Monday, May 31, 2004

Huge choice of Players

It's back to work this morning for lots of lower league football managers and it's pretty certain that the telephones will be busy.

With players coming and going there will be hours spent in negoiations with agents over terms and conditions.

And with the PFA lists due out in a few days, once again there is likely to be a hugh choice of players to consider.

Graham Turner has said that a new player needs to fit in with the rest of the players as well as being good on the field.

So it is likely that Turner and O'Kelly will use their contacts throughout the game to check on any player they may be interested in. Often they will have seen the player on the field but not off it. Turner may feel that he doesn't need, for example, another Scott Willis on the books.

Of the players with Hereford United last season who have not yet agreed new deals, Simon Travis is expected to sign this week. Should this happen it will bring the number of players in the squad to eleven.

Less certain is the future of Matt Baker, who with Andy Tretton, will be away with the English National squad in America for another friendly. Baker has been the subject of several rumours, but little substance, as to where he will be playing next season.

Ben Smith is another player whose future is unclear. He came to Edgar Street from Southend and there has been speculation that he could be returning to that area with Hornchurch. But even if the money offered was good, it would seem to be a backward step for a player with his ability.

In any case, he was said not to be able to start training until July following the operation to pin his shoulder. It may be that clubs will not be lining up for him until he returns to match fitness.

Dazzo fights tomorrow

Tomorrow evening sees Sky Sports back in Hereford not to cover a football match at Edgar Street but over at the Leisure Center to televise Hereford United supporter Dazzo Williams' attempt to keep his featherweight belt when he takes on Roy Rutherford from Coventry.

29 year-old Darren Williams, who took up boxing in the army, lives at Newton Farm, and came to attention last November when he took the British featherweight title from Coventry's Roy Rutherford after 12 hard rounds in Belfast.

He turned professional in 2001 and has only lost twice in twelve fights since then.

After the Belfast fight Sky Sports reported that following an absorbing contest, defending champion Rutherford seemed a clear winner and the neutral Belfast crowd let their feelings be known with a chorus of boos when referee Paul Thomas raised the hand of Williams.

The action was relentless with both men giving and taking solid blows but Rutherford seemed to have the edge at the end and will no doubt seek an immediate rematch following referee Thomas' 115-114 decision in favour of Williams.

The following Saturday Dazzo came to Edgar Street to show off his belt.

Pyramid football reported the visit in its match report: "The home fans had the opportunity to celebrate the success of Hereford prize-fighter, transplanted Londoner, Dazzo Williams pre-match as the newly crowned British Featherweight Champion took to the field to parade his Belt. No doubt the home fans believed they would soon have more reasons for celebration when the teams took to the field."

They did as the Bulls defeated Farnborough that Saturday 2-0.

For his next bout Williams was matched against Jamie McKeever at Bridgend.

And before the fight Dazzo gained a high-profile supporter when he met former world light-heavyweight champion John Conteh who wished the Hereford star every success at Hereford United's sporting dinner at the Three Counties Hotel.

Dazzo convincingly won the bout which was watched by many of his fans from Hereford.

Barry McGuigan, the Irish boxer turned pundit, said after the fight that he was impressed with the manner in which Williams went about his defence of the belt.

"I was not generous enough to Dazzo before, but I thought he boxed brilliantly," he said. "He handled and contained Jamie McKeever very well. He's matured as a fighter.

"The featherweight division is red-hot at the moment."

Former WBC lightweight champion Jim Watt predicted at the time that Rutherford would be Williams' next opponent. He saw the fight in Belfast and having seen him dismiss McKeever so convincingly, Watt believes the new champ can finally dispel any doubts left by the countroversial decision first time round.

"He has every chance against Roy Rutherford," he said. "I thought Rutherford was very unfortunate to lose his title, but Williams has improved with being champion.

"It will be tough for him, but it is definitely one he can win."

After the fight Williams told the Hereford Times: "Without wanting to sound big-headed I thought I won it by more than three rounds. But give credit to McKeever, I hit him with some big shots and he wouldn't go down - he must have an iron jaw!"

Williams went to Tenerife last month for altitude training, although he was also hopeful of getting in some sparring during his stay on the Canary Island. "After that it's back home for a couple of days before starting training again in Wales," he said.

Tickets are virually sold out for the bout, but Williams will be pleased that the Leisure Center will be full of his supporters including many who also support Hereford United (hopefully in their yellow shirts which would look good on Sky).

Good luck Dazzo.

Pennock to coach at Swansea

Former Hereford United keeper, Tony Pennock, is to have a short-term trial as a goalkeeping coach at Swansea City.

Pennock, now 33, featured for Wales in the Four Nation Tournament recently. Last season he was with Carmarthen Town.

Hereford United signed Pennock from Wigan in 1994 and was installed as first 'keeper. However, just one clean sheet in thirteen starts tells its own story, and combined with fifteen goal conceded in just three games he was dropped. He finished the season as understudy to Chris MacKenzie and was on his way, to Yeovil Town. Following six years at Huish Park, Pennock joined Rushden & Diamonds in 2001. A season with Farnborough followed, and then Pennock switched to Welsh Premiership side Carmarthen Town for the 2003/04 season.

Parry makes the Headlines

Paul Parry has again created some publicity for Hereford United after scoring his first goal for Wales yesterday at Wrexham against Canada.

This morning's Independent heads the Welsh win: Parry caps remarkable season with Wales winner.

Part of its report says:

Wales made it four games unbeaten since their defeat in the Euro 2004 play-offs thanks to Paul Parry's first-half header against Canada in Wrexham yesterday.

The Cardiff midfielder, who has made a dramatic rise from the Conference with Hereford this season, scored his first goal for his country in his third appearance.

It was Fletcher's astute chip down the right that paved the way for Parry's goal on 21 minutes. Bellamy got to the byline to collect the pass and chipped beyond the far post for Parry to head back across the stranded Pat Onstad in the Canada goal.

The Daily Telegraph headlined its report: Winner marks Parry's progress.

Part of its report says:

Paul Parry completed his remarkable progression from the non-League game to full international status with the winning goal in this lively friendly victory at Wrexham yesterday.

Just five months ago Parry, 23, was playing Conference football with Hereford United but, following his £75,000 move to Cardiff City, his continued improvement was punctuated by a powerful first-half headed goal that extended Wales's unbeaten run to four games since their disappointing exit from the European Championship play-offs.

Of Parry, making his third full appearance for Wales, Hughes said: "I picked him because he doesn't give the ball away. He's got real drive and I only had to see him play once to know he deserved a chance at this level."

The goal came in the 21st minute when Carl Fletcher fed Craig Bellamy and his cut-back allowed Parry the freedom to send a bullet header past Canadian goalkeeper Pat Onstad.

The Western Mail had the following headline:Parry goes the full Mountie.

And its report included:

ANOTHER friendly win for Mark Hughes' Wales side in 2004 . . . and predictably the decisive goal scored by a Cardiff City player.

This time, however, it wasn't Robert Earnshaw, but his unsung Ninian Park team-mate Paul Parry who grabbed the Racecourse winner against Canada.

Parry's 21st-minute header crowned off a golden five-month period which has seen him go from Conference football, to Division One with the Bluebirds, to a shock Wales debut as a substitute against Scotland, to his first international start in Norway last Thursday.

Yesterday, it was his first Wales goal, a bullet header from Craig Bellamy's right-wing cross that capped a fairytale rise from the bottom to the top which the player himself is still struggling to come to terms with.

Six months ago Parry was one of 74,000 Welsh fans who paid to watch the Euro 2004 horror show against Russia at the Millennium Stadium.

He will go off on his summer break today with his name written in the record books as the man who scored the goal which supplied Wales' first win in Wrexham since 1987, when Mike England's side blitzed Finland 4-0 in a European Championship qualifier.

Wales duly took the lead in the 21st minute, Bellamy racing clear down the right and putting over a pinpoint cross into the path of the onrushing Parry.

The Cardiff man wasn't going to miss his big opportunity, bulleting his header beyond Pat Onstad and high into the Canada net to put Wales in front.

What a magnificent moment to cap off a wonderful season for the youngster plucked from Conference side Hereford by Bluebirds boss Lennie Lawrence just a few months ago.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Parry scores for Wales

Paul Parry put Wales ahead twenty minutes into the first half against Canada this afternoon.

Parry finished off a good move with a superb header from about twelve yards. The ex-Hereford United player was subbed half way through the second-half to allow team-mate Rob Earnshaw to come on.

Final score: Wales 1 Canada 0.

After the match Welsh manager Mark Hughes commented:

"Parry's had a great start to his international career and I hope it's going to be a long one.

"He's come in and had an instant impact and has the knack of not giving the ball away, manager's love that."

Later Paul Parry said that scoring his first goal for Wales was like a dream comimg true.

"I started the season dreaming of things like scoring goals and playing for Wales," Parry said. "I find myself playing alongside people like Ryan Giggs, and I have to pinch myself.

"Mark Hughes told me to go out and play without fear and I hope that is what I've done today."

Two Bulls in NLP Team

The Non-League Paper published its National Game Awards this morning and two Hereford United players are in its team of the year.

Bulls captain, Tony James, and much improved forward, Rob Purdie, make the team.

The team was complied from the selections of match reporters at every game.

The team: Perrin - Forest Green, Hendon - Barnet, James - Hereford, Moore - Gravesend, Collins - Chester, Purdie - Hereford, Challinor - Aldershot, Tolley - Shrewsbury, Miller - Aldershot, Clare - Chester, McNivern - Leigh RMI.

Former Bulls player Andy Moran won the Welsh Premier player of the year award.

Moran now plays for Rhyl and scored 47 goals in 57 games last season. He spent part of the 2000/2001 season at Edgar Street but only made one substitute appearance for the Bulls.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Parry may not start

Paul Parry may not start for Wales tomorrow (Sunday) against Canada as Ryan Giggs is fit to play.

The ex-Hereford United midfielder is in the squad for the game but Mark Hughes, the Welsh manager, may decide to play Giggs on the left at least at the beginning of the game.

Once again BBC 2 Wales is covering the game, which can also be seen on Sky.

Kick-off at Wrexham is at 2.30pm.

Events at Exeter and Darlington could help Bulls

Events surrounding both Exeter and Darlington could help lead to acceptance of Hereford United's latest offer to clear its CVA.

Exeter have been told that the Inland Revenue have dropped their case against the club which, in effect, will allow the Grecians CVA to stand. (more details - see yesterday's item)

The taxman - owed £365,718 by the cash-strapped Grecians - was left reeling after the club entered into a CVA, slashing its debts by 90 per cent.

While the Revenue had long been regarded as a preferential creditor - receiving full payment for money owed - the Enterprise Act removed that privilege, meaning they were entitled to just £36,571 from Exeter City.

And it looks as though Darlington may have sorted their problems, unless a legal challenge from a few creditors takes place.

In this mornings Independent, David Conn looks at the Darlington affair in depth. It is a very long article but gives a facsinating insight into the goings-on at the club.

In summary, former owner, George Reynolds, was forced into bankrupcy by money-lenders Sterling Consortium after Reynolds ran out of money. He had planned to spend £20 million on the new stadium but borrowed at least £2m from Sterling. When Darlington couldn't pay its bills, Sterling stepped in and now have control.

The CVA went through on Tuesday, with a couple of creditors voting against, along with the Inland Revenue, which will be distinctly unhappy at seeing a £461,000 bill unpaid by yet another defaulting football club.

Given the news that the Revenue are to receive next to nothing from Exeter and Darlington, Hereford United will be hoping that their latest offer to settle their CVA stands an even better chance of being accepted.

Friday, May 28, 2004

McIndoe can persuade Williams

Michael McIndoe could help persuade Gavin Williams to join him at Doncaster. The two players became good friends at Edgar Street and Williams followed McIndoe to Yeovil.

Doncaster Today has reported that although there has been no official confirmation of the identity of the man Doncaster Rovers have made a club record bid for it is widely believed to be 23-year-old Williams who is also being chased by Hull City among others.

Williams notched 13 goals last season and is a class act who can operated on either flank or as an attacking central midfielder.

He is rated at Yeovil as in the same bracket as Michael McIndoe who is one of his best friends.

Both men arrived at Yeovil from Hereford, where they played together, and McIndoe could be a vital factor in persuading Williams to join the club if a fee can be agreed.

Doncaster are beleived to have plenty of funds available. Chairman John Ryan, who made his millions from cosmetic surgery, is known to Hereford supporters as the oldest ever registered player to turn out at Edgar Street when he came on as a substitute at the end of the Hereford/Doncaster game in April 2003.

Revenue drop case against Exeter

The Inland Revenue has dropped their case against Exeter City which aimed to get the club's Corporate Voluntary Agreement revoked.

The Exeter Express and Echo has reported that the club can now concentrate on the playing matters as opposed to legal issues.

Below is a summary of the case:

The Inland Revenue first launched a bid to scupper Exeter's attempts to clear its debts in November in what was described as a test case for football in this country.

The taxman - owed £365,718 by the cash-strapped Grecians - was left reeling after the club entered into a CVA, slashing its debts by 90 per cent.

While the Revenue had long been regarded as a preferential creditor - receiving full payment for money owed - the Enterprise Act removed that privilege, meaning they were entitled to just £36,571 from Exeter City.

As a result they mounted a legal case protesting against the "super-creditor" rule, which safeguards players, managers and other football creditors.

But as football united behind the Grecians, the taxman's case began to crumble after the club commissioned accountants Deloitte & Touche to produce a report into football finances and the rationale behind the creditor ruling.

Its findings, coupled with the fact that the Revenue had recently failed in its bid to revoke Wimbledon's CVA, persuaded them to drop the action and admit defeat.

Meanwhile there is no news on Hereford United's efforts to clear their CVA. It was reported that the Bulls had made an offer which the club hoped would be accepted by the main creditors, notably the Inland Revenue.

Yeovil resigned to losing Williams

More details emerged this morning about the possible transfer of ex-Hereford United player Gavin Williams.

The Hull Daily Mail has reported that Doncaster and Hull are likely to compete to obtain Williams's signature, who still has a year left on his contract at Yeovil.

The West Country club look resigned to losing Williams who was recently voted player of the year at Huish Park.

Tigers' manager Peter Taylor tabled a 'substantial' offer, reported to be around £75,000, but it was turned down. The player is thought to have handed in a transfer request.

Meanwhile Doncaster manager, Dave Penney, confirmed this week that they had made a club record sum for a midfielder but refused to name the player.

It is thought that Williams was the player in question as Penney looks to bolster his squad for an assault on the Second Division.

Tigers' manager Peter Taylor said he was still waiting to speak to Gary Johnson, the Yeovil manager, about Williams.

Taylor said: "Gary is still away on holiday, but he knows I want to speak to him and we're hoping to talk soon."

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Neighbours leaving will hit gates

The loss of Telford from the Conference is a blow for Hereford United as the game usually drew a good attendance to Edgar Street.

With Shrewsbury and Chester promoted, the matches against Telford would have been the closest local derbies of the season. Now it looks as though the Bulls nearest matches will be against Forest Green Rovers.

But more worrying is the possibility of poorer gates at Edgar Street, because these three near-neighbours have left the Conference.

Last season 4190 fans watched Hereford United play Telford at Edgar Street, 5850 fans watched the home game against Shrewsbury, and 7240 saw Hereford defeat Chester at Edgar Street on the last day of the Conference season. Altogether for these three games some 17280 fans passed through the turnstiles. Take these three out of the attendance figures and the average for the season drops from 3704 to 3361.

However just over 3000 fans watched the home games against Leigh RMI and Northwich, both of whom are now to stay in the Conference. And the new recruits, Canvey and Crawley, are unlikely to be as big a draw as local sides.

So it is possible that the Bulls could lose about £50,000 in gate receipts, compared with last season, because of the changes in the teams in the Conference.

Hopefully Hereford United will be close to the top of the table at the end of the forth-coming season so that gates stay high. But it will be difficult to match the superb attendances against local sides that bring in much extra revenue for the club.

Telford in liquidation

Telford United have gone into liquidation, meaning they will no longer be able to participate in the Nationwide Conference. Therefore, Northwich Victoria have been saved from relegation.

The following article has been taken from the Conference Guide:

Telford United today announced that the club is to go into liquidation with immediate effect. It will no longer be able to play in the Nationwide Conference, which should mean a reprieve from relegation for Northwich Victoria. (Later confirmed by Conference Chief, John Moules.)

A club statement reads:

Telford United will enter liquidation from immediate effect after efforts failed to find an investor to save the club from its financial troubles.

However, the corporate recovery firm handling the liquidation still hopes that a buyer may be found so that the club can get back on its feet in the future.

Rod Butcher, a partner in Birmingham-based corporate recovery experts Moore Stephens said:

"Reluctantly we have advised the directors that the only choice now is to cease trading and go into liquidation."

Acting chairman Rob Cave confirmed that the club will not remain members of the Nationwide Conference, and also confirmed that the club ceases trading as of today.

Later this afternoon it emerged that the Telford United Supporters Trust were hopeful that football will be played at the Bucks Head next season as a new club could be formed within a day or so.

The Shropshire Star has reported that the Trust will learn within a week which league any new club might play in but it hoped that it would be the newly-formed Southern League Premier Division.

List of pre-season fixtures - summer 2004

Date............Opponent...........Opponent's Division..Venue.........Kick-off 

Sat 24th July...Swansea City.(Fr)..Division Three ......Edgar Street..3.00pm

Tue 27th July...Bristol City.(Fr)..Division One.........Edgar Street..7.45pm

Sat 31st July...Wrexham.(Fr).......Division Two.........Edgar Street..3.00pm

Wed 4th Aug.....West Brom.(Fr).....Premier League.......Edgar Street..7.45pm

Sat 7th Aug.....Wellington (HSCQF).West Midlands Prem...Edgar Street..3.00pm

Donny after Gavin

Three Yorkshire sides are reported to be interested in signing Gavin Williams from Yeovil.

First Hull were said to have bid £75,000 for the ex-Hereford United player. Then Huddersfield registered an interest. Now Doncaster are said to have offered £100,000 for the Welshman.

Hereford United will hope that higher bids come into Yeovil for Williams as the Bulls stand to receive 25% of the fee from any transfer.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Two Internationals tonight

Hereford United has an interest in two internationals this evening.

The English National Squad play Iraq at Macclesfield. Matt Baker will start in goal.

And the Welsh have a friendly against Norway in Oslo. Paul Parry is in the squad and is expected to start.

The game is on BBC Two Wales which most Sky viewers should be able to see. Kick-off is at 6pm.

Wrexham friendly announced

Another friendly has been announced for Hereford United.

The Bulls are to play Wrexham on July 31 at Edgar Street according to the Hereford Times and the Official Wrexham site.

Meanwhile Andy Tretton is reported to be able to use a fixture on August 7th, one week before the Conference starts, to account for his one match ban as a result of his questionable sending-off against Aldershot.

Hereford United are to play Wellington in the new format HFA Senior Cup which has been scheduled for August 7th at Edgar Street and this fixture counts as a competitive match.

The new competition will replace the "arranged final" which has taken place in recent years. Last season Forest Green Rovers were invited to oppose Hereford United in the final which the Bulls won 3-1.

Teams taking place in the competition as well as Hereford United and Wellington are Pegasus Juniors, Bromyard Town, Hinton, Westfields, Kington Town and Ledbury Town.

Meanwhile a picture in the Hereford Times shows Joan Fennessy and Richard O'Kelly showing off a new kit for Pegasus Ladies. They presented the kit to Dee Graham of the Ladies team. The deal was connected with sponsorship of the Conference by Nationwide.

Reserves coming to Edgar Street

It has been confirmed that West Bromwich Albion are to bring a reserve team to Edgar Street to play Hereford United on Wednesday August 4th.

Bristol City are expected to bring a strong squad for their visit on July 27th as are Swansea City on July 24th.

Another home friendly is expected to be confirmed shortly.

Baker in English squad

Matt Baker, the Hereford United goalkeeper, has kept his place in the English squad to play Iraq tomorrow. But Andy Tretton misses out.

England National Game XI manager Paul Fairclough has named a squad of 16 players for tomorrow night's prestige friendly against Iraq.

The squad shows 7 changes from the side that took part in last week's Four Nations Tournament in Scotland.

England National Game XI Squad

Matt Baker (Hereford Utd), Jon Kennedy (Accrington Stanley), Sedgemore (Shrewsbury), Vickers (Dagenham & Redbridge), Perkins (Morecambe), John Kennedy (Canvey Island) Cowans (Canvey Island), Thompson (Morecambe), Southam (Dagenham & Redbridge), Kerr (Scarborough), Sheldon (Exeter City), Hatch (Barnet), MvNiven (Leigh RMI), Proctor (Accrington Stanley) Bacon (Hucknall Town) Carlton (Morecambe)

MacKenzie moves to Chester

Chris MacKenzie, the former Hereford United goalkeeper, is moving to Chester.

MacKenzie was with Telford last season but the debt laden club could not afford to keep him. He joined the Bulls on loan at the end of the season as cover for Matt Baker when Ben Scott, the Hereford reserve keeper, broke a thumb.

MacKenzie was no stranger to Edgar Street as he made more than 80 appearances during a three year stint between 1994 and 1997. He came from Corby and left Hereford to go to Leyton Orient.

Yesterday, MacKenzie told the Shropshire Star that he was likely to move away from Telford.

"I have had talks with other clubs but that has stemmed from what has happened at Telford. It does not look good for the club and I have had to take care of the future," he said.

"I think there is a deadline coming up at the end of this week where Telford have to guarantee the Conference they can fulfil next season's fixtures and that does not seem in sight."

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Green is too good for Chester

Rumours that Ryan Green is to leave Edgar Street to go to Chester in exchange for two Chester players and 10k are, hopefully, incorrect. Graham Turner is reported to still be away from the office ( which is probably why both Joan Fennessy and Richard O'Kelly has given interviews in the last week to the press) and, as one supporter who is very close to the club suggested, the timing is amazing.

Green was signed last August on a two year deal and at the time reported that for once the location of Edgar Street had helped in the signing of a player.

"Often thought by some as 'in the sticks', Hereford is within easy reach of the home of new full-back Ryan Green, who has Welsh international honours and lives in the capital," the site reported.

Graham Turner said at the time: "He has moved back down to Cardiff and he asked his agent to phone to see if we would be interested and that's how it came about. It's only an hour into Cardiff so he commutes quite comfortably and he wants to settle. I think it has worked to our advantage, the fact that he has thought about us and wants to come and play for us."

On the Official Hereford United site yesterday Turner admitted:"If the player performs well for us we benefit and may find ourselves back in the Football League which is what we all want, but if that doesn't happen, by doing well here interest will come in from other clubs. In the main our reputation and ability to re-launch players careers works out well for us and that is why we took the decision to go down the road of focussing on mainly young players who feel they have something to prove."

Exactly what Ryan Green was when signed, a young player who needed his career to be relaunched.

Whilst Green could play at a higher level and may well move on from Edgar Street at some stage, it seems less likely that Turner would want to bring in two players from Chester. Surely if Green bides his time and his performances on the field continue to improve, he may even have the chance to follow Paul Parry to Cardiff commanding a reasonable fee for the Bulls in the process.

Asda approval could help Bulls

The news that Asda is coming to Hereford could be good news for Hereford United.

The £50 million project, south of the new Wye bridge, has been approved by John Prescott's office and work could start later this year. It will tidy up the approach to the center of Hereford and create up to 400 jobs.

The permission given to Asda will be welcomed by those who wish to see the Edgar Street re-developed. There had been fears that had the Government turned down the Asda application, they might have done the same with the Edgar Street plan.

So although the re-developement of the football ground is still some years away, today's permission brings hope that it is still a real possibility.

Swansea friendly confirmed

It has been confirmed that Swansea City will visit Edgar Street on the 24th of July for a pre-season friendly against Hereford, kick-off 3:00p.m.

It is the third friendly that has been announced, all against league clubs. Bristol City and West Bromwich Albion also visit this summer. It will be the first time that the Bulls and the Swans will have met since the HFA Senior Cup Final three seasons ago, when Steve Piearce scored twice to give United a 2-1 victory. Swansea who finished mid table in division three last season after topping the table in the early months of the season. They also had the best F.A. Cup run by a third division side this season, Lee Trundle being the star man.

The Swans changed their manager 10 games from the end of the season, when Kenny Jackett replaced Brian Flynn as the boss.

Meanwhile, ex-hufc player Rob Warner has joined Worcester City and Doncaster Rovers, recently linked with ex-bull Gavin Williams and James Coppinger of Exeter, have made a six figure offer for an un-named midfielder.

Brown signs new contract

Richard O'Kelly has confirmed that David Brown has signed a new contract at Edgar Street.

The confirmation can be heard on Clubcall, the number for which is 09068121645. Part of the proceeds from calls to Clubcall on this number go to Hereford United.

Richard O'Kelly also talks about other players and the latest from the club.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Reduced debt still too high

With the expectation that the CVA will shortly be a thing of the past, some supporters are asking for more expenditure on players. However the club will still have massive debts and should Formsole ever change their current policy not to charge interest on their loans the club could still find paying its way difficult.

Using figures revealed in the last accounts published (to May 31st 2003), the club owed more than £1.8 million. Against this figure were assets of just over £390,000.

Although during the past twelve months the club has made a profit, there will still be a large debt hanging over Edgar Street for some years to come.

The profit for the current year is unlikely to be announced for some months, but with the increased gate receipts and the sale of Paul Parry coming into the figures, the profit could be around £250,000.

If this is the case then, assuming costs have remained much as the previous year, the overall deficit of the club could be cut to about £1.150,000. Much of that deficit will be the loans to Formsole.

If interest was charged on those loans then the cost at current interest rates could be around £80,000 per year. That figure equates to about 400 season tickets.

The club will be hoping that the CVA is ended but financial prudence will still be required. Hereford United needs several profitable years like this one before the accounts show assets close to liabilities.

Bulls may benefit if Williams moves to Hull

Hull are said to be about to increase their offer for Gavin Williams and if accepted it seems that Hereford United could benefit.

Bulls News reported that Williams was out of contract when he moved to Yeovil which was strictly correct but a report in the archives from May 2002 suggests that Graham Turner agreed a deal which included a sell on clause.

The report said: "Meanwhile, today's Hereford Times reports a fee of £22,500 was paid for Gavin Williams, including a 25% sell on clause.

Turner commented: "It was disappointing to lose Gavin - and for such a small fee - but he was out of the contract here and if you look at the deal he has been offered by Yeovil it's quite startling for a Conference club. If we hadn't agreed a fee with Yeovil, his price would have been settled by a transfer tribunal - and we couldn't afford to take that risk in light of past experiences, particularly with Dean Smith."

So with a six figure deal likely if Williams is sold, Hereford United could benefit by at least £25,000.

It is also rumoured that Doncaster Rovers are watching Williams.

Redditch after Rob Taylor

Redditch United have begun to strengthen their squad but they may clash with Hereford United over Rob Taylor.

It is said that Redditch have added highly-rated left-sided player Rob Taylor from Southern League Western Division neighbours Stourport Swifts.

Taylor was previously with Ludlow Town before switching to Stourport, where he attracted interest from Hereford United.

Reds assistant-manager Gary Whild said: "We've had Rob watched on a number of occasions but we know Hereford have been running the rule over him as well and he has trained with them. But they haven't offered him anything.

"We see Rob as a player of the future with plenty of potential to progress."

Last week Bulls News reported that Hereford were taking a further look at Taylor. He has played six reserve games for the Bulls.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Wales win Four Nations Tournament

Wales defeated Ireland 4-1 this afternoon and Scotland lost 3-1 to England, so Wales take the tournament.

Three English goals in five minutes ensured that Wales were crowned Four Nations champions for the second time in three seasons as the Scotland failed to put the perfect finish on what had been a very well received tournament.

An edited report on the Welsh game from below:

The penultimate match of this highly successful Four Nations tournament kicked off in perfect sunshine at Harlaw Park, Inverurie with Wales and Ireland both knowing a win would put the pressure on the Scots later this afternoon.

However although the Welsh had several chances the scores were level 0-0 at half time.

Two minutes after the kick off the complection of the game, and the group for that matter, changed with a wonder goal from left back Hugh Davy. A John Lester corner for the Irish was headed clear but Davy was first to react and from all of 30 yards he fired the ball into the postage stamp corner of the net with the outside of his left foot.

The Welsh almost equalised eight minutes later Ryan Green swung a great ball in for Nathan Davies, but his effort was well saved by Neil Gallagher. It didn't take the Welsh long to get back into the game though and with an hour on the clock sub Graham Evans scored with his first touch.

A free kick from out on the right thirty yards form goals was swung in by Ben Davies and Evans rose to glance it into top corner.

The Welsh were coming into their own now with Ben Davies running the show in the centre of the park. They went on to take the lead in the 67th minute when a low cross from Ryan Green was sidefooted home by Chris Todd at the back post.

Things were to get better for the Welsh and worse for the Scots only minutes later when Chris Giles made it three nil to Wales from close range after another piece of wizardry by the bleached blond Davies.

With ten minutes remaining the Welsh added a fourth to put the pressure really on the Scots when Graham Evans shot came back off the post and was passed into the back of the net by Chris Giles.

Full Time: Wales 4 Ireland 1

And here is an edited report on the England game:

Scotland got off the perfect start when, after 12 minutes the direct running of Stuart McKay won the home side a penalty. Good play by Steve Dolan and Ian Murray released the Locos forward and having ran past the hefty Matt Redmile and he skipped beyond Jake Sedgemore who promptly brought him down.

Mike Stephen stepped up and fire the ball left footed away to the keepers left and into the corner of the net.

It really should have been two nil when Mike Stephen's ball across the box, which was only two yards from goal, was flicked away by Stuart McKay by number four Sedgemore.

The Scots were dealt a blow when the referee levelled up the penalty count when Steve Guinan's shot of the turn hit Bryan Dlugonski on the hand as he slid in and to the surprise of everyone the Irish official pointed to the spot.

Guinan stood up and placed it to the keepers left to level the scores. There was more bad news a minute later when England took the lead through Glenn Southam. A long ball through was only partially cleared by Ross Archibald and the Dagenham and Redbridge midfielder flicked it over the defender then finished with aplomb.

The English were flowing and their confidence was clearly up for the first time in the tournament. Liam Hatch showed they have plenty of quality in their side when he got the ball at the touchline, turned back onto his right foot and curled it beyond Andy Shearer in to the bottom corner to cap a remarkable turn around.

Barrie Stephen put a little bit of life back into the crowd with a neat turn past two players and then a 25 yard left foot effort that flew about a yard over the bar.

Once again Scotland went within inches of pulling one back when Bryan Dlugonski's flick from Mike Stephen's corner beat the keeper but was cleared off the line by Glenn Southam who was positioned on the far post.

A minute before the break Barrie Stephen picked the ball up 10 yards inside his own half and ran at the English defence. From thirty yards he let fly with a rocket that cannoned off the base of the post.

A minute into the second half the tournament's second red card saw Glenn Southam sent off after he tangled with Ian Murray right in front of the stand and having appeared to striker Murray in the face made the short walk to the dressing room.

Andy Shearer made two fantastic saves with quarter of an hour remaining to spectacularly thwart Amos Forewa and then Matt Redmile.

Ross Archibald warmed the hands of Matt Baker with a speculative effort from all of 30 yards and then Iain Thomson curled one that the keeper comfortable held late on but the Scots never really looked likely to turn things around as the game slowly petered out.

Full Time: Scotland 1 England 3

Last games in Tournament today

The last two games in the Four Nation Tournament take place this afternoon with Scotland playing Endland and Wales facing Ireland.

Matt Baker is expected to start in goal for England after missing out on the last game to Worcester's Danny McDonnell. Andy Tretton should also feature, and Steve Guinan will take part as he did not attend the Cup Final yesterday.

Ryan Green will start for Wales who have several players facing late fitness tests.

At present Wales and Scotland are tied on four points with the same goal difference. England need to win today or they will definitely pick up the wooden spoon.

Woolmer is not dependable

There is an article in today's Non-League Paper about Andy Woolmer asking Hereford United for damages but there is nothing in the article that hasn't been reported on this or the Official Hereford website.

However a letter written by Bernard Day of Sutton Coldfield, together with a picture of Graeme Souness making a point to Woolmer during a game at Southampton, questions Woolmer's ability.

Part of his letter is reproduced below:

"I have seen Mr Woolmer referee twice, in Hereford's games against Aldershot and Tamworth. His performances went from bad to worse. I have also watched, more times than I care to admit, a video of the game complete with its "contentious incidents."

"I found it impossible to sit on my hands and say nothing about the crime that was unfolding before my eyes. I would take this opportunity to apologise to Mr Russell, the fourth official, for the earache I gave him.

"The sending off of Andy Tretton after 20 minutes of a 120 minute game should have left Hereford defending the Alamo so great was the prize at stake. Instead Graham Turner did what Hereford do best and attacked.

"Tretton's offence was, at best, two players colliding after both players had been deceived by the bounce or, at worst, obstruction by Tretton and a bad case day of over-acting by Aaron McLean (Oscar in the post)

"I have sought the opinion of nine referees, who have watched the "contentious incidents" on Sky Television and all nine fail to see how Woolmer could justify a sending off.

"What about the two footed tackle five yards inside the box, on Michael Rose, with Woolmer no more than six yards away? he just ignored it.

"Woolmer was dreadful against Tamworth and worse against Aldershot. His bombastic manner hardly endeared him to anyone either.

"Hereford's two years of hard work were wiped out. Dreams were shattered. If a doctor made decisions as badly as Mr Woolmer did that day, somebody would more than likely die."

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Higher bid likely for Williams

Peter Taylor, the Hull manager, is expected to raise his bid for ex-Hereford United player Gavin Williams next week.

Taylor has confirmed he will renew his bid to sign the player next week when Glovers manager Gary Johnson returns from holiday in Italy according to the Hull Daily Mail.

Taylor was unhappy that news of his bid had leaked out, but admitted that he was on Williams' trail.

"I'm disappointed that the story has come out but we are interested in him," said Taylor.

"What will happen now is that I'll speak directly to Gary Johnson and we'll up the offer next week when he gets back from holiday.

"If Gary says yes or no we'll take it from there and see if we can reach an agreement or not."

It is thought that Taylor will need to offer a six-figure amount to capture Williams who recently signed a new contract at Yeovil.

Desperate Times at Rushden

Although the following long article from today's Independent does not mention Hereford United, it is a telling reminder that clubs can not always rely on sugar-daddies.

The situation at Rushden, Darlington and Telford is similar. The chairman has run into his own financial problems which have rebounded on the club he has backed.

"They were hailed as the small-town innocents romantically facing down the big guns when in January 1999 Rushden & Diamonds, then a Conference club, drew 0-0 in the FA Cup Third round with Leeds, then a Premiership club about to live the dream. In truth, Rushden & Diamonds were always a strange being, created with bags of money out of the original merger of two minor non-league clubs, and funded for a gallop into the Football League by Max Griggs, the owner of the Dr Martens shoe empire which had a huge presence in that area of Northamptonshire.

Griggs' company spent millions building R & D a brand new ground at Nene Park, Irthlingborough, right next to the huge Dr Martens shoe factory, and providing the manager, Brian Talbot, with the money for players to take Rushden into the Second Division in 2003, just 11 years after the merged club had played its first game against Bilston Town in the Southern League Midland Division in front of 315 spectators.

Now, however, the factory has closed, the club has been relegated, Talbot has gone, Dr Martens have been haemorrhaging money, Griggs has resigned, wants out, and the club is about to be sold to an uncertain future. With Darlington tottering on the brink of folding, in administration and millions in debt to their owner and former chairman George Reynolds, and the nation's top clubs prostrating themselves to ever more far-fetched investors, Rushden & Diamonds has mutated from the model club to a monument to the dangers of relying on sugar daddies, men formerly known as benefactors, funding clubs way beyond their true status.

Griggs, the multi-millionaire backer who was previously on the board at Northampton Town, created Rushden & Diamonds by merging Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds, using Rushden's more senior status in the football pyramid, and Diamonds' better-appointed ground at Nene Park. There are still diehard fans of those clubs who resent what was done, but they were drowned out by the sheer industrial scale with which a brand new, attractive ground was constructed and the new entity financially hurtled into the Southern League Premier Division in 1994, the Conference in 1996, then, after more of a footballing struggle than was envisaged, promotion to the Football League five seasons later.

However, Rushden's air-cushioned stomp on the football pyramid skidded to a halt last October when Griggs stepped down as the chairman and said he wanted to pull out and pass the club on. The club's own accounts, which were due at the end of March, have not even been filed, which is an embarrassment, but in fact, Griggs set a deadline of the end of the season to withdraw his funding. With the club struggling to find other investment, they considered going into administration, but instead cut costs by off-loading players.

On transfer deadline day, 25 March, Rushden were in mid-table with just eight games to play, but they released four of their most highly-rated players to reduce the wage bill: winger Paul Hall went to Tranmere on a free transfer; top-scoring striker Onandi Lowe to Coventry City for free; defender and captain Paul Underwood, to LutonTown; and Marcus Bignot, to Queen's Park Rangers. Rushden fell apart, took only one point from those final games and on the final day lost 2-0 at home to Port Vale to be relegated, while Chesterfield hopped improbably above them and escaped the drop.

The withdrawal of Griggs' financial backing and the sale of the club follow a rough period even for a company as laced into the nation's fashion and subcultures as Dr Martens. The most recent accounts of the R Griggs Group, which owns the shoemaking businesses worldwide, show that for the year to 31 March 2003, the company made a loss of £60m, which included the considerable cost of wholesale restructuring, and turnover fell by £54m. That followed a £32m loss they made the previous year, as Doc Martens struggled to translate their formidable street cred into a commercially profitable global brand.

In October 2002, R Griggs announced that they were closing their shoe and bootmaking factories here and shifting production to China, where workers come cheaper. That led to the loss of more than 1,000 jobs, described at the time as "devastating news" by the footwear workers' union, KFAT.

The Irthlingborough factory, whose workers used to swell the Diamonds' crowd figures, has been closed down and the company's registered office moved from Nene Park to Wollaston. The club recently said it was close to being sold to three as yet unnamed people, described as "private individuals and businessmen who have made their careers in commercial and property development". David Suddens, the chief executive of the R Griggs Group and, temporarily, of the club, too, said this deal would give the club its best chance for the future, stressing: "Nene Park will not be ploughed up by ruthless property developers."

The club and the supporters it gathered in the days of plenty await the new investors and their plans. Despite building gates up to around 4,500, Rushden & Diamonds have been heavily reliant financially on Griggs and his company. The accounts they did deliver, the previous year, for 2002, showed that the R Griggs Group had loaned the club £611,000, that Griggs himself had made an interest-free loan of £500,000, and in 2002-03 the R Griggs Group provided £2.25m in sponsorship. The new investors, whoever they are, will not find sponsorship available to anything like that bonanza for their recently relegated Third Division side.

Griggs, given his company's huge problems, could not continue to divert money into a football venture which was a strangely old-fashioned kind of benefaction, although the club's former chief executive Mark Darnell told me a couple of years ago that the club hoped one day to make money for Mr Griggs and increase "brand awareness" for his airwear shoes.

That particular plan has been booted out. Rushden & Diamonds, the synthetic football creation, once lauded superficially as a model new club, now stands as a cautionary tale about financial backers, even while our top clubs are flogged to Russian oligarchs and billionaire Far Eastern prime ministers. Whatever the source, some time, some day, the money has a habit of running out."

Friday, May 21, 2004

Turner will bounce back

Graham Turner will bounce back after the disappointment of losing out to Aldershot says Hereford United director Joan Fennessy. With brisk season ticket sales, she thinks there is plenty of optimism around Edgar Street. There is also the prospect of a slightly higher squad budget after the transfer of Paul Parry and higher gate receipts.

"We didn't do a lot wrong last season but despite the disappointment everyone connected with the club seems really enthusiastic," she said.

"The supporters have been superb and season tickets have been going very well."

"Graham is OK too and will bounce back," she told the Evening News.

"It was probably another knock seeing Shrewsbury go through but what's happened has happened and we're all looking forward. Graham's 100 per cent committed and, if anything, even more determined.

"He was very disappointed but he's back to his normal self and I'm sure he will be looking to bring in some more good players.

"The PFA lists are out soon and there are 1,000 players available so there is going to be a great selection.

"Graham's got very good contacts from all his years in the game and I'm sure he'll get in some more good players."

Meanwhile although Steve Guinan has moved to Cheltenham, his appearance at the FA Cup this afternoon should create some publicity for the Bulls.

Hull after Yeovil's Williams

Hull City are understood to have made a 'substantial bid' for Yeovil's star winger Gavin Williams.

A source close to City told the Hull Mail that the 'substantial' offer was made to the Glovers yesterday but 'immediately turned down'.

The offer is believed to be about £75,000. Yeovil paid Hereford United around £25,000 for Williams. It is understood that Williams has handed in a transfer request but that has yet to be confirmed by the Huish Park club.

The former Hereford favourite has played 80 games for the Glovers after signing in May 2002, scoring 15 goals. The Hull site reported: "Welshman Williams would certainly prove a useful addition to the squad and can play anywhere across the midfield.

"His favoured position is wide on the right but he has also switched flanks and played in the hole behind two strikers to good effect this season. After eight yellows and one red last season the former Hereford player can certainly look after himself and has an an excellent first touch and bags of technical ability.

"Hull manager Peter Taylor is determined to add depth to his wide options and sees Williams as the perfect addition. The youngster certainly finished the season on a high - scoring an 88th-minute winner in the last game of the season as the Glovers picked up a 3-2 triumph at Lincoln."

It is thought highly unlikely that any transfer would benefit the Bulls as Williams was out of contract when he moved from Edgar Street.

Leigh RMI to remain in Conference

It looks as though Leigh RMI will stay in the Conference for at least another season after it emerged that Margate

have opted for demotion to the new Conference South.

Margate are to return to their stadium at Hartsdown Park which is not up to Conference standard.

According to Confguide, ratification of Margate's move should be a formality at the Conference AGM on 5th June, and this would save Leigh RMI from relegation from the Conference. It would also affect Kettering Town - they would take Leigh's place in Conference North, while Margate take Kettering's position in Conference South.

Meanwhile, Nationwide Conference bosses and the PFA are said to be on a collision course over the implications of Telford United's decision to sack their entire squad, according to the Shropshire Star.

PFA representative Simon Barker insisted the decision contravenes Football Association rules and plunges the Bucks' Conference future into greater jeopardy.

"I'm not sure whether they already knew it, but I have told Telford that to my understanding they can't do what they've done and continue playing in the Conference," said Barker.

Former Hereford United defender Matt Clarke, who is among the sacked players, confirmed that he and his team-mates would struggle to command the same wages elseswhere.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Wales defeat England

Wales move to joint-top in the Four Nations Tournament table this evening after a decisive 2-0 win over England.

Wales have given themselves every chance of claiming the Four Nations trophy with a fine two nil win over English at Kynoch Park this evening.

The first chance came after 7 minutes good play down the right hand side involving Giles, Davies and Green culminated in a low cross by Green almost bringing an own goal out of Redmile

Five minutes later a lovely throughball by Kerr for England found Hatch who chested it down, sidestepped a challenge from S Evans and raced clear but ultimately he was thwarted by Tony Roberts who spread himself well to effect the save.

The highlight of the first half came four minutes later when Steve Guinan picked the ball up forty yards from goals, jinked past one defender before striking a thunderous dipping 30 yarder off the crossbar.

Just before the half hour Wales's S Evans seemed to have put his side ahead when he fired the ball into the bottom corner of the net when a corner was only partially cleared but it was ruled out by Mike Ritchie for a foul on the referee.

The Welsh finished the half as they started it with brilliant play by Green, Giles and Evans allowed Ryan Green to cut inside and blast over.

Half Time: England 0 Wales 0

Four minutes after the break the Welsh took the lead. Davies played the ball through on the left to G Evans he took one touch and with the keeper rushing out ex Aston Villa striker lifted the ball over him and into the net.

It was 2-0 in the 73rd minute. Harris picked the ball up in the middle and he found Giles unmarked out wide on the right. He drove to the bye line before firing a low cross into the path of substitute Owens who sidefooted the ball into the back of the net to put Wales in the box seat.

It was an eventful half for Owens as with five minutes remaining he himself was replaced by Summers. Wales almost added a third when Summers crossed in for Green and his 20 yard volley had McDonnell scrambling across his goalline.

Full Time: England 0 Wales 2

Reporters: Andrew Burnett and Chris McHardy.

Meanwhile, Tony James did not travel to the tournament leaving Ryan Green as the only Hereford United player in the Welsh squad.

Parry has real ability

Paul Parry has real ability, says Cardiff manager Lennie Lawrence in tonight's South Wales Echo, but his biggest test awaits him next season as First Division defenders have now "sussed him out."

However Lawrence appears very pleased with the gamble he took when he signed Parry from Hereford United. The winger was an instant hit with his new club and even more so when he played for Wales against Scotland.

The Bluebirds paid out £75,000 initially and had to pay both the player and his former club, Hereford United, extra when he made his Welsh debut.

Now Lawrence is waiting to see the next stage of Parry's development.

"Paul Parry's ability to adjust instantly after stepping up from the Nationwide Conference to Division One was astonishing," said Lawrence.

"He was on such a high.Then he picked up an injury and his performances levelled out.

"First Division clubs know him now, they have sussed him out and he has to progress through that.

"He has real ability and that's why we brought him here.

"We will work closely with Paul during pre-season and it will be interesting to see how he adapts to the start of a second season in Division One."

Parry was with Bristol City as a schoolboy, but they released the left-winger and he joined Hereford United as a teenager.

He stayed at Edgar Street until Lawrence moved in last January, taking him from non-league to Division One - a rise of four levels.

Lawrence had been tracking Parry for some time and he spent a week on trial at Ninian Park last December.

"I was told Cardiff would keep an eye on my progress and I just got on with playing for Hereford ," said Parry.

"I was lucky enough to score a hat-trick in a 7-1 win at Forest Green Rovers just before Christmas and I was told the gaffer ( Lennie Lawrence) was there.

"I don't know whether that made a difference, but after the following game, against Stevenage, I was told Cardiff had made an offer and I went to Ninian Park for a medical.

"That was all day on Thursday, I trained on Friday and made my Division One debut against Rotherham United at home on the Saturday.

"It was brilliant running out at Ninian Park - the supporters were fantastic.

"I've set my sights high and I want to be a success for Cardiff City next season - and play for them in the Premiership," continued Parry.

"I've earned my first Wales cap - and I want more.That means playing well for Cardiff City and I am focused on that."

Young striker to train with United

Teenager Robbie Taylor of Stourport Swifts is to spend a spell in training with Hereford United with a view to a permanent move. The young striker bagged nine goals for the Swifts this season.

"He's already played half-a-dozen reserve team games for them and they want to take a further look at him," Dave Titterton, the Swifts manager, told the Evening News.

"There's no doubting his ability but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. He's got an opportunity and good luck to him."

If he stays at Edgar Street Taylor would be the second young attacker to sign for the Bulls this summer, Andy Williams being the first.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Police unaware of damage

Hereford Police are unaware of any damage to a motor vehicle in the Merton Meadow car park on May 3rd despite Hereford United receiving a bill from referee Andy Woolmer.

Woolmer who was in charge for the Aldershot game on that day has sent a bill for damage to the club and Joan Fennessy, one of Hereford United's directors, says the club are deciding what to do about it.

"We are waiting for a statement from our chief steward, Len Dykes, who accompanied the referee to his car after the game," said Mrs Fennessy as quoted in the Hereford Times.

"But I beleive that the only thing that could be seen was a faint stratch on the boot. We don't understand who would have known that the car belonged to the referee."

Chief Inspector Shane Hancock remarked:"If anyone has been a victim of such an offence then we would urge them to report it to us so that we can investigate it. Until such a report has been received, we cannot take any further action."

Two Friendly dates announced

Hereford United have started to arrange pre-season friendlies. The first two are with League sides, Bristol City on July 27th and West Bromwich Albion on August 4th, both at Edgar Street.

Meanwhile the Hereford Times reports that season tickets are selling well. The tickets have been on sale since Monday.

"We've sold almost £20,000 worth of tickets already, including many to supporters who have not held a season ticket before," remarked club director Joan Fennessy.

There is no fresh news on players signing. Despite rumours that Graham Turner was likely to be back in the office early this week, it now seems that he has extended his break.

Play-off Lottery

The following letter was published in this morning's Daily Telegraph:

SIR - Is there not an inherent injustice for Shrewsbury to be promoted to the Nationwide League at the expense of Hereford, having earned 17 fewer points over the season and with an infinitely inferior goal difference?

These facts alone confirm which team played the more attractive football over the past nine months, and yet for all their efforts Hereford were condemned to the lottery of a play-off.

The rules clearly need a rethink.

Paul Collins, St Albans, Herts.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Irish spring shock on England

Ireland defeated England 3-2 last night in the Four Nations Tournament.

Ex-Hereford striker Steve Guinan opened the scoring after five minutes with a simple tap-in.

But on eighteen minutes John Flood attacked Eamonn Zayed's cross and when the Hereford keeper Matt Baker only parried his diving header, Flood followed up to bundle the ball over the line for the leveller.

Early in the second period, an error from English centre back Matt Redmile allowed Darryl Murphy to send the ball through to Zayed who blasted low into the net form 12 yards to give the underdogs the lead on the hour mark.

Within two minutes the Irish increased their lead when John Russell volleyed into the roof of the net.

However England reduced the deficit when Steve Guinan turned Mark McChrystal and hit an unstoppable 25 yard effort low into the right hand corner of the net.

England and Wales meet tomorrow at Keith.

Wales draw with Scotland

Wales drew 0-0 with Scotland tonight. In a match where both sides had several chances to score, Wales did manage to get the ball into the net in the first half but the goal was disallowed.

In the second half, one of the best Welsh chances started when Hereford United's Ryan Green fed a long ball to Graham Evans who just missed from twelve yards.

Tony James did not play for Wales this evening.

Tonight's other match finished England 2 Ireland 3, with Steve Guinan scoring twice. Hereford United's Matt Baker and Andy Tretton started for England, as they attempt to defend the title.

James wins Trophy

Tony James has won the Evening News/Ray Mercer Memorial Trophy for the second time in three seasons. The trophy is awarded for the best average ratings for players in the Hereford and Worcester area.

The Hereford United captain was rated 7.43 for his performances through the season. It is the third time in three years that a Bulls player has won the trophy with Paul Parry coming top last year and James the year before.

His accuracy in scoring nine penalties helped lift his ratings.

Coming second in the competition was Dave Benton of Bromgrove Rovers and Hereford's Matt Baker was third with a rating of 7.14.

In the Hereford United ratings, joint third place went to Steve Guinan and Rob Purdie with 7.00.

Four Nation Tournament starts this evening

The annual Four Nations Tournament starts this evening in Scotland.

Ireland play England and hosts Scotland meet Wales.

The English squad has been hit by withdrawals and only two current Hereford United players remain in the eighteen that have travelled. Both Matt Baker and Andy Tretton are likely to feature this evening.

Former Bulls Striker Steve Guinan sought permission from new club Cheltenham to stay in the squad and he is also likely to get a game this evening.

However Michael Rose has been withdrawn from the squad by Yeovil manager, Gary Johnson.

Both Tony James and Ryan Green are expected to start for Wales. James will captain the Welsh squad for at least one of the matches.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Three up to Division Three

There is hope that three clubs could be promoted from the Conference to Division Three at the end of next season.

Confguide reported over the weekend that The Football League is to discuss harmonising promotion numbers - which would mean an extra promotion place from the Conference, if implemented.

The item continued:"At this year's AGM, an item on the agenda is a reduction in the number of promotion places from Division 3 to Division 2 of the Football League from four places to three - and an increase in places from the Conference from two to three. This would harmonise the number of transfers between all levels of the senior game at three places."

It seems that if the proposal is accepted then two clubs would automatically be promoted from the Conference with a play-off for the third place.

After the farce of this season when Hereford United were not promoted despite being only one point behind champions Chester(and miles in front of every other team), it is vital that changes are made. Although the Bulls knew the rules at the beginning of the season and have had to abide by them, it is time for a rethink.

The sympathetic publicity Hereford United received from the media after losing out on promotion might influence the decision makers when the AGM takes place, although they may need to be reminded of the events.

Perhaps another campaign to get "Three up to Division Three" should be launched. In any case it is time to rename the Conference to Division Four.

Conference internet deal announced

A deal has been announced that will see some live games and some highlights of matches from the Conference starting this coming season. The following article is taken from the Conference Guide.

The Conference has entered a three-year deal for free internet broadcasting of games.

A deal with In The Box Media is a rights and production agreement to publish 300 Conference football matches free via broadband. This service will be available at (you'll have seen the adverts at the play-off final yesterday) and will launch with the 2004/05 season starting on 14th August.

The matches will be available on a "free to air basis" with the costs of operation planned to be met through advertising and sponsorship.

The intention is that fans will be able to receive free footage of the matches over broadband shortly after the final whistle of each game. And a selection of live coverage will also be streamed.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

More players expected to put pen to paper

More news on players putting pen to paper should be revealed in the next two or three days. Graham Turner has had a few days out of the office but is expected to return today. It is believed David Brown and Simon Travis will be the next two players to sign for the forth-coming season.

And there may be some pointers as to whether Matt Baker is staying at Edgar Street. He may talk to Turner before joining the English squad in Scotland for the Four-Nation Tournament later today.

It is also thought that Turner has talked to a couple of players, including a striker, recently released by other clubs. Turner has a slightly bigger budget to work with after last season, but will be careful with the purse-strings.

Turner last week gave an interview to BBC Hereford & Worcester about the financial situation at Edgar Street in which he said he was hopeful that the recent offer to clear the CVA will ease matters allowing him a little more freedom in how he spends the income of the club.

"The indications from the supervisors were that it could possibly go through in the next four to five weeks. We made an offer two months ago but the wheels of finance are very slow moving and we are waiting for answers from the major creditors.

"It's looking positive at the moment, and we could be out of the CVA in the next four to five weeks."

He explained more about Hereford United's CVA :"The previous board agreed a pound in the pound repayment whereas most clubs perhaps agreed 10p in the pound with their creditors. 40p has been paid. The remaining 60p was on the relocation of the club which will not happen, so that 60p will never be available.

"So we are hoping that the major creditors will accept a lower figure. That offer has been put to them and we are awaiting an answer from one or two of them. But it certainly sounding positive at the moment."

Asked what getting out of the CVA would mean to the club, Turner continued: "I think it would give us greater scope and freedom to spend our money where we want to. We had one little brush with the taxman when we were a little bit behind with our annual returns. All he had to do was to inform the superviser that the CVA had failed and it would be an almost instant winding up of the club. It doesn't even have to go to court and that's always been a worry.

"From the gates we've been getting and the transfer of Paul Parry, the finance of the club has stabilised. We haven't had to worry from one week to the next.

"What ever happens next season, we've got further monies to come from Paul Parry. So our position has stabilised and that hasn't half easied the burden on Joan Fennessey and myself.

"We still have to approach things sensibily. We can't go overboard. We've seen what's happened at Telford."

Four Nations Tournament

There are several Hereford players, current and former, involved in the four nations tournament this summer in Scotland. Tony Pennock, Tony James and Ryan Green are included in the Welsh squad and the English squad includes Matt Baker, Andy Tretton, Jake Sedgemore and Steve Guinan.

Tony Roberts, included in the Welsh squad, was between the sticks in Hereford's drubbing of Dagenham & Redbridge in front of Sky TV cameras. Roberts missed the tournament last summer through injury. Robert commented on Pennock, formerly of Hereford, who will be challenging him for a place in goal. "I've played against him a few times during his time at Yeovil and Farnborough, he's played in some big games," he told the NLP.

"I'm sure what with him having played for Hereford he'll be reminding me how many they put past me this season. I've had numerous people since then asking me the time and then informing me it's nearly ten past Roberts."

Pennock knows about letting in a few goals, so he promised that not to say too much about the score line against Hereford. "It's not often a 'keeper lets in nine, but you can't say it was all his fault, if anything he kept the score from reaching double figures. My worst was 7-1, ironically it was when I was playing for Hereford," added Pennock.

Former Hereford striker Steve Guinan has decided to put his country before his club to achieve a boyhood dream. New manager, John Ward, wanted to pull Guinan out of the competition but Guinan insisted that he was going to play. "I have always dreamed of playing for England since I was a little boy at whatever level and I just felt that I had to grab the chance. The manager said the last thing they wanted was for me to break my leg, but I told him I was desperate to play."

England manager, Paul Fairclough, was impressed by Guinan still wanting to play, despite being asked not to by his new club. "I was moved by his determination to play and can't wait to meet him," said Fairclough.

The tournament starts on Tuesday 18th of May in Scotland. The first game is Scotland v Wales in Keith, kick off at 7:45pm. The competition goes on until the 23rd of May, the last game being Scotland vs England.

Beesley disappointed

Mark Beesley is disappointed not to be offered a new contract at Edgar Street.

He told the Non-League Paper:" I was gutted after the Aldershot game but I thought I'd done enough to earn a new contract.

"I've just got to move on now and find a new Conference club, where I can play games and score goals.".

Meanwhile Leigh RMI striker David McNiven is being looked at by Shrewsbury. He has already talked to Stevevage and rumoured to have been offered a trial at Hereford.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Captain still can't believe it

Hereford United captian, Tony James, has admitted that he is still struggling to come to terms with the fact that the Bulls will be playing Conference football again next season, over a week since their defeat to Aldershot Town in the play-offs semi final.

"It's been a bit difficult but I've been keeping myself busy," he said. "We worked so hard to do it (get promoted) and then to get knocked out like that is a bit of a shock.

"We were unfortunate to have the play-off go to penalties where it is just a lottery," James told the Evening News. "For me personally it's going to take a while to get over. I really thought we would get promoted and I think everyone at the club thought we would."

The defender, who was the first player to sign a new contract for next season, is hoping that the majority of the players stick together and have another pop at the title next season.

"Now we have to wait and see what players come in and what players go," said James.

Meanwhile former Hereford United striker John Grant, currently at Telford, has been linked with a possible move to Exeter.

"John Grant is one player who has impressed me and Adam Stansfield (of Yeovil) is another." said Exeter boss Eamonn Dolan. " I am not in direct contact with any of them at the moment but obviously I have been putting the feelers out during the last few weeks."

What to do on a Saturday

Bored on a Saturday Afternoon with no Hereford United football to watch? Well here's a guide from a Swansea City site to pass the time to the start of next season:


1. It's the obvious. The wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend wants to go shopping and you don't have an excuse not to do so anymore. The answer is simple, take her. The tip on this is simple. Arrive at shopping centre, feign illness and you get to sit outside the lingerie shop all afternoon offering advice to any ladies looking to buy!

2. You could take up a new hobby to keep you occupied during the summer months. For the male football supporter the obvious has to be conducting surveys into suntan lotions amongst the female beach worshippers. Free samples and offers to rub them in should keep you amused for a few weeks at least. For the female football fan, how about doing all the washing and ironing that you neglected over the past nine months

3. Buy the latest board game entitled 'debt' The basis of the game is simple you are the owner of a football team that is £21 million in debt. The object of the game is to see how many of the club's supporters to can con into believing that there is no problem at all.

4. Dependent on how much your other half knows about football you could always pretend that the season is still on and basically do whatever you want for a few hours. At least it gets you out of cutting the grass.

5. You have 12 weeks to get yourself prepared for the new football season. Sit/Stand in your living room at around ten to three and watch whatever is on the television. Make up chants to go with what you are watching and abuse everyone on the screen. For example if you are watching the Coronation Street omnibus you could shout "Call that a pint of beer you fat lazy tosser" or "Vera Duckworth's Barmy Army" throughout. Make sure you take a break at 3.45 until 4.00, consuming three pints of lager and a pie/pasty that you bought early last week to get the real matchday effect. You can call all of this pre-season training

6. Go to sleep and wake up the first weekend in August (not recommended for anyone who has not taken the time off work)

7. Go on holiday. A simple way to kill two weeks and a reminder that no self respecting football fan goes on holiday between August and the end of May (you have to allow for the play offs don't you) The advantage of this is that you can wear your football top abroad to look typically British and this is a sure fire way of being able to spend the two weeks talking at the bar with other football fans who are in the same predicament as you are

8. Clever football fans have taped every 'Gillette Soccer Saturday' since the season started. On the first free Saturday visit a hypnotist and ask them to clear your memory of the last nine months. At 3pm precisely sit down and watch the 'live' action safe in the knowledge that you have no idea what the scores are. Please remember not to ring any mates not taking this course of action to tell them the scores as they are likely to get you sectioned.

9. Go to the pub all afternoon. How many times have you said to your mates that a good afternoon's drinking has been spoiled by a poor performance from your team? Well, now you have 13 weeks of that not being spoiled so you can stop moaning for a change.

10. Invite 21 of your mates and recreate the season just passed in your local park. Remember to always include a couple that you don't really like who can be used to recreate those really nasty injuries (a la David Busst a few years back) Bagsy playing Roy Keane.

That should give you enough to keep you going all summer. and Bulls News would like it to be known that they accept no responsibility for any divorce petitions that arise from carrying out the points above. Don't forget to cross of the days on your calendar until next season and at least that will kill a few seconds every day!

Friday, May 14, 2004

Rename the Merton Stand

There have recently been calls for Hereford United to rename the Merton Stand and perhaps obtain sponsorship for the new name.

Part of the Merton Stand is currently known as the McDonald Family Stand, but it is thought that McDonald's have not sponsored the stand for some years.

Sponsorship could bring in a four-figure sum every year to help the club's finances. One possibility is the Strongbow Stand, but that might fail because of the Len Weston Stand cider connection. Another idea is the Sportingbet Stand.

Another suggestion is that it should be called the John Charles stand in recognition of his time at Edgar Street.

John Charles was born in Swansea and the football club is moving to a new stadium from the Vetch and have asked Juventus to bring a team to Wales for the opening game.

If they agree, Juventus will also be invited to help unveil a statue to their former player John Charles, who died earlier this year.

Perhaps if Hereford changed the Merton Stand to the John Charles Stand then Juventus could play at Edgar Street after going to Swansea.

Tretton and Scott signings confirmed

The Hereford United official website has reported that Andy Tretton and Ben Scott have both signed a new one year deal at Edgar Street. It also reports that Simon Travis is close to signing and that David Brown has agreed terms and is expected to sign early next week. It states that Matt Baker and Ben Smith are still considering their options.

Andy Tretton has been strongly linked with a move to Shrewsbury Town should they get promoted through the play-offs, but the former Shrews captain has commited himself to Hereford for at least another season. Ben Scott, who only had one appearence for the club against Forest Green in the HFA cup, has also re-signed with the Bulls.

Tretton and Scott are signed on for next season along with Tony James, Ryan Green, Tom Smith, Rob Purdie, Jamie Pitman, Danny Williams, Danny Carey-Bertram and Andy Williams.

Tretton to miss one match

Andy Tretton, the Hereford United defender, will miss one match as a result of his sending off in the play-off game against Aldershot.

The match will be the first "League" game Tretton could take part in next season.

As yet it is not known officially if he is staying at Edgar Street. However there are strong rumours that he has put pen to paper for another season.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Warning from Hereford

The following is an edited version of an article published in this morning's Daily Telegraph:

As Steve Guinan followed Michael Rose out of Hereford yesterday the warning was there for both the Nationwide play-off finalists, Aldershot and Shrewsbury: lose at Stoke on Sunday and you risk the break-up of your squad.

Rose, a left-sided midfielder, had joined Yeovil before Guinan, the Conference's second highest scorer, signed for Cheltenham to leave Hereford manager Graham Turner with even more regrets over his team's failure in a penalty shoot-out against Aldershot 10 days ago following the second leg of the play-off semi-final.

Aldershot, now in the guise of Aldershot Town following the demise of the original club, who went bankrupt after resigning from the League in 1992, probably have far less to lose than Shrewsbury.

Promotion would probably come at least a season too early for Aldershot who are only one year out of the Ryman League. Shrewsbury, relegated last season, seem better equipped for Third Division football in August.

The twist in the tail is provided by the two managers, Terry Brown and Jimmy Quinn. Quinn still turns out for Shrewsbury at the age of 44 and for a brief period three years ago he played at Hayes under Brown, who joked this week: "I hope Jimmy brings his boots on Sunday because he is not as quick as he thinks he is."

Season Ticket Prices

Here is a basic list of season ticket prices for next season. Full details are on the official Hereford United website.

Merton Stand (Blocks B,C & D) and Len Weston Stand.

Adult £190 rising to £205 after June 15th

Child/Senior Citizen £110/ £120

Merton Stand (Block A)

Adult plus 1 Child £240 rising to £263

Adult plus 2 Children £284/ £307

Adult plus 3 Children £333/ £357

2 Adults plus 1 Child £411/ £435

2 Adults plus 2 Children £446/ £470

Senior Citizen £110/ £120


Adult £145 rising to £160

Child/Senior Citizen £ 75/ £ 85

To obtain the discount price, orders with payment must be made on or before June 15th.

Normal Admission Prices will be as follows:

Stand £12 and £9. Terrace £10 and £6.

The club has increased prices in most cases by just over 10%. However for some reason the discounts for buying tickets early are not as high as last year.

Nevertheless, season tickets are still very good value at Edgar Street. For example an adult plus three children price for Block A of the Merton Stand works out at only £6 per game for the adult and just over £3 for each child assuming they attend all 21 home games.

For any further details telephone the club on Hereford 276666.

Where's McNiven going?

According to the Official Stevenage site, Graham Westley is in discussions with 25 goal David McNiven the Leigh RMI striker who was rumoured to be having a trial at Edgar Street.

Meanwhile, Chris Palmer has moved to Notts County on a two year deal. The 20 year-old left sided midfielder was released by Derby County last week.

Palmer's only first-team experience came when he spent a month on-loan last season at Hereford United where he made three appearances for the Bulls.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Guilty pleas at Burton

Thirteen football hooligans have admitted taking part in a savage attack on Burton Albion fans reports the Burton News and Mail.

The men admitted being behind the shocking violence which marred the club's victory against Hereford United at Eton Park on September 19 last year.

The 13, all of whom are from Hereford, appeared before Stafford Crown Court to plead guilty to violent disorder. They will be sentenced at a later date, once pre-sentencing reports have been drawn-up.

The violence erupted during half-time of Albion's 4-1 victory against the then league leaders. Fans watched on in terror as the hooligans invaded the pitch and charged towards the home end.

They jumped into the Pop Side stand and started kicking and punching Albion supporters. Stewards and even Hereford's substitutes tried to pull the hooligans away but the blows kept raining in.

Albion supporters also claimed that they were pelted with coins and bottles thrown from the Hereford end, one of which struck a child in the face.

Following the incident, detectives launched a massive man-hunt, studying video footage of the violence.

Albion chairman Ben Robinson said of the trouble at the time: "The team's fine performance was marred by the outrageous behaviour from a group of Hereford fans."

In the days after the attack, fans flooded Albion's Internet message board to voice their disgust at the trouble.

However, on a fan site of Hereford, who have a history of football violence, messages boasted about the incident.

One read: "It was like the 70s again and makes me suspect it was organised. Shame about the result on the pitch but Hereford won off it."

Following the attack, the Mail and other media teamed up with the police to publish a selection of photos in the hope of identifying the offenders.

Detectives from the Trent Valley division travelled to Hereford to work with West Mercia Police. They obtained a graphic video of the nine minutes of violence, which proved crucial in finding those responsible.

The men are David John Ellis, 40, of Alexandra Avenue, Hereford; Stephen Wiliam West, 44, of Laburnum Grove, Hereford; Anthony Vito Calandra, 26, of Ledbury Road, Ledbury; Robert John Morris, 34, of Prior Street, Hereford; Robert Falcon Scott, 40, of Gorsty Lane, Hereford; Stacey Paul Jennings, 22, of Honeysuckle Close, Hereford; Wayne Milner, 36, of Cheerybrook Close, Hereford; Benjamin Lewis, 18, of Hinton Crescent, Hereford; David Watkins, 41, of Millard Close, Hereford; Craig Preece, 21, of Archenfield, Madley; Steven Alan Sabel, 20, of Webtree Avenue, Hereford; Russell Peter Davey, 26, of Newtown Road, Hereford and Roger James Vedmore, 20, of Alexandra Avenue, Hereford.