Saturday, April 30, 2005

Broadway unlikely to be full

Stevenage Borough have suggested that their ground won't quite be full for the Hereford United play-off game on Monday.

Although they report that their ticket office has been busy today that maybe because they have brought forward sales of tickets for the return leg next Friday at Edgar Street.

"We don't have many seats left, but still have several hundred terrace tickets left for (sale) tomorrow. I don't think we'll sell every single ticket, but it will be close!" said a Stevenage spokesman.

Full coverage on BBC H&W

BBC Hereford & Worcester will provide full commentary of the Stevenage Borough vs Hereford United match both on our radio service, and on our website -

Peter McMillan and Terry Goodwin will provide full commentary from Broadhall Way. The match commences at 5pm on Monday.

You can hear BBC Hereford & Worcester on 104, 104.6, or 94.7 FM.

Yellow is the Colour on Monday

Several supporters have suggested that it would look good on Sky if Hereford United fans could wear something Yellow and bring some Yellow balloons, or even Yellow confetti, to Stevenage on Monday.

With Hereford United playing in Yellow, the effect of lots of Yellow shirts in the away stand would look good on Sky.

The idea of the balloons would be to release some at the start, and perhaps some at other times, for example when Hereford United score. The cameras are likely to focus on supporters at these times.

Already supporters have promised to bring yellow balloons with them to Stevenage. A maze of yellow is in prospect.

Stevenage set out to make the Play-offs

The Stevenage chairman, Phil Wallace, has told the Comet all about the season at Broadhall Way.

WE SET out to make the play-offs in August. That was our goal. We knew as a club, with nine new players in the starting lineup, that we needed some time to get the mix right and that the championship was probably beyond our reach.

During the seven or eight months since the start of that season, several players have gone and three or four new ones have arrived. Those new signings by manager Graham Westley have been significant in him getting the mix right.

Darryn Stamp was the subject of a £45,000 move to Chester, winning the Conference title with them in his first year and so when he became available after a change in manager, we moved quickly to secure his signature to provide us with an aerial presence that had been missing in our game.

Simon Weatherstone, another Conference winner with Boston, suddenly became available when the cash dried up at Hornchurch, so Graham brought him to Boro.

Alan Julian was an under-21 Northern Ireland international frustrated at not featuring regularly for Brentford. He felt he needed first team football to further his career and, again, Graham was quick to act to bring him to Stevenage Boro.

Ron Henry had a great football education at Spurs and comes from a well-known footballing family. Although still young, he is growing from regular first team football and proving himself in a number of different positions.

These new players have settled in well with the dozen or so established players and we now have the bonus of continuity to take into next season.

Everyone in Stevenage wants to see their club in the Football League and we're just three games away from that dream.

The run-in to the play-off semifinals next week couldn't have been better planned. The very last minutes of the very last game at Broadhall Way saw us do our bit to deliver maximum points.

Then we had to wait, and wait, and wait for the Morecambe result at Tamworth. We all knew it was 0-0 going into the final minutes of normal time, but then we heard that the ref had posted eight minutes of injury time!

Our game was over, every other game was over - but we had to wait. Our 3,500 crowd never moved an inch - every person praying for Tamworth to hold them.

Five minutes, six, then seven - surely it couldn't go much longer - then it happened.

A sudden murmur, then a ripple, then a roar as we all saw the fulltime result. A draw! The result we all wanted and the result which put us through to the playoffs instead of Morecambe.

Rarely do you get that surge of joy and it's a moment of pure, undiluted pleasure.

However, that's now history. The job now is to get the support of the town for our game on Bank Holiday Monday at 5pm.

We need to fill the stadium and cheer on Stevenage Borough in this game. We only get one home match, so let's all make sure we can look back and say "I was there for the play-offs".

Only in football is a script written and the players then act it out over nine months!

Will we be victorious? Come along and see for yourself on Monday afternoon! Turnstiles open at 3.30pm.

No Ticket No Entry says Wallace

Hereford United supporters have been warned not to come to Broadhall Way on Monday without a ticket. The Stevenage chairman, Phil Wallace, issued the following statement late last night.

There were just a few hundred seats left as we closed on Friday night and we've sold a good percentage of our home terrace tickets. However, to make it as easy as possible for our fans to get tickets before the game, we're opening the Ticket office from 10am to 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday. We've been forced to make the match all ticket by the police due to the possibility that Hereford fans may travel without tickets on the day.

Things have been handled in an orderly manner in the Ticket office and we're happy with our controls for segregation. There's been the usual load of misinformation posted on the chat lines about travelling fans and most of what I'm told is there seems to be made up, probably for the craic! I don't have a problem as I expect the match to be in the spirit of Conference football. We've enjoyed some great matches with Hereford home and away in the past and they've always been held in a spirit of mutual respect - players and fans alike. This game won't be any different from the others inside the stadium. I've had several meetings with the police and they've confirmed that a very strong police presence will be the order of the day for the game, especially outside the stadium. It seems likely that we'll sell out before Monday as we expect heavy sales tomorrow and Sunday but, even if we don't, the police will not allow us to sell tickets on the day of the match. We certainly wouldn't sell them to away fans anyway as the segregated away area is sold out, so if anyone was thinking of travelling on spec from Hereford without a ticket, they should save themselves a wasted journey and watch it on Sky.

Gates will open at 3.30pm and kick off is at 5pm.

It will be tough says Turner

Graham Turner has told the Worcester News that he is confident that the Bulls will contain Stevenage on Monday.

"Last year we were in terrific form but I don't think that is a major thing. It did not matter in the end. The preparation was right last season. Unfortunately, we just did not get the breaks," said Turner.

"We were made to suffer from a dubious penalty and the sending-off. Things like that you can't legislate for. But if I could go back, I would still have prepared the players the same way.

"However, we are in good form and that has given us plenty of confidence going into the first leg. Certainly, we'll be looking to keep that form going but we know how hard it will be.

"One or two players have left since last year and so the whole play-off experience is a new thing for some of them.

"There will be a bit of nervousness among the players closer to the game, of course. It's one of those situations where the team that handles the occasion better will probably make it through and I'm confident that will be us.

"I don't think you can make predictions for the first game. But Stevenage has been a good ground for us and we won there recently. Obviously, we'll be looking for another good result, but it will be tough. Stevenage are a big, strong side."

Turner spoke about club captain, Tony James.

"Tony will be fit and we'll have to make a decision on him. But if you look at our record without Tony, we have conceded two goals in nine games with Tamika Mkandwire and Andy Tretton in central defence. Defensively, we have been excellent during that run."

The newspaper has also spoken to Stevenage manager, Graham Westley.

"The mood is electric. The players are calm and confident and there is a sense that we know what we have to do. We are the form team over 30 games and we have won the last three games. We know what it's all about on Monday and at the moment we're just concentrating on that.

"In the last game against Hereford we lost the game in the 10 minutes after half-time but I don't think we should read too much into that.

"It's just been a normal week for us. Our preference will be to win well on Monday but we take it as it comes."

Friday, April 29, 2005

Latest Play-off odds

The latest Conference Play-offs odds show Hereford fractionally ahead of Carlisle to be promoted to the Football League.

This is the latest average price from ten bookmakers:

Hereford (2/1), Carlisle (11/5), Aldershot (4/1), Stevenage (9/2)

As regards the first leg games it looks as though very close games are expected with both home teams, Stevenage and Aldershot, just expected to win.

Stevenage (6/4), Hereford (7/4), Draw (9/4)

Aldershot (16/11), Carlisle (15/8), Draw (9/4)

Skybet rate the two games the same. Their odds favour the home sides slightly more than the average.

Stevenage 5/4 Draw 11/5 Hereford 7/4

Aldershot 5/4 Draw 11/5 Carlisle 7/4

All-ticket at Stevenage

Stevenage Borough have confirmed that the home game against Hereford United next Monday 2nd May is now ALL TICKET only.

They have also confirmed that the Broadhall Suite will be available from 12 noon onwards on the day of the game.

However it is not known whether Hereford United supporters are invited.

Meanwhile Graham Turner has told the Official Hereford United Website that he is looking to his supporters to get behind the team on Monday.

"Our support on Monday looks set to be truly magnificent and to sell all our tickets in just 3 hours is incredible. We should have all our fans grouped tightly together behind one of the goals and I would ask each and everyone of them to play their part and create the kind of noise levels that they always do when we are away from home."

Turner's views on the Play-offs.

Graham Turner has given his views to BBC Sport about the forthcoming Play-off games.

We had the disappointment last year of having a great league season, finishing with 91 points and then losing out in the play-offs and losing some players - but we've got over that remarkably well.

We've introduced a number of new players, and we've had another very good season to finish runners-up - so we're in good shape for the play-offs, but I think there's four very good teams in there, so it's going to be tough.

The order of the matches doesn't concern us, as our away form has been the best in the league - we've taken about 38 points away from home, which is excellent.

Stevenage are a big, strong side who are quite direct, and they've got a very useful squad of players. They beat us here and we beat them there, both times by 1-0, so we're expecting a hard game.

But we've got a lot of young players in the side, and it'll be a question of whether they can handle the extra pressure.

They have to be able to cope with the play-off games, as there are bigger crowds, the expectation from supporters is higher and there's more at stake.

But Lee Mills and Graham Hyde have played at the top level, so they can help guide the younger players through.

We've got one ot two minor knocks but otherwise we've got a clean bill of health - our skipper Tony James has been out for quite some time, but he's played two reserve matches this week and he's fit again.

Stamp knows about Play-offs

Stevenage striker Darryn Stamp who joined the club in January from Chester, has experience of winning in the play-offs.

"When I was at Scunthorpe, we won the play-offs for the old Third Division. I came on for the last 20 minutes at Wembley when we beat Leyton Orient," Stamp told the Comet in a preview to Monday's game with Hereford United.

"The Conference is getting better all the time; you only have to look at Doncaster and Yeovil when they have gone up recently. The club is geared for the League - and not just for League Two but League One as well."

"I don't know whether it's better to have the first leg at home or not.

"The preference might be to have the second leg at home but hopefully we'll get a good result on Monday to set us up nicely."

Anthony Elding, Stamp's strike partner added: "It was a great feeling to make the play-offs when we heard that Morecambe had drawn at Tamworth and I'm still buzzing about it.

"Fans were asking for memorabilia - shirts, shin pads or anything. But we've still got matches left to play, so we couldn't give them anything.

"It was nice to get the goal but it wasn't about me, it was about the team.

"I'd rather play Hereford than any of the other teams in the play-offs.

"We beat them 1-0 at their place earlier this season. They came here and snuck a late goal but we did well against them both times.

"I felt like a bit-part player when I won the Conference with Boston but this season I really feel like I've contributed and my goals have been important.

"Since I left Boston I've wanted to get back to the Football League and hopefully we can do it this season."

Thursday, April 28, 2005

A brief look at Westley

Graham Westley has been the Stevenage manager since moving from Farnborough after their FA Cup game against Arsenal in January 2003.

Westley, now 36, had a playing career that was cut short by injury. He spent time at Barnet and had a short spell at Wycombe in the 1987/88 season where he made 23 appearances and scored 5 goals. Wycombe finished 18th in the GM Vauxhall Conference that season.

After his playing days he went into business, and was said to have made an excellent living, with the J&D organisation. In its original form, JH Westley Cleaning Contractors worked exclusively in the construction sector. But since 1985, J&D has supplied some of the biggest names in the print and media sectors with a wide range of contracted services; these include News International.

However Westley wanted to get back into football and, after spells elsewhere,
eventually became manager of Farnborough Town. At the time its stadium was called
Cherrywood Road, but Westley soon changed it to the Aimita (Attitude Is More Important Than Ability) Stadium.

At the time one report said: Former Barrow boy boss Graham Westley took over the managerial reins in 1999 and - as the saying goes - liked the club so much that he bought it, and then made everybody laugh when he said his aim was to get Farnborough into the Premiership within 10 years. The trouble is, Westley was serious - he meant what he said, but not for the first time his ambition seemed to outstrip the club's standing and potential (and perhaps his ability as a manager - ed)

Another report stated: The name of Farnborough Town became synonymous with that of one man: Graham Westley. A locally based former professional turned businessman through injury, Westley's dream of owning and being manager of a Premiership club came one step closer after he bailed out Boro' whilst they were staring down the barrel of a financial crisis. Seizing the club by the scruff of the neck he was able to buy a team capable of winning the Ryman League by a country mile. A huge turn around in fortune for the man who was sacked by Kingstonian in favour of Geoff Chapple. The club returned to the Conference on a crest of a wave in 2001, but for all of Westley's rhetoric that they would walk the Conference at the first attempt the reality proved a little different.

Graham Westley's first season in the Conference saw Farnborough finish an impressive if unexciting 7th in the league. For the second season the signs were set out early that it would be his last and by Christmas amidst the run in the FA Cup the rumours were rife. The high profile game against Arsenal turned out to be his last as he left taking his backroom staff and seven players to Conference rivals Stevenage Borough who were heading for relegation.

After the game, Graham Westley - the Farnboro' manager, chairman and owner - was grilled by the press on the decision to switch the game to Arsenal. A great deal of stick had been flying around. Instead of admitting they had cashed-in, he re-invented history by changing the original reasons (police advice, perimeter fence too low) to a brutal dishing of his Club Secretary, who wasn't able to cope with arranging the arrival of SKY television, the press pack, the extra security and the distribution of tickets.

One commentator at the time thought that Westley was a real life version of David Brent from "The Office", particularly when Westley started to talk about himself in the third person. The name of his company and club sponsors, AIMITA, stands for "Attitude Is More Important Than Ability" and they have News International as one of their clients. It was no surprise to see the shirt sponsorship for the Fourth Round had been sold to The Sun newspaper.

It will also come as no surprise that the AIMITA Corporation has a list of Ten Commandments. Number three on the list is "We constantly seek and seize opportunities". Number ten is "We value loyalty".

Two days after the Arsenal game, Westley left Farnborough to become manager of Stevenage signing a three and a half year deal. He left the club heavily in debt despite the proceeds from the Arsenal game and with a transfer embargo and a threadbare squad having taken several Farnborough players with him. Even worse he still owned the club although it was soon reported that he had signed it over to his wife.

Another comment at the time suggested that Westley's personal ambition is said to want to manage a Premiership club within the next decade but there's more chance of Adie Randall (can't place him - ed) playing for Real Madrid than this happening! Still, you can't fault the man for his ambition, even if some of his plans & methods are a little suspect.

But perhaps the most interesting comments came from Terry Brown, the Aldershot manager, in November 2003 on the eve of a Shots' trip to Broadhall Way.

"I hope we go there and give them a right stuffing. I don't like Graham Westley
and I never have done!"

Mawson hopes for better results

Craig Mawson has told the Hereford Times that he understands what Hereford United players must have felt when they went out of the play-offs on penalties last season. He was in the same position when at Morecambe the previous season.

"It's not the best of memories. I wanted to get there again and right the wrongs from two years ago.

"At Morecambe, we finished second and got knocked out on penalties. It was a horrible feeling and you feel useless. There's nothing you can do about it and it ruins your summer.

"You become a pain in the neck to live with to your family and it's just a horrible way to lose a game and to finish your season. You play 42 games to get there and to go out that way leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

"The lads who were here last year want to right the wrongs from last year and go one better than they did then."

Mawson feels that the Bulls have an excellent chance especially given their recent form.

"The last seven or eight results is what we are about.

"We are solid at the back and keeping clean sheets, giving very little away and going forward we are creating chances. If you can do that at any level then you are on to a formula that is going to bring success.

"Every man knows their job within the team structure, we defend from the front to the back and attack from the back to the front.

"We are getting a little bit of luck here and there, the rub of the green, but we felt that we didn't have that earlier in the season."

Meanwhile Andy Tretton has also spoken to the Hereford Times about that moment when referee Andy Woolmer pulled a red card from his pocket during the play-off game against Aldershot last year.

"Initially I thought that he had pulled out the wrong card and I did ask him that. To be honest, I couldn't argue I was that stunned. The ironic thing is that he is refereeing in the League where we should have been this year.

"It's been a long time since that happened and I've got over it now but over the summer I couldn't really get it out of my mind. But once the season started I forgot about.

"It just takes time to get it out of your system. These things happen and at the end of the day, while it is very important to everyone, it is just a football match.

"Like England in Euro 2004, you just have to put the disappointment out of your mind and get on with it. If you let it live with you then it will drive you mad so you just have to move on."

Tretton has recently returned to the Hereford United squad after a period out with injury.

"In comparison with last season's play-off side, I think we are a bit more disciplined defensively. Last year we just seemed to kill teams off and had one of those years, similar to Barnet this year, where we scored goals from all over the pitch. We had Steve Guinan up front, similar to Barnet's Giuliano Grazioli this year and that can make a hell of a difference.

"We haven't really scored that many goals this year but have been tighter defensively and that gives people confidence because they know we are not really going to concede and know that we can always nick one on the break."

"It will be a good chance to put things right," he continued. "But it's not about me, it's about the team and we have a tremendous team spirit as can be seen from the tough run in that we have had.

"We have had some tough recent games, such as at Stevenage and Halifax where we would probably have settled for a point before the match. But luckily we managed to win them because if we had not then we could have been struggling.

"So we can go in to the play-offs with great confidence."

Reserves win title

Below is a report from Keith Hall of last night's game at Edgar Street. We are indebted to Keith for keeping us informed of the progress of the reserves over the past few days.

Further evidence of an upward curve in Hereford United's overall progress was in evidence at Edgar Street this evening as the Bulls reserve side lifted the Central Conference Western Division Title.

Near neighbours Kidderminster Harriers managed to secure a 0-0 draw on the
night, but it was the Whites players and backroom staff who were opening the
champagne bottles after a terrific campaign.

John Trewick, Gary Stevens, and more recently Wayne Jones, must take credit for
blending together a squad which has seen youth, experienced players, and
trialists utilised in a side which lost just twice all season.

Tonight's match once again featured club captain Tony James, as he continued to
improve on his general fitness levels, prior to a potential return to the first
team squad during the build up to the Nationwide Conference Play-Offs.

Hereford United
1. Ben Scott
2. Stuart Bridges
3. Jimmy Holmes
4. Bruce Wheeler
5. Lewis Jones
6. Tony James
7. Sam Gwynne
8. Paul O'Brien
9. Andy Williams
10. Daniel Lennon
11. Davion Hamilton
12. Adam Worton (used)
GK. Karl Lewis
14. Nathan Hawley (used)
15. Paul Collins (used)

Kidderminster Harriers
1. Danny Lewis
2. Lee Jenkins
3. Steve Burton
4. Gary Birch
5. Abdou Sall
6. Chris McHale
7. Scott Eaton
8. Adam Chambers
9. Iseyden Christie
10. Simon Eldershaw
11. Jimmy Lee Jones
12. Mitch Butler (used)
14. Danny Ludlow (used)
15. Gary Barnett

The Bulls had the better of the opening exchanges with striker Andy Williams guilty of wasting terrific 8th minute opportunity. The young target man intercepted a poor back pass but was forced wide by Harriers keeper Danny Lewis. Williams chose to shoot from an acute angle despite the protestations of his fellow striker Daniel Lennon who was unmarked 8 yards out with the goal gaping.

Tony James showed that despite his injury absence he?s lost none of his intuitive reading of the game, and a timely interception prevented Harriers taking the lead on the quarter hour mark. A neat interchange between Jimmy Lee Jones and Gary Birch had opened up United's defence but James was in the right place at the right time to clear from inside his own penalty area.

Paul O'Brien and Daniel Lennon then went close for the home side, before a speculative 35-yard strike from Lennon dipped agonisingly over the cross bar with keeper Lewis beaten. However, Scott Eaton's right foot effort from the edge of the box just before the break forced Ben Scott into a neat save tipping the ball round his left hand post for a corner.

Into the second half and it was the home side who again showed greater purpose and penetration. Striker Lennon attempted an audacious lob over keeper Lewis as the second period got underway, only to see his effort dip just too late.

Skipper Tony James was substituted ten minutes into the second period, but he must have been pleased with his overall showing especially as Harriers striker Christie had largely failed to make any impression on proceedings. Indeed, none of the visitors impressed and appeared to be generally depressed and lacking in confidence. Hardly surprising following their relegation, but one would have expected some of the players to be out for contract renewals for next season.

On the hour mark Andy Williams blazed over the crossbar with just the advancing keeper to beat, and a neat four man move for the home side ended with a powerful
Davion Hamilton left foot strike fizzing past the post moments later.

The visitors raised the temp slightly as the game entered stoppage time.Christie dived in the box under pressure from Bridges but the referee waived aside his claims for a penalty, and in the very last minute Ben Scott acrobatically tipped over a point blank header from Eldershaw to keep the scoresheet goalless.

The celebrations at the final whistle were low-key but the smiles on the faces of John Trewick and Gary Stevens were clear to everyone as Queen's "We are the Champions" echoed around Edgar Street.

Final Score: Hereford United 0 - 0 Kidderminster Harriers

The preparations have begun

The preparations for the Stevenage game began last Monday says Graham Turner in his Hereford Times column this morning.

"The gap is a little longer than we are used to in preparing for matches. During this period we have three reserve matches to play when people who haven't played recently can get some football in, notably Tony James who will make a comeback in the reserves and will be available for any of the play-off matches.

"There is also a question of getting the balance right between keeping the players fresh and also making sure that their general state of fitness is maintained.

"During the ten days there will be tough sessions for the players both in terms of weight training and endurance work. Then, as we get closer to the weekend, the sessions will be condensed, sharper and there will be some functional team play.

"Defesively we have been sound recently as a team. The recent record has been incredible with just two goals conceded in nine games and that's not just a tribute to the goalkeeper and the back lads but to the team as a whole.

"If we can take that solidity into the play-offs, then as a team we always look capable of scoring goals.

"We never got close to challenging Barnet so this is the next best thing. The buzz it has created around the place is truly something to savour."

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Not enough tickets for Bulls supporters

The allocation of 1400 tickets sent from Stevenage Borough to Hereford United was sold out by mid-day much to the dismay of many fans who missed out either because of work or being simply unable to get to Edgar Street.

The office staff sold the tickets in just over four hours after opening earlier than advertised. They deserve our thanks for their hard work in getting the tickets out to fans.

Some Hereford supporters have obtained tickets through the Stevenage Ticket Line, whose number was given out on this site, amidst others. (It appears that Stevenage decided to stop taking telephone sales late this afternoon)

However there has been some criticism of this action from several sources, who are now suggesting that to have given out the Stevenage number was irresponsible.

Bulls News decided to publish the number as we took the view that there would be more than 1400 Hereford United supporters wishing to see the game. In the event of the tickets selling so quickly, we beleive we made the correct decision.

The problem lies solely and squarely at Stevenage who were unwilling to give Hereford more than 1400 tickets. We realised segregation could be a problem so our advice to supporters was to ask for tickets close to the Away end so as all the Hereford supporters would be in the same area of the ground.

Stevenage were within their rights to send Hereford only 1400 tickets. However in the circumstances should any ticket for the West Stand, close to the away fans in the Buildbase Stand, be unsold by late Friday, perhaps Stevenage should make them available to Hereford United for sale on Saturday morning.

There would be nothing worse than having the ground less than full next Monday.

Meanwhile Stevenage have confirmed that they are under pressure from the Police not to sell tickets on the day of the match. The following is from the Stevenage Official Website:

Stevenage Borough have been forced to move Bank Holidays match with Hereford to virtually all ticket. The semi final play off, which kicks off at 5pm, has captured the towns imagination.

Phil Wallace, the Stevenage chairman, said "we've been swamped. Our phone lines haven't stopped and we've had to stop taking credit card bookings over the phone.

"We've extended the Ticket Office opening hours from 10am to 7pm Weds-Friday and 10am to 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday to cope with ticket and merchandise sales.

"If fans want to see this game they need to get to our Ticket Office between now and Sunday afternoon because I doubt we'll be allowed to sell any on the day of the match. The police are keen to see this game all ticket and we would have no option but to comply if this was ordered."

All tickets sold for away game at Stevenage

The Official Hereford United Website reports that all tickets have been sold for the Stevenage away leg of the play-offs.

Tickets are still understood to be available from Stevenage.

Their ticket Line number is 01438218062 and they will take credit cards. It may be sensible to try and have a seat close to the South Stand (Buildbase Stand) where the Hereford supporters will be.

Meanwhile there are some tickets available for the home leg at Edgar Street. However the Meadow End is understood to be sold out.

Brisk business for Stevenage tickets

There has been brisk business selling tickets for the Stevenage play-off game this morning.

However the predicted long queues failed to materilise.

Season Tickets holders were given priority, but the club started selling tickets to other supporters before 9.30am. That queue was said to contain between 30 and 40 fans at the time.

It is thought that about 600 tickets had been sold by mid-morning.

Meanwhile Hereford United's reserve team defeated Bromsgrove 2-1 last night.

They meet Kidderminster at Edgar Street this evening and will top the league if they win.

The game starts at 7.30pm and admission is only £2 for adults and £1 for concessions.

Westley on the Play-offs.

The Stevenage manager, Graham Westley, has been telling his Official Website about how he will approach the Play-offs.

"I recall saying before a ball was kicked that I would be disappointed if we did not get into the play offs. Although we do not have the resources or financial muscle of others, I believed in the quality of our players and in the way we were planning to do things.

"Our performance of 57 points in our last 30 games is strong and confirms what I believed which was that this team had the potential to achieve something big. It was important to keep our focus on improving and to trust ourselves when we struggled to perform as a team early on. Our players have shown a strength of character to come through after that start. I still think that their best is yet to come.

"Now, of course, the war begins. There are three battles in front of us. If we win all three then we will be a Football League club.

"Our attention is on the first game now. We want to go into that game in our best condition of the season so far. A lot of planning is going into ensuring that. Physically, mentally and preparatory wise, I am confident that the lads will be right. They are very calm about the situation; very calm, very strong and very focussed".

Westley admitted that it is also likely that he will finally be able to pick his strongest side for the home game.

"With Mickey Warner now looking match fit, we should be stronger than ever now. Boydy and Weathers should be available so all in all, I have to say that we are in reasonable shape".

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Trewick's thoughts on the Play-offs

John Trewick, the Hereford United coach, has given his thoughts on the play-offs games against Stevenage to BBC Hereford and Worcester. Below is some of what he said.

"It's an interesting fixture. I think they will be more concerned about us than we are about them.

"Not that we are going to treat them lightly. They have got a lot of strengths. Anybody getting into the play-ofs has got to be a decent side.

"So we'll be preparing for it and we'll give it our best shot.

"They scored very late on in the home game. I think it was about the ninety third minute and I thought that was a bit harsh on us.

"We went down there and I thought we deserved our win. If we can repeat the same performance then we'll pose them one or two problems.

"They tend to be a little bit direct. They tend to look for knock-downs. They are a quite a physical side, so we do know what to expect.

"Their manager and coaching staff decide how they want to play. We'll be concentrating very much on ourselves and I think you'll not see anything different from us.

"We'll try and get the ball down whenever we can. We'll go forward when we can and hopefully keep clean sheets in the games which will give us every opportunity of getting the right results.

"The players are looking forward to it. I'm sure the spectators are looking forward to it. We've just got to go and do our very very best."

Meanwhile Hereford United's Official Forum has changed its address again. It can now be found at

All for good causes

Two Hereford United supporters, Amy Anning and Graham Hodges, are leaving Hereford early this Friday morning to be at Norwich Football Club by 8am in the first of twenty visits they are hoping to make to all the Premiership Football grounds.

By the end of Saturday they aim to have collected merchandise from every club.

Amy came up with the idea about two years ago going home from a Hereford United game. They expect to cover around 3,000 miles. and hope the traffic won't be too much of a problem.

The two supporters have arranged an auction at the Green Dragon Hotel in Hereford on May 11th to sell the merchandise and the Hereford United manager, Graham Turner, has agreed to host the auction which will start at 7pm.

"Every item that we sell, the profits will be split 50/50 between Cancer Research and Herefordshire's rural youth football clubs - the clubs that are forgotten on the map," Amy told BBC Hereford and Worcester.

Travel to Stevenage

The following is an updated version of an article that appeared on March 31st just before the last visit of Hereford United to Stevenage Borough.

Another long away trip for Hereford United fans this coming Bank Holiday Monday with the visit of the Bulls to Stevenage, which has one of the best grounds in the Conference.

Away fans are usually allocated the South Stand, with a seated capacity of 1400, behind the one goal. There is a very good view from this position compared with many other away ends.

To reach the Broadway Stadium, here are some edited details from Boroguide:

By Car:

Road - From the North, A1(M)

Coming from the North you'll need to make your way onto the A1(M). If you're coming from the M1 and aren't local, you're best advised to head East along the A14 at M1 J19 (M6 junction) for approximately 44 miles, then head south down the A1. Go for a further 34 miles to Stevenage South (Junction 7), take the first exit, and follow the signposts.

Road - From the South-West, A1(M) (probably the route most fans will travel from

Coming from the South-West you'll assumedly be coming around the M25 clockwise. If you're confident then you can cut past St. Albans at Junction 21a saving about 15 minutes on the A405/A414, joining the A1(M) at J3. Else, head on to Junction 23 of the M25 and join the A1(M) northbound at its source. Head up to Stevenage (Junction 7), take the third exit and follow the signposts.

Different Routes from Hereford:

Because it is Bank Holiday there may be delays on the roads. Some supporters prefer the Gloucester/A40/Oxford/M40/M25 route. Others will use the Worcester/M5/M42/M6/A14/A1/A1M route or a variation of this route.

It may be prudent to allow at least three and half hours from Hereford.

Car Parking:

Parking for Broadhall Way is fairly straightforward:
- Fairlands Valley Park car park (across the dual-carriageway from the entrance to the ground)
- Roaring Meg car park

When visiting Boro', there is generally a designated car park for fans to park in. This is the Fairlands Valley Car Park, and is easily reached. Exit the A1(M) (if from the west) at junction 7, and continue along the A602. At the second roundabout (Knebworth B197), carry on forward and shortly on your left will be the signposted car park.

However because of the large crowd expected for the game extra parking is available at the Roaring Meg Car Park. At the roundabout on which Broadhall Way sits, follow the signs for the Town Centre. Almost immediately on your left is a turning for the retail park which contains Burger King and Pizza Hut. Do NOT park in the car park by Focus Do It All, as they have warned that clamping is in operation.

By Train: (Please check details as services may be a curtailed on Bank Holiday Monday)

STEVENAGE sits on the East Coast Main Line, that is served by GNER on a national scale, and WAGN (or whatever the hell its now called) on a regional scale. WAGN trains run between KINGS CROSS and PETERBOROUGH/CAMBRIDGE, with tube connections at FINSBURY PARK (Victoria line to VICTORIA).

GNER trains run between KINGS CROSS and NEWCASTLE/DONCASTER/EDINBURGH. Stevenage Station is adjacent to the Town Centre, and 1 mile from the ground. It's walkable on a nice day in 15-20 minutes, although a taxi rank is provided or you can risk the buses (route 5 from bus stop E passes the ground) found by passing along the walkway through the Gordon Craig Leisure Centre.

By Coach:

HUISA are arranging coach travel as usual for Hereford fans. Please contact the club for more details on 01432 276666

Westfields prepared to wait

Westfields may have to wait until close to the start of next season before they face Hereford United in the final of the HFA County Senior Challenge Cup at Edgar Street reports the Worcester News.

Because Hereford have qualified for the Nationwide Conference play-offs, travelling to Stevenage next Monday and entertaining them the following Friday in the semi-finals they are unlikely to find time to play the final this season.

Westfields Chief executive Andy Morris said: "It is several years since we played Hereford United.

"With their involvement now in the Conference play-offs, the final may be held over until the start of next season.

"It could be a great curtain-raiser for the new season if we meet at Edgar Street, especially if they have achieved Football League status which we hope they do."

Officials announced for play-offs

The Football Conference have announced the referees and assistants for the play-offs. Supporters may be pleased to note that Mr Woolmer is not amidst them.

Play-Off -Semi-Final - First Leg - Monday 2 May 2005 - Kick-off 5pm

Stevenage Borough v Hereford United

Referee: Ray Lee (Essex)
Assistant Referee: Declan Ford (Berkshire)
Assistant Referee: Mike Blackledge (Cambridgeshire)
Reserve Official: Michael Murphy (West Midlands)

Play-Off Semi-Final - First Leg - Monday 2 May 2005 - Kick-Off 3pm

Aldershot Town v Carlisle United

Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire)
Assistant Referee: Gavin Muge (Bedfordshire)
Assistant Referee: John Cox (Worcestershire)
Reserve Official: Steve Dorr (Worcestershire)

Play-Off - Semi-Finals - Second Legs - Friday 6 May 2005 - Kick-off 7.45pm

Carlisle United v Aldershot Town

Referee: Stan Gate (Northumberland)
Assistant Referee: Gary Chapman (West Yorkshire)
Assistant Referee: Peter Quinn (Cleveland)
Reserve Official: Mark Haywood (West Yorkshire)

Hereford United v Stevenage Borough

Referee: Gary Sutton (Lincolnshire)
Assistant Referee: Mark Swift (Lincolnshire)
Reserve Official: Bob Pollock (Merseyside)

Promotion Final - Saturday 14 May 2005 - Stoke City FC - Kick-Off 7.30pm

Aldershot Town or Carlisle United v Hereford United or Stevenage Borough

Referee: Jon Moss (West Yorkshire)
Assistant Referee: Anthony Taylor (Manchester)
Assistant Referee: Alfred Greenwood (North Yorkshire)
Reserve Referee: Martin Yerby (Kent)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Everything you wanted to know about the Play-offs.

This edited article comes from BoroGuide:

Everything you wanted to know about the playoffs, but were afraid to ask.

Who's in them?
Hereford, Carlisle, Aldershot and Stevenage. Hereford finished second by virtue of a single point and so earn the right to play us over two legs with the perceived advantage of being at home in the second leg.

When are they?
The first leg is at Broadhall Way on Monday 2nd May at 5:00pm, with the return at Edgar Street, Hereford, at 7:45pm on Friday 6th May. The other semi-finals take place on the same days, and the winners then meet at the Promotion Final in Stoke at 7:45pm on Saturday 14th May.

Which games are being televised?
Boro's game at home to Hereford will be televised live on Sky Sports. Once the results of the first legs are known then Sky will make a decision as to which second leg to screen, depending on which game looks tastier. In the past they have shown both legs of one game once, and another time shown one leg of each semi, so it's not set in stone. The final will definitely be televised, again on Sky.

Home Leg - What's the cost?
This game is treated as a cup tie, and therefore Season Tickets, Supporters' Association discounts and discounted Family Admission will not apply. To sit down will cost £15 adult and £12 concessions, with the North and East terrace costing £12 adult, £8 concessions or £6 for U'14s. The same prices apply to Hereford supporters - the seated Buildbase stand will cost £15 adult and £10 concessions.

Away Leg - What's the cost?
According to the Hereford Official Site, the cost to sit is £15 adult and £10 concession, or to stand is £12 adult and £6 concession. We expect that Boro' fans will be sited in the traditional little corner of the Len Weston Stand (seats and terrace, view obstructed), as well as one half of the Meadowbank End (Blackfriars - ed), which you may remember standing on in the FA Cup match of 1997. Confirmation still awaited though.

What away goals / extra time rules are there?
In the event of a tie after 90 or 120 minutes of the second leg, away goals will not count double. Any extra time required following an aggregate draw will be a normal 15m each way affair with no silver or golden goal rules. Instead the tie will go to penalties if no winner is determined after extra time.

What about suspensions?
The playoffs act as a mere extension of the season, and therefore suspensions will still apply. Any outstanding suspensions will be served, and so Albert Jarrett will be banned for the first leg but available for the second. Boro' have no players who risk further suspensions for accumilated yellow cards, and so the only concern surrounds red cards picked up in the playoff games themselves, and these will be treated as per normal with suspensions following dismissal taking immediate effect.

How is the revenue split between the clubs?
From, "for the semi-finals, the net gate receipts are divided equally among the participating clubs, after deduction of allowable expenses and an unspecified levy to the Conference. For the final, the clubs act as agents for the Conference, and ticket fees go to a central pot. The money left after expenses and a levy for the Conference is split between the participating clubs. TV income is accounted for separately, and goes straight to the Conference."

Reserves win 2-0

Hereford United's reserves defeated Hednesford 2-0 last night at Edgar Street and so keep up their challenge to finish at or close to the top of their league.

According to a report posted by Keith Hall on the Independent Forum, the team was as follows:

1. Ben SCOTT
2. Kane Khaki
3. Lewis Jones
4. Bruce Wheeler
5. Mark Smith
6. Tony JAMES
8. Paul O'Brien
10. Daniel Lennon
11. Liam Givans

Subs (ALL Used)
12. Dave Hart
14. Adam Worton
15. Ashley Day

The goals were scored by Mark Smith and Andy Williams. Tony James made his first appearance for the Bulls since his injury but was subbed after 65 minutes.

If the reserves can defeat Bromsgrove this evening then the title could depend on Wednesday's game against Kidderminster which is to be played at Edgar Street starting at 7.30pm. Entrance, which costs £2 for adults and £1 for concessions, is through the Vice Presidents Club.

Please Note: Tonight's fixture in the Central Conference will now be played at the Victoria Ground, Bromsgrove with a 7.30pm kick-off.

HUISA coaches to Stevenage

Richard Burkin, who runs the HUISA travel, has announced the following:

Tickets for bus travel to Stevenage will be on sale in the
Vice-Presidents Club on Wednesday from 6:30pm until 8pm,
Price £15. You must have a ticket for the Stevenage game to
be able to book a seat on the bus.
If possible, please have the right money or a cheque made
payable to HUISA.
Sorry we have no credit card facilities.

Supporters will be pleased to know that Richard was voted "fan of the year" recently.

No Queues this evening

Supporters were still purchasing tickets from the Hereford United office in Blackfriars Street this evening but there were no queues.

The office was due to close at 8pm and will reopen in the morning (Tuesday) at 10am.

Season ticket holders are reminded that they must purchase before 5pm tomorrow (Tuesday) to ensure a ticket for the home leg of the Play-offs. It is understood that the Meadow End is close to selling out but there is room in other areas.

As regards purchasing tickets for the away end at Stevenage, supporters who hold season tickets or membership cards will need to bring them on Wednesday morning from 8.30am to obtain tickets. After 10am, remaining tickets will be sold.

Bulls News understands that the club may only sell one ticket for the game at Stevenage for each season ticket held.

The club shop was also open this evening.

Meanwhile at present Stevenage are selling tickets for the game to the general public. Their ticket Line number is 01438218062 and they will take credit cards. It may be sensible to try and have a seat close to the South Stand (Buildbase Stand) where the Hereford supporters will be.

Finally the Official Forum is back up but with a different address:

Stevenage Away Leg Details

The following is a copy from the Official Hereford United Website for the play-off game at Stevenage:

Away Leg Monday 2nd May 2005 - Kick off 5.00pm


Hereford have the best behaved players again

Hereford United have topped the discipline league for the season according to Confguide.

With just four red cards and thirty yellows, the Bulls are in line for the Discipline prize which is thought to be about £5,000.

Meanwhile it has been reported elsewhere that Sun Valley have increased their sponsorship of Hereford United from £30,000 per year to £35,000. A cheque was presented to the club last Saturday.

Craig Stanley is the player with the most starts for the Bulls this season in Conference games. He has only missed one match, that at Woking last week when he was out with a groin strain.

Please note: Reserve Games

The reserve game against Bromsgrove tomorrow (Tuesday) which was advertised to be played at Edgar Street is now at Bromsgrove.

Tonight's and Wednesday's games against Hednesford Town and Kidderminster Harries respectively are at Edgar Street with a 7.30pm start.

Bulls on Sky

Confguide are reporting that Sky are to televise the Stevenage v Hereford game on Bank Holiday Monday which is expected to mean that the game will commence at 5pm.

Meanwhile BBC Hereford and Worcester are set to broadcast the entire game on the internet as well as locally.

One defeat since January 22

Hereford United have only been defeated once since January 22nd and that was at Morecambe when late in the game Michael Twiss converted a dubious penalty.

Out of 16 games without defeat the Bulls have drawn 6 times and kept 11 clean sheets. They have scored 29 goals against 7 from their opponents.

This month Hereford have played 7 games without defeat. The stats look good with just 2 goals conceded, and 8 scored.

With that sort of record Graham Turner could be in line for the Conference Manager of the Month award but 15 points from 7 games isn't as good as for example Aldershot who only played 4 games but gained 10 points. Often after a manager receives the MOTM award his side drops points, so perhaps it would be better if Terry Brown of Aldershot is given the award.

Stevenage have finished their Conference campaign strongly. They have won their last 3 games and overall during April won 4 out of their 6 matches. However one of their defeats was against Hereford United.

And Stevenage don't have quite such a good goal difference for April as Hereford. The Boro scored 9, but let in 7.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Ticket information from Stevenage

This is an edited version of details for the Play-off match posted on the Official Stevenage Website:

Stevenage Borough have released details of ticket information for the important Play Off Semi Final 1st leg at Broadhall Way on Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May. A kick off time of either 3pm or 5pm will be announced by the Conference tomorrow (Monday).

The semi-final will be played on a cup tie basis. SA discounts and Family Tickets will not therefore be applicable and Season Tickets will not be valid. Admission prices for the matches at Stevenage and Hereford have been agreed between the clubs and the following prices will be valid for the match at Broadhall Way, Stevenage.

West and South Stands:

Adults £15
Concessions £12

North and East Terrace:

Adults £12
Concessions £8
Juniors (under 14) £6

1,400 Away tickets for the Buildbase Stand will be sent to Hereford on Monday and can only be purchased from Hereford United. Any unsold away tickets will be returned and placed on the away turnstiles on a first come, first served basis.

Chairman Phil Wallace told Webnews ''This semi-final play off is probably the biggest game in Stevenage Borough's history. A simple 1 in 4 chance to get into the Football League. We have just one home game to achieve that goal and we need everyone possible to be at that game to support the club. Hereford are a formidable side, but so are we and home support is going to be vital in our 2 semi final games. I would urge every Boro fan to spread the word; at work, at school, at the shops, down the pub, everywhere. Let's generate the best support we've had since Newcastle were here, to give us every chance to win our way through to the Promotion Final.

Play-offs will boost income

Although attendance figures at Edgar Street are down compared with last season, the income from the play-off games will once again boost the balances of Hereford United.

The total attendance for Conference games at Hereford this season was 64429 giving an average figure of 3068. This is 636 down on last years excellent figure of 3704, of a drop of just over 17%. Added to these figures is the attendance at cup games which in total, both home and away, is 20263. These gates are shared so income to the club will be based on just over 10,000 fans.

However, according to the Non-League Paper, both the games at Hereford and Stevenage are expected to gross around £60,000 each with the bonus of £5,000 per club assuming Sky televises one of the two games. They also suggest the club will make extra profit merchandising sales.

For Hereford they project an attendance of around 7,000. That figure is probably realistic as last season 7044 watched the Aldershot play-off game. With ticket prices from £15 down to £6, it is thought that £10 is an average entrance price, so may be their £60,000 will be exceeded.

Sales of programmes can be added to that figure, but it seems highly unlikely that club shops sales would rise to anything like the £20,000 Doncaster reportly made when they gained promotion from the Conference. In any case the club doesn't stock the shop with that much merchandise.

Meanwhile using figures either supplied by the home team or using best estimates, the average away following of Hereford United supporters for this season is 404.

Turner and Westley, the two Grahams

Both Graham Turner and Graham Westley have spoken about the play-offs after yesterday's games which resulted in Hereford United being drawn against Stevenage Borough in the Conference play-offs.

"It will be a cracking contest," Westley told the Non-League Paper."We are coming into form and hopefully our best is yet to come.

"We're 1-1 with Hereford across the season. We won up there and they beat us down here."

However Stevenage could only defeat bottom team Leigh RMI 2-0 with the second goal coming on 90 minutes. Reports suggest that they struggled to finish off part-time Leigh.

Meanwhile Turner commented that although he thought Hereford should have scored, he was pleased with the result against Accrington.

"It would have been nice to have finished with a win but it turns out a point was good enough for second place.

"It was another solid defensive display although we might have taken one of a couple of good chances in the second half.

"Now we've got to plan for Stevenage and get the right result."

Of the two other sides in the play-offs Terry Brown, the Aldershot manager, was more upbeat than Paul Simpson, the Carlisle manager.

"When you think that a team with the quality and calibre of Morecambe have not made it and Exeter City, who held Manchester United to a draw, have not made it, you can only be proud of the boys," said Brown.

Carlisle were defeated at home by Exeter and Simpson wasn't happy.

"We've let ourselves down today. You can't switch it on when you fancy it and switch off for games that don't seem to matter much," he commented.

Play-off Dates:

First Leg - Monday May 2nd Kick-off times to be confirmed.

Stevenage v Hereford
Aldershot v Carlisle

Second Leg - Friday May 6th Kick-off 7.45pm

Hereford v Stevenage
Carlisle v Aldershot.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Three weeks ago Stevenage lost to the Bulls

It's only three weeks since Hereford United went to Hertfordshire and defeated Stevenage.

It is interesting to look back at that game and the result for several reasons. Firstly the Bulls were without two players because of suspension and secondly because several players were unfit. Yet Hereford managed to win 1-0 with a Adam Stansfield goal.

The Bulls News report started as follows:

Hereford United collected an excellent three points against play off rivals Stevenage Borough at Broadhall Way this afternoon. The victory means three straight league wins for United and three clean sheets for 'keeper Craig Mawson. It is hoped that they will use this platform to put together a sequence, like last season, as they make a final push for the end of season play offs.

With Danny Carey-Bertram and Leroy Williams suspended, Graham Turner decided to draft in Lee Mills from the subs bench to partner Adam Stansfield in the attack. Danny Williams was back after an ankle injury, but could only make the bench as did Simon Travis, who had a late fitness test.

Hopefully by next Monday week all the squad will be fit and ready for the first game against Stevenage.

Ticket details are expected to be announced on Monday. The allocation for Hereford will be at least 1,400, which United will probably sell out quite easily. There is a small possibility that they will be allocated an extra couple of hundred seats running alongside the pitch, but this is not comfirmed.

Bulls are runners up again

Picture copyright

Hereford United finished their 2004/2005 Conference campaign by clinching second place in the league for a second season in a row following their 0-0 draw with Accrington Stanley at Edgar Street this afternoon. With Carlisle slipping up at Brunton Park against Exeter City, the Bulls needed only a point to take second. Thus, United will face fifth place, Stevenage Borough, in the play offs.

The Bulls made two changes to the side that played on Tuesday night with Craig Stanley named in the midfield in the place of Jamie Pitman and with Danny Williams returning from injury. Brian Smikle was not included in the squad. For Accrington, David Brown started against his former club. Maybe he is regretting making the move now as it's his former and not his current club that have a chance of making it back into the Football League.

The first half reflected the importance of the game, with no real incident and both sets of players appearing to take it easy. Lee McEvily struck the first effort for the visitors over from a tight angle before Brown's shot skidded just wide of an upright from twenty five yards. Ian Craney met Ryan Green's headed clearance with a first time effort that was off target before United's first shot with around twenty minutes gone. Stansfield touched Tamika Mkandawire's long ball down for Danny Carey-Bertram but his left footed drive was easy for Danny Alcock.

Mkandawire headed a half chance wide at the far post after Mark Robinson's free kick moments prior to Carey-Bertram picking out Danny Williams at the far post but his powerful header was well saved by Alcock. Hereford had a good shout for a penalty at the end of the first half but referee Amy Rayner waved away appeals when Carey-Bertram turned his man and appeared to be tripped following the best move of the half.

Leroy Williams was introduced at half time and Stansfield was taken off, it is thought just as a precaution with the important play off clashes forthcoming. Chris Bulter was replaced moments after half time by fan's favourite Rory Prendergast. Craig Stanley had a superb chance to open the scoring but having rounded the 'keeper failed to convert from two yards out. Johnathan Smith was on the line to clear the tame effort. Two minutes later Andy Tretton had a fantastic chance but Alcock pulled off a brilliant instinctive save. Rob Purdie had won the corner following a fast break on the left and he'd crossed for Tretton to head towards goal.

The Bulls had another good appeal for a penalty turned down soon after. A mix up between Alcock and a defender led to Leroy Williams picking up the ball, before being tackled. Green collected and advanced into the area where he lifted the ball over the onrushing goalie and was tripped but the referee ignored the claims. At the other end McEvily shot wide across the face of the goal in what was a much more entertaining second period. Carey-Bertram did well to get a shot in with his back to goal but failed to trouble the 'keeper. John Coleman bought Paul Cook on for the visitors then Danny Williams fired a free kick into the arms of Alcock before United made their two final changes. Lee Mills and Jamie Pitman came on for Hyde and Carey-Bertam.

Mills got involved straight away and had two or three good efforts in his ten minutes or so on the pitch. Leroy Williams' twenty five yarder was deflected behind for a corner, taken by Robinson, which led to another penalty appeal for the home side. Claims were led by most of the Hereford players in the box as the ball appeared to come off an Accrington arm but the referee waved play on and Tretton volleyed against the legs of a defender. Purdie's corner was touched on by a defender and fell to Stanley but his week volley was caught. Mills cracked a volley from thirty yards wide before the final whistle sounded.

The match had an end of season feel to it but the two sets of fans in a crowd of 3,738, including 206 in the away end, made one of the best atmosphere's that has been heard at Edgar Street this season. It was the third highest crowd for the Bulls this campaign. However, it will probably be nothing compared to what is in store in the next two games for Hereford as they look to continue their charge back to the Football League.

HUFC Team: Mawson, Green, Tretton, Mkandawire, Robinson, Purdie, Stanley, Hyde, Danny Williams, Stansfield, Carey-Bertram. Subs: Travis, Scott, Pitman, Mills, Leroy Williams.

ASFC Team: Alcock, Howarth, Smith, Flynn, Butler, Brown, Craney , Proctor, Roberts, Mullin, McEvilly. Subs: Kennedy, Jagielka, Prendergast, Cook, Brannan.

It's Stevenage in the Play-offs

Hereford United will face Stevenage Borough in the play-offs for a place in the Conference final.

The Bulls drew 0-0 this afternoon with Accrington Stanley, but have finished second in the League as Carlisle were defeated by Exeter. Full report shortly.

Aldershot won their game against Scarborough, but Morecambe lose out as they could only draw at Tamworth. Stevenage defeated Leigh RMI to reach fifth place.

The Top of the Conference:

1 Barnet 42 46 86
2 Hereford 42 27 74
3 Carlisle 42 37 73
4 Aldershot 42 16 73
5 Stevenage 42 13 72
6 Exeter 42 21 71
7 Morecambe 42 19 71

"I think second is great," John Trewick told BBC Hereford and Worcester. "It gives everybody a lift, and it's Stevenage in the play-offs."

Although Graham Turner used three substitutions this afternoon, all Hereford's players came through the game with Accrington without injury according to Trewick, the Hereford United coach.

"Danny Williams has had a full game and Leroy Williams has had a good half and I think the injuries are clearing up not too bad.

"Simon Travis has a little bit of a problem with his groin area but we are trying to manage that and Tony James is on the way back."

Fans want a win today says Hyde

Graham Hyde, the Hereford United midfielder, has told BBC Hereford and Worcester that the Bulls will try to win today and hope they can go second in the Conference table.

"We've been asked to win for the fans and finish up on a high note. Hopefully we'll try and get second place, but the main thing is that we have got in the Play-offs," said Hyde.

Graham Turner is also looking for a win to keep his squad's good run going.

"We should not be fearing anybody because we have played and won some very difficult games of late," Turner told the Western Daily Press..

"The players deserve enormous credit for their efforts but our fans also deserve a lot for the way they have got behind us."

Meanwhile David Brown is hoping that the reception he will receive at Edgar Street will be good. He told the Worcester News that it will be a strange feeling to wear red and white on the Hereford pitch.

"Hopefully, I'll get a good reception but you never know when you go to one of your previous clubs," explained Brown.

"I scored a lot of goals at Hereford and hope the fans appreciate what I did. I've got plenty of good memories and a lot of friends there.

"It will be a bit strange because I spent my last two years there and enjoyed so many good times. To go back there with another team will feel a bit odd.

"Hopefully, it will be a good game. It's just a shame on our part that there's nothing to play for. Hereford are in the play-offs and good luck to them."

Remembering last season Brown said that Hereford might need a hugh chunk of luck to gain promotion.

"Last year, many backed us (Hereford) to get promoted through the play-offs because we finished 17 points clear of Shrewsbury who were in third. They ended up getting promoted and sneaking in.

"It's a bit of a lottery. We won our last 12 games last season. But it does not necessarily mean going into the play-offs on a good run will get you promoted. You do need a little bit of luck.

"That's what Hereford lacked last year, with Andy Tretton getting sent off, and we had a bit of a dodgy referee in the second play-off."

Friday, April 22, 2005

Kiddy's loss could be Bulls' gain

BBC Midlands cameras have been at Edgar Street and this evening showed pictures and interviews from the ground.

Their story was based around the possibility of Hereford United replacing Kidderminster Harries in the Football League next season.

Kiddy need to win all three of their remaining matches and hope that Rushden slip up to have any chance of avoiding the drop to the Conference whereas the Bulls are already in the Play-offs with one game to play.

With pictures of the team, including Tony James, training in the background, the cameras focused on Graham Hyde.

"The League table doesn't lie," commented Hyde. "We've played 41 games and are third in the table and we've got a good group of players here.

"I think a lot of players deserve a chance in the league."

After the reporter mentioned how the Bulls missed out last year, the camera turned to Graham Turner.

"I think it took some getting over. I think the players have done remarkably well to recover from that.

"New players have come in and settled down well and to get to the play-ofs is quite an acheivement," said Turner.

The report went on to mention the plans to rebuild the crumbling terraces at Edgar Street with pictures showing what needed to be done.

"In a way Kidderminster's loss could become Hereford's gain," said the reporter.

Meanwhile John Trewick was pictured talking about the plight of West Bromwich and
the career of Bryan Robson.

TV Coverage of Play-offs.

The Football Conference have issued the following press statement about the play-offs.

CONFERENCE: Play-offs Update

The Nationwide Conference play-offs will be played as follows:

Semi-Final First Leg Ties - Monday 2nd May
One of these ties will be shown live on Sky Sports - probably with a 5pm kick-off. (TBC)

Semi-Final Second Leg Ties - Friday 6th May
Both matches commencing at 7.45pm with one being shown live on Sky Sports.

Promotion Final - Saturday 14th May (at Stoke City)
This match will kick-off at 7:30pm and will be shown live on Sky Sports

In the Semi-Final second legs and the Promotion Final, should a match end in a draw after 90 minutes play, two extra periods of 15 minutes each will be played. If the scores are still level after 30 minutes extra time the tie will be decided by penalty kicks in accordance with International Football Board Decisions.

At present therefore it is uncertain at what time the Hereford United away game will start. It could be either 3pm or 5pm. The home leg is still expected to commence at 7.45pm.

As regards the final start time there is still some uncertainty. The Sky TV guide says that the Conference Play-off coverage starts at 2.30pm, which presumes a 3pm kick-off. They are covering the Coca-Cola League Play-off Semi-finals on the same day on the same channel with start times of 12noon and 6pm.

However the TV guide may have been printed several days ago and events may have changed since.

The Conference have also clarified the position over the rules about final positions in the League.

With various outcomes still possible in the battle for the two remaining play-off places on Saturday, it's a good time to highlight the rules regarding finishing positions in the Nationwide Conference.

Of course, the Club with the most points will finish in the highest position. If however, two clubs have equal points the following criteria will be used in order to determine finishing positions:

Goal Difference - achieved by taking the number of goals conceded away from the number scored. The club with the highest number will be the higher placed.

If the goal difference is equal then the Club who has scored the most goals will be the higher placed.

If goal difference and goals scored are both equal, then the club attaining the highest number of wins in the playing season (42 Conference matches) will be the higher placed.

If after all of the above two clubs still have equal records then a single leg play-off on a neutral ground will be scheduled for Tuesday/Wednesday 27 or 28 April to decide the higher placed club. Should three or more clubs have equal playing records lots will be drawn to decide who plays who.

Relax tomorrow before the play-offs

John Trewick, the Hereford United coach, has told BBC Hereford and Worcester that his team can relax a little before the play-offs begin.

"For the last six or seven games everybody has realised the importance of each occasion and as in every season I think that the team that holds it's nerve and can approach it mentally in a strong fashion can often get through.

"You have to be relaxed but focused at the same time. It's a hard little balance to get sometimes."

Meanwhile Danny Williams is reported to be fit again after picking up an injury at Halifax last Saturday.

As regards Accrington, Ged Brannan returns from suspension however there are injury doubts over Peter Cavanagh, Mike Flynn and Robbie Williams.

Bulls could go second

The final day of the Conference League season, tomorrow afternoon, will see both Hereford United and Accrington Stanley trying to push themselves as far up the table as possible. The Bulls will be eager to secure second place but will have to hope that Carlisle falter at home to Exeter in order to do so. Accrington cannot make the play offs following their home draw against Aldershot in the week, so perhaps this game means less to them.

The sides will be fairly familiar with each other as they have already met three times this campaign, including twice in the Trophy. The Conference fixture early in the season resulted in a 2-1 home win for Stanley in front of Sky TV cameras with an early and late goal being seperated by David Brown's goal. David Brown is now a member of the Accrington squad and will no doubt be eager to put one past his old club.

Stanley manager John Coleman will have Ged Brannan back from suspension but defender Peter Cavanagh (leg) is a doubt, while midfielder Matt O'Neill has returned to Burnley following the end of his loan spell.

Tony James is training with the Hereford squad once again but is short of match fitness so it is thought that he will not play much, if any, of the game although a short spell may aid his comeback. However, when he does return to fitness he, despite being the club captain, will have a difficult task in budging Andy Tretton or Tamika Mkandawire out of the side as they have formed an excellent partnership at the back for the Bulls.

Graham Turner will have to make the decision whether to play a lesser side so as not to risk any injuries with the massive play off ties approaching, although there is a nine day break between the end of the league season to the play off first leg date. If he does several players will be looking to get a run out to impress including on loan striker Leroy Williams. However, Turner also have the option to stick to as strong a side as he can manage and push for the second place finish.

A relatively large crowd is expected at Edgar Street as Accrington have put on free coach travel for fans going to Hereford but these numbers may have been dented because Stanley cannot make the top five any more. However a good turn is expected from the home supporters for the last league game at Edgar Street for this season and because play off tickets go on sale from 12 noon, although some may choose to keep their cash for the play off matches.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Hereford reach final

Hereford United reached the final of the HFA Senior Invitation Cup with a 4-1 win over Kington Town at Edgar Street this evening. Danny Lemon netted the first two and the others were scored by Andy Williams and an own goal.

Ben Scott was captain this evening but in general the team was comprised of players from the youth squad other than striker Andy Williams, who was replaced after sustaining an injury in the build up to the fourth goal. Sam Gwynne, who was named on the bench in a couple of league games earlier in the season, was also among the starters.

The attendance was 257.

It is beleived that the final of this Cup may be played as a pre-season game in late July or early August.

Westfields are the other finalists.

UPDATE: Friday Midday.

The Hereford United team last night as posted by Keith Hall on the Independent Forum was as below:

1. Ben Scott (c)
2. Lewis Jones
3. Paul Collins
4. Sam Gwynne
5. Mark Smith
6. James Holmes
7. Stuart Bridges
8. Paul O'Brien
9. Andy Williams
10. Daniel Lennon
11. Jamie Gleeson
12. Kane Khaki
13. Karl Lewis
14. Adam Worton
15. Paul Allam
Used: Khaki, Allam, Worton.

Jones, Collins, Gwynne, Smith, Khaki, Allam and Worton are all part of the Hereford United Youth set up coached by Gary Stevens.
O'Brien was a trialist after being released by Birmingham City and Newcastle United.

Bulls await name of Play-off opponents

The outcome of several Conference games on Saturday will be awaited by Hereford fans looking to see whom the Bulls will face in the play-offs. The result of the Carlisle and Hereford games will determine which of the two clubs is in second or third position. The only certainty at present is that they can not meet each other in first part of the play-offs.

The club that is second in the final Conference table plays the team that gets to fifth position, and the third placed side plays the fourth team.

Carlisle and Hereford currently have the same number of points but the Cumbrians have a much better goal difference. If the results are the same on Saturday for both teams then Carlisle will finish second and the Bulls third.

Hereford entertain Accrington Stanley (A preview will be published tomorrow) whilst Carlisle play Exeter. The Grecians have to win their game and hope other teams slip up to have any chance of making the play-offs.

Carlisle manager Paul Simpson told the News and Star that his side didn't realish the prospect of a 700 mile trip to Exeter (7th) for a play-off game on Bank Holiday monday which could happen if Carlisle lose the game.

"We are aiming to finish with a victory and end Exeter's play-off hopes in the process.

"We want to finish as high as we can and we require three points to ensure we keep hold of second place ahead of Hereford."

However Lee Phillips, the Exeter forward has other ideas.

"There is always one team that sneaks it at the end and hopefully we can be that team. We have certainly given ourselves a chance having won our last two games."

It could be a close call at Brunton Park.

Morecambe (4th) are away at Tamworth (15th). The Lambs announced this week that veteran striker Bob Taylor has agreed a new 12-month deal to keep him at the club and this news could inspire the Lambs to curtail Morecambe's play-off hopes.

Aldershot (5th) have a home game against Scarborough (13th). They need to win this game as a draw might not be enough to secure a place in the play-offs. The Shots are keen to return to League Football after missing out last year. It is thirteen years since Aldershot were forced to resign from the League.

Stevenage (6th) probably have the easiest game of the challengers as they are at home to Leigh RMI. It will be a real upset if they can't defeat the Railwaymen.

Elsewhere Woking (8th) travel to Halifax (10th). The Shaymen cannot make the play-offs but Woking could if others lose their games. However for the Cards to make it firstly they need three points and secondly Morecambe, Aldershot, Stevenage or Exeter all need to drop points. As Halifax appear to have little to play for a win for Woking is a probability.

So who will Hereford face in the play-offs? If our hunch is correct then Stevenage might just make fifth spot above Morecambe and Hereford finish third, then it will be Aldershot. But in truth no-one knows for sure. We will just have to wait until around 4.50pm on Saturday.

The fixture list for Saturday is as below:

Aldershot v Scarborough
Carlisle v Exeter
Dag & Red v Barnet
Forest Green v Canvey Island
Gravesend v Burton Albion
Halifax v Woking
Hereford v Accrington Stanley
Northwich v Crawley Town
Stevenage v Leigh RMI
Tamworth v Morecambe
York v Farnborough

More information about the Play-offs.

In addition to the details printed in a previous article, Hereford United have announced that they will accept postal applications for tickets for the home leg of the play-offs.

Please send a cheque with the request for tickets as soon as possible and a stamped addressed envelope would be appreciated. Don't forget to say where you want to be in the ground.

As regards supporters wanting to purchase tickets on Saturday, ideally only cash as this will speed up the process. Please do not telephone the club from midday with any queries as the staff will be very busy.

Details about the away game will be available early next week.

Meanwhile entrance to the cup game with Kington this evening will cost £7. Concessions will be £4. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Turner looks to future

Graham Turner has once again spoken of what needs to be done at Edgar Street to bring the ground and facilities up to Football League standard.

Writing in the Hereford Times, he reveals that work is complete on the extension to the dressing room, but goes on to list other matters that need attention.

"Floodlights have to be upgraded and the standard of the ground itself has to meet certain criteria.

"The big aspect of Football League membership is the term of the lease on the ground. There is a minimum of ten years' occupancy and at the moment we would be just inside that limit.

"To further improve the ground to meet the criteria there is money available from the Football Foundation in grants for different projects but I beleive there is a minimum of a twenty-one year lease required before substantial grants would be available.

"The complication is that we are the sub-tenants and we have to request the developers to apply to Herefordshire Council for an extension to the lease.

Turner says this has been done but not yet agreed. However he is hopeful that an extension will be "granted fairly quickly". If so thought can be given to "improving facilities for supporters".

He went on to reaffirm his hope that the two ends of the ground can be redeveloped.

Play off second leg ticket arrangements

The details of the ticket arrangements for Hereford United's play off second leg have been released on the Official Hereford United website. The match is scheduled for May 6th, kick off 7.45 p.m.

They will be on sale from Saturday afternoon before the game against Accrington Stanley. The ticket office will be open from twelve noon until 3 p.m. Tickets will then be on sale on Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. untill 8 p.m. From Wednesday April 27th any remaining tickets will be sold from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day or until every ticket is sold.

Season ticket holders are guaranteed a ticket as long as they purchase it before TUESDAY APRIL 26TH, 5 p.m.

The ticket prices are as follows:

Terrace £12 Concessions £6
Stands £15 Concessions £10

Suspensions may not help Hereford

Although Carlisle had two players sent off last night and Aldershot had one shown a red, it is unlikely that these players will miss any games against Hereford United should the teams meet in the play-offs.

The latest suspensions list for clubs Hereford may face as per Confguide is below:

Start Date 20th April:
cowan, tom carlisle united 1 game for a sending off
giles, chris aldershot town 1 game for a sending off
livesey, danny carlisle united 2 games for a sending off

17th April:
jarrett, albert stevenage borough 3 games for a sending off

Should Stevenage be drawn against Hereford then Jarrett would miss the first leg.

500 happy Hereford fans last night

457 happy Hereford United supporters were counted into the Woking ground last night. The support both at Woking and Halifax was superb.

UPDATE. Count increased to 500.

Information from a Bulls fan suggests that there were 40 or so Hereford United fans in the big stand behind the goal.

Unfortunately Bulls News did over estimate the support at the Shay. The correct figure for those behind the goal was 395 with a further 25 or so seated making around 420 for that game.

Meanwhile Hereford United face Kington Town tomorrow evening at Edgar Street in the Herefordshire Cup semi-final.

The Bulls are expected to put out a reserve side for this match.

Who else will make the play-offs?

There are five other teams who could make the play-offs in addition to Carlisle and Hereford United. They are Morecambe, Aldershot, Stevenage, Exeter, and Woking.

The fixture list for Saturday is as below:

Aldershot v Scarborough
Carlisle v Exeter
Dag & Red v Barnet
Forest Green v Canvey Island
Gravesend v Burton Albion
Halifax v Woking
Hereford v Accrington Stanley
Northwich v Crawley Town
Stevenage v Leigh RMI
Tamworth v Morecambe
York v Farnborough

Aldershot should beat Scarborough, whereas Morecambe could find Tamworth a difficult side to defeat.

Stevenage should overcome Leigh RMI, however Exeter face a difficult trip to Carlisle. Woking travel to Halifax, who were defeated by Farnborough yesterday, and might fancy their chances at the Shay.

So at present it looks as though Aldershot will be favourites to make the play-offs and could be joined by either Morecambe or Stevenage.

All will be revealed just before 5pm on Saturday.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Hereford cement play off finish

Hereford United guaranteed themselves a top three finish with a draw at Kingfield last night, which further dented Woking's chances of making the play offs although they do still have a chance. A draw was probably a fair reflection of the game however, United will be dissatisfied with the way they conceded the win late on.

Graham Turner made a triple change to the side that began Saturday's victory at Halifax. Danny Williams, injured against the Shaymen, was withdrawn from the squad and the services of Brian Smikle were called upon and he went straight into the first eleven. Craig Stanley was named on the bench for the first time as a Hereford United player as, it is thought, a precaution to rest his groin injury. Jamie Pitman, who was rested with his troublesome shoulder injury last weekend, was recalled in his place. The other change was in the attack; Danny Carey-Bertram was preferred to the more physical approach of Lee Mills.

When the game finally go underway following a ten minute delay due to the late flood of travelling fans, the hosts began well throwing, as expected, everything they had at Hereford to enhance their promotion chances. They failed to create anything clear cut and it was the Bulls who went close firstly. Rob Purdie, who caused problems down the left all night, dinked a ball over to Adam Stansfield and put in a difficult cross. Goalkeeper Adriano Basso hesitated before getting a late touch on the ball and Jon Boardman cleared. Stansfield had an even better chance soon after; Robinson delivered a free kick onto the chest of Tamika Mkandawire who drilled the ball back across goal but Stansfield managed to lift the ball over the bar from six yards.

Man of the match Purdie was felled as he set off on another run resulting in a yellow card for Karl Murray, who bought him down on the left. The free kick was half cleared to Hyde, who chipped a ball into the box but Andy Tretton headed off target. Robinson's good set plays continued and he almost netted from a tight angle, but the ball flashed wide of the far post with Carey-Bertram lurking. A rare poor pass by Mkandawire out of the defence present Chris Sharpling with a good chance, after Ian Selley's cross, but he volleyed over.

Hyde, instrumental in the middle for the Bulls, filed a good ball into the feet of Carey-Bertram who turned his man before firing in a low effort, which was met by a good save. This turned out to be one of Bassano's last incidents as he was replaced on the stroke of half time because of injury. Shwan Jalal stepped in for him. Before the half was out Neil Smith was carded.

Woking almost took the lead moments after the restart when Raphael Nade had his deflected shot turned around the post by Craig Mawson. Carey-Bertram replied at the other end with an effort from twenty yards, which flew into the arms of Jalal although it took a deflection on its way to goal. Robinson's corner was met by Mkandawire's head but he was denied by a goal line clearance by Stephen Evans. Smith was replaced by Simon Jackson for the Cards as they looked to get some reward for their possession but they still created little, Murray's thirty yard volley went wide before Carey-Bertram found space to cross from the left but his strike partner's header was wide of the mark.

Hyde found the run of Carey-Bertram with a superbly timed through ball into the area and the youngster went down under the challenge of Boardman but the referee signalled for a corner. Tretton got his head to the corner but it seemed to hit the arm of a defender but again the ref gave another corner. Moments later Woking took a quick free kick which was taken down by Nade, who skinned Tretton before cutting back to the far post but Pitman was there to hook clear. Hereford's first change came with fifteen minutes left, Simon Travis took Smikle's place at the same time of Woking's introduction of Amos Foyewa.

Evans shot on the turn after a small scramble on the edge of the Hereford box was luckily straight at Mawson moment before the deadlock was broken, with just eight minutes remaining. At the other end Hyde spread the ball to the left for Stansfield, who delivered a perfect cross for Carey-Bertram and he volleyed in from eight yards much to the delight of the 457 away fans who knew now that their side would surely be in the play offs again.

Carey-Bertram was taken off with five minutes left and Leroy Williams took his place but then the Bulls found themselves pegged back on level terms once again. Tretton, who'd been solid alongside Mkandawire, turned a cross behind for a corner but Boarman flew in at the far post to head home Selley's cross, sending the home fans in the crowd of 3,298.

As Carlisle conceded late on as well at Barnet, it means that United remain in third place, which is guaranteed for them now. They are still level on point with Carlisle, meaning they can steel second place from them on the last day. Many at Woking commented that the Bulls played some of the best football they'd seen this season although some of the Hereford fans will argue that they were not at their best. Woking can still make the play offs but they have a tough task on the last day as they hope other results go their way as well as beating Halifax at The Shay.

HUFC Team: Mawson, Green, Tretton, Mkandawire, Robinson, Smikle, Pitman, Hyde, Purdie, Carey-Bertram, Stansfield. Subs: Travis, Stanley, Scott, Mills, L Williams.

WFC: Basso, Smith, Boardman, MacDonald, Evans, Murray, Selley, Sharpling, Oliver, Nade, Richards. Subs: Gosling, Jalal, Jackson, Foyewa, Louis.

Hereford secure Play-off place

Hereford United drew with Woking 1-1 last evening at the Kingsfield Stadium.

Danny Carey-Bertram scored the Bulls goal in the second half but sustained Cards pressure resulted in a late equaliser.

The result means that although Hereford stay in third position they have secured a play-off place. Around 500 Bulls supporters watched the game.

The start was delayed by ten minutes because of both loudspeaker problems and crowd congestion. Some 100 Hereford fans were still waiting to enter the ground at 7.45pm.

Woking started the game well and it took Hereford ten or fifteen minutes to settle but afterwards the Bulls looked more likely to score.

Full report late this afternoon.

Other results last night included:

Barnet 1 Carlise 1
Accrington Stanley 3 Aldershot 3
Crawley Town 1 Stevenage 2
Farnborough 3 Halifax 2
Morecambe 3 Forest Green 1

Latest Table:

1 Barnet 41 48 86
2 Carlisle 41 39 73
3 Hereford 41 27 73
4 Morecambe 41 19 70
5 Aldershot 41 14 70
6 Stevenage 41 11 69
7 Exeter 41 19 68
8 Woking 41 15 68
9 Accrington Stanley 41 14 64
10 Halifax 41 16 63

There is a full programme of Conference games on Saturday. It looks likely that the Bulls will finish either second or third. Fans will be watching to see which team ends the season in fourth and fifth to see whom the Bulls play in the play-offs. At present two of the five teams from 4th to 8th can make it.