supported by its chairman, Stephen Vaughan who has invested £2.3 million in the club and Telford by the hotel business its chairman, Andy Shaw, owns. On these figures Chester will lose around £750,000 this season.

Shrewsbury are reported to have had a £2.25 million turnover last year and 65% of this was spent on salaries including pensions and national insurance which translates into a wage bill of close to £1,500,000 last season. Whether it is as high this season remains to be seen.

The few figures above contrast with the situation at Edgar Street where the wage bill this season is likely to be less than £500,000 including PAYE and NI. But at least Hereford United are paying their way at present.

It seems somewhat unfair that Chester can lose more in a season than Hereford pay out in wages.

There must be an argument to look again at the Conference rules on the relationship between turnover and wages. But then the Conference appear to have enough on its plate at present trying to sort out the Exeter problems.

Semi-Pro Tournament in Scotland

Bulls fans will have a long way to travel to watch this season's Semi-Pro Tournament as it is to take place in Scotland.

It has been revealed that Highland League grounds are set to play host to this year's tournament shortly after the climax of the 2003-2004 season.

Although the plans are still in their infancy it is understood that the SFA are looking to hold the tournament in the North between May the 17th and 24th with Aberdeen being the likely base for the teams from England, Ireland and Wales.

Last year, four Hereford United players took part in the games which were held in South Wales. Matt Baker and Michael Rose played for England whilst Tony James and Paul Parry featured in the Welsh squad.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Ben Smith has a female agent

Most Hereford United players have football agents but how many have female agents to look after them?

Ben Smith is lucky. His agent is dark-haired Louise Fellows who looks after both League and Non-League players.

Louise wrote a piece for the Non-League paper which was published last Sunday. In it she explained what her job entailed. She attends games, promotes players and tries to convince people to come and watch her players. She also has to thrash out sponsorships and look after their finances.

"It's a question of spotting the uncut gems who are in with a chance of making it, raising their profile, making sure you can find people to come and see them in action and organising trials"

She goes on to promote a few of her charges in the article including Ben Smith. "I represent Ben Smith at Hereford, who started out as a trainee at Arsenal and I think he'll definitely go on to a League club.

"A lot of the time it's wait and see - something could happen tomorrow, or in a year's time."

Meanwhile, the Tiverton Town manager Martyn Rogers has admitted knowing nothing about any offer from Hereford for their star player Nathan Rudge.

Asked by the Exeter Express & Echo about the Hereford link, Rogers said: "I haven't heard anything and, to be honest, I was surprised when someone told me about the rumours. As far as I'm aware, nothing is going on but the manager is normally the last to know!"

Monday, January 19, 2004

Rudge speculation unfounded

Speculation late last week that Hereford United were interested in Tiverton Town's Nathen Rudge appears to be unfounded.

The Western Daily Press amidst others reported that the Bulls were considering an offer of £25,000 for Rudge. However sources close to Tiverton have told that "mis-information" could have come from the Wiltshire area as Rudge used to play at Chippenham Town.

Apparantly Tiverton and Chippenham play each other in the Dr Martins tomorrow evening and since Rudge used to play for Chippenham and left to join Tiverton there is little love between the two sides.

Whether someone fed the press this rumour about a Hereford bid to up-set Rudge is uncertain but the Western Daily Press couldn't have checked the story as they would have soon realised that Hereford United are under a CVA and cannot buy players.

Meanwhile also in the West Country, Ray Graydon has quit as manager of Bristol Rovers. Anwar Uddin is currently on-loan at Edgar Street from that club.

And John Moules, the Conference chief has commented to about the Exeter situation which could involve Hereford United and the other clubs in a payment to help the Conference defend their position.

"We are discussing the Exeter situation with the "Football Authorities" and await the Judges reasons for his decision on Friday," said Moules. "There will be a number of issues regarding Exeter but all will hopefully be resolved before the end of the season in everyone's interests."

Shrewsbury tickets now on sale

As of today, tickets for the Hereford United vs Shrewsbury Town match on Saturday 27th March can be purchased.

Prices are as follows: Terraces: Adult £10; Concession £6. Stand: Adult £12 Concession £9. No tickets will be available for the Blackfriars End as this area is reserved for Shrewsbury Town supporters.

The club has said that they will be accepting Internet orders for the Shrewsbury Match. All orders must include your name, address, the number of tickets required, which area of the ground they are required for, card number, expiry date, issue number, and a contact number. 3% must be added to the total for a credit card fee, and 27p is required for postage.

Hereford United have said that they will not take responsibility for lost or late tickets in the post. Any orders please email through to the club at

Meanwhile the club are also holding another gala dinner on Thursday 19th February at the Three Counties Hotel in Hereford.

Boxing legend John Conteh is the guest speaker, supported by comedian Bob Webb, and tickets are priced at £30. They include a programme, a four-course meal as well as a prize draw and auction, and can be purchased from the club office.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Hereford may have to contribute to the Exeter case

According to the Non-League Paper a ruling at Bristol High Court last Friday means that the Exeter City crisis will be heard in open court probably in March or April. And Hereford United and the rest of the Conference clubs may have to pick up the costs.

The case appears to hinge on whether the Football Authorities can decide matters over and above the laws of the land.

For example at present "football debts" must be paid by any club however bad its financial problems. But in law that may not happen. So this case could change the rules.

The Inland Revenue are also involved as they appear to think that the 10p in the pound CVA agreed at Exeter by the majority of creditors should be questioned.

The whole saga could cost other Conference clubs dearly. Costs last Friday of about £50,000 were awarded against the Conference. The NLP suggests that unless the FA takes a lead in fighting the Exeter case and helps with the costs, Conference clubs could face a final bill of £600,000 or about £30,000 for each club.

Exeter will escape most of the costs as their lawyers are reported to be on a no-win, no-fee basis.

As well as the uncertainty over costs , the cases could drag on past the end of the season. Should Exeter become involved in the play-offs and win, it is still uncertain if they could be promoted.

Meanwhile the ruling over a possible twelve point deduction for going into a CVA is still not resolved.

PS: Since posting this article an excellent resumee of the Exeter situation and what it might mean has appeared on in the news section.

Rose suspended for Scarborough game

Michael Rose will miss the away game at Scarborough on February 3rd as he collected two yellow cards yesterday. To make matters worse he will still have four yellows to his name even after serving the one match ban.

Should he collect another yellow, he would then miss two games as he will have collected ten yellows this season.

Both Ryan Green and Tony James on currently on four yellows.

If either of those two collect another card they would miss a game.

Bookings at the Scarborough game would result in players missing the important home fixture against Woking on Saturday Feb 21st.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Rose should know better

Michael Rose really should know by now to control his language. His first card this afternoon at Morecambe was for mouthing-off at the officials. Referees will always get a fair bit of stick but Rose was totally over the top with his abuse.

Whether his sending-off, the second yellow coming after a rash challenge, would have made the difference between a result for the Bulls or not will never be known. But he let his side down.

As Danny Williams said this was not a dirty game and the amount of cards not a reflection of the play. But the referee did not seem able to distinguish between a hard challenge and an unfair one.

And the referee's decision to award an indirect free-kick after Jamie Pitman's head had been badly cut by the studs of a Morecambe defender and not a penalty was difficult to understand.

Pitman went off to receive treatment and blood could be clearly seen about his head. He returned and played for the rest of the game but must have been in some discomfort.

New loan signing Chris Palmer fitted in well in Paul Parry's position and looks a useful replacement.

Managers often get criticised for not making substitutes at the right time but faced with two forwards, David Brown and Mark Beesley, who were both very tired, there was no option than to replace them this afternoon. And with Richard Teesdale scoring with his first touch of the ball, Graham Turner and Richard O'Kelly must have thought that luck might see the Bulls win this game.

But it was not to be. Matt Baker withstood tremendous Morecambe pressure in the last ten minutes or so, but luck ran out for the Bulls and their 300 or so fans just inside injury time.

Williams downbeat after draw

Hereford United midfielder Danny Williams was a little disappointed with only collecting a point at Morecambe today.

Talking to BBC Hereford & Worcester, he said: "The second half was back to the walls, but that had a lot to do with the refereeing; two yellow cards for Rose and plenty of cards when it wasn't a dirty game.

"We would have been pleased with a point beforehand, missing Guinan and Smith, but it's starting to catch up with us at the moment."

Of new signing Chris Palmer, he added: "He did well in his first game. He has only trained for a couple of days with us so did well in a hard away game."

With Chester losing at Forest Green, Williams reckons that United can overhaul the Cestrians at the top of the league. "We knew they would drop points along the way, and it's going to be tight," he said. "As long as we keep picking up points away from home, we'll keep up there."

Hereford draw

Hereford drew 2-2 against Morcambe this afternoon at the away match. Uddin and Teesdale scored the two goals.

Terry's report is here.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Scarborough game to stay on Feb 3rd

Graham Turner has told BBC Hereford & Worcester that the away fixture with Scarborough is to be played on February 3rd unless Scarborough have a FA Cup replay at Chelsea that week.

Turner said that although some fans had wanted the date changed to the previous Saturday he felt that it was in his team's interest to keep it to the Tuesday evening.

"It probably suits the playing staff better on the Tuesday. On a Saturday morning we would probably set off at 7.15/7.30 to get there in good time. With a night match, it's a comfortable journey starting in the middle of the day. It gives us a better chance to prepare, get up there, get the players off the coach and go and have a walk," said Turner.

"So I've got to say on this occasion I wasn't over-keen to change back to a Saturday simply because it suited our preparation for the game by having that much longer to get up there, get ourselves prepared, bit of fresh air when we get up there, take the players for a walk somewhere and I'm hoping that will lead to us getting the right result."

BBC Hereford & Worcester are aiming to broadcast the game from Scarborough on the internet but it is not yet confirmed.

Meanwhile, Graham Turner confirmed that Andy Tretton had trained last Monday and was to play in the reserve game against Nuneaton on Tuesday.

"He trained on the Monday but just felt his injury slightly so we took the precaution of pulling out of the reserve match."

Goalkeeper in hotel shock

The following article appeared in today's Western Daily Press, after initially being reported in Wednesday's Hereford Journal:

Hereford goalkeeper Matt Baker and midfielder Jamie Pitman were shellshocked to find a naked lady in their hotel room at Exeter.

Baker and Pitman were sharing a room ahead of the FA Trophy match at Exeter City and were stunned to find the mystery woman attempting to get into the goalkeeper's bed.

"Usually when I go to sleep it would take a sledgehammer to wake me up. But when Jamie Pitman bellowed my name from his bed only two yards away - it did the trick.

"When I turned round to see what he was moaning about I was met by a short-haired figure barely six inches from my face and it nearly sent me through the roof.

"It wasn't Jamie. So who the hell was it?" asked Baker. "The yell of disbelief which escaped my lips did enough to shock the person who was about to try and get into my bed and made them stand back. On closer inspection Jamie and I discovered that the person stood in front of us a lady and a naked on at that. Yep! Complete starkers.

"Now you are probably wondering why I am complaining about a naked lady trying to get into my bed with me, but at 4.20 on the morning of an important game, it is not something which helped our preparation. How she got into our room I will never know.

"After Jamie asked the lady in question to leave in a rather polite manner, we couldn't get back to sleep until 5.30am - it certainly made the boys laugh at the breakfast table."

Hereford lost 3-2 in a nail-biting match at St James' Park later in the day. "Jamie asked the lady to leave, it certainly made the boys laugh at the breakfast table," said Baker.

Options on the left

The loan signing of Chris Palmer from Derby has given Graham Turner options on who to play on the left. Palmer is likely to be included in the squad to visit Morecambe tomorrow.

The Hereford United manager told BBC Hereford & Worcester: "He's a talented left-sided player. He's a two-footed player with good skills, good technique. We've got the berth to fill since Paul Parry left.

"Dean Craven filled in at Exeter last week and did okay but I see Dean more as a full-back than a wide left player. So I've got the combination now Michael Rose, Dean Craven. Michael can move into mid-field, Dean can play at full-back.

"So we've got several alternatives there even during the course of the game if we want to change them."

On the game itself Turner told the Evening News: "Morecambe have always been highly respected as a home team and we've had some difficulties up there in the last few seasons.

"But we playing with a lot of confidence and we've got the ability to work hard and are capable of getting a result there."

Turner stressed the importance of United staying in touch with the leaders. "We've got to keep that gap close to Chester who play Forest Green and, with the greatest respect to them, will be getting three points," he said.

"Then we are kicking our heels the following week because Telford are in the FA Cup and the week after it's the Trophy.

"With two Saturdays free it's important we sign off for our mini-break with a win to stay in touch with Chester."

For Morecambe, Ryan Sugden is back after suspension, while defender Jim Bentley could return following a foot injury.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Turner on Palmer

Graham Turner talks about new loan-signing Chris Palmer in today's Evening News.

Palmer graduated from the Derby academy and caught the eye of Hereford's coach Richard O'Kelly.

"Richard saw him play at Derby and marked him down as one to watch and he had another good game against Arsenal recently so we decided to bring him in," said Turner.

"He's got two good feet and some quality about him."

Meanwhile there is confusion about the date of the Hereford/Scarborough game due to be played on Tuesday February 3rd. As of this lunchtime the fixture has been deleted from the Scarborough Official Website.

The Seadogs now meet Chelsea in the FA Cup on Saturday 24th January and should the need arise for a replay it would be held on either February 3rd or 4th.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

United aim for another double

Hereford United aim to beat Morecambe for the second time this season when they travel to Christie Park on Saturday, kick off 3pm.

United hammered the Shrimps 3-0 at Edgar Street back in August, but Jimmy Harvey's men have the upper hand on their own soil, losing only once since Hereford's relegation in 1997.

Graham Turner will miss influential midfielder Ben Smith through suspension, and attacker Steve Guinan and defender Andy Tretton are also set to be out injured. Winger Danny Williams will return from his ban, though.

Stewart Drummond is expected to start for Morecambe, despite interest from Chester City, who reportedly put in a £10,000 bid for him yesterday. The Shrimps lost 2-0 against Shrewsbury Town in the FA Trophy third round last week, and Harvey is hoping his side can bounce back.

"We don't seem to have any problems getting ourselves up for home games but we just don't seem to be able to do the same away from home and that is something that we need to sort out," he told the Morecambe Visitor.

Chris Palmer - player details

Chris Palmer is a left-sided defender aged 20 born at Derby. He is 5' 7" and weighs in at 10st 12lbs. He has progressed from the Derby Academy and signed for the Rams in 2003.

The official Derby website reports: Local lad Chris Palmer became the latest in a string of Academy players to make it into the first-team squad in the 2002/03 season. Having turned nineteen in October 2002 Palmer’s fledgeling career was at a crossroads as he entered his final year in the Derby County Academy but under the careful guidance of Academy Director Terry Westley the athletic defender stepped into Mark Lillis’s reserve-team squad. Palmer relished the chance to display his talents in a series of graceful defensive displays at left-back before dropping back into the Academy to sharpen his attacking skills by playing in a more attacking left-wing role. In a new position on the left-wing Palmer found himself among the goals for the Academy and returned to the reserves with renewed confidence. The Derby-born defender put in an impressive all-round display against Chelsea reserves at Eton Park in April that stood out in a disappointing defeat. Such was Palmer’s progress, he found himself on the substitutes’ bench for the visit of Norwich City as interim manager George Burley kicked-off with a win over the Canaries. Signed a one-year contract that keeps him with the Rams until June 2004.

Bulls bring in Derby defender

Hereford United have secured the loan signing of defender Chris Palmer.

The Derby County player is twenty-years-old and has yet to make a first-team appearance for the Rams, but will join United for a month.

Palmer could make his debut on Saturday as Hereford travel to Morecambe in the Nationwide Conference, hoping to cut the gap behind Chester City at the top of the league to just one point.

Smith out for Saturday

This week's list of suspensions posted on confirms that Hereford United midfielder Ben Smith will miss Saturday's away game at Morecambe due to collecting five yellow cards. However Danny Williams should be available after missing last Saturday's Trophy match at Exeter.

Meanwhile supporters travelling by car to Morecambe from the Hereford area planning to use the A 49 should be aware that delays are likely at Onibury level crossing as it will close on Friday from 2am for seven days to allow Network Rail to complete vital maintenance work.

Diversions will be set up on B roads for traffic travelling in both directions.

The crossing will be closed from 2am on Friday. Southbound traffic will be diverted from Craven Arms east along the B4368, onto the B4365 to rejoin the A49 south of Bromfield. Northbound traffic will use the reverse diversion.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Hereford United Reserves 3 Nuneaton Borough Reserves 3

Hereford United's reserve side played hosts to Nuneaton Borough's reserves in front of a crowd of just under 100 fans. A couple of defensive mistakes and a header from a corner gave Nuneaton a lead of 3-0.

Ben Scott, Richard Teesedale, Jordan King, Andy Wells, Dean Craven and Daniel Carey-Bertram all started in a game that failed to provide much excitement until the closing stages. A thrilling finish saw United score three goals in three minutes. King scored what appeared to be a consolation goal, but the Bulls found the net again a minute later to make it 3-2. In the 89th minute Carey-Bertram rounded the 'keeper to complete a good comeback for Hereford

Andy Tretton did not feature this evening.

Reserves at home tonight

Hereford United reserves are at home tonight against Nuneaton Borough.

According to today's Western Daily Press, Andy Tretton may feature in the game after being injured at Burton last September.

Admission is free for season ticket holders. Otherwise adults pay £2 and Children £1. Kick-off is at 7.30pm.

Shrewsbury tickets on sale from Monday

Hereford United have announced that tickets for the home match against Shrewsbury Town will go on sale next Monday Jan 19th and NOT February 19th as they previously had told the media.

Prices are as follows:

Terraces: Adult £10 Concession £6

Stand: Adult £12 Concession £9

As correctly reported earlier, no tickets will be available for the Blackfriars End as this area is reserved for Shrewsbury Town supporters.

Meanwhile the Shrewsbury Town website has stated that the Shrews have been given 2802 tickets for the game. 2330 are standing tickets and 472 are seated.

"With Town's large away following and The Bulls increased crowd's this season interest in the game will be high," it says.

The same prices apply for both sets of fans.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Uddin seals second month

Hereford United have secured the loan signing of Anwar Uddin for an additional month.

The Bristol Rovers defender has partnered Tony James at the heart of Hereford's back-line for the last month, covering for the injured Andy Tretton.

The London-born 22-year-old made his debut at Edgar Street in the 1-0 defeat against Tamworth, but has impressed as his loan spell developed.

He has a good pedigree, coming from the same youth team as Premiership superstars Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole.

Free weekends could mean switches

Due to other teams' cup runs, Hereford United could find themselves without a match for two consecutive Saturdays towards the end of January.

The Bulls make the trip to Morecambe this weekend, but the following Saturday, the 24th, is currently a free weekend as Telford United have progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup, where they play Millwall.

That game has yet to be rescheduled, but if they exit the FA Trophy (their match on Saturday was postponed), then it is possible that the game could be rearranged for the following week, the 31st, which is Trophy fourth round day.

Hereford are also set to play Scarborough on Tuesday 3rd February at the McCain Stadium. As the Seadogs exited the FA Trophy on Saturday too, losing 2-1 against Stafford Rangers, both they and Hereford have a free weekend, so that is another game that could be switched to a Saturday. More away fans would travel if the game was on a Saturday, because of the distance involved.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

The financial future looks brighter

After the sale of Paul Parry, Graham Turner spoke of a large tax bill which is due to be paid. But with higher gate receipts recently, Hereford United does not appear to have any short-term problems in finding enough money for the tax bill and the probably the wages of a couple of extra players.

"The gates that we have been getting have made life a little bit easier. We have been able to meet our committments. We did have a deficit of £47,000 with the taxman from last season, from last year which we are paying off and that will all be paid.

"But at the moment we are able to pay our way," Turner told BBC Hereford and Worcester last week.

Turner did not make it clear whether the tax bill was for VAT, PAYE or tax on profits or even a combination of all three. Until last season accounts are released it will be difficult to tell, but Turner did say that the tax bill was from last season so maybe that years profit figure was even better than originally predicted.

Neither did he not mention any progress on the CVA, nor the large loans from developers. It seems that the club are content at present to stay in a CVA which they reviewed last year. The current position of no settling of the CVA for some years could be discussed again by the Board if profits are higher than forecast.

However there are signs that the loan position may have eased. It was said that the May 2003 pay-back day had been extended to May 2005 but this date now seems to have been set-aside.

Recent changes in the ownership of Formsole, the company who have "loaned" Hereford United £1 million pounds, means that the club are now dealing with two West Midlands based companies, Carillion and Richardsons.

And it is now easier to see what has recently been going on as regards the loans.

Originally two companies made money available to Hereford United. One was the BS group and the other Formsole which was a Chelverton company. After a couple of years the BS Group decided to sell their "loan" to Chelverton at an amount just over book value. Book value often means less than true value so this could suggest than Chelverton took over the BS share for less than the £500,000 loaned to the club.

Later when part of the Chelverton Group got into trouble it is feasible that the current owners of Formsole bought the Chelverton stake for next to nothing from the liquidators. So it is quite likely that Formsole, now owned by Carillion and Richardson, would not be exposed to anything like a million pound debt from Hereford.

On top of that Formsole have used a tax rule to "obtain" a tax credit from the loans of about £355,544 from the Inland Revenue.

Therefore it is possible that the companies owners may have managed to "get back" quite a good percentage of the £1 million loans.

It is not easy to follow the fortunes of the Formsole company. Even if one had the time to delve into all the information available it would be difficult to find all the facts required. But certain notes do suggest that Formsole have decided to take this tax credit because they are uncertain about the likelyhood of the loan ever being paid back.

In the Formsole accounts for the year ending March 2001 it says: "The directors beleive the amounts to be fully recoverable" meaning the £1 million loans.

But in the accounts for the year to March 2003 recently released it states: "The directors believe it is prudent to provide for the loans given the uncertainty regarding their recoverability".

The difference in the two statements is very clear. In 2001 they thought the club would agree to a move from Edgar Street which would have allowed Formsole to sell the ground for developement but by 2003 the new directors appear to have taken the view that there is unlikely to be a move from Edgar Street hence the thought that they are unlikely to be repaid for some years whatever happens to the plans for the area.

The tax credit of £355,544 was obtained by changing the loans to administrative expenses which are claimable against tax. The accounts clearly show what has happened. In one set of accounts the administrative expenses are shown as £1,250 and in other they are shown as £1,189,315.

There is a note which says: "Administrative expenses included a charge of £1,000,000 for the Hereford United loans."

The fact that Formsole have claimed back tax on the loan does not, in theory, mean that they could not ask Hereford United for the loan to be repaid but it looks that much less likely as they do not even put the loan in their recent Debtors column which they had done previously.

With the pressure off to repay the loans, Graham Turner and his board should have more time to focus on the football and the possible promotion of Hereford United to Division Three.

Parry's transfer may spur new contracts

The transfer of Paul Parry to Cardiff City could mean that several of the remaining players at Hereford United could be offered new contracts shortly.

Graham Turner has suggested that some of his squad will have noted how Parry was allowed to leave Edgar Street when the right deal came along. A clause in his contract gave him the opportunity to advance his career without Hereford standing in his way. As the Bulls currently have a number of other players who may in time be subject to offers from other clubs, Turner has talked about his hopes that they will re-sign when new contracts are offered.

"I do think that for the future of some of the players here," Turner told BBC Hereford and Worcester. "It was important that we were seen to act correctly with Paul Parry because most of the players contracts are up at the end of the season and we will want to be re-signing them.

"I think we have got the best players in the Conference. I think that is fairly common knowledge but they have always got that opportunity that if things go well for them we will not stand in the way.

"Our players know the conditions that we acted on with Parry so might well put pen to paper and sign new long-term contracts. So we are hoping over the next month or so to be talking to some of the players whose contracts expire shortly."

Meanwhile there may be discussions tomorrow over the move of the away game at Scarborough from Tuesday February 3rd to the previous Saturday. Both sides are out of the Trophy.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Parry has good start

Paul Parry has started well for Cardiff, according to Chris O'Brien

Paul Parry was thrown straight into the starting line-up for the visit of Rotherham United to Ninian Park, mainly due to John Robinson still being injured.

The £75,000 signing played 70ish minutes of the 3-2 victory over the Millers and had a pleasing debut. He had a quiet start and wasn't overly involved but on the occasions he did get the ball he took on Rotherham defenders with impressive ease.

The 23-year-old clearly gained in confidence in the second-half as he got more involved, and although his crossing wasn't excellent, he caused the opposition problems down the left hand side. He went close with a low drive which was well stopped by Rotherham's 'keeper and also had a hand in one of City's goal.

The crowd instantly took to Parry, and to be honest a few were getting a little too over excited about him. However, it's clear we've signed a decent winger from Hereford and a bargain price. He's nearly twenty-four so there isn't a lot of time to breed him through, but judging by his performance today he should hopefully hack it against most teams in this division.

Good start and time will tell...

by Chris O'Brien of Bluebird to the Bone.

They scored two cracking goals

After the game Eamonn Dolan, the Exeter manager, told BBC Radio Devon: "I'm delighted to beat Hereford, they are an excellent side. I think it was two evenly matched teams."

"We shaded it in the first half, but I don't think either team played that well. We took our foot off the pedal after the second goal.

"Credit to Hereford - they scored two cracking goals, but I always thought we were going to win the game."

David Brown thought that the Bulls did well to come back from being two goals down but the team was not happy with the goals they conceded.

"We tried to play football so we're disappointed to get nothing out of the game. We had a little bit of luck on New Years Day but not today.

"You like to go on a good cup run but if you look at the positives we can concentrate on the League now."

About 160 Bulls supporters watched the game. Meanwhile, the red card dished out to the Exeter goalkeeper James Bittner on New Years Day has been rescinded.

United exit Trophy

Hereford United lost 3-2 at Exeter City in the FA Trophy third round today.

Terry's report on today's game can be read here.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Turner expects another close encounter

Looking forward to tomorrow's Trophy clash at St James Park, Graham Turner has warned Exeter that the Bulls are desperate to pile more agony on the Grecians as they gear up for the final instalment in their three part saga.

"There is going to be no let up," Turner told the thisisexeter website. "This cup competition is important for the club and we will treat it as such.

"Winning is a habit and we want to continue winning because it breeds confidence throughout the side. Exeter will undoubtedly be hurting after the defeat on New Year's Day and they will no doubt be feeling an injustice after having their keeper sent off.

"I didn't feel we played that well on New Year's Day and were very lucky to come away with the win. So I will be looking for an improvement on that performance. I expect it to be another close encounter because there is very little to choose between the sides."

Parry signing confirmed

Cardiff City have announced that the signing of Paul Parry from Hereford has been completed.

Parry has passed all the medical tests, and he is likely to feature for the Bluebirds tomorrow against Rotherham.

Meanwhile, Parry spoke to their official website shortly after completing this mornings training session at Leckwith Stadium.

"It's a massive chance for me and im looking forward to the jump up from the Conference to the First Division. I have been thrown in at the deep end and hopefully I can grasp it with both hands and go on from there."

Paul was at Cardiff on trial in early December and played in a reserve team friendly at Derby County during that spell. Paul added: "I thouroughly enjoyed that spell here and I though I did quite well and managed to get in the team for that game at Derby. I knew there was a few rumours going around about me joining Cardiff but it wasn't until early this week that I had confirmation that negotiations would start. I was excited to hear it was Cardiff, it's a club I used to watch as a boy so I know it is a massive chance for me.

"I use to love watching Carl Dale when I came here, Ian Rodgerson was here at the time too and I know him from Hereford.

"I spoke to the gaffer at Hereford, Graham Turner and he's given me all his best wishes and he told its a chance I cannot turn down and it's a chance for me to get some international honours as well but first and foremost I want to establish my place in the first team at Cardiff and prove to everyone I can make the step up."

Guinan missing for two weeks

Hereford United will be without attacker Steve Guinan once again as they face Exeter City in the FA Trophy third round at St. James' Park, kick off 3pm.

The Bulls' top scorer is out for another two weeks, so Rob Purdie and Mark Beesley are likely to line-up in attack.

Of Guinan's injury, boss Graham Turner told the Evening News: "We sent him for tests at Lilleshall and his hamstring and quads on his left leg are considerably weaker and there has been some inflammation in the connection between the bone and quad muscles.

"It's a case of now building those up and hopefully in another fortnight he will be fit again."

The Bulls also miss Danny Williams through suspension, but still Turner has the ambition to go far in the competition. "We would like to win this competition and we want to progress. It would be a lovely end to the season to play in a final at Villa Park," he said.

Jamie Pitman returns after a ban, but Andy Tretton is still missing. He is building up his fitness, and should return by mid-February.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Turner to strengthen squad

Graham Turner hopes to strengthen his squad following the departure of winger Paul Parry, but not before the FA Trophy game against Exeter this Saturday. He says any players that he signs must be of the right calibre.

"We've got to make sure that if we need to bring players in, we bring them in of the right calibre," he told BBC Hereford & Worcester. "We couldn't of done anything for this weekend because of the seven day registration rule for the trophy, but I would like to make sure we bring someone in next week to strengthen the squad."

Of the money that Hereford United have received from the sale of Parry, the manager said that it would be used to pay the wages of possible new signings. He said that the high attendences of this season had helped out alot, and so the money could go towards his teams promotion push."From the gates that we've been getting, it's made life a little bit easier for us, we've been able to meet our commitments."

Graham Turner went on to say that money owed to the taxman would be repaid and so he can bolster the squad. "We did have a deficit of £47,000 to the taxman from last year which we will be paying off, but at the moment we are able to pay our way.

"We can strengthen the squad, and that has got to be the aim. We've worked very hard to get ourselves into this postion, just four points behind the leaders with a game in hand, and it has taken a tremendous effort from everybody to get there.What we don't want to do is see us slip away just because we have lost one player."

Chester losses mounting up

Chester City, who top the Nationwide Conference, have revealed that they are currently losing £65,000 a month.

Hereford United, just three points behind the Bulls, appear to be having a successful season financially, and expect to record a profit, even before the sale of star midfielder Paul Parry.

Chairman Stephen Vaughan made the revelation in last Saturday's matchday programme, as City drew 2-2 with Gravesend & Northfleet.

The Seals' are being propped up by income from Vaughan Trading, and Vaughan told the Evening Leader: “This is a huge deficit and reducing the losses is essential for the long-term stability and future of the club. Our financial losses are too high and we have to act collectively now.

“The easy option would be to cut expenditure and settle for mid-table mediocrity, but to give our manager the best chance of challenging for promotion money is the key."

Meanwhile, following Parry's move to Cardiff City, he spoke of his hopes for the future. "My ambition is to play at the highest level - and that means the Premiership. I will do everything possible to achieve that," he told the South Wales Echo.

Bulls to field strongest team

Hereford United are treating the FA Trophy third round tie at Exeter City "as importantly as every other game," says boss Graham Turner.

The Bulls go to St. James' Park for the second time in ten days and despite United's lofty league placing, Turner told the Hereford Times: "We want to win because winning is a habit. It's an important competition and the preparation will be right and the team will be right.

"It will be tough as Exeter will be hurting after the defeat against us in the Conference on New Year's Day and with the injustice that they feel was done to them with their goalkeeper being sent off twice in the holiday games."

Martin Rice will deputise in the Exeter goal for the suspended James Bittner, and he has treated himself to a new pair of gloves.

"I have got some brand new gloves to wear on Saturday so I hope they will be lucky," he said in the Express & Echo. "They are the same type that I wore in my first seven games for the club, but then I switched to a new pair against Aldershot and things started happening.

"I wasn't happy with the free-kick I conceded against Hereford on New Year's Day. I was gutted because I should have really had it. I jumped forward instead of staying put and it has gone over the top of my head despite getting a slight touch.

"So I have got rid of those gloves and will put on the new pair when we face Hereford on Saturday. I'm confident they will work out."

Of the FA Trophy, Rice added: "This tournament gives us the chance to grab some silverware. We are confident of beating Hereford because I feel we have more than matched them in the previous games. I have already had a taste of the first team this season and I loved the experience. This gives me another chance to make my mark in the side. I can't wait."

Back to Edgar Street, and Graham Turner has also added that the transfer of Paul Parry could raise as much as £200,000 for the club.

The move should be confirmed later this afternoon.

"The deal is worth £75,000 initially but the club could get as much as £200,000 because it is performance related," he told the Evening News. "If it had been a third or second division club we would have persuaded him to stay with us for the rest of the season.

"But the fact it's a first division club, a big club such as Cardiff, made it difficult to stand in his way."

Turner has vowed to bring in extra players, though, telling BBC Hereford & Worcester: "We can strengthen the squad; we have worked very hard to get in the position of being four points behind the leaders with a game in hand. We don't want to see it slip away and it is up to us to make sure that the squad is up to the challenge."

Finally, Hereford legend John Charles has had emergency heart surgery in Italy after collapsing last night. We wish him a full and speedy recovery.

Parry will play on Saturday

Paul Parry should make his first-team debut for Cardiff on Saturday, as the Bluebirds face Rotherham at Ninian Park.

Lennie Lawrence is reportedly desperate for a left-winger, and told the Western Mail: "There is a HUGE gulf between the Conference and the First Division and Paul has also got to deal with what I call 'the Cardiff experience.'

"It's a huge challenge for him and I can't say if he will be able to make the jump or not. I would say he is ready for the Second or Third Division but it's impossible to say whether he will do it in the First.

"But, from what I've seen of him, I think he has got a decent chance of bridging the gap. Paul has been outstanding for Hereford. He's got a good left foot and scores a lot of goals from his position.

"He's the best player in the Conference and he's right on top of his game."

The fee will rise to £150,000 depending on appearances and whether the Chepstow-born player is capped by Wales. Lawrence admitted, "I'm following my instincts in bringing Paul to Cardiff."

Lawrence added: "Normally Paul would be named in an 18 or 19-man squad but with Robbo out we are missing a left-sided player, so he will go straight into the team against Rotherham. Circumstances at this club mean he will get his shot at playing on Saturday - and it's up to him to take that chance.

"He is a Welsh lad so joining Cardiff is the move of a lifetime for him. The deal is coming to a satisfactory conclusion. It should be sorted in the not too distant future.

"I will be gutted if it's not sorted out in time for Paul to play in the Rotherham game."

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

The Cardiff view

The following article is from - an unofficial Cardiff City site.

Lennie Lawrence took a long, long time to make up his mind, but at last we have captured the signature of promising youngster Paul Parry. The left-sided midfielder will officially join the Bluebirds tomorrow for a fee of £75,000.

Lawrence has watched Parry in action for Hereford on numerous occasions and he has also spent a trial period at Ninian Park. After weeks of decision making, Lennie has decided to make his move for the Conference star.

City will pay Hereford an initial sum of £75,000, but that could rise depending on appearances. Other clubs were also beginning to show an interest in him.

"I am delighted to have finally secured Paul, I have watched him on several occasions over the past few weeks and we had the lad here on trial for four days and he impressed me," Lawrence told the club's official website.

"He will give us that width we need down the left."

The Welshman will have his routine medical examination at Ninian tomorrow before crossing the t's and dotting the i's. With City's form going from bad to worse, the 23-year-old may well be thrown straight onto the starting line-up for Saturday's home match against Rotherham.

For Parry this is his big break - his chance to establish himself as a football league player. For City it is a risky move, but sometimes risks have to be taken in football. We are screaming out for a left-sided midfielder and perhaps he is the man to fill that gap. At Conference level he was awesome, but will he be able to move up into Division One? Time will tell.

Hereford, currently second in the Conference, were reluctant to let their star leave after five years at the club. He is highly rated amongst Bulls supporters. This season he has made 27 appearances for Hereford, scoring on nine occasions. Hopefully he can give us the boost we need to put an end to this dire run of results.

Welcome to Ninian Park, Paul.

Shrewsbury and Chester games to be all ticket

Hereford United have said that the two home games against Shrewsbury and Chester will be all ticket.

The club says that the decision was taken after talks with the police.

Home supporters will not be able to buy tickets for the Blackfriars end for the Shrewsbury match which is due to take place on March 27th. Tickets for that game will be available from February 19th.

Parry switches to Cardiff

Hereford United winger Paul Parry has joined Cardiff City.

The BBC report that he will cost Cardiff £75,000 initially, with probable additional costs, reputed to be £25,000, based on appearances, and manager Lennie Lawrence told their official website: "I am delighted. Paul will give us the width we need down the left."

"I have watched him on several occasions over the past few weeks, and we had the lad here on trial for four days and he impressed me."

He will have a medical tomorrow to confirm the move.

Paul signed a professional contract in 1998 after a successful YTS period at the club, and played his first game in 1998/99, coming on as a substitute in the 3-2 defeat away at Leek Town in November. His performances in 1999 earned him much praise, and against Leicester City in the FA Cup he raised a few eyebrows, hitting the post when one-on-one with former England goalkeeper Tim Flowers in the first match at Edgar Street.

However, the 2000/01 season was an awful campaign for the youngster. Various injuries limited his appearances to eighteen and he netted just one goal during the campaign.

Paul was back to his best, though, in 2001/02, when he tormented opposing defences with his huge skill, and was even quoted by Dagenham & Redbridge boss Garry Hill as the best player in the Conference.

In May 2002, after signing a new contract, Paul was a crucial part of the Wales semi-professional team which collected the first Unibond Four Nations tournament title, as they beat Scotland and Eire, and drew with England.

Parry deal still a possibility

Cardiff City manager Lennie Lawrence has not ruled out a move for Paul Parry, the Hereford United midfielder.

Parry has had a trial spell at Ninian Park and been watched by Lawrence, most notably in the 7-1 win at Forest Green Rovers where he scored a hatrick. He also grabbed the winner against Stevenage Borough last Saturday.

"I believe Paul Parry he has got something and perhaps we could get the best out of him," said Lawrence.

"Hereford wouldn't loan a player of his ability while they are chasing Conference honours and it would have to be a permanent deal. Right now it's an outside possibility."

Leading marksman set to return?

Hereford United's top scorer Steve Guinan could feature in this Saturday's FA Trophy third round tie at Exeter City.

The former Nottingham Forest attacker featured as a substitute in the last match at Exeter but did not appear on the team sheet for last weekend's last gasp win against Stevenage Borough at Edgar Street.

Speaking to Neil Crosier of the Hereford Journal, Guinan said: “I’ve done all the rehabilitation work with coach Richard O’Kelly, came on as a sub on New Year’s Day, and couldn’t feel any problems. But perhaps that was a little too early as it swelled up again. So hopefully now with a week’s rest and going to Lilleshall this week, we’ll find a solution.”

Hereford will miss Danny Williams through suspension, having beaten Exeter 2-0 at Edgar Street in October to knock them out of the LDV Vans Trophy, and also won 1-0 down at St. James' Park on New Years Day in the Conference. The home tie, on Boxing Day finished 1-1.

Eamonn Dolan's men miss the suspended Alex Jeannin and goalkeeper James Bittner, who was sent off twice against Hereford over the festive period.

The game could also be the last for defender Anwar Uddin, whose loan period with Hereford ends after the match.

A prize of £4,000 is given to the winner of the tie, as is a place in round four. If a replay is required, it will be next Tuesday at Edgar Street, kick off 7.45pm.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Tickets for Exeter game

Tickets for the FA Trophy at Exeter next Saturday are still available.

Hereford United has said that the club office will have tickets for supporters until 4pm next Thursday. However they will only sell tickets to personal callers.

Police advised Exeter City to make the game ticket-only for away supporters and to start the game at 1pm.

Tretton and Beesley in fitness boosts

Hereford United defender Andy Tretton could soon be back in first team action, reports today's Western Daily Press.

The former Shrewsbury man has been out with a thigh injury since September, meaning United boss Graham Turner has had to draft in loan signings to cover the position alongside Ton James.

Anwar Uddin's loan spell ends after this Saturday's FA Trophy trip to Exeter City, and Turner may extend this for another month while Tretton, who is back in training, completes his recovery.

Meanwhile, non-contract signing Andy Wells, who appeared on the bench for the last two matches, is looking to earn a full-time deal. Wells was released by Aston Villa's youth team in July 2002, and had a trial at Charlton Athletic three months later. He was recognised as a full-back at Villa Park, but is comfortable in midfield too.

It is just over three weeks since Turner last signed a player, when striker Mark Beesley joined from Chester. The Hereford manager has said that it will take a few matches for him to settle and regain his fitness. Speaking to BBC Hereford & Worcester, Turner added that more signings will be made if the right type of players become available.

"There are plenty of players available, but the right ones aren't always available," he said. "That's why we are prepared to wait to make sure we bring the right ones in.

"I'm hoping that Mark will have an impact with us and he's capable of doing it. It takes a week or two to settle in to a new club and I think he needs a bit of match fitness and match sharpness because he hasn't played too many first team games at Chester this season.

"Yes, we want to strengthen the squad but they certainly have to be the right sort of players."

Monday, January 05, 2004

United attacker pairs Scarborough with Chelsea

Steve Guinan, the Hereford United striker, handed a potentially lucrative match to Conference rivals Scarborough in the FA Cup fourth round draw.

After scoring a hatrick in the fourth qualifying round at Harrow Borough, Guinan was named man-of-the-round and was asked to pick the away balls in this afternoon's fourth round draw.

Among the ties, Scarborough or Southend United will play Watford or Chelsea, Accrington Stanley or Colchester United will play Coventry City at Highfield Road, and Telford United host Millwall. If Kidderminster Harriers beat Wolverhampton Wanderers in their replay, they will host West Ham United, while there are several all-Premiership matches too, notably between Liverpool and Newcastle United.

After the draw, Guinan told BBC Television that Telford will not be too unhappy with their draw. "It is another chance for them to progress; it's not going to be an easy tie but they've got a chance," he said,

Of Scarborough's possible tie with Premiership contenders Chelsea, Guinan added: "They will be pulling out all the stops to win that replay and to get a big gun. I hope they get the tie that they want."

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Parry set to stay at Edgar Street

Paul Parry is set to remain at Edgar Street for the time being and probably to the end of the season.

Sources close to Cardiff City have told that the Bluebirds are backing down on Parry at the moment and going to look at him again at the end of the current season.

It is understood that Cardiff have been informed that Parry would prefer to stay at Hereford than be a "squad player" at Ninian Park.

Parry's future appears to depend on whether the Bulls get promoted to the Third Division. If that happens then it is being suggested that he will only move to Cardiff if first team football was on the table.

However, if Hereford stay in the Conference, Parry would be more likely to move even if he is not in the first-team squad for some time.

Westley reckons best side lost

Stevenage Borough boss Graham Westley said his side were very unlucky to lose yesterday's last minute goal at Edgar Street.

Hereford United's Paul Parry found the net injury time to close the gap on leaders Chester City at the top of the Nationwide Conference.

"I think if the first half that we played the best forty-five minutes of football this season," Westley told BBC Three Counties Radio. "The boys had so many chances to open the scoring but the quality of finishing let us down. We are very disappointed to lose that late goal."

Of Simon Wormull, who was stretchered off six minutes from time, Westley added: "He was knocked out and he's going to hospital. I've spoken to him but he's very groggy."

Free friendly for England team

The England National Game XI will play a free-to-attend friendly match against Italy's prospective Olympic football team in February.

The match, to be played at Telford United's New Bucks Head Stadium, will kick off in the evening of Wednesday, February 11th.

Hereford United's Matt Baker, Michael Rose and Ben Smith all hope to be involved in the England set-up, managed by Paul Fairclough, the former Stevenage Borough boss.

Meanwhile, Wales' semi-professional side, which included Paul Parry and Tony James in last year's Four Nations Tournament, will be managed by Merthyr Tydfil's Andy Beattie for next season's competition. Tomi Morgan was sacked as boss after leaving his club side Carmarthen Town.

Guinan makes the draw

Steve Guinan, Hereford United's top scorer this season, will be at the FA Headquarters tomorrow lunchtime to take part in the draw for the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Guinan will join Ian Rush, the Liverpool and Wales legend, for the televised draw which is due to be broadcast on both Sky and BBC2 at 1pm. He was chosen to take part after his hat-trick in the Cup against Harrow.

"This shows how the FA are rewarding and acknowledging the achievement of smaller clubs as part of the Player of the Round award.

"To team up with an FA Cup legend like Ian Rush is also a dream, especially when I remember how my dad used to take me to watch him when I was a kid," Guinan told the Non-League Paper.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Parry speculation continues

Speculation continues this evening over whether Paul Parry is to move to Cardiff City.

The Bluebirds were beaten 1-0 by Sheffield United in the Cup today and the Cardiff websites are full of advice for Lennie Lawrence, the Cardiff manager.

Whilst one site suggests that an offer may be made, another says that Cardiff are backing away from signing him.

Cardiff City Online says that the Bluebirds have backed off the deal over a £50,000 fee. It admits that Parry would add balance and width to the squad.

However the Sleeping Giant Website argues that Lawrence is still considering a swoop for Hereford's Paul Parry.

The City boss has watched Parry on a number of occasions, and on each occasion he has impressed. Lennie is considering tabling a bid of £50,000 for the Conference star as well as appearance fees and the like, it reads.

Guinan misses the game

Steve Guinan missed this afternoon's game as it seems that his knee injury has not settled. Although he came off the bench for a short spell against Exeter last Thursday it was felt that he should not be risked today. He is going to Lilleshall next week for some more treatment.

Talking to BBC Hereford & Worcester, Matt Baker said that Guinan had been playing with his injury for much of the season. He did not think he would be out for long, but the knee problem flared up last month after Guinan's operation for tendonitis in the summer.

Baker also said that Andy Tretton had started light training again this week and he hoped that the central defender would be back in the squad shortly.

Of the match, United supremo Graham Turner said: "It was an excellent finish by Paul, particularly considering that he had to carry the ball a long way on a bobbly pitch.

"That was a massive result for us and it's shown that we are capable of grinding sides down"

Meanwhile, as Telford defeated Crewe Alexandra today in the FA Cup, the fixture between Telford and Hereford United due to be played on January 24th will be moved as Telford will play their fourth round tie that weekend.

Bulls leave it late

Hereford United had to wait until injury time to score the only goal of the game against Stevenage this afternoon.

A superb run and shot from Paul Parry gave the Bulls three hard earned points and they close the gap to four points on Chester who could only draw with Gravesend.

Terry's report is here.

How long will Uddin stay?

There has been no word yet from Hereford United as to whether the loan of central defender Anwar Uddin will be extended beyond the month originally agreed with Bristol Rovers.

Uddin first featured for the Bulls against Tamworth on December 13th, but it is thought that he started training at Edgar Street on the previous Thursday. If this is correct he will be able to play against Exeter in the Trophy match next Saturday.

After that game, as things stand, he will return to Bristol Rovers.

With no signs that Andy Tretton is likely to return to the squad in the short term, Graham Turner may feel he needs to extend the loan of Uddin or look for someone else to cover.