Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Bulls can retake top spot

Hereford United could retake top spot in the Conference this weekend if they can beat Halifax Town and current leaders Chester City lose at Accrington Stanley.

Saturday's fixture list contains several games of interest to Bulls supporters. All the top teams are in action except Aldershot who have a FA Trophy semi-final second-leg match.

Hereford travel to the Shay to play a Halifax team who have lost their last seven matches. The Bulls will start favourites to win this one but there has to be a thought, however small, that Halifax can't go on losing for ever. Whether Hereford can equal or even better their 7-1 Tuesday night victory over their rivals at Edgar Street earlier in the season is being talked about, but that evening Halifax scored first before the Bulls got going. It could also be a game where Steve Guinan has the opportunity to increase his goal tally to keep up his challenge to become top scorer in the Conference this season.

Current leaders Chester play at Accrington. This could be one of the games where Chester drop a point. Accrington have a good home record as Hereford fans will testify and they will be fresher than Chester as they will not have played for ten days. Chester defeated Telford on Tuesday but reports suggest that it wasn't until late in the game (again) that Chester looked the better side. By this time ex-Hereford United player Matt Clarke had been sent off. Some Hereford fans have even pointed out that when the Bulls went to the Bucks Head they won 3-0 against eleven men for all of the game!

The match of the day will probably be at Shrewsbury where the home team will be looking to keep up the pressure on the leaders by defeating Exeter. The Shrews could still top the Conference if Chester and Hereford hit the buffers, but that is looking less likely as time goes on. For the Shrews this will be the third game in a row against other top clubs and after their win at Barnet last Tuesday should be hopeful of another scalp.

Last Saturday Exeter just defeated Leigh RMI with three goals in the last couple of minutes.

Lastly Barnet should return to winning ways against Scarborough, who have only won three games on their travels this season. Paul Fairclough, who has been confirmed as their new manager to take over from Martin Allen, will be expecting a good start from his new team.

Don't take Halifax for granted says Turner

Although Halifax lost again last night, Graham Turner, the Hereford United manager, says that the Bulls must not take a win at Halifax for granted.

Looking forward to Saturday's game at the Shay, Turner told the Hereford Journal that the teams propping up the table posed as bigger threat as those at the top.

Halifax has now lost their last seven games but all bad spells come to an end. Turner said: "Halifax have taken one point from a possible 39 – on form a dismal record – but how long can that last? We can take nothing for granted at Halifax, and will be looking for three points. I have always maintained that anyone finishing above Chester will win the championship – and realistically only we can do that."

Meanwhile, Graham Turner has confirmed that Michael Rose has reached ten bookings as reported by last weekend and will miss both the Barnet and Aldershot games.

He also said that minor shin injuries to both Ryan Green and Matt Baker should clear by Saturday and that Mark Beesley is back in training but won't make the squad this weekend.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Clarke sent off after Chester go ahead

Things didn't go Hereford 's way this evening with Chester's 2-0 result at Telford and Shrewsbury 1-0 win at Barnet. Daryl Clare scored twice for Chester, making his total 25 goals so far this season, and Duane Darby got Shrewsbury's goal.

Former Bulls player Matt Clarke was sent off for a second bookable offence at Telford, where the start was delayed due to crowd congestion. The attendance was 3503.

Aldershot beat Stevenage 2-0 where referee Mr Singh gave out four yellow cards to each side.

Meanwhile David McNiven scored for Leigh this evening making his total tally for the season up to 23 one ahead of Hereford's Steve Guinan.

And Halifax crashed 4-1 at home to Burton. Hereford United visit the Shay on Saturday.

The table now has Chester in top spot with 79 points from 36 games, Hereford second with 76 points from 37 matches. Aldershot are third with 68 from 37, Exeter stay fourth with 65 from 37, Shrewsbury move up to fifth with 64 from 35 and Barnet drop down to sixth with 63 from 37.

Uddin can help Bulls

Anwar Uddin can help the Bulls tonight by keeping the Chester front-men in check.

Uddin, the Bristol Rovers defender now on-loan at Telford, was with Hereford for two months earlier in the season when Andy Tretton was injuried.

The Telford manager has a difficult job in selecting his squad for the Chester game as he has the second leg of the FA Trophy semi-final against Canvey Island on Saturday to bear in mind.

Mike Jones told the Shropshire Star: "Having to play Chester is not great preparation for the semi-final and I am very disappointed with it. I think the fixture is wrong for us and wrong for the Conference.

"I have to have Canvey in mind when I pick a team for tonight and having to play this game now gives Chester the initiative which is not fair on Hereford with how tight it is at the top."

It will be worthwhile says Vaughan

Stephen Vaughan, the Chester chairman, has admitted that his club is still losing £65,000 per month and that is after an investment of £2.5 million. In contrast, Graham Turner, the Hereford United chairman, has built his side up from nothing and is balancing the books.

Vaughan has told the Chester Evening Leader about the financial situation and how getting back into Division Three would make it all worthwhile.

"You get involved in football clubs because you love football. From a business point of view you want to make money but I’d forsake all the big returns for lifting some silverware at the end of the season.

"We have invested a lot of money at Chester City. We are also still living in the legacy of the mis-management of previous owners of this club and only last week had a call from the Professional Footballers’ Association saying that we owed them money from when the club was in administration.

"If we do win promotion then we’ll have to meet certain Football League criteria – and that will again be costly. But if we do win promotion and get this club back into the Football League, then it will all be worth it.

"People have been saying that the championship has been ours since November – in fact since the start of the season – and now we’ve got seven games to go to prove them right.We have a manager and players who are striving for that and because of that there are players all over the North West and from all divisions who have expressed an interest in joining us.

"We know we have to be sensible financially and it annoys me that I have had to pay out money because of the mis-management of previous owners.Only last week you saw that clubs that do go over their budgets can fall flat on their face and that’s why I feel sorry for Andy Shaw at Telford. He’s put a lot of his money into the club and it hasn’t worked out.

"I’m desperate for this club to get back into the Football League," added Vaughan. "I want us to show that we can achieve what Doncaster and Yeovil have achieved this season. And after that I want to get back into the same division as Wrexham so we can fill the stadium for big match derbies."

Filling the Deva Stadium is also the aim for Vaughan and his managerial team. Crowds have topped the 3,000 mark but Vaughan would love to see 5,000 packing in for the final three home games against Exeter City, Scarborough and Aldershot.

Extra support for Halifax game

It looks as though more Hereford United supporters than usual are hoping to go to Halifax next Saturday. After last Saturday's win over Shrewsbury, there is a lot of interest in this game.

Normally the Bulls would be lucky to have 200 fans at a game at the Shay, but there are signs that the support could be up to 500 this time.

A second HUISA coach is definately going and as at mid-morning (Tuesday) the coach is starting to fill up. The cost is £16 and both coaches will leave Edgar Street at 9am.

Those going by car will find that there is a close car park just past the ground on the right hand side. There is little parking at the ground itself.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Guinan needs to keep on target

Another goal for Steve Guinan, Hereford United's leading scorer, last Saturday brought his total to 22 in the Conference this season so far. He is now just one goal behind joint top-scorers Daryl Clare of Chester and Giuliano Grazioli of Barnet. Also on 22 is Leigh RMI's David McNiven.

If Guinan is to top the chart by the end of April, he will have to up his strike rate as he only has five more games to score. Clare has seven games starting tonight at Telford and Grazioli six. The Barnet forward seems to have lost his touch recently and might find it hard to add to his total this evening against Shrewsbury.

McNiven has scored exactly half of Leigh's goals so far this season, which is very impressive especially as Leigh are likely to be relegated. He has six more games to play in starting this evening at home against Gravesend.

Meanwhile as well as topping the league this morning Hereford United are the "cleanest" team in the Conference having committed 369 fouls or 10 per game so far. All the other top teams have totals of fouls close to 500, with Barnet on 536 and Chester on 521.

Stevenage lead the foul play league with 546 offences.

Another statistic from the weekend reveals that the attendance at Edgar Street on Saturday was higher than six games in Division Three, and five games in Division Two.

Even in Division One, Walsall, Rotherham and Wimbledon only had gates of just over 6,000.

Bulls back on top

This report on Saturday's game appears in this morning's Times by Mark Venables.

AN OPPORTUNISTIC strike from Steve Guinan, his 22nd league goal of the campaign, was enough to take Hereford United back to the top of the Nationwide Conference for the first time since November with a dogged defeat of Shrewsbury Town at Edgar Street on Saturday.

The match started at a frenetic pace with two goals within the first four minutes. Rob Purdie opened the scoring for Hereford when he latched on to an inviting through ball from David Brown and powered a venomous half-volley past the advancing Scott Howie. But within 60 seconds, Lee Lawrence had silenced the jubilant home supporters among the 5,850 spectators by sidefooting home a precise cutback from Ryan Lowe.

For the rest of the first period, Shrewsbury were in the ascendancy but the dangerous front pair of Luke Rodgers and Duane Darby failed to capitalise on the opportunities that such enterprising build-up play created. And how they were made to pay when Guinan pounced on a delightful pass from Jamie Pitman, ten minutes into a more evenly-contested second period, to beat Howie at the second time of asking. “I went to put it between his legs and he smothered it well, but it come off the inside of his legs and came back to me for a simple tap-in,” Guinan said.

Graham Turner, the Hereford manager, while content with the victory, knows that, with Chester City level on points and with two games in hand, the destination of the championship may depend on outside influences. Tantalisingly, the final fixture of a thrilling season sees Chester visit Hereford in what could turn out to be a championship decider.

Even though the home side had the better of a pulsating second half, they ultimately had Matt Baker, the goalkeeper, to thank when he pulled off a stunning save five minutes from time to deny Jodie Banim what appeared a certain goal. “You’re just hoping he hits it where you go and luckily he did and it stuck,” Baker said.

For Shrewsbury it was a second setback to their play-off aspirations in the space of four days after the disappointing defeat by Aldershot Town during the week. “I’m not surprised we lost because goals win games and they had a bit of luck in front of goal,” Jimmy Quinn, the manager, said. “At the moment we don’t seem to be getting the rub of the green. We have just got to put it behind us.”

Sitting just outside the play-off positions, Shrewsbury’s desire for an immediate return to the Football League may well rest on two crucial fixtures against teams in the top five over the next six days. Tomorrow they are away to Barnet, who will be inspired by the appointment of Paul Fairclough as manager to replace the departed Martin Allen, and then, on Saturday, they are at home to Exeter City.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Result eagerly awaited

All Hereford United eyes and ears will eagerly await the outcome of Conference games tomorrow evening. Of most interest will be the visit of Chester to the Buck's Head.

The last few days have been pretty trumatic for Telford and supporters of all persuasions will be hoping that the club can get through its current problems. Some Bulls fans are going to make the trip to get behind the Shropshire side both to help at the turnstiles and give some added support to the home team. Who would have foreseen the possibilty of Hereford fans cheering both John Grant and Matt Clarke a few weeks ago?

Chester have had a week off and will be hoping to get back on track after their 0-0 draw at Barnet. Telford however had a hard game against Canvey Island in the FA Trophy which also resulted in a goal-less draw. Chester will be favourites to win but maybe, with the Telford team needing to give a good performance to keep interest in the club from both supporters and potential backers, the game could be quite close.

Shrewsbury travel to Barnet for what looks like another stern test for the other Shropshire outfit. Although beaten by the Bulls last Saturday, the Shrews still look a useful side and would be hoping to bring at least a point home from the Underhill ground. Barnet now have Paul Fairclough in charge with Ian Hendon, the big defender who almost smoothered Rob Purdie near the start of the Hereford game at Barnet, and Danny Maddix both acting as assistant coaches. The Bees have drawn five of their last six games and will be looking to impress Fairclough.

Of all those chasing a play-off play, Aldershot probably have the easiest game of the night at home against Stevevage. Although the Shots lost their Trophy game to Jordan King and Hednesford last Saturday (King did not score), their opponents also lost at home to Woking.

There are two other games featuring clubs that Hereford play in the next couple of weeks. Lowly Leigh take on Gravesend and Halifax play Burton. The Bulls go to the Shay next Saturday and will be interested to see whether Halifax can get back to winning ways tomorrow evening. They are currently bottom of the form table with no points from their last six games. In fact they have not won this year so far. But poor runs of form come to an end at some stage, and maybe Halifax can get something from the game as Burton are also on a poor run having lost five of their last six matches.

Parry withdraws from Welsh squad

Paul Parry has withdrawn from the Wales squad as he is suffering from a hamstring injury. He has missed Cardiff City's last two games with the problem and has failed to recover in time for Wales' clash in Hungary this week.

The financial state of clubs in the Conference

With Telford reportedly having debts of £650,000, Chester losing £65,000 a month, and many other Conference clubs only existing because of support of chairmen with deep pockets, it has to be asked who will be next to need a rescue package.

At least the situation at Hereford is under control. The club has traded near to break even over the last two years and the directors have stated that they expect to make a profit this year. There appears to be no pressure to settle the CVA and developers Carillion and Richardson are not thought likely to want their loans back at least in the short term.

But the prudent expenditure policy at Edgar Street has not been followed everywhere.

Telford's sad situation stems from problems at chairman Andy Shaw's Miras Contracts. Shaw has pumped a lot of money into Telford and to be fair has transformed the facilities at the club to probably the best in the Conference. But with the chairman now unable to support the club, Telford find themselves in a desperate situation.

Exeter's problems have been well documented, but the fact remains that their existence is not to be taken for granted yet. There are still negotiations with the Inland Revenue to take place and their CVA may have to be changed.

It's no better at the bottom of the league. reported last month that Northwich 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.

Farnborough are also said to be in a poor state. When the threat of a £25,000 legal bill for each club to help fund the Conference quarrel with Exeter was announced, Farnborough said they would have difficulty in finding their share.

And how Leigh RMI keep going with average gates of around 500 is a miracle.

Back to the top end of the league and although Shrewsbury are believed to be fairly secure, they will have had to lower their costs on dropping into the Conference. Last January said that Shrewsbury were 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.

Perhaps the best example of a club existing within its means are Aldershot. They learnt the hard way by having to reform after getting into big problems. Today they are close to the top of the Conference with little debt and controlled expenses. It is thought that up to half the Conference clubs are being propped up by either by a wealthy chairman or a debt agreement with a company. This is not a sound state of affairs and the time will come when more clubs have to survive within their means.

If Hereford are promoted it will be by merit alone, and not financial resources. The same can't be said about Chester where chairman Stephen Vaughan is reputed to have put in several million pounds and they are still losing money.

No axe to grind says Guinan

Steve Guinan who was attached to Shrewsbury for a short spell was very pleased to score yesterday against his old team.

Quoted in the Non-League Paper, he said: "I've no axe to grind with Shrewsbury as I was only there for four or five matches. But it's nice to get a goal to prove they might have been wrong to let me go."

Also in the same paper, Matt Baker spoke about his quick reaction to Jody Banim's shot close to the end of the game. "You just hope he's going to hit it the way you are going and luckily he did. Shrewsbury are a very good side and put us under a lot of pressure but the results are all that matter at this stage."

Finally it was pleasing to see a game which wasn't spoilt by poor refereeing. Recently, Hereford has seen two good referees at Edgar Street, Mr Singh and yesterday, Mr Green.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Turner should be Manager of the Month

As predicted in our article last Wednesday, Graham Turner is expected to be awarded the Manager of the Month award for March next week.

Five out of five Conference wins in the month is an excellent return and with Chester drawing at Barnet last Saturday, no other team has won all their games.

As well as that award Turner will be delighted that during the month Hereford have only conceded two goals whilst scoring ten.

Although Chester have two games in hand and must be fancied to beat Telford on Tuesday evening, it's by no means certain that they will win the Conference. It could still go to the final game at Edgar Street on April 24th when Chester are the visitors.

Confusion over Rose's number of bookings

Different sites are giving different totals for the number of bookings received by Michael Rose this season.

He collected a yellow card this afternoon after he and Ryan Lowe had collided. Lowe fell to the ground and grabbed hold of the ball for which the referee gave a freekick. The players carried on though and Rose slide-tackled Lowe from behind and for this he received a yellow card. The resulting freekick, however, went to Hereford.

According to the Non-League Paper, Rose had eight yellows and one red before today's booking, but believes his total is nine yellows and one red. He collected one of those yellows in a cup game.

If is correct then Rose will miss the games against Barnet and Aldershot. We will clarify the situation as soon as possible.

Disappointing attendance for local derby

This afternoon's gate of 5,850 must be a disappointment to Hereford United.

With so much pre-match coverage and tickets available until 4pm yesterday, it had been hoped that a close to full house attendance would have occured but it looks like neither side sold as many tickets as had been predicted.

No figure was given at Edgar Street for the away support but for the first half Shrewsbury only occupied the one half of the old Blackfriars end. Most of the space in the Merton Meadow stand was used but there were gaps.

The Meadow end was nearly full, but there was considerable space in the family stand.

Although Shrewsbury had said early this week that they had then sold 1,800 tickets, it did not look as though they brought any more than that figure if that. Perhaps the failure of the Shrews to beat Aldershot last Tuesday put off some fans bothering to come to Edgar Street.

It therefore appears that out of the total attendance of 5,850, probably over 4,000 were home supporters which considering it was a local derby was surprisingly low, especially when there were nearly 5,000 at the Aldershot game last August.

Steve gets the decisive goal

Steve Guinan added another to his goal to his tally this afternoon with the winner for the Bulls in the local derby with Shrewsbury. And it was even sweeter that Guinan scored the goal as he used to play for the visitors.

Interviewed on BBC Hereford & Worcester, Guinan admitted that the team knew it would be a tough game.

"First half, to be fair to them, I think they came out on top. Second half down the hill with our fans behind us, I think we were on top and I think we proved that by getting the decisive goal."

With Rob Purdie scoring the first goal of the game after three minutes, it was the dream start.

"I don't think we could have got any better (start)," said Guinan. "I don't think Shrewsbury had had that many touches. It was a great finish from Rob, but unfortunately they came back and hit us on the break."

Talking about his goal nine minutes into the second-half, Guinan said: "I think I was a bit fortunate. I think it just sneaked off the keeper and came back to me. It's got us three points. It was vital we had the three points to catch Chester and it might affect them a little bit.

He also praised Hereford's goalkeeper Matt Baker who made a great save late in the game. "Matt made some grand saves all season, none better than the penalty at Chester in the last minute. He's kept us in games left, right and centre."

Meanwhile, Graham Turner said, "We played some good football in the second half after playing second fiddle for much of the first."

And Jimmy Quinn commented, "We had the chances to go away with at least a point. Now we've got to go to Barnet on Tuesday night and get something down there."

However he did comment on the official Shrewsbury Town website:" You can see Hereford are a confident team and you can see why they are (in) the position they are."

United return to summit

Hereford United moved back to the top of the Nationwide Conference - albeit on goal difference - after they beat Shrewsbury Town 2-1 at Edgar Street this afternoon.

Chester City have two games in hand, while Shrewsbury remain in sixth place. Of the other contenders for the play-offs, Barnet were held to a 1-1 draw by Forest Green Rovers and Exeter City overcame Leigh RMI 3-2. Chester didn't play, while Aldershot Town were in FA Trophy action.

A report on today's game, written by Brian, is here.

Ben Smith on way to recovery

Ben Smith is well on the way to recovery from his injury which has kept him out of the Hereford United team for several months.

The Evening News has reported that Smith had a successful operation last week to repair his injured shoulder. The surgery, which took four hours, involved tightening stretched shoulder ligaments and re-attaching them to the bone.

Smith said that because it was the second time he had received a bad shoulder injury he had decided to have the operation as quickly as possible. He could have rested it and hoped it would have allowed him to play again this season but thought it was better to get it fixed as there was always a risk the injury would happen again. He hopes to be back in training by July.

"Once you have dislocated your shoulder, you've got a 70 per cent chance of doing it again and being a footballer it stands a great chance of happening again," he said.

"Against Gravesend a player pulled me back and it went. To be honest he hardly touched me which made me realise I had to have the operation because I don't want to have another season ruined by it."

Looking forward to today's game Smith said: "After a bit of a rocky patch we've hit form winning five of the last six and if we can win against Shrewsbury we can really put the pressure on.

"They've got games in hand but at this stage in the season I think it's better to have the points."

Friday, March 26, 2004 Predictions League

With the big game only hours away, do you think you can guess the correct score and attendance? You can have a go by clicking on "interactive" on the left hand side menu and filling in the predictions form or emailing (make sure you have registered this season).

The competition runs all season, just for Nationwide Conference games, and prizes can be won! The current season and monthly leaderboards can be seen via the "interactive" link.

Strong Bulls squad for Shrewsbury game

With only two players not available for the big local derby, Graham Turner must have one of the largest number of fit players to choose his squad from for some years.

Only Ben Smith, long-term injury, and Mark Beesley, viral infection, are unavailable. That leaves nearly 20 fit players to pick from.

"Everybody else is okay," said Turner. "We had a reserve game in the week. Danny Williams, Tom Smith, Simon Travis all got games. We're looking okay.

"The mood in the camp is good. Full of confidence but that confidence hasn't gone into any complacancy at all."

It could come down to the Chester match

Although the match against Shrewsbury is the biggest match so far this season, it could be that the Chester game will be even bigger said Graham Turner in a pre-match interview on BBC Hereford and Worcester.

"Shrewsbury looked a good bet(to go up), I think they were fancying their chances, to go up first time of asking but over the last couple of weeks they have drawn at Forest Green, beaten in the Trophy at Telford, and then a defeat on Tuesday night to Aldershot.

"I would think it's just stated them maybe having second thoughts. It's not as easy as perhaps they first thought it might have been.

"We know we have our work cut out to beat them. I've seen them three times over recent weeks and they are a strong, physically strong side, very experienced, very competitive, confrontational at times.

"We have got to be able to manage that. We have got to be able to deal with them and most of all we have got to be able to play our own football. The brand of football we have played away from home this season has been incredible.

"The recent home matches, the two 1-0 matches, over Northwich and Accrington, the football hasn't flowed and we've had to grind out results and the supporters in those two games have stayed with us and really stayed behind the lads when things were not flowing.

"Tomorrow it's about time we turned it on at home and show our own supporters how well we've been playing away from home and the goals we've been scoring. It's time we scored some goals at Edgar Street.

Quinn offers some praise to Bulls

Jimmy Quinn thinks Graham Turner's men could become victims of their own success as the Shrewsbury manager believes second-placed Hereford have raised fans' expectations so much this season that they will struggle to live up to them in future.

"If you look at the season as a whole that has probably been our downfall not taking the chances that we've created," said Quinn as reported in the Shropshire Star.

"If we had have done that we'd probably have similar points to the Chesters and the Herefords of this world because those extra goals would have got us extra points.

"Hereford are having one of those seasons and perhaps making a rod for their own backs because next season the fans will expect them to do the same thing and football doesn't always work like that."

Qunn insisted the top two had an advantage over Shrewsbury because of their greater experience of Conference football - but insisted his own team were still in a strong position to go up.

"You look at Chester who have been in this league for five or six years and Hereford who have been in it five years and it's taken them that long to get it together and challenge," said Quinn, who had a brief playing spell at Edgar Street.

Meanwhile a preview on the Official Shrewsbury Town site says that lively midfielder Ben Smith is one Hereford player to keep an eye on. It also predicts Shrewsbury to win the game 2-1.

Perhaps the preview was for the game at the Gay Meadow!

Hardly any tickets left

There are hardly any tickets left for Hereford United supporters to purchase for the big game tomorrow. And those that are still available must be purchased by 4pm this afternoon.

"It won't be a full house but it won't be far off," said Graham Turner on BBC Hereford and Worcester.

"It's certainly a full house as far as our supporters are concerned. There is hardly a ticket left for our end in the stands. So it creates a tremendous atmosphere and there is a real buzz about the place.

"It's nice to see people queing up for tickets, coming in for tickets over the past four or five weeks but particually this week when it's built up and following our good run of results I think it has created a lot of interest for our supporters."

Meanwhile it is now confirmed that Scott Willis is staying at Edgar Street for another month.

Turner saw Shrewsbury last Tuesday

Hereford manager Graham Turner was at Gay Meadow last Tuesday when Shrewsbury were beaten by Aldershot. The Evening News reports that he ran the rule over tomorrow's opposition and anticipates a spiky contest.

"Shrewsbury are a very competitive, confrontational side, packed with experience and have got certain threats throughout the side," he said.

"But we are on such a high at the moment that we've just got to go out and play our game."

Meanwhile according to the Shropshire Star Shrewsbury Town are expected to have several players missing and are likely to play new signings Trevor Challis from Telford and Lee Lawrence from Manchester United in their side.

Town's midfield could be hit through injury tomorrow with Dave Edwards (arm) definitely out, Jamie Tolley (shin) missing training yesterday and Martin O'Connor (thigh) needing an injection.

Striker Colin Cramb (groin) is doubtful.

Police will be out in force

Police will be out in force tommorrow for the what is expected to be by far the biggest attendance at Edgar Street for a Conference league game this season. They say they will get tough with hooligans who try to attach themselves to either Shrewsbury or Hereford.

Acting Superintendant Shane Hancock speaking on BBC Hereford and Worcester has warned troublemakers to stay away.

"It's an important game for both clubs. Supporters are hoping for promotion. I think we have to recognise that with most teams there are a minority of people who attach themselves to those clubs who are not really genuine supporters and just use the match as an excuse for to look for confrontation.

"It is these people whom we will be targeting tomorrow and I make no apologies for that."

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Telford face difficult decision

Telford United face difficult decisions as the Conference has asked for a bond of £64,000 from the directors to allow the club to play its seven remaining fixtures.

Conguide has reported that Telford directors Paul Booth and Robin Eaves addressed a packed meeting last night to explain the full extent of the club's problems to supporters. Over 200 fans filled the bar to capacity as supporters turned out in the club's hour of need, but the news could not be bleaker from the top.

The conference have insisted that the existing board of directors personally guarantee the club's final seven games of the season - it is estimated that this will be at a cost of £64,000. If there is no guarantee, it is likely that Telford United FC will be in liquidation this time next week.

Whilst the directors must make an unenviable decision as to whether the club continues or folds mid-season by 3pm today, supporters are being asked to volunteer their time, effort and services in order that the club can stage the FA Trophy semi final tomorrow, and volunteers are needed to steward the ground, sell programmes, operate turnstiles etc.

Should Telford go into liquidation, it is as yet uncertain whether this would affect other clubs results against them. Hereford United have completed the double over the Bucks this season.

Bulls due for for a win

Hereford and Shrewsbury have only completed in the same league for three seasons in the last twenty.

In fact, other than this season's game at Shrewsbury, it's over ten years since Hereford and Shrewsbury last played each other in a league game at Edgar Street.

In the 1993/1994 season the results were not good for the Bulls.On December 27th 1993 Shrewsbury defeated Hereford 1-0 at Edgar Street and later that season they completed the double over Hereford by winning 2-0 at the Gay Meadow. It was a good season for the Shrews as they topped the Endsleigh Division Three, as it was then called, with 79 points from 42 games.

Hereford United landed up as the third club from the bottom with only 42 points from 42 matches.

The results were slightly better the previous season when the Bulls drew 1-1 with Shrewsbury on Boxing Day at Edgar Street and also managed a 1-1 draw at the Gay Meadow. However Shrewsbury still finished higher up the league in nineth place as oppoosed to the Bulls who came seventeenth.

This season Shrewsbury beat the Bulls 4-1 at the Gay Meadow last autumn. It was perhaps the poorest display of football by Hereford all season with Tamika Mkandawire's late goal just salvaging a little pride from the match. Only twice this season have the Bulls conceded four goals, at Shrewsbury and at Burton.

The Bulls are expected to be at full-strength tomorrow with the exception of Ben Smith, who has a long-term injury.They have an excellent opportunity of finishing the game with the first win over their near-neighbours in a league match for well over twenty years.

One million hits recorded so far

Earlier today this website received its one millionth hit.

Since its launch in 1999, has brought Hereford United news and views to the football supporters all over the world. The site was started as a school project and has evolved ever since.

Because of the amount of work involved to try and keep the site up-to-date, several of us now help with the site. would like to thank everyone who visits this site. The number of hits being recorded has exceeded all estimates.

Willis likely to stay

The official Hereford site is reporting that Scott Willis is likely to stay at Edgar Street for another month.

Graham Turner told the site that an initial agreement had been reached with both the player and his club for him to remain at Edgar Street for another month.

Meanwhile Shrewsbury have signed Trevor Challis from Telford. Challis, a left-sided player, is expected to be in their squad to play Hereford on Saturday.

Financial problems at Telford

The events at Telford where chairman Andy Shaw's companies have got severe financial problems could mean that Telford will face the possibility of a CVA.

Although the football club will continue to play its fixtures, the reported debt of £650,000 will not be backed by Shaw and unless another person or consortium comes in and buys the club, the outlook for Telford is uncertain.

In a statement Grant Thornton, the receivers of Shaw's Miras Group said: "Telford United Football Club Limited is not in any form of insolvency but is no longer able to rely on support from the parent company. Whitehouse Hotels Limited is also not in any form of insolvency and continues to trade normally."

Telford United Independent Supporters Association have called an emergency meeting for 8pm tonight for fans to discuss events.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

No decision about Willis

No decision has yet been taken about the future of Scott Willis, the Lincoln City midfielder currently on-loan at Edgar Street.

The Hereford Times reports that his loan will end after the Shrewsbury game unless an extension is sorted.

It quotes Graham Turner as saying: "We can retain Willis after Thursday if it is a continuous loan period, but no decision has been taken on that yet."

Meanwhile, it is being reported that Telford United may be in serious financial difficulties. Meetings are planned for today and further information will be available later.

United snap up Betts

Hereford United have signed Rob Betts from Kidderminster Harriers, who played against the Bulls in a recent friendly.

The twenty-two year-old midfielder has played nine matches for Harriers this season, and has had previous spells with Doncaster, Coventry, Plymouth, Lincoln and Rochdale

Graham Turner said of Betts in the Evening News: "He's a holding player in a similar position to Jamie Pitman and could well force his way into the side."

Quinn at Edgar Street

The current Shrewsbury manager, Jimmy Quinn, is well-known in footballing circles but he will probably will not want to be reminded of his very short spell playing for Hereford United.

The archives report: Jimmy Quinn played just two and a half games for Hereford United.

A disastrous signing by Graham Turner, Jimmy Quinn played for just two and a half matches for Hereford United in the 2000/2001 season. Signed from Northwich, he was a flop and the team failed to score at any point when he was on the field. In his last game for the club, against Dover, he was bought off at half time with the side 2-0 down. Hereford went on to win 4-2. He moved on to various local sides, but eventually ended up at Hayes. In July 2001, Quinn was appointed as manager of Northwich Victoria and since then moved to Shrewsbury after their relegation to the Conference last year.

Quinn arrived at Edgar Street in October 2000 and played his first game for the Bulls away at Rushden. But most supporters will remember him for poor performances ending in being subbed against Dover, when Rob Elmes took his place and scored two goals in the Bulls 4-2 win.

Quinn started at Swindon in the 1981/1982 season and amidst the clubs he played for were Blackburn, Leicester and West Ham. His longest spell was at Reading where he spent five years.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Another reason to win on Saturday

With one game left this month for Hereford United, Graham Turner is in the running for Manager of the Month.

The Bulls have won every game this month so far starting with the Northwich match. A win against Shrewsbury on Saturday would probably cement the award.

Mark Wright, the Chester manager, was joint top on points with Graham Turner until his team drew last Saturday against Barnet.

Meanwhile, Shrewsbury manager Jimmy Quinn faces selection problems for Saturday. Last night, Dave Edwards and Martin O'Connor both received knocks in the game against Aldershot.

Shrewsbury drop points

Shrewsbury Town were defeated 2-1 by Aldershot tonight. The defeat means that the Shrews drop out of the play-off places for the time being. Shots defender Chris Giles was sent off and Shrews Dave Edwards was stretchered off. Manager Jimmy Quinn came on late in the game to try and get something from the game.

Meanwhile Exeter did well to beat Scarborough 3-2. The Grecians are now joint fourth with Barnet but have played one game more.

Crisis at Barnet

The Barnet board of directors are going to the High Court next Monday to try and prevent their ex-manager Martin Allen from taking up his new post at Brentford.

Ananova have reported that Allen could be forced to spend the rest of the season on gardening leave after Barnet sought a High Court injunction against him becoming Brentford manager.

Allen quit Barnet last week to replace the sacked Wally Downes at Brentford and guided them to a first win in nine games against Rushden at the weekend.

But Barnet claim Allen is in breach of contract and must see out a period of two months' notice along with physio Damien Doyle, who was set to join him at Griffin Park this week.

Barrister Shirley Bothroyd told the High Court that Barnet had been left "paralysed" and "in chaos" by their departures, and the case will be heard in full next Monday.

A statement from Barnet read: "The issue of Martin Allen and Damien Doyle leaving is in the hands of our lawyers."

Barnet coach Adrian Whitbread has also left Underhill to join Allen, but is not alleged to be in breach of contract.

Barnet are currently placed fourth in the Conference table.

Evening ticket sales now!

Don't forget that the club office is open until 9pm tonight to buy tickets for this Saturday's match between Hereford United and Shrewsbury Town.

Tickets are selling well and the attendance could beat the highest in the Conference so far this season - 6,738 for Shrewsbury vs Telford.

Talking to the Evening News, United chairman Graham Turner said: "Sales are going quite well and it's going to get pretty close."

Shrewsbury are also in action this evening, against Aldershot Town, while Scarborough host Exeter City and Forest Green Rovers go to Telford United.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Disabled players star for England

Sunday saw the first game being played of the European Multi-Disabled Championships staged in Newport as England beat Wales 10-2.

After arriving at Newport County’s Ground to find that the pitch was waterlogged, the teams had to move their game to a local school and play on their astro turf pitch, with two players from Hereford United Disabled Team Daniel Leech (goalkeeper) and Matthew Ringland (midfielder) and RNC student Kirt Butler starting in the first eleven.

Although it was a very blustery day England soon settled down and started playing some good football scoring 10 throughout the game including goals from Matthew Ringland and 2 from the England Captain Kurt Butler.

England PR spokesman Phil Hall said; "With a convincing win under their belt, the lads can’t wait to play Norway next Monday in Brighton. The lads showed excellent football and they deserved to win."

Meanwhile, Alan Manford’s book, ‘From the Banks of the River Severn’, is a great read for anyone interested in lower-league football. Written looking at Shrewsbury Town’s 2001/02 season, Manford injects humour and his own unique style into the book, which includes information on Graham Turner’s spell at the club. It’s a great read, and available directly from the author at from the author via email: - not strictly Hereford United related, but a smashing purchase nonetheless.

FA to investigate Exeter possible rule breach

It is being reported by the BBC that the FA is to investigate whether Exeter will face any sanctions for allegedly breaching player registration rules earlier this season.

Exeter have been charged by the Conference over the eligibility of the signing of midfielder Dwane Lee.

"The Conference have agreed to pass the matter over to the FA to investigate," said a Conference statement.

Exeter are pushing for a play-off place and several members of the Conference board may have a conflict of interest.

"In coming to this decision, the Conference were mindful that no less than four of the six clubs represented on the (Conference) board had a mathematical conflict of interest," added the statement. It was therefore felt prudent, again on legal advise, to allow the FA to adjudicate. The Conference have stressed the importance of the FA making an early decision in the case of the registration issue in order that qualification for the play-offs is not left undecided."

The Grecians have escaped a 10-point deduction for going into administration after the Conference decided, on legal advice, to postpone its sporting sanctions rule to fall in line with other leagues.

Meanwhile is reporting that the Conference Board has decided to drop the Sporting Sanctions rule, which would have deducted Exeter City points for entering into a CVA.

Explaining the move, the Conference said that:

Although the rule had been passed democratically by clubs at an AGM, the Conference’s lawyers advised that, rather than expend considerable energy and money on defending the technical points raised by Exeter on the way the rule was passed, it was better to address the future and resubmit the rule.

Furthermore, the Conference were advised by its lawyers that overall costs could rise as high as £35,000 per club due to the wider ramifications of the ‘Football Creditors’ rule if a defence of the petition was not successful.

As such, the Conference board of directors did not feel that it had the right to gamble with the very existence of some clubs and were therefore forced to agree a compromise agreeing not to implement sporting sanctions this season.

The details of the Compromise Agreement are bound by confidentiality, but the ‘Football Creditors’ petition against the Conference will not now take place.

So, the Conference has dropped the sanctions against Exeter City, and Exeter City has dropped its legal action against the Conference.

It also appears that if Exeter City win the play-off place, they could be promoted back to Division Three.

At least this should mean that Hereford United and the other Conference clubs will not be called upon to pay amounts estimated at around £25,000 to help the Conference with its legal costs. But it is a sad day when the threat of an action that would cost the Conference a lot of money means that the rules which were agreed are now dropped at least for the time being.

Tickets getting short

BBC Hereford & Worcester are reporting this lunchtime that Hereford United are urging supporters to buy their tickets for Saturday's game against Shrewsbury Town as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Due to police restrictions tickets will not be available on Saturday so the club will keep their office open Tomorrow (Tuesday) until 9.00pm for supporters who are yet to purchase their tickets.

At present it looks as though Saturday will be the biggest attendance (currently 6738 for the Shrewsbury versus Telford game) so far this season in the Conference for this very important local derby.

Meanwhile, Westfields have the official opening of their new ground on Widemarsh Common, just a couple of hundred yards from Edgar Street, this afternoon. They have recently moved from Rotherwas to the new venue.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Exeter wish Turner success

Exeter City Director Julian Tagg has said that he wishes Hereford every success in the Conference, after Graham Turner had suggested that Exeter's actions could put the future of his club and other less wealthy clubs in doubt.

Quoted in the Non-League Paper, Tagg said: "We're obviously aware that Hereford have financial problems, too. With that in mind we're particularly surprised that they are so keen to comment, but either way we wish them success."

Exeter manager, Eamonn Dolan, was also quoted sayind: "I respect Graham Turner and Hereford from a footballing point of view."

The response to Turner's comments from Exeter probably suggest that his comments were taken seriously as they came from a manager who has had five hard years trying to keep Hereford United afloat.

Also in the paper is a letter from Exeter nrothern scout, Ron McKinnon, who takes a different attitude to Graham Turner than his director and manager quoted above. He said: "Graham Turner's comments about Exeter is a disgrace. He talks about all the hard work everyone has done to keep his club alive.

"I travel around 400 miles a week watching games for Exeter. I do it for the love of the club as does the scout who covers the Midlands. I wonder if Hereford were in the same position if Graham Turner would come out with the all his comments."

Exeter are lucky to have scouts here, there and everywhere. Hereford United do not have scouts. Graham Turner and Richard O'Kelly do all this work in addition to the rest of their duties.

McKinnon obviously knows little of Hereford United's financial problem and how Turner and his board have worked to keep the club alive. It should be remembered that the Bulls have set out to pay all their debts back to creditors and have at no time by their actions been a threat to any other club - unlike Exeter.

Hereford could go top

Another crucial week in the Conference could see Hereford United back on top of the league next weekend. But they will have to beat Shrewsbury to get there.

The Bulls have now gone five games without dropping a point and only conceding one goal. But Shrewsbury could be the strongest side to play at Edgar Street for some time and a cracking game is on the cards.

Hereford United do not have a mid-week fixture whereas Shrewsbury meet Aldershot at the Gay Meadow on Tuesday evening. That could be a close game although both teams have suffered recent defeats. Last Tuesday Telford defeated Shrewsbury in the Trophy match and yesterday Aldershot were surprisingly beaten at home by Scarborough.

Chester are without a fixture next weekend. Their next game is not until March 31st when they visit Telford. So if all goes well the Bulls could top the league for at least four days.

Meanwhile the Bulls will need to increase their strike rate if they are to beat the Barnet record for the most number of goals scored in the Conference in a season. Currently Hereford have scored 88 goals, but need another 16 goals in 6 games to beat the record.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Kinnear praises Bulls

The Margate manager, Chris Kinnear, praised the Bulls after today's game at Dover.

Speaking on BBC Radio Kent, Kinnear said: "They are a great side. People have seen them on telly. They are probably more difficult to play against when you are at home because you push out a little bit.

"They deserved to win. A lot of sides have played against these and lost five and six and just went missing. They are the outstanding footballing side in the league by a long way I would say. It was a really good entertaining game."

There is speculation that Kinnear may move to manage Barnet. He used to play there when Barry Fry was in charge.

Margate look set to stay up despite this defeat, but Northwich Victoria's 1-1 draw with fellow strugglers Farnborough Town means they are relegated. Next season will be the first in the Conference history without them in the league, leaving Telford United as the only ever-present side since 1979, when the Alliance was formed.

Cold but happy

Richard O'Kelly is leaving the Hoverspeed Stadium this evening as "a very cold, wet, happy man."

Interviewed on BBC Hereford & Worcester after the Margate game, the Hereford United coach said: "The first half we played against a very strong wind and the pitch was very heavy and cut up but we played some lovely stuff and I think if we had been four goals up at half time it would not have been an injustice.

"We created some great opportunities with some good movements and passing and we deserved to be winning two goals up at half-time. Second half, I don't think we really started to play until fifteen minutes into the half and by then Margate had got the advantage."

When told that Chester had drawn today, he continued: "There's going to be results that go up and down and we've got to be in a position to take advantage if these things happen. We can't affect what's happening there so we have to keep concentrating on our performances.

"The professionalism shown by our lads today was exemplary."

Looking forward to next Saturday he said the game against Shrewsbury should be a wonderful occasion. "When the atmosphere builds up in Edgar Street it absolutely brilliant," he said. "Hereford creates a great atmosphere and it's usually our supporters as they did today at Dover."

Bulls win 3-1

Hereford United have won today's crucial match against Margate by three goals to one.

Terry's report on today's game is here.

Wet pitch at Margate

The ground at Margate is quite wet with some some patches of water around the perimeter. Currently it is drizzling in a very gusty wind, but the game should go ahead.

Meanwhile, several Hereford fans have faced severe traffic congestion on the M25 on their way to the game. However, both the team and HUISA buses have arrived at the ground.

The Shrewsbury and Halifax games have been postponed. It is believed that a hoarding has blown off at the Gay Meadow so the pitch is deemed to be unsafe.

King can play in Trophy semi-final

Jordan King could gain a FA Trophy medal if his loan spell at Hednesford Town is successful and the team defeats Aldershot in the Trophy two-legged semi-final.

King joined the Dr. Martens League club on-loan ealier this week.

Meanwhile Shrewsbury club secretary Judy Shone is confident that they will sell out their huge allocation for the trip to Edgar Street.

She said: "We have had some phenomenal support this season and I wouldn't be surprised if we sold all our tickets for next week. The sales have been steady so far but I think a lot of people were waiting to see if the Hereford game was going to be postponed - which would have been the case if we had beaten Telford on Tuesday."

Exeter will not face large points deduction

The following statement has been released this morning by Exeter City.

The Football Conference and Exeter City Football Club have agreed that it is in the interests of all football that the requirements of the football authorities in respect of payment by member clubs of their football creditors should be strongly and successfully defended from challenge. The Conference therefore agrees that the application made by the Inland Revenue to revoke the voluntary arrangement approved by Exeter's creditors on 16 October 2003, should be resisted as necessary to defend those requirements. Based on this mutual understanding, the Conference and Exeter have reached a compromise which will enable Exeter to concentrate on defending the Revenue's application.

At the same time, in recognition that Conference member clubs have always wished for sporting sanctions to be introduced to the Conference in line with the rest of football, and given that the rest of football has agreed to delay implementation of such sporting sanctions until season 2004/05, the Conference has agreed not to implement its decision to deduct playing points from Exeter in connection with Exeter's voluntary arrangement. takes the above statement to mean that there will be no points deduction for Exeter going into a CVA this season. However, it does not appear to clarify the position over a points deduction for putting a player in a team when not correctly registered.

The wording of the statement seems to suggest that other Conference clubs may not have to help pay for the Conference expenses as originally thought, as it seems that the Conference have agreed not to challenge Exeter's application to the Inland Revenue.

The position will probably become clearer next week but it looks as though the Conference and Exeter have done a deal which may not be to the liking of certain Conference chairmen.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Sky pick Chester game

Sky Television have picked the Chester versus Exeter game as their live Conference match on April 10th.

The choice was difficult as there appeared to be three games that might have attracted the cameras on Easter Saturday including the Hereford vs Barnet game.

With the kick-off moved to 5.35pm, many Bulls supporters will be able to see Chester in action two weeks before the end of season clash between the two clubs at Edgar Street which is another all-ticket game.

Shrewsbury tickets selling fast

Tickets for the Edgar Street clash between Hereford United and Shrewsbury Town are selling fast.

According to the Shrewsbury official website, they have so far sold over 1,800 out of their allocation of 2,802 and expect to sell more tomorrow at their home game with Gravesend.

As regards Hereford, there is no official information but according to several fans there were plenty left for sale this morning.

It is thought that as the date of the game was not finalised until last Tuesday, many Bulls fans may have delayed buying tickets. There will be no sale of tickets at the turnstiles on the day of the game (March 27th), so fans wanting to see the game are advised to get their tickets as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, United midfielder Jordan King has joined Dr. Martens League side Hednesford Town on a months loan.

It won't be easy at Margate

Graham Turner has been talking to the Evening News on Hereford United's chances of catching Chester up in the race for top spot in the Conference.

"Yeovil let a 13 point lead slip one year to Rushden & Diamonds, so you never know," he said. "But if we want to have any chance of catching Chester we have to go out and take all three points at Margate.

"We've just got to take as many points as we can. It's no good hoping Chester slip up, we've just got to do our own thing."

Turner knows that a victory against Margate will not be easy though, with the Kent side showing in an their home form of late, recording four wins in their last five matches at the Hoverspeed Stadium. "You've only got to look at the respective results against Accrington Stanley to tell you that we can't underestimate Margate," he added.

"We struggled to break Accrington down yet Margate put three past them so it follows that it's going to be difficult. They've got one or two experienced players in like Rocky Baptiste, they play to a system, are well organised and it will be up to us to break them down."

"To be fair we've kept four clean sheets and scored 14 goals so we are playing well but we're not taking anything for granted."

Dean Craven (foot) and Mark Beesley (chest infection) are both doubts, as is Simon Travis, who was kicked during Tuesday's 3-1 Herefordshire Cup Final win over Forest Green Rovers.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Directors appear happy with latest accounts revealed the main details of how the last season turned out in two short articles last week ( March 9th and 10th). Now we are able to print a fuller review.

The year ended May 31st 2003 was slightly disappointing as a small loss was reported. Nevertheless, the Board of Directors appear happy with the present position.

Under the Business review and future developents section the report says: "The Board of Directors are pleased that losses have again fallen and are optimistic that next year will see us return to a small profit.

"The long term future of football at Edgar Street and of the club itself remains unclear. The loans from developers were scheduled for repayment in May 2003; the company was advised that the loan payment would be deferred. Negotiations regarding the future of the club are continuing."

None of the directors increased their holding of shares in the year. Graham Turner is credited with 8,295 shares, J G Fennessy with 1,620, H S A Brooks with 400, G L J Smith with 481 and T A McGivern with 400. Originally there were 40,000 shares issued in Hereford United.

The loss for the year was £14,840 down from £21,670 in the previous report. In essence Hereford United lost over £120,000 before other operating income of £113,399 is taken into account.

Other operating income is essential to keep Hereford United in business. It consists of three elements. Firstly, the VP (Vice Presidents) Club raised £21,000, Secondly, Rental franchise income which probably includes Legends and the Foodstalls brought in £24,000. Thirdly "Sundry" brought in £68,399 which was up by over £8,000 on the previous year. asked a director of the club last year what was included in "Sundry" but the director would not elaborate. It is assumed that "Sundry" means other donations not including that received from the VP Club. As the amount is over 10% of the clubs income this is a very important item in the accounts.

In the year ended May 2000, sundry income came to just £22,438, so arise to £68,399 in just three years is most helpful.

The balance sheets are little changed from last year. They still show that the club is lucky to be still in business. In effect without the agreement of Formsole, the company which loaned Hereford United enough money to keep trading several years, it is unlikely that football could continue at Edgar Street.

Overall staff costs dropped last year. This was mainly because the directors paid themselves some £50,000 less than the previous year when they appeared to pay themselves higher salaries to compensate for the earlier lean years. The players and administration staff received virtually the same amount as in the 2002 year.

Transfer fees received fell from £27,500 to £6,000. This figure should rise in the next accounts as the fees received for selling Paul Parry will be included.

The Bank overdraft was down to £61,707 at year end but overall the creditors were owed slightly more. The main creditor is the loan from Formsole.

The report mentions the loan situation: "The loan was negotiated in May 1999, to be repayable on 19 May 2003 and now carries no interest charge provided there is no default. This loan payment date has now been further deferred and negotiations regarding eventual payment continue."

Selection headache for Turner

Hereford United face a tough away trip this Saturday when they play Margate at their current home in Dover.

The Gate are sharing the Crabble Athletic Ground, known as the Hoverspeed Stadium, with their Kentish Dr. Martens League neighbours Dover Athletic, but the move has hit the club hard. They are averaging just 597 for home matches, lower than even Leigh RMI, and only Northwich have lost more home games. However, they have won for of their last five matches on their own soill

Margate lie fifteenth in the Conference, clear of relegation but a long way off the play-off zone, and have Sam Sodje back for the game. The defender has served a three-match ban, but midfielder John Keister misses out through suspension.

For Hereford, only Ben Smith is out so Graham Turner must decide whether to play Tom Smith or Tamika Mkandawire in defence. It's nice for the Bulls manager to have a dilemma with too many players!

It's up to us

Graham Turner says that the Bulls must do their own thing and keep winning games.

Turner asked: "The big question is can Chester be caught?"

"It is now a position that we are relying on Chester to lose the championship," he added, in today's Western Daily Press. "They have been the leaders for a long time and if they continue with the sort of results they have achieved for most of the season, they will be worthy champions.

"However, it is a tense time when the winning post is in sight. Remember clubs have lost it before. Two seasons ago Yeovil Town slipped up when they appeared to be home and dry. But it will be academic if we do not do our thing and win enough points."

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Parry's transfer deal

Hereford United have kept the deal that the club received for the transfer of Paul Parry to Cardiff City under wraps but with Parry in the Welsh squad for their game against Hungary, Graham Turner must be very pleased with the progress of his ex-player.

Turner told BBC Hereford & Worcester in January: "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."

From that statement it seemed that payments over the initial £75,000 would be some time coming. However it now appears that Hereford United will receive most if not all of the extra payments shortly. One sources very close to Cardiff City has told that the deal appears to be based on two main targets.

Firstly, Parry had to appear for Cardiff in 10 games (he has played nine times so far) for an extra £25,000 and secondly, his international call-up was said to be worth £100,000. This equates to £200,000 which is the figure that was quoted at the time of the transfer. However there is no sell-on clause.

Meanwhile, Chris O'Brien of 'Bluebird to the Bone' has told how much the Bluebirds missed Paul Parry on Tuesday when Cardiff played against Reading. "His creativity and pace has been a god send, and without that our midfield looked Swansea-like! I can't remember how we managed without him before January. He's settled in so well, and really has had a stunning start. He has also taken things in his stride and seems to be keeping his feet on the ground and he isn't getting cocky even after a Welsh call-up. I hope he's not a 'one season wonder' but the evidence so far is he is certainly a player who can establish himself at this level."

"His injury isn't too serious - a pulled hamstring. He missed the Reading game at Ninian Park on Tuesday, and will be touch and go for Saturday, but I'd imagine he will be back after that. He has fought off competition from some established Football League players to make the left wing spot his own, and he was clearly missed on Tuesday!"

Parry in Wales squad for Hungary

Ex-Hereford United winger Paul Parry has kept his place in the Welsh squad to play Hungary in Budapest on March 31st.

The match is expected to be shown on BBC Wales.

Meanwhile it is still unknown which Conference fixture will be televised by Sky on Saturday April 10th. There are three possible matches which could attract the cameras, Hereford against Barnet, Woking versus Aldershot and Chester against Exeter. Whichever is chosen the start time will be 5.35pm.

This afternoon, Hereford United have announced that the club office will be open until 9pm next Tuesday, 23rd March, for the sale of Chester City tickets only. The official website reports that tickets need to be purchased early to avoid disappointment for the match, scheduled for April 24th.

Back to reality on Saturday

After last night's cup game it's back to the Conference on Saturday with the match at Dover against Margate.

Richard O 'Kelly, the Hereford United coach, has been talking about the next few weeks to BBC Hereford & Worcester. "We used last night match to give all the squad a game and I think the exercise was really good," he said. "We had a few tactical problems in the first half and it enabled us to work on them in the practical sense."

Last night, Margate had a tough game against Accrington Stanley and it is hoped they now have tired legs so the Bulls are looking forward to the long trip.

"We have tended to travel quite well on the long journeys this season so hopefully Saturday will be no different," commented O'Kelly.

Asked about fitness problems, he said: "The only doubts we have at the moment are Dean Craven who has still got a bruised foot from a reserve game and Mark Beesley has still got a virus so hopefully he'll be okay.

"We have to keep on performing in our games. Chester are doing magnificently this season but I think the pressure must be building there because we certainly felt it when we were top of the league for so long."

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Bulls lift Senior Cup

In the final of tonight's Herefordshire FA Senior Cup, Hereford United beat Forest Green Rovers 3-1 to lift the cup.

United went 1-0 up through Scott Willis after just two minutes, but Rovers soon replied through Michael Aubrey. However, goals from David Brown and Daniel Carey-Bertram saw Hereford leading at the break.

A full report, written by Brian, can be read by clicking here.

In tonight's FA Trophy sixth-round replay, Shrewsbury Town lost 2-1 to Telford United at the New Bucks Head, meaning that Hereford's match at home against Shrewsbury on Saturday 27th March will go ahead as planned.

Bottom club Northwich Victoria held Exeter City to a 1-1 draw in the Conference tonight, but Aldershot won 4-1 at Burton Albion, and jump into third place.

New discipline rules for next season

The FA today announced its new Disciplinary code, which will be implemented as a pilot scheme for the 2004-05 season.

FA Chief Executive Mark Palios said: "When I travelled around the grounds, the one call I got more than any other from everyone within the game was the need to address the speed with which we deal with disciplinary cases and we believe we have now done that.

"This is the most far-reaching review of the disciplinary process in the game since the mid-1990s and we need the clubs and the players to play their part. This is what football wanted and what football needs."

The new rules, which were approved by the FA Council yesterday, will apply to the Football Conference (and all leagues above) and will be reviewed at the end of the season.

Three main categories are:

1. Automatic suspensions for incidents seen and dealt with by the referee: Under the new Disciplinary Code, suspensions will come into effect immediately, unless a claim for wrongful dismissal is lodged. Claims for wrongful dismissal (along with relevant documentation/videos, etc.) must be lodged by 12 noon the next working day. All claims will be heard within 4 working days of a fixture. No Video Advisory Panel: claims go straight to Commissions. Penalties for frivolous appeals. Under the current regulations, suspensions come into effect on the 14th day following a fixture.

2. Incidents not seen by the referee: Includes violent conduct, spitting, offensive words and gestures. Incidents to be dealt with as if the referee had seen them (same process, timing and sanction). Charges to be issued on second working day and case heard by a Disciplinary Commission by the end of the week. Any suspension will start immediately following the hearing. Appeals will only be permitted if the ban exceeds 3 matches. The FA must be notified of the intention to appeal by 12 noon on the first working day following the hearing. Appeals will be heard within 10 days of the original hearing.

3. Incidents seen by the referee but out of his jurisdiction: Breaches that may constitute breaches of FA Rules, but not under the referee's authority under the Laws of the Game. Includes tunnel incidents, failure to leave field of play after a red card, incidents after the final whistle, certain aggravated incidents. Compliance to issue charge by end of second working day. Requests for a personal hearing must be lodged by 12 noon the following day. Defendant then has 2 working days to accept or deny the charge. Personal hearing then to be scheduled for Tuesday or Thursday.

Commission has 1 working day to complete written paperwork. The FA must be notified of intention to appeal by 12 noon of the first working day following receipt of written explanations. Appeal documentation must be submitted within 3 days of the hearing. The FA has 2 days to consider appeal documentation: the defence has 1 day to consider FA response. Independent appeal board to sit at earliest opportunity.

For more complex cases (doping, child protection, financial matters, certain aggravated incidents, etc.) the Disciplinary Commissions will control the speed of the process.

Match bans following an accumulation of yellow cards (5, 10, 15, etc.) will come into effect 7 days after the last card, rather than 14 days. Disciplinary Commissions may include an additional co-opted member from a pool of representatives from the wider football community (i.e. 3 Disciplinary Committee members plus 1 layperson) when appropriate. To be selected by the Sport Dispute Resolution Panel (SDRP).

Appeal boards will be comprised of a legally-qualified Independent Chairman (also selected by SDRP), an FA member and a layperson from the pool.

Cup game at Edgar Street tonight

Hereford United return to Edgar Street tonight for their Cup game against Forest Green Rovers. However, many fans will be awaiting results from elsewhere.

As well as the big Shropshire trophy clash, there are four Conference fixtures this evening, two of which involve possible play-off contenders.

Bulls fans will be very interested in the result of the game at Telford as it will determine on which date Hereford United will play Shrewsbury. A Telford win means that the Bulls/Shrews game will go ahead on Saturday March 27th. Should Shrewsbury win then the game at Edgar Street is expected to be played on Thursday April 1st.

As regards the Conference, Aldershot are away at Burton who lost at home to bottom place Northwich last Saturday. The Shots also dropped points when they were defeated by Exeter but will start favourites to win tonight's game.

Play-off outsiders Exeter are also in action at Northwich and should keep up their challenge with a win in Cheshire.

Meanwhile, Margate are at home to Accrington. Hopefully they will have a hard game which will effect their form next Saturday when Hereford United travel to Kent.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Parry happy with first goal

Paul Parry scored his first goal for Cardiff City last Saturday against high-flying Norwich after an eight-week wait.

The television pictures showed Parry making a cross from over 30 yards which curled into the far side of the goal. His low-key celebration after opening the scoring on 17 minutes was perfectly understandable.

The ic Wales site reported that Parry had hoped to pick out one of the City strikers with a curling cross into the visitors' penalty box. So the 23-year-old was as surprised as everyone else inside Ninian Park to see his cross fly straight into the Norwich net.

"It was a bit of a fluke," said Parry who, at the turn of the year, was playing Nationwide Conference football at Hereford.

"It does feel good to get my first goal for Cardiff. It has been a while coming.

"I've had a few shots every now and then but it's nice to get a goal from an effort that wasn't meant to be a shot."

He added, "I just crossed for Robert Earnshaw or Alan Lee. It wasn't meant to be a shot. But I'm more than happy to claim the goal.

"I like to chip in with a few goals," added the man who found the net regularly for Hereford. "Hopefully this goal against Norwich will be the first of a few for me at Cardiff."

After putting City ahead Parry then created their second, three minutes later.

Pouncing on Marc Edworthy's error, he supplied Earnshaw for his 24th goal of the season.

"Paul did well. I've not had too many goals put on a plate for me but this one was," smiled Earnshaw afterwards. "This was a massive game for us. I don't think many people gave us hope of beating Norwich so to come away with a win is brilliant."

Lennie Lawrence, the Cardiff manager, seems very pleased with Parry's first two months at Ninian Park.

Quoted in the Daily Telegraph he said: "I just thought he had something. It doesn't happen very often." The report added that the manager thinks the club, as well as Parry, are going places.

However Parry is likely to miss the next Cardiff game as he had to leave the field with a hamstring problem after an hour.

Disabled internationals in Euro tournament

Next Sunday will see the start of the European Multi-disabled Football Championships with the first game being England B against Wales at Newport County.

Two of Hereford United Disabled Footballers will be in the England line up to face Wales. Both Matthew Ringland and Daniel Leech were lucky enough to earn a place through the trials they attended a couple of wee ago in Brighton

Chairman Phil Hall said: "This is a great opportunity for the players to play for their country and it will boost the morale of the club."

Anyone wishing to come down and support the England team can do so, kick off is at 11am on Mothers Day at Newport's County Ground.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Exeter meeting tomorrow

This morning's Times reports on the Exeter situation. With Graham Turner, the Hereford manager, leading the Conference managers in their fight against the Exeter actions, the Times says that an appeal hearing has been scheduled for tomorrow but Ian Huxham, the Exeter chairman says that his club are in quite delicate talks with the Conference, which he hopes are headed in the right direction.

According to the Times: The problems began in October when Exeter, burdened by more than £4 million of debt from the previous owners, entered into a Creditors’ Voluntary Agreement (CVA) to secure their long-term future. The Conference immediately imposed a 12-point sanction — later reduced to ten points to bring it in line with the Football League’s position.

In the meantime the Inland Revenue — which until the implementation of the 2002 Enterprise Act was entitled to be treated as a preferred creditor — challenged the legality of the CVA, with a High Court action set to be heard later this year. Seeking to protect their CVA, Exeter in turn filed a High Court challenge to the Conference rule that states that football debts need to be met in full and at the same time challenged the points deduction on procedural irregularities.

To complicate an already convoluted scenario, Exeter were charged late last month with signing a player, Dwane Lee, from Yeading, while under a transfer embargo and of back-dating the registration form. The FA and the Conference are due in the Court of Appeal in London tomorrow to appeal against an earlier ruling that granted Exeter the right to have the case heard in the High Court rather than by football’s arbiter.

“The situation is that if the Inland Revenue are successful in challenging our CVA and we have to strike a new arrangement with our creditors, it might be that football creditors are not paid in full,” Huxham said. “If that happens, the competition rules state that we will be expelled. So all we have been trying to do is seek clarification and seek a way that Exeter City can go forwards without either being expelled from the competition or wound up by the Inland Revenue.”

130K to clear CVA

The latest report to creditors regarding the Hereford United CVA confirms that no payments have been made in the last twelve months. The CVA stops the Bulls spending money on players amidst other restrictions.

The position remains that the preferential creditors have been paid in full and 40p in the Pound has been paid out to unsecured creditors.

The report details the costs the club has been charged for the work involved with the CVA. To date costs have come to about £55,480 which is mainly due to supervisor's fees.

What is also made clear is that funds totalling £315,000 were originally provided by Chelverton Properties Ltd to cover the payments made by the club to satisfy the initial demands of the creditors.

These payments were £174,362.09 for preferential creditors and 40% of the £217,862.59 claimed by un-secured creditors. These figures suggest that the club would have to pay £130,717.55 to clear the CVA assuming full payment was made. There would be extra supervisors charges on top of this figure.

Later in the report there are a couple of paragraphs "on the anticipated outcome".

It says; "The only potential asset remaining is dependent on the Joint Venture Agreement(J.V.A.) being successfully implemented, which on present information appears highly unlikely."

The J.V.A. was the agreement between the club and Chelverton with the objective of acquiring the trading site (Edgar Street), obtaining Planning Permission and deposing of the site. If sufficient funds were realised from the J.V.A., it would enable unsecured creditors to receive payment of the balance of their claims. Times have moved on since this agreement was made and there is little likelyhood that the club will move from Edgar Street.

The report also says:"The agreement will continue to run until its tenth anniverary in the hope that the J.V.A. wil be successful."

What happens after January 2008 is not clear.But for the time being Graham Turner and the club can put the Hereford United CVA to one side and concentrate on the football.

HUISA launch another penalty shoot out

The Hereford United Independent Supporters Association are looking for twenty people to compete in their annual penalty shoot out, which last year raised over £1,800.

The first round of the competition will be held at Edgar Street on Saturday April 10th when Barnet are the visitors, and the final on Saturday April 24th when Chester come to the ground.

Competitors will have to try their skills against the Bulls first team reserve goalkeeper and the winner will receive a Free Season Ticket for the terrace.

The competition is open to the first twenty people to promise a sponsorship of at least £65.

For full details contact 01432890205 or 01432269489.

FA have to step in says Turner

There have been several articles this week quoting Graham Turner on his thoughts about the Court Case involving Exeter and the Conference. (For further details of the case see our article dated Jan 31st)

Turner devoted his column in the Hereford Times to the subject, made mention of the High Court challenge in yesterday's Match Programme and has been speaking to the Non-League Paper about the problem.

"The FA have to step in and help finance the case which has serious implications for all football clubs. I did say that, should they continue, then my hand would be the first to go up to have them expelled from the conference. The mood among Conference clubs, so I gather, is now the same."

Turner has survived a long and costly fight to keep Hereford afloat and says his bitterness towards Exeter was mounting because Hereford's future is threatened by their actions and the staggering costs of the court battle.

"Many Conference clubs will face a tough time because of these legal costs," he said.

"When I think how hard everyone has worked at this club to keep it alive and that it could be put in jeopardy by the actions of another club I have become very angry towards them."

He thinks Exeter will go out of business if they lose, but even if they win there is a distinct possibility that several other Conference clubs could fold.

Fry sends message to Bulls

Barry Fry, who managed Barnet when they scored 103 goals to take the Conference goal-scoring record in 1991, has sent a message to Graham Turner saying: "Catch me if you can!"

According to the Non-League Paper, Fry says he would like to hang on to the record but commented: "Records are there to be broken, but when you get into those last few games things start getting a bit tight."

Currently the Bulls have scored 85 goals with seven games to play. To overtake the record they need to score nearly three goals per game.

Fry continued: "All credit to them for having a go. Graham has done very well there. They are getting uncomfortably close to my record. I have to accept it's under threat."

However, he thinks that to break the record will be a tall order with games against Chester and his old team, Barnet, to play.

Also in the Non-League Paper, Yeovil manager Gary Johnson admits that Hereford may beat Yeovil's total of 99 goals acheived last season which would be some feat.