Sunday, February 29, 2004

Horror film for Daggers

Garry Hill, the Dagenham manager, made his team sit through a video of the 9-0 defeat by Hereford United yesterday morning according to the Sunday Times.

Hill was said to be incensed after his team's very public humiliation by the Bulls in a live, televised game.

It was Hill's 200th game in charge at Dagenham but he won't want to be reminded of the match as the scoreline became a Conference record, matching the Sutton United win over Gateshead in 1990.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Chester stay eight points ahead

Chester defeated Woking by 2-1 to stay eight points ahead of Hereford at the top of the Conference this evening. Chester came from behind with two late goals.

Barnet have kept in touch with the leaders of the Conference with a 1-0 win at home against Tamworth this afternoon.

But the result of the day so far must be the 6-0 defeat of promotion challengers Morecambe by Gravesend.

In the trophy match Shrewsbury drew with Telford. It is thought that the replay will be at Telford on March 16th. This will mean postponements of Telford home game with Chester and Shrewsbury's away game at Barnet, putting pressure on several of Hereford's rivals to play extra games in the run up to the end of the season.

Hereford United's game at the Buck's Head will go ahead on Tuesday.

Meanwhile Hereford United supporter Dazzo Williams successfully defended his British Feathership Title tonight against former champion Jamie McKeever in Bridgend tonight.

Williams recently brought his title belt to Edgar Street.

A tremendous night for us

"We didn't do very much wrong and in fact they made one or two very good saves to keep the scoreline down," said Graham Turner on BBC Radio Five Live this afternoon.

"It's an occasion you don't want to rub it in, you don't gloat on these occasions. It was an extraordinary night for us, for the club itself. I think the last time the club scored nine was in 1934.

"So it was a tremendous night for us and it was against a side I have a lot of respect for. They are a side that has had two excellent seasons in the Conference and there were still thoughts that they might make the play-offs. So that just added to the achievement."

Asked what Garry Hill had said after the game Turner replied: "I don't think he had a lot to say. We just shook hands down the track. I think he was more intent on getting his players in the dressing-room."

Talking about the strength of the Conference, Turner said: "I think it is a very strong league. There are a lot of full-time clubs and it's getting stronger. You only have to look at Yeovil and Doncaster, how well they are doing. It's a tough league to get out of."

Turner was then asked how was he going to celebrate the result? He said the football doesn't stop. "I'm off to watch Shrewsbury and Telford! We play Telford on Tuesday night so it's a matter of just running the ruler over them and making sure we know all about them.

"I'm hoping it will be a real bruising battle that will take a lot out of the Telford players."

Turner hails his heroes

Hereford United boss Graham Turner last night hailed his heroes after an astonishing 9-0 win at Dagenham reports the Western Daily Press.

Turner said: "I'm sure one or two people will look at that result and it will open a few eyes. We have graced the Conference this season with some quality football. We are perhaps not the most physical of sides which is our undoing at times but the players have shown a lot of skill.

"We have a game based on pace and mobility, we passed the ball very well and made the most of the extra man."

Hereford were backed by an enthusiastic band of travelling fans including several dressed as Mexicans in sombreros. Sky TV had several close-ups of the group.

Turner said: "The fans could have stayed at home and watched the match on TV but we have a good away following and they have enjoyed their evening."

Suspensions situation eases

Under Conference rules any player who picks up a fifth yellow card after the end of February is not suspended for a game.

But if a player gets to ten yellows, he will still have to miss two games.

Last night Tamika Mkandawire was the only Hereford player to receive a yellow card and luckily he has not reached five so will not be suspended contary to what was said on Sky.

Both Tony James and Ryan Green were on four yellows before the game so they can now put the possibility of suspension for a game to the back of their minds.

At present the only Bulls player who will need to be extra careful is Michael Rose who is on nine yellows. On the injury front, Ryan Green appeared to come through the game with little or no reaction to his recent hip injury. Danny Williams received a knock when he scored his second goal but played on.

New signing Simon Travis missed the game after having four stitches in a wound following the Woking game. He will be a doubt for the Telford match on Tuesday.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Everyone was flying forward

"I don't think I've ever played in a game like that!"

Hereford United attacker Steve Guinan was astounded by Hereford's 9-0 win at Dagenham last night.

Interviewed on BBC Hereford and Worcester, he continued: "For any team to score nine goals at any standard is a good display but at a decent standard like this is something else. Credit has got to go to our team.

"When we come away from home we get a little bit more freedom. We've come here and they have to be the attacking team and we get a liitle bit more space. I do think the sending off changed the game tonight early on. It's hard to get your head around it really, they just kept attacking and leaving space for us to go forward.

"We had quite a few chances and you've got to put them away and we scored nine goals, so it's a brilliant feeling for us. In short spells Dagenham played some decent stuff, but whenever we had the ball we seemed to find an extra gear from nowhere. Everyone was flying forward.

"If anything I think I should have had another one; it's going to be a great journey home"


Dagenham & Redbridge were beaten 9-0 by Hereford United at Victoria Road this evening.

Brian's report is here.

Brown made Man of the Match

David Brown was made Man of the Match for his hatrick against Dagenham.

Interviewed on Sky, a very happy Brown said: "As a team I think we all played well and it was great to score nine goals and for me personally to get a hatrick. As a striker getting goals is the most important thing for you. It's brilliant for me and Steve.

"I think the sending off did effect the game but we been (scoring goals) that all season. I think we've scored seven, five and four away from home. Hopefully we can do it again on Tuesday night."

Tony James was also interviewed and added: "The early sending-off set the pattern for the rest of the game. But to be fair we attacked really well and put them under loads of pressure and managed to get a lot of goals."

James was asked if this result sends a message out to Chester replied: "I suppose it does. We have come here and played well after a poor home game beforehand. It's just exactly what the team needed.

"It's a big boost to go to Telford on Tuesday."

We have got to close that gap

"We have got to close that gap," says Graham Turner speaking to BBC Hereford & Worcester before leaving for tonight's game at Dagenham.

"I've heard discussions about Arsenal being seven points clear in the Premiership and yet the experts are saying it is far from over yet. Look how they slipped up last season.

"Chester will not be thinking by any stretch of the imagination that the title is won. we have got to close that gap before the last match of the season and hope that something is at stake on the final day."

Tonight's game is on

Tonight's game at Dagenham is definitely on. have been told by Dagenham and Redbridge this morning that the pitch is in good condition and that there are no plans for any inspection.

And as at early afternoon, the forecast for London suggests no more than a light flurry of snow tending to die out and the wind easing.

Meanwhile Bulls captain Tony James has been telling the Evening News of his hopes for victory this evening.

"Dagenham is a tough place to go but we've got two away games on the bounce and I think the way things are going nothing less than two wins is what we need," he said. "We've 11 games to go and basically we've got to try and win every one.

"They have changed their style a little bit since last year. Where they used to pass it a lot more, they are now more workmanlike. But they spoilt the game for us at our place, making it difficult for us to play and we're expecting a similar thing tonight."

"Against Woking we had most of the possession, created chances, may be not clear-cut chances, but decent chances and they had one shot and that was it," said James. "Things are not quite going our way at present but there's no better way of getting back to winning ways than doing it on television."

Graham Turner is hoping that his team will bounce back tonight and close the gap on Chester. "Chester have the cushion of a very good lead at the top, but they won't be thinking that the title race is over yet and neither will we," said Turner, as reported in the Western Daily Press.

"It's going to be a tight run-in, with lots of fixtures involving our promotion rivals playing each other."

Another memory of the Gentle Giant

There is another memory of John Charles at Hereford in today's Daily Telegraph written by Martin Smith.

Ricky George paid fulsome tribute to John Charles, his manager at Hereford, in this newspaper earlier in the week. He tells another story that emphasises why Charles deserved the sobriquet Il buon gigante, and why the Gentle Giant would never make a manager.

In the first season of the FA Trophy, back in 1971, Hereford reached the semi-finals and played Hillingdon at neutral Filbert Street. If they won they would play in the final at Wembley, and as Charles was coming to the end of his playing career it would be his last chance to play in front of the Twin Towers. They lost 2-1.

"Towards the end," George recalls, "I missed a really easy chance and trudged off feeling really miserable. I knew his dream was over. I went up to him and said, 'I'm sorry, John' (it was always John, never boss).

'What are you sorry about?' he asked. 'I've seen Cervato [an Italian international of the Fifties] miss better chances than that'. He could have said anything or nothing, but there were no recriminations. He was a kind man, so famous yet so unassuming."

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Late check on Purdie

There is to be a late check on Rob Purdie before the Bulls set off for Dagenham tomorrow.

Purdie is said to have been suffering with a throat infection.

United gear up for Daggers trip

Hereford United have doubts over the fitness of two of their first-team players as they go to Dagenham & Redbridge tomorrow night for a live SKY TV match, kick off 7.45pm.

Defender Ryan Green has missed the last two matches with a hip injury, but that problem has eased and he could return to the team, while new signing Simon Travis, who made his debut in last weekend's 1-0 defeat against Woking, has a gashed ankle.

Graham Turner, therefore, could switch things around again. The signing of Scott Willis could see him slot into midfield, with Jamie Pitman set to fill-in at right-back or right wing-back, depending on the formation chosen and assuming both Travis and Green miss out.

This is, once again, a must-win match for Hereford. They need to keep in touch at the top, and make sure that they maintain a strong foothold in the play-off zone.

For Dagenham, who lost 2-1 at Chester City last week, this is a chance to make their own play-off push. Hereford were held by the Daggers at Edgar Street back in October, as the game finished 1-1, but Garry Hill's men know a win could spur a revival for their season. They currently lie in eleventh place.

Dagenham have no new injury worries for the match, although Lee Goodwin is out. Striker Kirk Jackson is set to play his last match for the club has he is likely to return to Yeovil Town, but there is good news at Chris Piper returns after suspension.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Coverage of Dagenham game

BBC Hereford & Worcester have confirmed this evening that there will be internet coverage of this Friday's game at Dagenham.

There will also be a sports special from 7pm on Friday evening which will cover the Hereford match, as well as a game featuring Kidderminster who are away at Doncaster.

Nicola Goodwin will present the programme, with Terry Goodwin providing commentary and updates from Victoria Road. BBC Hereford & Worcester broadcast on 104, 104.6 and 94.7 FM, as well as 738 and 1584 AM, and the internet commentary will be streamed through their website at

Shrewsbury facing fixture log-jam

Shrewsbury Town have fixture congestion. Although they played a Conference game last night, they will miss out this weekend because of FA Trophy action with Telford. And if they win the tie it will mean another weekend without a Conference game which happens to be the Hereford clash at Edgar Street.

Should the Hereford game be postponed it might have to be played on either Tuesday March 30th or the last Tuesday of the season, April 20th.

It is thought that they may have to play as many as three Conference games in a week to catch up, putting strain on their squad.

Telford are in a similar position. They only have the last Tuesday of the season available should a fixture need to be rearranged.

Meanwhile, the Shrews have reported a profit of nearly £275,000 for the year ending May 31st 2003. Although they were relegated to the Conference at the end of the season, they had a superb FA Cup run which brought extra income into the club.

The chairman has said that the club is in a stable financial position.

Turner confirms signing

Graham Turner has confirmed the signing of Lincoln midfielder Scott Willis on a month's loan.

Willis has been brought in as a replacement for the injuried Ben Smith.

"He's got good techique, good passing and can be a little bit aggressive in there. He wants to win, a good competitor. So he'll augment our midfield, especially with losing Ben Smith," said Turner on BBC Hereford & Worcester.

"I think we've needed somebody else to come in there and Scott fits the bill."

Willis is expected to go straight into the squad for Friday's match at Dagenham. Born in 1982, he started his career as a trainee at Wigan. Willis has also had spells at Mansfield, Carlisle, Doncaster, Northwich, Bamber Bridge, and Droysden before moving to Lincoln in July 2002.

Born in Liverpool, Willis is 5ft 9in and 11 stone in weight. He is described as an attacking midfielder and the official Lincoln website has called him "a joker in the pack".

He is currently in a second one year contract at Lincoln but has struggled to get into the first team recently. It appears that Willis asked to go from Lincoln. Their manager, Keith Alexander has been quoted as saying: "Scott wanted to go and we are happy to let him do so."

Willis appears to have had problems at Lincoln both on and off the field. He has collected a few cards and once went "awol" for a spell last December. It has been suggested that his contract would not be renewed at the end of this season.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Shrews and Shots close gap on Bulls

Shrewsbury Town closed the gap between themselves and Hereford United when they defeated Burton Albion by the only goal of the game this evening at the Gay Meadow.

And Aldershot defeated Halifax 2-1 after the home team were reduced to ten men close to the end of that game.

Tonight's results mean the Conference table is as follows: Chester P 31 Pts 66; Hereford P 31 Pts 58; Aldershot P 31 Pts 58; Barnet P 30 Pts 55; Shrewsbury P 29 Pts 54.

Turner may have midfielder on trial

A posting on the forum is suggesting that Hereford United may have a new player, a midfielder, on trial.

Frenchman Bertrand Cozic is said to be into a two-week spell at Edgar Street. Twenty-five years of age, Cozic played for Bihoral in France before moving to Bath University and featured in their FA Cup run last season.

He was spotted by Cheltenham manager Bobby Gould and given a contract in August 2003. However, he was released last month after seven league matches, one goal but no appearances since September after picking up a calf injury just before John Ward was appointed as manager. He has since had a trial with Notts County.

There is no confirmation of this story from Hereford United.

Four Nations Tournament dates set

The dates for this season's Four Nations Tournament, to be held in the North-East of Scotland, have been decided.

Hereford could have Matt Baker, Michael Rose and Rob Purdie in the England squad, while Tony James is expected to play in the Welsh side.

The game schedule is as follows :

18th May (7.45pm) - Scotland v Wales (Kynoch Park, Keith) and Ireland v England (Princess Royal Park, Banff)

20th May (7.45pm) - Scotland v Ireland (Bellslea Park, Fraserburgh) and England v Wales (Kynoch Park, Keith)

23rd May - Wales v Ireland (Harlaw Park, Inverurie - 1.30pm) and Scotland v England (Princess Royal Park, Banff - 3.30pm)

The admission prices have been set at £5 for adults and £2 for children/concessions while entry to the stand will be a further £2.

England currently hold the title after Wales won the first tournament, held in Boston and Kettering, in 2002.

Travis may miss Daggers game

Simon Travis had four stitches inserted in a leg wound after last Saturday's game against Woking, and thought to be a doubt for next Friday's televised match at Dagenham.

Travis had an impressive start for the Bulls and was awarded the "Man of the Match" by the sponsors of the game, reports the Western Daily Press.

The former Forest Green Rovers midfielder made his debut for Hereford after last week's move from Stevenage Borough.

John Charles by Ricky George

We print this article from today's Daily Telegraph - Charles was held in awe at Hereford - By Ricky George

"Don't call me boss," Hereford United player-manager John Charles told me when I signed from Barnet in February 1971. "I'm John, or Charlo."

I was in a dream and played like it in my early games for Hereford. A recurring ankle injury was proving troublesome, but I was desperate to stay in the team. The legendary Welshman was still playing at 38, and his mere presence on the pitch was worth a goal to us.

Observing this colossus at close quarters I understood where the tag 'Gentle Giant' came from. A scrupulously fair competitor, he detested dirty play and his anger only surfaced if he sensed injustice. Before a home game with Yeovil he called me into his office and told me he thought my ankle was bothering me and that he was leaving me out.

I begged him to let me play and in the end, with a broad smile, he relented. I had a terrible first half, missing two easy chances and as we came in at half-time a Hereford director verbally abused me from his seat. Charles rushed up into the stand, grabbed the man by his tie and warned him never to address one of his players in that manner ever again. I scored in the second half in a 3-0 victory.

John was a simple man, and by that I mean no disrespect. As a player he went out and performed by instinct. As a manager, without ever belittling anyone, he expected the same. "Where do you want me to play John?" asked Ronnie Radford on his debut. Charles looked at him in amazement. "You're a midfield player, aren't you?" "Yes," said Radford. "Well, play midfield then."

I don't think he realised just how famous he was, however there was one occasion when, along with Billy Meadows, Hereford's great goalscorer during the glory years of the early Seventies, I accompanied Charles to a midweek FA Cup tie at Arsenal. After the game we were invited into the Highbury boardroom where John introduced us to the late Joe Mercer, another football icon. Upon shaking hands with the former Arsenal captain, Meadows said: "It's an honour, now I can tell my grandchildren."

"You think meeting me is an honour?" said Mercer. "This man is the greatest player that ever lived."

"He knows that," grinned Charles. "He's just being polite."

For a footballer like me, John Charles took the mystery out of management. To be so famous yet so unassuming was his strength, although he did have a reputation for being a bit slow to the bar. However, as Meadows reminded me: "When he was in Italy he only had to raise his eyebrows and there was a gin and tonic by his side in seconds."

Charles left Hereford before the great cup run of 1972, but to the delight of everyone appeared in the dressing room after our historic win over Newcastle United. The following Wednesday we played West Ham United in the fourth round. As Meadows and I arrived at Edgar Street for the game there was Charlo, camelhair coat, steely grey hair, permanent suntan and wearing that broad grin. He was resting against the bonnet of his car and showed us an envelope. It read: Mr John Charles, two tickets, £2 to pay. "I wouldn't mind," he said as we stared at him in disbelief, "but I've only got 30 bob on me."

I knew that he had been suffering with Alzheimer's and two years ago I telephoned his home near Leeds to invite him to a function in London.

His wife Glenda called out to him: "John, its one of your ex-players, Ricky someone." "George," I heard the familiar voice say. As I took the phone I could barely speak. Once again the great man had made me feel 10 ft tall.

Rest in peace, Gentle Giant.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Marketing man appointed at Shrewsbury

A marketing manager has been appointed at Shrewsbury reports the Shropshire Star.

The role of marketing manager is a new position created by the club. His role will involve him being responsible for generating additional revenue for Shrewsbury Town through non football activities and trying to attract bigger crowds to home matches.

Whilst Hereford United's budget probably could not stretch to a full-time appointment, the case could be made for someone to join the club to do the same sort of job.

There is little doubt that Hereford United often fails to sell itself. A look around the Edgar Street ground at advertising boards that have been there for years tells a story.

The stewards still sometimes wear McDonalds dirty yellow jackets. It would be interesting to know if Big Mac stills puts any money into the club. If not, surely a local company could be found who would pay to have their name on the stewards backs. Is the family stand still known as the McDonalds stand because McDonalds support it? Again if not, why not look for someone else?

Rightly or wrongly just about everything in sport is sponsored in some way or other. At Hereford the manager, coach and virtually all the players are supported by either companies, or supporters. The income from this comes to over £4,000 per season.

There will be other examples of what can be supported but it takes time and effort to set these deals up. But this could be just a part of the tasks given to a marketing man or woman.

Another area which seems neglected at present is the Junior Bulls. Again couldn't help be found from the community to revitalise this important part of the club?

The selling of the club to potential sponsors is very important. A part-time appointment of someone with the time and expertise to get results could be worthwhile. For once, perhaps Hereford should follow Shrewsbury's example.

Rivals can make up ground

Two of Hereford United's rivals can make up ground on the Bulls tomorrow evening.

There are only two Conference games but they involve Aldershot and Shrewsbury who currently lie fourth and fifth in the table.

Aldershot probably have the harder task with a visit to Halifax, but Shrewsbury should overcome Burton who have only won one of their last six games.

If the Shots win they will move level on points with Hereford. Both teams will have 58 points from 31 outings, but the Bulls have a much better goal-difference.

Shrewsbury will stay in fifth place whatever their result but a win would give them 54 points from only 29 games. However two wins from their two catch-up games would put them in front of the Bulls.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Calls protest for Gentle Giant's knighthood

Following the passing of John Charles yesterday, calls have been made to knight the former Hereford United player/manager.

Although it is only bravery awards which may normally be given after death, the Queen has in the past knighted a dead sportsman, golfer Henry Cotton, who was honoured in 1988 after he had died, reports

The Cabinet Office, though, replied: "The only honours which can be awarded posthumously are bravery awards. That is the system. We cannot comment on individual cases."

TV presenter and commentator John Helm, who will lead the tributes at the funeral service, said: "He was up there with the very best. It's an outstanding case for a knighthood. The Gentle Giant was never booked and never sent off.

"His transfer fee today would be even more than David Beckham's."

Charles' career took him from Leeds United to Juventus, and he finished at Merthyr Tydfil after a four year spell at Edgar Street.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Brown disappointed with Woking reversal

David Brown thought that the Bulls shouild have had the game wrapped up before Woking scored.

Speaking on BBC Hereford & Worcester, Brown commented: "I think we created a lot of chances and we should have had the game wrapped up before they scored.

Brown thought that a silly mistake by the Bulls cost them the game. "Their keeper had to make three or four good saves. I don't think Baker had a save to make all game," he said. "We just can't seem to produce the same form at home as away."

Graham Turner said after the game: "It wasn't a sparkling performance but we had the chances to win the match.

"Sometimes it's the manner of conceding a goal that can knock you back and Matt Baker made a mistake. He knows it and we know it."

And Woking manager Glenn Cockerill admitted: "We were a bit fortunate with the goal but it's all about taking chances.

"I thought my players grew up out there and Ashley Bayes produced some great saves."

Beard comes off for Leukaemia Research

Well-known Hereford United fan, David Whittal, is having his beard shaved off this evening in aid of Leukaemia Research.

David, who started supporting the Bulls in 1954, will be at the Three Horseshoes pub in Kingstone, near Hereford, where the sissors and razors will have been sharpened for the removal.

He is planning a number of further events betwen now and the end of July to further the cause.

David would welcome any large or small donations to the fundraising comittee c/o Ivy Villa, Kingstone, Hereford HR2 9HD or telephone 01981250483 and ask for David or Fiona. have made a donation to this worthy cause.

Frustration tells on players faces

As the Hereford United players left the pitch, several fans in the Family stand appeared to turn their anger at some of the Hereford squad.

Both Michael Rose and Tony James appeared to respond to the abuse and Rose was clearly seen to give a "V" sign to the fans.

Whatever was said there was surely no need for Rose to reply in the way he did.

Defence lets Bulls down

A bad defensive error let Woking score and win the match at Edgar Street this afternoon by the only goal of the game.

Terry's report is here.

King John passes away

Hereford United legend John Charles has passed away.

The seventy-two year-old recently had part of his foot amputated after circulation problems.

Charles, one of the world's greatest footballers, played and managed Hereford between 1966 and 1971, and it is of great credit to him that he would ever consider playing for Hereford, then plying their trade in the Southern League.

Charles' career took him from Leeds United to Juventus, back to Elland Road, to AS Roma, then Cardiff City before joining Hereford. He later had a spell as player/manager of Merthyr Tydfil.

He also led Wales to the quarter-finals of the 1958 World Cup, and was awarded the CBE in 2001.

Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time. A minute's silence will be held at today's match against Woking.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Megson keen to loan youngsters

Gary Megson is keen to loan out youngsters not ready to challenge for a place in the senior squad such as Tamika Mkandawire.

The unofficial West Brom site says that Mkandawire is rated by reserve team viewing regulars as a decent prospect, but along with other younger players at Albion is some way off getting into the first team. Gary Megson has shown that he's a keen loaner of younger players, reckoning that they can learn a lot from playing 'real' football rather than just play reserve team games at Albion. Not only do they get better match fitness, but also learn the sense of responsibly you need to have when results genuinely count for something.

Tam will link up with two other former WBA players at Edgar Street. Tony James and Daniel Carey-Bertram both started at the Hawthorns.

Pitman hopes to haunt Woking

Jamie Pitman is hoping to haunt his former club, Woking, tomorrow and keep the Bulls charging towards the top spot.

Interviewed in today's Non-League Paper, Pitman says that although he enjoyed his days at Woking, the club was part-time.

"I had to work where I lived which was Hereford so when the opportunity came up to join United it was perfect for me. I didn't hestitate."

Pitman says he found having to make a 250 mile trip to Woking to train eventually affected his game.

"At the end of the day, it wasn't fair on me, my family, Woking or the fans so I decided to do what was best for all concerned."

One of Pitman's memories is scoring for the Cards against the Bulls in the FA Cup which the Cards won.

"I hope I can do something similar to level things about a bit tomorrow"

Meanwhile Matt Baker, the Hereford United goalkeeper, hopes the Bulls defence can stop leaking as many goals, now twelve in the last five games.

"We are always confident of scoring with the fire power we have in the squad," said Baker in the Shropshire Star.

"So if we reduce the threat on our own goal in the remaining 12 games then we are going to give ourselves the maximum opportunity to challenge for the title."

Travis set for debut

Simon Travis arrived at Edgar Street this morning to finalise his signing for Hereford United, hopefully in time to join the squad for tomorrow's home game with Woking.

"He's a player that I've known for a long time with Telford and Forest Green. I've always thought he could play the game and when the list came round from Stevenage, I contacted him and we agreed a deal.

"We faced a little competition from other clubs. I think Barnet, Woking, Burton and one or two others were interested," Graham Turner told BBC Hereford & Worcester.

"It makes a change for Hereford to be signing someone because of location. He lives in the West Midlands so he's decided to join us and we're delighted with that.

"I think the boy can play, I think he has a lot of composure. He fits into our pattern of play because he has ability as a full-back to play right or left side and he can play wide.

"He can slot in this week if Ryan Green isn't fit."

Talking about Tamika Mkandawire, Turner continued:" I think he did a good job in the two months he was with us. And he comes for another month.

"Unless we can persuade West Brom to let him stay longer, his loan is purely for the month."

Turner revealed that he would him like to stay at Edgar Street all season but didn't think that would happen.

Turner keen to avoid slip-up

Following some recent poor form at Edgar Street, Hereford United manager Graham Turner is eager to build upon last week's 5-2 win at Gravesend & Northfleet when his side play Woking tomorrow, kick off 3pm.

Speaking to the Evening News, Turner said: "We are finding it harder at home because teams are making it difficult for us to break them down by getting men behind the ball, but this is something we must learn to deal with between now and the end of the season.

"We've shown that we are capable of grinding results out but what we'd like now is to put on a really good performance in front of our own fans. We were desperately disappointed with the outcome of the game against Burton and know we need to make up for that.

"The addition of a couple of new players will hopefully give everyone a boost again and we need to perform at a high level between now and the end of the season if we are to achieve what we all want from this campaign. We have shown that we are capable of matching anyone in this league but we now need to go on another run that proves this on a regular basis.

"Chester are showing no signs of weakening but we need to keep the pressure on them by winning our own matches and this will also keep us ahead of the teams just behind us."

Of Woking, who Hereford beat 1-0 at the Kingfield back in October, Turner added: "We recorded a fine win down there earlier in the season and it will take a performance of a similar standard to pick up three points tomorrow."

Hereford have brought in Tamika Mkandawire ahead of the match, while Simon Travis could follow today. Turner continued: "If we can wrap up the two deals then we will be getting back up to a decent sized squad again, and with a bit of luck we are looking to add one or two more new faces next week.

"I've certainly made enquiries in the hope of making that happen and now is the time we need to add to what we've got, as I don't want to be scrabbling around for players come transfer deadline day in the third week of March.

"We have a position of strength to build upon and that is always a great situation to find yourself in. We're right in there with a shot at promotion back into the Football League and last week's win at Gravesend means that we've hauled ourselves back within range of Chester and that's very important."

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Simon Travis

Simon Travis is a defender who has had spells at Forest Green Rovers, Telford United, Stockport County, Torquay United before joining Stevenage in August 2002.

He was born in March 1977 and came into the limelight when an England schoolboy player and later a Great Britain University captain. After his spell at Telford under Jake King, father of Bulls player Jordan King, Travis moved to Forest Green Rovers in June 2001.

He was free to leave Bucks Head under the Bosman ruling, and going to the Lawn allowed the pacey 24-year-old, who had turned down approaches from Third Division sides Oxford and Luton, to concentrate on the final year of his geography degree at Bristol University, reported the Gloucester Citizen.

But at the time King claimed Preston-born Travis had been playing Telford and Forest Green off against each other and the player is reported to have wanted a 12-month contract that would enable him to return to League football once his course is finished.

"I'm very annoyed that he is turning his back on Telford after the loyalty we've shown him," King said. "Our coaching made him a better player and he blossomed from the time we spent working on his crossing and his defensive awareness.

"I would have no complaints if he signed for Oxford (where Mark Wright was the manager at the time) But we have bent over backwards to keep him and he's been playing the two clubs off against each other. If he doesn't want to play for Telford than I'm glad he's gone. We don't want players here who don't want to play for this club."

Travis stayed at the Lawn for one season. He rejected a new contract and then joined Stevenage, where he made 67 appearances for the club. Earlier this week he told Comet Online that he was sorry to be leaving Stevenage.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my two years there and I would like to say a big thank you to all the fans who supported me during that time," he said. "The phone went crazy on Tuesday and I must have been doing something right at Stevenage!"

Tam's back

West Bromwich Albion Tamika Mkandawire has returned to Edgar Street for a one-month loan-spell.

He played for two months at Hereford back in the autumn, scoring once, and his signing was confirmed by Hereford's Official Website.

However, the signing of Simon Travis has, as yet, not been confirmed. The club say that they are in negotiations with an un-named player, and hope to complete his signing by tomorrow lunchtime.

It appears that Travis might have joined Barnet but failed to turn up for a medical early this afternoon.

Martin Allen, the Barnet manager, said on their website: "The player has decided to join one of our near rivals in the table."

The Stevenage website also suggests that Travis has signed for the Bulls.

"Having been released from his Stevenage Borough contract earlier in the week, highly-rated defender Simon Travis has wasted no time in finding a new club, having signed for promotion chasing Hereford United. The former England Semi-Pro international snubbed offers from Woking and Barnet to join the Bulls, currently placed second in the Nationwide Conference, albeit a fair way off leaders Chester City," it says.

Parry could step into Giggs' place

Paul Parry could step into Ryan Giggs' position in the Welsh squad as Giggs is suspended for the first two internationals in the next World Cup campaign.

The Western Mail reports that Mark Hughes was delighted with Parry's performance, saying: "He is a tough lad, I have seen that. But I wanted to know whether he has the mentality for this higher stage, and he showed he did.

"He surprised me. He is a young man with no real experience in professional football and he showed skill and confidence out there in front of 47,000 people.

"He showed me he could make the step up and I was delighted with him. It's some big jump from the Conference, but he has certainly given me an extra option."

Another reshuffle for Hereford

Woking are the visitors to Edgar Street on Saturday as Hereford United aim to close the gap on league leaders Chester City, kick off 3pm.

Graham Turner's side will be without midfielder Ben Smith, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury, and United's boss told the Hereford Times: "It looks as if his season is over and we hope that if he does have surgery then he will be cleared to start next season."

His midfield partner Jamie Pitman doesn't need a hernia operation, though, and should play against his former club on Saturday while defender Ryan Green, who has a hip injury, could make the squad. Loan signings Chris Palmer and Anwar Uddin have returned to their respective clubs, and with no new players yet brought in, United will have to reshuffle their pack.

Graham Turner has told the Hereford Times that he wants to bring in Tamika Mkandawire on-loan from West Brom again, and also wants to sign another player before the visit of Woking, which is another crucial game. It is reported that he already closed in on right-footed player Simon Travis.

He said: "This is a chance to further our promotion aspirations and put our poor home performance against Burton behind us. Hopefully, we can show our fans some of the goal-scoring form that we have displayed away from home."

Woking are in good form, having lost just once in their last fourteen matches, but they have drawn six of the last seven. Yeovil's Chris Giles could play on-loan, while Neil Sharp's hamstring injury has eased so he could also feature. Midfielder Ian Selley is likely to miss the rest of the season, while Chris Sharpling needs a cruciate knee operation.

Hereford turn to Travis

Hereford United have reportedly signed right-sided midfieldr Simon Travis after his recent release from Stevenage Borough.

He was also in talks with Barnet and Woking, but has chosen a move to Hereford, reports the Woking News & Mail.

Travis played twenty-one Conference matches for Stevenage this term, scoring once, and his former clubs include Stockport County, Torquay United, Telford United and Forest Green Rovers. The twenty-six year-old is primarily a midfielder, but slots in at right-back too, and was released by Graham Westley after alledgedly refusing to sign an extended contract at Broadhall Way.

Woking boss Glenn Cockerill said: "Simon said he would have loved to come to Woking but as he lives in Birmingham, he’s decided on Hereford because it’s nearer to home for him."

Uddin praises Bulls

Anwar Uddin is out of contract at the end of the season and has said that he is hoping to land a new contract at Bristol Rovers after his two- month loan period at Edgar Street.

He said: "I had a brilliant time at Hereford. I'm glad that I went. I felt that with two months of the season left, I'd had a good spell there and it was time to go back to Rovers.

"My contract is up at the end of the season and I want to give a good account of myself and see what happens," Uddin told Rovers' website.

Uddin thanked Hereford for helping him regain match fitness. He said: "I played ten games for them and thoroughly enjoyed it.

"I didn't know much about the Conference before I went there, but I was impressed and it's a good standard.

"The training was good because Hereford are full-time. It's a good club and I'm glad I went.

"If you haven't played for a long time, which was the situation I was in before I went to Hereford, your confidence suffers and you start to question your ability. But I've gone there, done very well and feel good in myself. I'm a lot fitter now and I've also got my confidence back.

"As the games went on I got stronger and stronger and that's the whole point in me going there."

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Tam is Turner's target

Graham Turner is hoping to persuade West Brom's Tamika Mkandawire to return to Edgar Street for a second loan spell.

The Hereford Times has confirmed that Tam is Turner's main target. The defender was in the WBA reserve squad last Monday but did not get a game.

Should a deal be cemented it is expected that Mkandawire will start training with the Bulls tomorrow.

Meanwhile Ryan Green remains a doubt for Saturday's game with Woking although he has returned to training.

Parry shines on Welsh debut

Former Hereford United winger Paul Parry made his Welsh international debut tonight, just six weeks after his last non-league match.

The Cardiff City player scored a last minute winner for Hereford against Stevenage Borough on January 3rd. Tonight, he set-up Gareth Taylor's goal as Wales hammered Scotland 4-0.

Parry came on in the 33rd minute for Simon Davies, who picked up a leg injury, and his first touch was a pass to Ryan Giggs, setting up Rob Earnshaw's second as he notched a hatrick.

Talking after the match to BBC Wales, manager Mark Hughes said: "It was a great introduction. He looked very comfortable out there. I saw him at the weekend and he played very well so I didn't have a problem putting him in tonight. It was a little bit earlier than I thought, but he did very well."

As part of the deal that took Parry to Ninian Park, his international debut means Hereford United will receive an additional payment from Cardiff.

Telford game will go-ahead

Police intervention has changed the date of a possible replay between Shrewsbury and Telford should they draw their FA Trophy game on February 28th.

Originally it was thought any replay would take place on March 2nd but the Shropshire police have said they require ten days notice of any local derby.

This means that Hereford United will visit Telford on March 2nd for their Conference game as originally arranged.

Hughes on Parry's rise

Welsh Manager Mark Hughes has spoken of his surprise at the sudden rise of former Bulls star Paul Parry, who is set to gain his first full International Cap tonight in the friendly against Scotland. Hughes has asked for unlimited substitutions, so this could give Parry a chance of getting onto the pitch.

"The boy probably doesn't know what's happening to him," Hughes told BBC Sport. "It's a very exciting time for him. But he's come into the squad and he looks quite confident. It's important that when you come into an environment like we create here that you're not overawed by it - you've got to enjoy it."

Meanwhile Parry has been watching Ryan Giggs in training with the Welsh squad. "I play in the position Ryan does, so I'm hoping to learn a few things from him," said Parry as reported in the Western Mail. "The Premiership players are a bit sharper than the rest of us and obviously you are going to pick up things from players like Ryan.

"People say the Premier League stars will keep themselves to themselves because they're on big money but I've not found that since joining up with the squad. They are down to earth and they talk to players like myself.

"They've told me that if I get my chance against Scotland then I should just go out and enjoy it. Ryan is a great player and whatever he does you can rest assured that I will be studying him closely. It would be brilliant if I got a chance to play against Scotland but Ryan is still going strong on the left wing. I don't think there's much chance of me taking his shirt!"

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Smith to see specialist

Ben Smith is likely to miss the rest of this season. Graham Turner, speaking to BBC Hereford & Worcester, has confirmed that the injury is very serious and is the same as Smith received at the start of last season at Bromsgrove in a friendly.

"He is going to see a specialist. There is a possibility that he will have to have surgery on his shoulder, pinned to stop it popping out in future times," said Turner. "It looks as though his season is over and we have to hope that if he does have surgery then he will be cleared to start next season.

"It is a tremendous blow to us. He's had a good season, not only with his goals but he's very influential in the middle of the park for us. It is a severe blow for us.

"But we managed to get over the Andy Tretton injury and the Steve Guinan injury so I'm sure we're capable of getting over Ben Smith's absence.

Meanwhile Anwar Uddin is staying at Bristol Rovers.

Central defender Uddin is back in their squad after returning from a two-month loan spell at Hereford United and could be on the bench against Huddersfield tonight.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Smith out for rest of campaign

The following news emerged from tonight's Hereford United Liaison Meeting:

- Ben Smith will miss the rest of the season as he needs an operation to pin his shoulder, but Jamie Pitman is set to return on Saturday after fears of a required hernia operation were unfounded. He does, though, have a torn abductor muscle, and was rested at Gravesend in the hope that a ten-day break will ease the problem.

- Ryan Green, though, still has a hip injury and is likely to miss the home game against Woking. He trained today, but did not compete in the regular schedule.

- The loan spells of Anwar Uddin and Chris Palmer have ended, but Graham Turner hopes to bring in new players.

- Chester City are likely to be given 2,000 tickets for the last day of the season, and they will be on sale within the next couple of weeks. Shrewsbury Town will receive 2,800 tickets for the match at Edgar Street on March 27th, after liaison with the police.

- Forest Green Rovers will play at Edgar Street on Tuesday, 16th March, in the final of Herefordshire Senior Cup.

- Hereford United have now received £5,000 from Sky TV for the televising of the Exeter City match on Boxing Day.

This basis for this information is taken from a post on the independent Hereford United fans forum.

Parry delighted with call-up

Paul Parry is delighted to have been called into the Welsh squad for the friendly against Scotland on Wednesday evening.

Parry impressed Welsh manager, Mark Hughes, last Saturday with his performance for Cardiff City against West Brom. On Sunday he was called into the Welsh squad.

Facing the cameras this afternoon Parry said on ITV Wales: "A couple of months ago I was dreaming of playing league football, let alone internationals. I totally did not expect a call-up. I've tried to settle in at Cardiff best I can for now, but to get a call-up is brilliant."

And on BBC Wales the story was told how Paul Parry was somewhere in the crowd at the Wales/Russia game a couple of months ago cheering on players he usually saw only on television.

The report continued: "Three months on and Parry finds himself part of that Welsh squad. No more Aldershot and Accrington for him. And after only a handful of games for Cardiff City, Paul Parry, the player plucked from Non-League football at Hereford a month ago, has been called-up for Wednesday's game against Scotland."

Parry said: "Getting into the squad is going to be a massive experience for myself. Even if I don't make the bench on Wednesday, I'm not going to be disappointed but if I do, it's an extra bonus.

"I know I wouldn't have been in the squad but for drop-outs, so I've got the chance now I've got to take it. If I get the chance to play, I've got to go out there and do my best and hopefully impress the manager for future call-ups."

Team mate Robert Earnshaw said of Parry on Sky: " He's a good player, he's done well enough in the Cardiff team to win a place. He won't look out of place."

The game is live on BBC Two Wales. On Sky you can see the match on channel 102 in Wales but probably 959 in England.

CVA Penalty down to ten points

Any club going into a CVA in the Conference will be deducted ten points instead of twelve as originally agreed by the Conference bosses. It is said that the change is to fall into line with other leagues.

A Conference spokesperson told "We said at the outset that we would fall in line with the other competitions and to be fair to all parties we've made it retrospective. We wanted to see what the Premier League decided before we acted and now feel that we have a fair system throughout football."

This means that if Exeter lose their appeal they will have ten points deducted from their total.

Confguide are also reporting that Exeter have been charged with a breach of player registraton rules, regarding Dwane Lee, who the Conference say wasn't correctly registered before an embargo was placed on the club.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Display of predatory finishing

This report of Saturday's game comes from this morning's Times:

HEREFORD UNITED got their pursuit of Chester City and automatic promotion back on track in the finest manner possible as their forward pairing of Steve Guinan and David Brown feasted at Stonebridge Road on Saturday. The strikers grabbed two goals apiece in a display of predatory finishing, being in no mood to let gifts go to waste as the Gravesend & Northfleet defence committed a series of untimely mistakes.

In many ways, the first was the worst. No sooner had Ben Abbey touched in the ball to give Gravesend the lead in the fourth minute than Hereford equalised. A collective collapse of concentration from the restart of the sort that managers rant warnings about ended with Rob Purdie being brought down by Paul Wilkerson, the goalkeeper, and Tony James hammering home the penalty.

Hereford’s second came from a free kick taken after a lengthy delay during which Ben Smith was helped off the field with a dislocated right shoulder. A similar injury forced Smith to miss the first three months of last season and Hereford are awaiting the doctor’s verdict as to the seriousness of this latest setback. Michael Rose’s left-foot strike from 30 yards pinged off the inside of a post and Brown pounced to put away the rebound.

The third followed Lee Shearer presenting the ball to Brown, who slipped a pass to Guinan, who dipped his shoulder, shimmied and planted the ball past Wilkerson.

Abbey again exploited uncertainty in the Hereford defence to make it 3-2 in the 37th minute and raise Gravesend hopes going into the second half. They had, after all, drawn 3-3 away to Hereford in September. But when another blunder brought Hereford their fourth goal, in the 67th minute, the home team’s discipline and self- belief drained away. Lee Skinner was caught out by a cross, slipped and let Brown clear; his shot clipped Chris Moore on an ankle and curled cruelly away from Wilkerson.

The fifth goal saw Purdie turn and speed away from an ineffectual challenge down the right. From his cross, Brown committed Wilkerson before laying the ball off to Guinan for his partner to put away his second goal.

Andy Ford, the Gravesend manager, was not seeking to hide behind the disadvantage of being a part-time club up against full-time opponents. “It’s this home form that concerns me,” he said. “Away from home we can spoil things a bit easier. At home we’ve got to be a bit more creative and we’re lacking in that area sometimes.

“But I think today we had to look no further than our defending in individual cases. Their movement was too good for us today. Their front two were very, very good. They gave our back four a bit of a torrid time.”

Fixture backlog could affect Bulls

Both Shrewsbury and Telford have played several games less than leaders Chester and Hereford in the Conference so far this season.

The two Shropshire clubs were due to have Conference fixtures on Tuesday evening but both have been postponed to later dates because of cup games.

Shrewsbury were to have played Aldershot, but the Shots have to play their Trophy replay with Tamworth that evening. Telford were scheduled to meet Scarborough, another team behind with their games, but the Bucks now face Margate in the FA Trophy 5th round on Tuesday.

The delays could affect Hereford United as the Bulls are due to play Shrewsbury on March 27th which, if Shrewsbury get through the next round, is the day set aside for the Trophy Semi-final.

Shrewsbury were due to play Telford in the Conference on February 28th but that is the date for the sixth round of the Trophy in which both clubs could be involved.

It may be unlikely but it is possible should Telford win their game against Margate and therefore play in the next round on Feb 28th and draw their tie, then a replay might have to take place on March 2nd, then the Conference game with the Bulls would have to be moved.

Parry called up for Wales

Paul Parry has been called into the Welsh squad for Wednesday's friendly with Scotland.

BBC Wales is reporting that Cardiff City winger Paul Parry has joined Mark Hughes' injury-ravaged Wales squad to face Scotland in Cardiff on 18 February. The 23-year-old former Hereford player has impressed at Ninian Park since his transfer in January.

Yesterday, he was given the highest mark by several journalists for his performance in the Bluebirds team against West Bromwich Albion.

It is thought that Parry may be the first player to have made the jump from the Conference level to being selected for an international squad within six weeks of leaving. The game is live on BBC2 Wales from 7.30pm, and accessible nationwide on through the Sky Digital platform.

Selection problems for Turner

With several players injuried and the two loan players due to return to their clubs, Graham Turner could have a selection problem for next Saturday's game against Woking.

As far as is known Ben Smith is out for most, if not all, of the rest of the season after his shoulder injury yesterday. Jamie Pitman has hernia trouble and it is bound to need attention sooner than later. Sometimes players can cope with this type of injury, Matt Clarke was a case in point last season, for a while but with Pitman missing yesterday's match it has to be assumed that he could be out for a few weeks.

Ryan Green was rated as 50/50 for yesterday's game earlier last week so hopefully he will be back soon. Jordan King was also on the injury list but it is thought that he will be available next weekend.

As regards the two loan signings, both were due to return to their home bases after yesterday's game. However Anwar Uddin is not featured in the Bristol Rovers squad on their official site, whereas when he first came to Edgar Street mention was made of his loan to the Bulls. Whether this can be taken to mean that he is able to continue on-loan to Hereford is not certain.

Chris Palmer from Derby has had the difficult task of taking over Paul Parry's place in the squad. Whether he has, in Turner's opinion, fitted in well enough for Derby to be asked if his loan spell can continue remains to be seen.

However even if the two loan players stay for another month, the Bulls look short of a mid-field man to take Ben Smith's place. Graham Turner will need to bring someone in early this week to give any player time to slot in at Edgar Street.

Turner usually plays his cards close to his chest, but if the Bulls are to remain in contention for that top spot, he will need to strengthen his squad urgently.

Turner's comments on yesterday's game

Graham Turner has been quoted in today's Non-League Paper talking about yesterday's win at Gravesend.

"We had our hands full with the size and power of Gravesend, especially when they were able to pump set pieces into our box, said Turner.

"But overall, we played well when we had the ball, we created good opportunities and we deserved the win - but we had to work very hard for it.

"We've had four very tough away games in the league and to come here and win shows a bit of character.

"We were a little bit light last year in terms of real determination to win the tougher games but we have proved in recent weeks that when it's tough we can go away and win games.

"We've got to keep the pressure on Chester. There's still a lot of football to be played but we've got to keep on their tail and hope they slip up."

Saturday, February 14, 2004

It's not over yet

Steve Guinan, speaking on BBC Hereford and Worcester, thinks that today's win by the Bulls will put the pressure back on Chester.

"We had to get three points today. If we had not won today I think they (Chester) would have thought the championship was theirs.

"It was important that we don't let that gap too big. Now we've closed it again, perhaps they're thinking Hereford are still up for this and they are going to chase us down to the wire.

"Hopefully we can close a few more points and narrow that gap and it could come down to that last game of the season. That's what it might have to be."

Meanwhile Andy Ford, the Gravesend manager, said after the game: "Going forward, Hereford were very, very good. But four goals were individual mistakes, how do you combat that?"

Smith's injury is worrying for Bulls

Ben Smith was badly injuried at Gravesend this afternoon, as he dislocated his shoulder.

Steve Guinan, in an interview with BBC Hereford & Worcester, said of Smith: "I think everyone is concerned. We have all been asking how he is in the dressing-room. He is in hospital at the moment. I think his shoulder has popped out and it just depends how he is.

"I've asked Rich (O'Kelly) and the doctor who was here. Sometimes it can be six weeks. Hopefully it's not going to be like it was last season when he was out for a few months.

"He's a big concern for us because he's been one of our main players with his goal tally. So he will be hughly missed if he is out."

Bulls back to winning ways

Hereford united closed the gap on Chester with a convincing 5-2 win at Gravesend this afternoon.

Brian's report on proceedings can be read here.

Guinan to attend Cup Final

Steve Guinan received some good news this week when it was confirmed that he has been invited to attend this years FA Cup final at the Millennium Stadium.

His invitation is part of the prize for being player of the round after his three goals against Harrow in the fourth qualifying round.

All winners of the FA Cup player-of-the-round awards will be paraded on the pitch at the Millennium Stadium.

There is time to catch up

Both Graham Turner and Richard O'Kelly believe that Hereford United can catch Chester City. Although the defeat of the Bulls by Burton Albion have set that course back, there is still time to make up the points.

Graham Turner told BBC Hereford and Worcester: "Chester have opened that big gap between us, but we've got a game in hand. And they have got almost all the top sides to play between now and the end of the season. They have a particularily tough run-in.

"Sooner or later they will drop points; so if they do slip-up, we are in contention for that top spot."

Richard O'Kelly holds similar views. He told the Evening News: "We have to ignore the eight point gap because there's a lot of things that can change between now and the end of the season.

"Three weeks ago we were in the situation where all of a sudden we grabbed a late winner against Stevenage, Chester lost in the 90th minute and we were within touching distance.

"It's come full circle again but there's still a lot of football to be played so we just have to concentrate on one game at a time."

Turning to today's match at Gravesend, O'Kelly admitted: "If you concede eight goals in three games you have to look at that area of the pitch but defending starts from the front. Against Burton we conceded goals that we haven't looked like doing all season.

"We can put that down as a one off but defending is a responsibility for everyone in the team, not just the defenders.

"We've got to get back to doing what we did before which was being really good at getting the ball back once we'd made a mistake and lost it." Despite the Burton defeat, morale remains high in the Edgar Street camp and O'Kelly believes there were some positives to take from that game.

"Watching the players train in the week you could see the defeat was out of their system," he said. One plus was our first half performance which was as good as we've produced for a while and if we'd gone in two or three up nobody would have complained.

"Now we've got to strive to achieve that level of football for 90 minutes."

Friday, February 13, 2004

Goals going in against us

Graham Turner doesn't think that the departure of Paul Parry has anything to do with the number of goals scored against Hereford United recently.

Speaking to BBC Hereford & Worcester, Turner said that it hasn't been the goals created but the goals going in against us that has been the problem.

"We have got to start defending better as a team, defending better as individuals, and start keeping clean sheets. If we do that then we always look capable of creating the odd chance, now Steve Guinan is back in particular, of scoring. So if we keep clean sheets we have a good chance of taking three points.

"If you look back at three (goals against us) in the trophy at Exeter, two at Morecambe, three at Scarborough, two against Burton. If you are going to be a successful side it is built on a sound defensive system.

"We got to make sure we keep going forward, but individuals and collectively we have to take a bit more responsibility and make sure we do defend better.

"If we keep a clean sheet then one goal wins you the match."

Looking at Gravesend's recent form, Turner continued: "We had them watched at Exeter and the reports are that they are a very solid, well organised side. They won at Exeter last week.

"Last season when we went down there and lost 3-0 was probably our worst performance of the season. We have got to make sure that we are ready for whatever they throw at us. They are a big side. They do cause problems in the box and we have got to be able to combat that."

Green and Pitman doubts for tomorrow

Hereford United are reported to have four players with fitness doubts for tomorrow's match at Gravesend.

Ryan Green is said to be suffering with a hip problem and Jamie Pitman has a hernia type injury which may require surgery. Richard Teesdale is also a doubt with a dead leg, while Jordan King's ankle is causing him trouble

Meanwhile Richard O'Kelly has told the Evening News why he remembers last year's game at Gravesend when the Bulls were beaten 3-0. "It was a bit of a shock. They literally battered us, physically, mentally and technique wise," recalls O'Kelly. "We had one of those days where we just didn't turn up but in the return fixture we got revenge to show we had grown up a little bit.

"This season we drew 3-3 and in light of their recent results it probably wasn't a bad point. They shown with results against Morecambe and a win at Exeter that they are no pushovers. They've assembled a good squad, they're very organised and are reaping the rewards."

Thursday, February 12, 2004

No profit at Northwich

Another Conference club has reported a large loss for the last season.

Northwich Victoria have just announced an operating loss of £245,210 for the 2002/3 season. The wage bill for the team and admin ran at £263,000 - more than £5,000-a-week, roughly the amount the club was losing.

They have said that Vale Royal Borough Council must take a share of the blame for large financial losses at the club which is currently in the second season of a groundshare deal at Witton Albion's Wincham Park ground, and gates have suffered. They had hoped to complete the move in one season.

The club are also bottom of the Conference.

Northwich are financing the move by the sale of their former ground at the Drill Field to property developers Wilcon Homes for £2.3million on top of which they are getting £200,000 in sponsorship from Wilcon and a further £500,000 from the Football Trust. With an interim sum of £1.3m already received for the ground Northwich actually made a profit on the 2002-03 season, but the losses on the field have already eaten heavily into that sum.

Tretton set for comeback?

Defender Andy Tretton is set to return for Hereford United's trip to Gravesend & Northfleet at Stonebridge Road on Saturday, kick off 3pm.

The former Shrewsbury Town defender has been suffering with a thigh injury but his slow recovery has taken five months. His return came in last Monday's reserve match, and Graham Turner told the Hereford Times: "Andy played for an hour and came through without any adverse reaction."

Otherwise, Hereford have a fit bill of health going into the game against Andy Ford's men, who lie sixteenth in the table but have won four of their last six matches.

Michael Rose is likely to continue at left-back, despite being the subject of a bid from Third Division Yeovil Town. "We received a written offer from Yeovil which was unacceptable," added Turner, after Yeovil boss Gary Johnson has refused to comment over the speculation.

Back to Saturday, and talking to the Gravesend Messenger, manager Andy Ford said: “Hereford is another massive game for us and should draw a big crowd. Only the league leaders Chester are in better form than us over the last six games, but we need to keep it going if we want to move up the table."

Skipper Steve McKimm and Francis Duku are available after suspension, but there is a doubt over Rob Haworth whose pregnant wife could go into labour over the weekend.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Conference chairmen meet today

There is a meeting of all the Conference chairmen today at Telford which will discuss the Exeter situation.

Graham Turner has outlined his thoughts about Exeter's case in this morning's Hereford Times.

"If Exeter win their case against the Conference it may result in football creditors no longer being preferential. This, for example, could mean that if, by some chance, Cardiff had to go into administration then any future payments to us for Paul Parry would be lost or reduced.

"I don't believe that the Conference should foot the bill for an issue affecting all of football.

"The case also means that payments for TV matches have been cancelled. The cancellation is retrospective, going back to our Boxing Day match with Exeter. This can hardly be fair as, effectively, it means we have contributed £5,000 more than any one else to the fund."

Purdie debut ends in defeat

Rob Purdie made his England National Game XI debut tonight at Shrewsbury Town's Gay Meadow ground, but it was Italy who ran out 4-1 winners.

A record crowd for a semi-professional international of 3,703 turned out for the encounter.

The Hereford United midfielder provided a decent cross in the final move of the game for Roscoe D'Sane, but the Aldershot attacker's header failed to trouble Italian goalkeeper Giacomo Brichetto in added time. Purdie came on as a substitute late in the second half, when England were already 3-1 down.

Exeter City's Gareth Sheldon put England 1-0 up on thirteen minutes as he coverted a Luke Rodger's ball, but within two minutes Italy had levelled. Damiele Mannini drilled home after the goalkeeper had challenged another player, leaving the goal unguarded.

Italy held the half-time lead thanks to their 24th minute goal. Ciro Danucci fired home after a free-kick was poorly cleared. Mannini also struck the crossbar before the opening period had come to a close.

After the restart, substitute Guiseppe Cozzolino made it 3-1 just before the hour mark, as he sent a low shot from ten yards out into the net, but England almost got back into it with seventeen minutes left when Karl Murray sent a screamer onto the bar from all of thirty yards.

Just after Purdie's introduction, Ferdinando Sforzini scored Italy's fourth after replacement goalkeeper Jon Kennedy pushed away his initial shot, and although there was a hint of offside to the shot, the goal stood. Three minutes later though, a similar goal at the other end, scored by Dave Perkins, was disallowed.

England: James Bittner (off, 67 minutes, for Jon Kennedy), Peter Cavanagh (off, 73 minutes, for Ismail Yakubu), Jon Boardman, Danny Collins (off, 81 minutes, for Anthony Charles), David Perkins, Adam Miller (off, 79 minutes, for Rob Purdie), Jon Challinor. Karl Murray, Gareth Sheldon (off, 73 minutes, for Aaron McLean), Roscoe D'Sane, Luke Rodgers.

Italy: Giacomo Brichetto, Luca Perfetti (off, half time, for Pierluigi Borghetti), Angelo Rea, Gianni Munari (off, 64 minutes, Simone Rota), Andrea Mengoni, Manuel Pasqual, Davide Carteri (off, 81 minutes, Carlo Gervasoni), Ciro Danucci, Luca Ceccarelli (off, half time, for Giuseppe Cozzolino), Damiele Mannini (off, 70 minutes, Ferdinando Sforzini), Enrico Antonioni. Sub not used: Thomas Berretta.

No change in CVA position

The latest Hereford United CVA account for the year to January 20th 2004 has just been released. As expected, it shows that no action has been taken by the club in the last twelve months to pay back any more of the debt.

The account shows that payments made since the CVA was started amount to £326,529 and eleven pence.

So far the club has paid its unsecured creditors 40p in the £ and settled all preferential claims.

It is believed that the amount still owing to settle the CVA in full is in excess of £130,000. There would be supervisors' fees on top of this.

These figures has not been confirmed by the club.

Defending needs to shape up

Hereford United got to cut out sloppy defending if they are to keep the pressure on Chester City at the top of the Nationwide Conference.

Talking to the Hereford Journal, Turner said of Hereford's 2-1 defeat against Burton Albion last Saturday: “We can’t keep conceding goals like that. It’s the area we’ve got to now put right, our defending.

“There’s still a lot of football to be played, but we’ve got to look at our own house. It’s no good looking at Chester’s results – unless we’re winning games we can’t consider ourselves potential champions.

“The first thing we’ve got to do to win games is to stop conceding daft goals.”

Andy Tretton could return on Saturday as United go to Gravesend & Northfleet, and Turner added: “Andy Tretton had an hour, and that’s positive, and we’ll see over the next couple of days how he has come on for that.”

International game is on

Tonight's Non-League international at Shrewsbury is on. The pitch has dried out after being flooded by the River Severn.

Hereford United's Rob Purdie is in the English squad who are facing Italy. will have a report on the game.

Also on tonight is Telford's FA Cup game with Milwall. The Bucks have had several Conference games postponed because of the state of their ground and Cup ties. Their match against Chester on Saturday has been postponed as they have to play Weston-super-Mare in a Trophy tie.

Conference chiefs discuss Exeter situation

The Conference chairmen are to meet tomorrow to discuss the possible ramifications of Exeter's impending legal action against the league reports the BBC. Graham Turner, the Hereford United chairman, is expected to attend the meeting at Telford.

Exeter are taking the Conference to court to contest a 12-point penalty imposed for going into administration and a ruling that all football debts must be paid in full.

Conference clubs have already been warned that they will be asked to pay up to £25,000 to cover legal bills.

There is widespread concern about how the matter is unfolding. One chairman who has commented is David Andrews of Dagenham. "I don't know the exact ins and outs. We have had a couple of letters and I've read things in the press, but that's not the same as being told by the (Conference) board.

"This ruling could put a lot of clubs in trouble. I'm hoping to find things out tomorrow. I don't think any of us is flush and this sort of money could be severe for a lot of clubs."

Exeter insist their action is necessary to try and safeguard the club's future.

But they have upset several of their Conference colleagues, particularly as the 12-point deduction was written into competition rules last summer when Exeter joined the league following their relegation from Division Three.

"Exeter were there and voted on the day and I think you should go along with the majority," added Andrews, ahead of the league's scheduled half-yearly meeting in Telford.

The Conference clubs are also unhappy that they are having to defend the football creditors' rule, which is applied across football.

"It could have big ramifications," said Andrews. "It's a big issue which could involve clubs from the Premiership to divisions one, two and three. It could become a test case so why we as a Conference are fighting it, I'm sure will be brought up."

The Inland Revenue are taking a counter action against Exeter over preferred creditor status. Margate's on-going ground problems and the likely make-up of the league next season are also expected to be discussed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Tretton plays for reserves

Andy Tretton played for Hereford United reserves last night against Grantham at Burton Albion.

Tretton, who has been out with a thigh injury since last September, featured for 70 minutes in the game, reports the Evening News.

Anwar Uddin, who has been on-loan from Bristol Rovers, may play his last game for the Bulls on Saturday against Gravesend. He and Tamika Mkandawire have taken Tretton's place in the squad during his absence.

Meanwhile ex-Bulls player Chris Lane has joined Chester on a month loan deal from Leigh RMI.

And according to the Western Daily Press, Yeovil Town are tracking Hereford's Michael Rose. The former Manchester United trainee has been a regular in the England non-league side in recent seasons although not chosen for this week's international against Italy.

After leaving Old Trafford Rose joined Chester City before linking up with the Bulls at the start of the 2002-3 season. But with Hereford chasing promotion to the Football League any move is unlikely before the summer.

Yeovil manager Gary Johnson refused to make any comment when asked about the possible transfer.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Disabled team reach semi-finals

An emphatic 6-1 win over Chelsea in the quarter-finals mean Hereford United's Disabled Team, based at the RNC, will meet Northampton or Colchester United next month as they bid for a place in the final of the Karl Waldren Cup.

United's 6-1 win on Sunday was spurred on by two goals from Daniel Russell, while Simon Gibson, Alan Ringland, Rob Beresford and Graham Huddart all found the net too.

During the first half, Hereford had many chances but could find the back of the net, but eventually scored. Just on the brink of half time Chelsea pulled it back level through a penalty. The second half saw Hereford take control of the game securing the game with another 5 goals. The best of them was when Simon Gibson run the full length of the pitch with the ball and putting into the back of the net.

Chairman Phil Hall is delighted with the team for doing so well as it is only their second season in playing in the National Multi-Disabled Football League.

Clough still tips Hereford for promotion

Burton Albion, who have now beaten Hereford United twice this season after Saturday's 2-1 win at Edgar Street, reckon the Bulls will still gain promotion despite falling eight points behind leaders Chester City in the Nationwide Conference.

Brewers' manager Nigel Clough told the Derby Evening Telegraph: "They are an excellent side. It might be a bit much for them to catch Chester but, if they're in the play-offs, I'd back them to go back into the Football League."

Of the game, he added: "We've earned that double with two of our best team performances. Matt Duke's handling was excellent, the two centre-halves were superb and the two strikers caused them problems all game.

"That's why you get a result like that. If you have two or three off it, sides like Hereford will beat you."

Meanwhile, Hereford United's Rob Purdie is in action on Wednesday for England's National Game XI as they play the Italian under-23 side at Shrewsbury Town's Gay Meadow Ground. Kick off is at 7.45pm, and entrance is free, but the Shrews are rushing to get their flooded pitch ready for the match. Jimmy Quinn's men saw their home match against Woking postponed on Saturday, but the waters have receded, and the fire brigade are helping to remove the excess water.

Groundsman Brian Perry said: "We've got to let nature take it's course and then see how it goes.

"It's nice to have a match like this here but I've always prepared for every game the same way by trying to do the best I can and that won't change," he told the Shropshire Star. "We're lucky that it hasn't gone into the dressing rooms.

"We've just got to disinfect a few seats in the stand which shouldn't take too long and put a few of the advertising boards back," he added.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

No breach of wage cap

John Moules, chief executive of the Conference, has confirmed that no club has broken the new wage cap regulations according to the Non-League Paper.

It had been suggested that three clubs might have exceeded their allowable wage payments but those teams have met with Conference auditors and been given the all-clear.

"We have resolved all the issues to our satisfaction and to the individual clubs satisfaction," said Moules.

Chester, Stevenage and Telford were rumoured to be the teams involved. Both Chester and Telford are known to be running at a loss at present.

However some commentators are saying that the Conference has to much on its hands at present to have given much time and effort to this subject as at present the Conference has major problems with both Exeter and Margate in danger of being thrown out of the league. There is also a suggestion that the legality of the squad budgeting rules could be in doubt.

End of loan spell for Uddin?

Anwar Uddin has played his last game for Hereford United unless Graham Turner and Bristol Rovers agree to an extension.

Uddin joined the Bulls on December 12th on a months loan deal which was extended on January 12th. This implies that the deal runs out this coming Wednesday.

However Bristol Rovers are known to have cash-flow problems and may be willing to extend the loan should Graham Turner want Uddin to stay.

When the first deal was done Ray Graydon was manager at Bristol Rovers. Since then he has left and it is not known whether the new manager, Phil Bater, feels Uddin is required back at Bristol.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Three points lost

Hereford United lost 2-1 at home against Burton this afternoon. Tony James put the Bulls in the lead with a penalty but Burton hit back with a goal in each half.

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

Leaders Chester just managed to defeat Farnborough 3-2 and so go further ahead of the Bulls who remain in second position in the league.

Ryan Green went off injuried in the second half and later Jamie Pitman told BBC Hereford and Worcester about his problem.

"He's pulled a muscle in his hip. It will need to be accessed in a few days to see how he is."

Of the game, Pitman added: "They managed to score twice for our own deficiencies. We'll keep battling and will do as best we can to put it right on the training ground.

"We conceded two bad goals but played excellently in the first half. It wasn't a particularly bad performance but we've just got to learn by those mistakes and start a run of wins. We understand that it's frustrating for the fans, but they've seen some very good football this year. We're still second, and Chester could have a rough patch, so we need to keep a consistent run going."

After the game Graham Turner, the Hereford United manager, remarked: "We just didn't defend well and we can't keep conceding goals like we are and hope to win games."

There is a lot of football to be played

Graham Turner is not bothered that his Hereford United team are not considered as the main challengers to knock Chester City off the top of the Nationwide Conference.

Bookies are backing Shrewsbury Town to push Chester all the way, despite being twelve points behind the leaders.

The Bulls boss is unfazed by it though, and is optimistic about the rest of the season.

"The fact everyone is ignoring us could work in our favour," said Turner.

"We're very much regarded as the underdogs which has surprised me a little bit with people looking as far down as Shrewsbury and seeing them as the main challengers.

"Some experts have already given the title to Chester but there is a lot of football to be played yet." He told the Evening News.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Good result for Bulls

Tonight's draw between Aldershot and Barnet is good news for Hereford United as it keeps a three point gap between the Bulls and their nearest rivals.

The one-all draw puts both Barnet and Aldershot on 52 points, three points below Hereford. The Bulls have a game in hand which will be played tomorrow.