Sunday, March 20, 2005

Attendances are falling at Edgar Street

All the recent success off the pitch at Hereford United, such as the end of the CVA, the highest profit for many years, the new dressing rooms and the possible redevelopement of the Meadow End, will mean little to supporters if performance on the field doesn't improve.

Fans are failing to turn up at Edgar Street in their droves compared with last season. The gate on Saturday for the game against Crwaley was only 2211 and this recent drop in attendance has brought the figure for the average gate at Hereford to less than 3,000 for this campaign to date. (2998 is the latest figure according to Confguide)

This time last year attendances were well over 3,000. For the game against Accrington Stanley on March 13th the figure was 3230. The fall of over 1,000 will mean that gate income is dropping like a stone.

Although Hereford United are now in ninth position in the Conference table, Saturday's game against Crawley should have been an attractive match with the two teams vying for a play-off place. Perhaps some potential fans didn't see it that way and the fixtures themselves may not be the main reason fans are deserting Edgar Street.

Last season, Hereford United played some very attractive football. Much of it was a delight to watch, and of course the team scored lots of goals.

Recently this season, with the noted exception of the two away games at Aldershot and Barnet, the Bulls seem to have gone back to playing either the high ball tactic, in which case possession is often lost, or the slow build-up style of movement which is too easily intercepted by the opposition.

Saturday's game had little entertainment value. Even had the Bulls snatched a late winner, which they probably just deserved, it is doubtful whether many supporters would have classed it as anything other than unexciting display of football by both teams.

Last season Hereford United players tended to be more direct with their play. Simon Travis, for example, would run much of the length of the pitch will the ball. No so recently. And the forwards would have a shot in most circumstances if they thought there was a chance of scoring. It was that quick play that tended to catch opposing teams out. This season play seems to take place at a slower rate. It is not bringing results and not entertaining fans.

Again looking back at Saturday, how many times was the ball simply passed back to goalkeeper Mawson. On one particular occasion in the first half the Bulls had the ball in Crawley's penalty area. It was passed back and instead of launching another quick attack it was slowly returned to Mawson who then kicked the ball into the Crawley half and possession was lost.

Hereford United are next at home on Easter Monday. Although the fixture against Northwich is not the most prized this season, it is on a day which usually brings a good gate to Edgar Street. A return of at least four points and a few goals from the two away games this week could bring back some fans.