Saturday, December 31, 2005

Ipoua: Clarification Of FA Rules

Bulls News has stated that Guy Ipoua is likely to be available for Monday's match against Forest Green Rovers.

Providing a case for wrongful dismissal has been submitted, that will be the case. The FA rules are as follows:

(i) Should a Club have two FTCMs (First Team Competitive Matches) with no, or insufficient, working days in between for the claim for wrongful dismissal to be notified, lodged and heard by a Disciplinary Commission, the following will apply:

I. Where there are no working days between two matches and a Club wishes to make a claim for wrongful dismissal, the Club shall notify The Association by fax and e-mail (using the contact details as set out in (d) hereabove) within 24 hours of the dismissal. If, and only if, this notification is appropriately submitted, the Player will be eligible to play in the second match. Submission of evidence and the fee will still be required by 12 noon on the second working day as set out in (d) hereabove.

II. Where there are insufficient working days between two matches for a Disciplinary Commission to decide on a claim for wrongful dismissal, the timetable for notification and submission as set out in (d) hereabove will still apply. However, a Player will be eligible to play in matches prior to the decision of the Disciplinary Commission, provided the claim for wrongful dismissal has been appropriately notified.

Conference Results Round Up

Grays (3rd) and Stevenage (7th) shared the points in a 2-2 draw that was probably the best result for the Bulls. New signing Jefferson Louis scoring a late equaliser for Stevenage.

Forest Green beat Aldershot 4-2. Guy Madjo, obviously forgiven for his late appearance on Boxing Day, started and scored twice, but missed a late penalty. The game was twice stopped due to floodlight failure and finished nearly an hour late. Aldershot also conceded four on Boxing Day, against Exeter.

Cambridge beat Canvey 3-1 with Fola Obibuje scoring twice. Tamworth and Altrincham drew 1-1, as did York (8th) and Morecambe (4th). Woking (9th) and Dagenham drew 0-0.

Elding set to leave Stevenage

Anthony Elding is set to leave Stevenage as long as Graham Westley can obtain around £75.000 for the out of favour striker.

Crawley offered £50,000 some weeks ago but talks between the two clubs stumbled.

After last nights defeat by Hereford, Exeter are rumoured to be interested but maybe not be able to afford the 23 year-old who is said to be on good money at Broadhall Way.

However the Grecians manager Alex Inglethorpe was keeping his cards close to his chest when he spoke to the Exeter Express and Echo.

"What would I sign him with? How would I finance that one? Unless I was to sell someone.

"But I definitely don't want to get rid of Craig Farrell, Lee Phillips, Jamie Mackie or Steve Flack and you can put Craig Watkins into that as well."

Elding failed to turn up for training this week. Manager Graham Westley wasn't happy.

"Anthony can stay away now and if he does return he will train with the reserves or the youth team.

"I am never going to put a Boro shirt on his back again. That would be unfair to the other players here who have worked hard.

"We all have to go through traumas in our lives but he decided to stay at home and I never gave him permission to do that, it was his choice."

There are rumours that Crawley may bid again for Elding. Other clubs are said to be interested.

The Perfect Day says Jeannin

Alex Jeannin, the Hereford United defender who scored against his previous club last night, spoke about his day as reported by the Exeter Express and Echo after the game.

"That was a perfect day," said Jeannin.

"What a day it was for me.

"It was a great way to celebrate my birthday, coming back to St James's Park after two great seasons and scoring a free-kick to help us get three points.

"It could not have got any better - it was a perfect day.

"That was definitely our best result of the season. It was not the best performance, but was a very important result.

"We showed great character, worked very hard and in the end I don't think there was any doubt we deserved the three points.

"Exeter didn't create too much, they played the long ball to Flackie when he came on, but we dealt with him well, won a lot of headers and were very strong."

Steve Perryman, the Exeter director of football, also spoke. He admitted that the sending off of Hereford's Guy Ipoua didn't help their cause.

"In some respects it made it more difficult for us," said Perryman.

"They were very organised at the back, defended well and kept the ball well up front. Fair play to them they had a good day.

"We did not have quite enough quality in the end to make the difference.

"We have been beaten by a set-piece goal, a set piece goal we know all about, Alex Jeannin used to do that for us - maybe we should have given him a second year!"

Half Time Report

With half the Conference season now gone, the Bulls are just two points shy of last seasons tally at this stage.

This season we have played one less home game than last season - effectively swapping a home win for an away draw in the comparative tables. Taking the missing home game into account, we have scored about the same amount of goals at home as last season with 14 from 10 games this season against 16 from 11 last time.

However, away from home we are eight goals short of last seasons tally - even with an extra away game. Removing the last 'additional' away match, the 2-2 draw with FGR, our away points tally is identical to last season despite the lack of goals. That tally is more impressive when you look at the opposition played - having travelled to three of the top six clubs this season, but only two of them at the same stage last season.

This season, nine clubs have 30 points or more. Last season, it was 14. Last season, no-one outside the top seven at the halfway stage made the play-offs. Down the bottom, the bottom club at halfway was relegated as the bottom side in each of the last three seasons.

Conference Results Round Up

With Accrington's game at Southport called off they remain two points clear at the top, but now have two games in hand over Exeter. Grays can draw level with Exeter if they beat Stevenage today.

Halifax (4th) beat Scarboro by a single goal, and Burton beat Kidderminster by the same margin to move into the top half of the table. The only other game, Gravesend vs Crawley, was also called off.

The Bulls are now 6th, two points off the play-offs.

Ipoua expected to start on Monday

Whatever the outcome of Guy Ipoua's red card last night, it is expected he will be able to play for Hereford United against Forest Green Rovers on Monday.

Any appeal about the card can not take place until Tuesday.

However last night could have been Darren Blewitt's last game for the Bulls. The defender came on in the second-half to replace Dean Beckwith who looked tired. Graham Turner said last Thursday that Beckwith had been ill.

Blewitt is set to return to West Ham. Sources close to the Hammers say that Turner has tried to extend the loan spell but Blewitt wants to return. He is said to want more regular football.

With James out and Beckwith under the weather, Blewitt would have probably started on Monday.

Meanwhile former Hereford United player Gavin Williams looks set to be off-loaded by West Ham. It is reported that Ipswich are to pay the Hammers £350,000 for him.

Yesterday the East Anglian Daily Times reported that Williams was expected to agree a two-and-half-year deal with Ipswich Town.

The Blues moved to secure the midfielder after impressing during a two-month loan spell and, although Williams has still to finalise personal terms, talks are expected to be completed satisfactorily today after the 25-year-old has made no secret of his desire to make the move top Portman Road a permanent one

Williams has been an ever-present in the Blues side since arriving from Upton Park, where his chances had become limited - he failed to make a Premiership appearance for them.

The Hammers wanted to recoup the £350,000 they paid to Yeovil for him last season and Town are understood to have agreed to pay in the region of that amount.

From an Armchair somewhere in the Black Country

Glynis Wright followed last night's game from her armchair.

"REFFIN' 'ELL, HEREFORD - THAT WAS CHUFFIN' AWFUL DEFENDING.." There you have it - the mating-call of the Lesser-Spotted Bulls aficionado, as heard when I was trying to crimp off a particularly smelly one in our upstairs toilet, just after the start of the Sky live game between the cider-slurpers and - erm - the other lot of cider-slurpers! Yep, this was what Sky were billing as the "M5 Derby", between Exeter City and - well - you should have guessed by now. Why the hell Murdoch's mob chose to give the game that totally-misleading title is completely beyond me; with the aid of a handy road-map even a half-baked moron with distinct Dingle tendencies would have seen that Edgar street, the visitors' base, is nowhere near a motorway junction of any description, never mind the bloody M5. Twenty, miles, or thereabouts, is it?

Anyway, by the time I'd sorted my errant bowels, from the various strangled noises emanating from our living-room, it was clear that all was not well with The Bulls, hence all that unparliamentary language from 'Im Indoors at the very start of this piece. "Can I take it that Sir's other football team have conceded, then?" said I as I resumed my seat once more; from the strangled half-snarl, half-very rude word my other half uttered as the words left my lips, I took it to mean that was indeed the case.

Not that I was paying very much attention to what was happening on the screen, mind. Most of the time I was preoccupied in sewing my beloved's pair of jeans - well, the pockets, at any rate. Assessing the damage before I finally started, the disaster area was huge; it was going to need major surgery to make 'Im Indoors's strides fit for human habitation once more. It was while I was patching up the left pocket that The Bulls got their equaliser; up he leaped, in a complete frenzy, loudly singing the praises of a lad called Ipoua, of whom I've spoken before.

You might remember that he's from some former French African colony or other, plays like a bag of spanners for 99 per cent of the time - then, completely without warning comes that precious one per cent that's truly wonderful, makes you go "Wow!" even, and so it was tonight. Until his equaliser, he'd spent most of the game trying to make hopelessly-spectacular pass after pass, invariably losing the thing to the opposition every time, much to a Certain Person's fury - then, in a momentary flash of pure brilliance, which involved leaving several Exeter defenders for dead, he'd scored, and from about ten yards out - and believe you me, that strike, real quality stuff it was, wouldn't have looked at all out of place in the Premiership.

So far, so good, considering Exeter were very much Hereford's bogey side - a bit like Middlesbrough with us, if you like. But The Bulls now scented a major Conference scalp in prospect, one that would do their own play-off aspirations absolutely no harm at all. With around six or seven minutes to go before the break, Hereford got one more, yet another neat and clinical finish from The Bulls - and that's when the real fun started. What happened after that was this; naturally, after taking the lead, all the other Bulls mobbed the scorer, a lad who goes by the name of Jeannin. (Both he and Ipoua are French speakers, by the way; how many times do you see that in a Conference side?) But there was another dark little secret lurking in the lad's footballing wardrobe; not so long ago, he was an Exeter player, who'd only left them after some sort of hoo-ha with their board over a new contract.

Anyway, Hereford said 'thank you very much - we'll have him!' of course, and that goal of his was very much the end-result. 'Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord' - or something. Eventually, the human celebratory pyramid disentangled itself, at which point, up ran the referee, and in the direction of Ipoua. At first, we thought there would be a yellow-card for, maybe, celebrating too enthusiastically, but no - the ref whipped out a straight red instead! Great cries of "Doo wot?" from the player himself, naturally enough, the Hereford bench, and their away followers, no doubt, and more or less the same thing from the Sky commentator. Not to mention this column, dividing its time between making depreciatory remarks about the gentleman in question and trying to direct soothing noises towards my clearly-distressed other half. Naturally, Sky got the footage replayed to try to elicit the truth, and then we saw it. Ipoua, whilst whooping it up with his fellow French speaker, was clearly pointing with his index-finger to the name emblazoned on the back of the scorer's shirt! And that, ladies and gents, was it!

In no way could that be misconstrued as being 'obscene' - how many times have we seen players at our level do precisely the same thing, if not more, I wonder? - but a 'red' it was, in the addled mind of the muddled man in the middle. We did hear confirmation later that the sending-off had, indeed, been for 'making an obscene gesture'. Blimey, if that's one Conference whistler's definition of the offence, should he ever make it to the Football League - which, on the back of this almighty clanger, I severely doubt - I'd guarantee that come the halfway point of the season, he'd be finishing an awful number of games a la Sheffield United circa April 2002: prematurely.

Fair play, though, to Graham Turner's mob, who could have quite easily collapsed into a self-recriminatory heap of jelly after that setback, but didn't. In a fraught second half played with the visitors down to ten men, and Exeter determined to salvage at least something from the wreckage, they defended in a highly-disciplined manner, kept both their shape and their heads well, and bar a couple of alarums and excursions in their box, where, at times, it looked very much as though it would have been far easier for the home club to pot the black rather than miss, they came right through it all to emerge the eventual winners.

I strongly suspect the sheer injustice of that dismissal badly stung something hidden deep within their sensitive little Herefordian souls, you know, the net result being they collectively vowed they'd well and truly sort out the Devon lot, if only for the principle of the thing, and, both by hanging on like grim death and crossing their fingers for luck, that's precisely what they did! Mind you, I bet that referee's ears must have burned after the final whistle; if Graham Turner doesn't appeal that red card next week, then he's even more of a Dingle than even I would give him credit for.

Friday, December 30, 2005

10 Men Bulls keep Grecians at Bay

Hereford United confronted the pundits with a deserved 2-1 win over Exeter City last evening.

A goal from Guy Ipoua and a free kick from Alex Jeannin just before half-time sealed the points for the Bulls after Exeter City went ahead within five minutes of the start with a goal from Lee Phillips.

But a decision from the referee after Jeannin had scored will be debated for sometime.

Ipoua was sent off with a straight red card after the referee appeard to think he had made jestures to the Exeter fans following birthday-boy Jeannin's goal. However it was thought that Ipoua was simply pointing out to the home fans that their former player had scored.

Hereford defended stoutly throughout the second half with just ten men and the support of the 130 Bulls fans who had travelled to St James' Park.

Brian's considered report will appear later today.

Perfect Day For AJ

Not only did his side win, but he scored against his former team infront of his former fans, all on his birthday! Not a bad day for Alex Jeannin and Hereford United as they claimed a well earned 2-1 victory against Exeter City at St. James' Park this evening, in front of Sky TV cameras.

The two sides met a month ago at Edgar Street when Exeter emerged 2-0 victors but this time it was Hereford's turn to take all three points. The Bulls lined up with two changes from the starting eleven that took a point at Forest Green on Boxing Day, as Dean Beckwith returned from suspension and started in place of Darren Blewitt. However, it was Beckwith who was at fault as the hosts took an early lead following a good start. The centre back hesistated on clearing a long ball forward and in nipped Lee Phillips to pace into the box and fire a powerful low shot across Wayne Brown, back in goal at the expense of Craig Mawson, and into the far bottom corner.

Craig Farral had already forced Brown into a save, following a long throw-in and The Grecians continued their domination when Jon Challinor met a left-wing cross on the volley, but couldn't direct it on target. Adam Stansfield had forced a corner moments earlier in a rare Bull's attack, as passes went astray from the Hereford midfield and so Exeter were enjoying the majority of play. Jeannin almost gifted his former side a second goal when he sliced a clearance in the box, allowing Glenn Cronin to intercept but he shot against the cross bar.

On the half-hour mark though, Guy Ipoua turned the game around with a wonderful goal completely against the run of play. Jamie Pitman, who'd not been on the top of his game, played a ball into the feet of Ipoua who superbly turned his man, went around another player and fired into the top corner from outside of the box for a wonderful superb equaliser. United grew in confidence from then on and started attacking Exeter more and causing them problems. Stansfield chased down and blocked Paul Jones' clearance, which fell to Ipoua but he fired inches wide.

Stansfield was again causing problems for the defence and was tripped twenty five yards from goal with just two minutes of the half remaining. Pitman touched the ball on and, as though it was scripted, Jeannin placed a peach of a shot into the far top corner to put United 2-1 up. Hereford's celebrations were short lived, one again, though as before the game had restarted Ipoua had been shown the red-card, for no reason clear to most in the crowd. It's being said that he made an "obscene jesture" to the Exeter crowd, although it's thought that the referee may have mis-interpreted Ipoua's actions. So Hereford were in front, but down to ten men, with a whole half to go.

Hereford came out and continued to attack The Grecians in the second half, somewhat suprisingly, and Andy Williams burst into the box early on and seemed to have his legs taken from underneath him, but no penalty was given despite appeals. Craig Stanley helped the ball on, following another good run from Williams, to Stansfield and his shot from a narrow angle went just inches wide of the far post, having beaten Jones. Gary Sawyer came close for the hosts at the other end when he headed a corner just wide but United had been the better side after the restart.

Both sides made a number of changes, the first after sixty-five minutes being when target man Steve Flack was introduced for Exeter when they had just won a corner. United cleared their lines broke quickly through Williams, who knocked a good ball down the line for Stansfield and he outpaced the defenders but was denied by Jones when one on one, as he fired in a low shot. Blewitt replaced Beckwith for Hereford, maybe to deal with the extra threat of Flack, or maybe because Beckwith has been suffering with illness while Santos Gaia and Dean Moxey came on for the hosts. Carey-Bertram replaced Stansfield as the single Hereford striker with less than ten minutes to go.

It was Carey-Bertram who had the perfect chance to seal all three points when he was played through on goal but he was twice denied by Jones, who got down to both of the efforts well. Exeter pumped long ball into the Hereford box but didn't get the goal they so badly wanted, although Danny Woodards came extremely close when he headed over from close range, with Brown already beaten by the cross.

The brilliant result, in front of 4,433 (with around 130 Bulls supporters) means that Hereford move up one place to sixth, and they are now two points outside of the play offs, although they have a game in hand on some sides above them. Exeter are seven points better off than The Bulls, in second place, but have played two more games.

HUFC: Brown, Travis, Mkandawire, Beckwith, Jeannin, Purdie, Pitman, Stanley, Williams, Stansfield, Ipoua. Subs: Blewitt, Mawson, Brady, Evans, Carey-Bertram.

ECFC: Paul Jones, Woodards, Todd, Sawyer, Billy Jones, Taylor, Buckle, Cronin, Challinor, Farrell, Phillips. Subs: Gaia, Rice,Moxey, Mackie, Flack.

Team News: Exeter vs Bulls

Exeter have no new injury problems ahead of tonight's clash and are expected to name an unchanged side from the one that beat Aldershot 4-0 on Boxing Day.

The Bulls will welcome back Dean Beckwith from suspension, but fellow centre-back Tony James is likely to miss out again. Ryan Green has recovered from a virus, but Andy Ferrell's knee injury is unlikely to be risked. Jon Brady is pushing for a recall on the wing in place of Andy Williams.

Match Odds (bet365): Exeter 11/10, Draw 9/4, Hereford 12/5.

Exeter Make Crittenden Approach

Aldershot manager Terry Brown has told BBC Southern Counties Radio that any deal for Nick Crittenden will be on a player exchange basis.

Brown confirmed that he and Exeter counterpart Alex Inglethorpe were in regular contact and that Crittenden's name was involved.

With Aldershot striker Tim Sills linked to Leyton Orient, a matter Brown has refused to comment on, it is possible that Brown will be looking for a striker to replace him. Exeter are about to offload forward Jake Edwards on a permanent basis to Tamworth, so it is possible that Aldershot may hijack that deal to allow Crittenden to move to Exeter.

Two days ago, this reporter speculated that Crittenden may be a target of Graham Turner. Quite which player could be offered in exchange is open to speculation but Danny Carey-Bertram, who hasn't started a league match for two months, is known to be admired by Terry Brown after scoring twice in four games against the Shots. This is, of course, pure speculation that Crittenden is indeed a target of Turner's, and that Brown is after a striker.

A straight swap could be favourable to Turner as it would be unlikely to interfere greatly with the budget and allow for a second target to be signed without breaking the budget.

Screwfix Millionaire Sells Yeovil To Ex-Boss

The founder of Screwfix Direct and the main financier of Yeovil's rise up the divisions, Jon Goddard-Watts, has sold his majority stake in the club to former manager David Webb.

Goddard-Watts bought a majority stake in the club, then in the Conference, in late 2001 and pumped over £1million into the club over the next 18 months - bankrolling the clubs move into League One.

David Webb was manager at Huish Park in 2000 and aided the side's move to full time status. Most recently, he spent time as caretaker-boss at Southend two years ago.

At the end of last season, Chairman John Fry told the press: "If we can keep this team together and keep Gary Johnson and his backroom staff then we could have an incredible future.", however the loss of Johnson to Bristol City has seen the side struggle this season, and the loss of their major backer could see the financial reigns being tightened.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

In, Out, In, Out, Move The Fixture About!

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Southport Hokey-Cokey!

With an England non-league fixture on February 15th the two clubs, Hereford and Southport, have agreed to cancel the announced February 14th date as both sides are likely to lose players to the England fixture.

Anyone with tickets for any of the three announced dates so far can still use their tickets on the re-arranged date...

...whenever that may be.

Conference shows the way with local derbies.

With many football games called off yesterday one Toffee's fan has written to to complain about the long distances some supporters are being asked to travel to follow their team over the holiday period.

Dear Old Farts Running Football...

Please, please bring back local derbies over the Christmas/New year period. It's absolutely ridiculous in the current situation where we have fans travelling all day just to find the game called off.

The Conference manage to do it, and pull in bumper crowds in the process (3,697 at Cambridge vs Stevenage; 4,921 at York vs Scarborough)

Obviously some teams will have to travel a bit (in the Premiership, one of the three teams in the north-east and West Midlands each time, and either Portsmouth or whoever gets to play them), but nothing as stupid as Newcastle vs Charlton followed a few days later by Tottenham vs Newcastle. Or Torquay at Stockport. Or Bournemouth vs Barnsley. Or Plymouth vs Preston.

I've heard safety fears used as an excuse against this. The idea of people off work drinking all day before a local derby is obviously a possibility, but that could be alleviated somewhat by keeping the higher-risk games to weekends/bank holidays with earlier kick-offs and potentially less volatile ones for the evenings.

For example, I can understand the police wanting, say Chelsea vs West Ham kept away from an evening kick-off over the holiday period, but there is no reason why Chelsea could not play say Charlton, or West Ham play Fulham on those evenings instead. One of Tottenham and Arsenal would then play Portsmouth, and another would have to travel to the West Midlands. Two of the West Midlands teams could play each other, six of the teams in the north-west could play each other with the other playing against the team not playing in a north-east derby.

This is clearly not perfect, as unfortunately geography does not always work thus. In the Conference for example, Exeter City's 'local' games are I believe against Aldershot, Forest Green and Hereford - none of which are particularly close - but it is at least a gesture to the fans.

Of course it won't happen, and we'll still go to the games, but it really should at least be considered.

Matt Collins (sulking cause he's at work and nobody else seems to be).

It's up to the players says Turner

Graham Turner, the Hereford United manager, says that he is looking for an improvement from his players compared to the first half against Forest Green last Monday.

"I'm sure we are going to respond to what happened at Forest Green. We've had a look at the video, we've tried to put one or two things right in training that we make sure we concentrate on," Turner told BBC Hereford and Worcester earlier today.

"Now it's up to the players to respond to the criticism of that first half performance and knuckle down and put on a good showing at Exeter."

Turner also spoke about problems with illness and injury in the squad. Skipper Tony James is definately out but is said to be responding well to treatment on his groin strain. Ryan Green is also an injury concern.

Both Simon Travis and Dean Beckwith have been ill this week but may feature.

Meanwhile Simon Travis has admitted that it will be a tough game at Exeter.

"It's up to us to go down there, put on a show and get something from the game," he said.

Grays Won't Be Next

Grays manager Mark Stimson has said that hopes of strengthening the squad may be dashed due to the budget restraints at the club.

Grays, once thought to be big spenders, are operating on a £8,000 weekly budget according to their Chairman, and manager Stimson isn't going to break that: "I would love to get two or three in but we know the financial structure of the club, and we are not going to put the club in any silly position."

In other news, Stevenage have signed Jefferson Louis on non contract terms - hightening speculation that Anthony Elding has played his last game for the club. Louis joins from Worthing after previous spells in the Conference with Forest Green and Woking.

Cambridge have released Kings Lynn winger Mark Angel from his loan spell at the club, the fifth departure from the Abbey Stadium in a week, and agreed a deal to sign Milwall winger Trevor Robinson on a months loan from 1st January.

Game expected to go ahead say Exeter

Exeter City expect tomorrow's game with Hereford United to go ahead. They issued the following report at lunchtime today.

Despite fears from some fans that tomorrow's Conference game against Hereford could be affected by bad weather, ground staff at The Park are confident that the match will go ahead.

The St. James Park pitch is currently frozen all over, but estates manager Dacre Holloway told that he doesn't envisage the game being called off.

"The frost is particularly hard in front of the Doble Stand where it doesn't get the sunshine. It's difficult because we can't get on the pitch at the moment, but the temperature is rising now and if the weather forecast for the next 36 hours is accurate then it should be fine."

Full Commentary from Exeter

Trevor Owens, Head of Sport at BBC Hereford and Worcester, has announced details of coverage of tomorrow's game at Exeter.

The plan at the moment (obviously, this all depends on the weather) is
that we would bring full commentary on the whole of the match at Exeter
City (Keith Hall will be our reporter at that one). This will be on
94.7 FM, and also on the internet.

Meanwhile the weather at Exeter is expected to be wet for much of Friday daytime. However it is still likely to be much warmer than of late and at present the forecast is for a mainly dry evening.

Jeannin Hopes For A Birthday Present

The following article appears in today's Exeter Express and Echo:

Hereford full-back Alex Jeannin wants to celebrate his birthday by sinking his former Exeter City team-mates live on Sky tomorrow night. The Frenchman, who swapped Devon for Edgar Street in the summer, is set to make his first return to St James's Park on the day of his 28th birthday.

And Jeannin, who has been a fixture in the Bulls' starting line-up this season, says taking all three points in front of the Sky TV cameras would be the best present he could ask for:

"It is my birthday tomorrow and, with the game being shown on Sky, it will be a very special day for me," Jeannin told Echo Sport."And the best present I could hope for would be three points against my old team."Jeannin left St James's Park in the summer when his hopes of landing a new contract were dashed following cuts to Alex Inglethorpe's playing budget. He made more than 80 appearances for the club following a switch from Darlington in July 2003, including starts in both of City's famous FA Cup ties against Manchester United

The Frenchman revealed he hoped his two years' of service would be enough to secure a good reception tomorrow night.But after being barracked by a section of the City fans when the sides clashed at Edgar Street last month, he wasn't too hopeful of a warm welcome."I am looking forward to coming back, I had two very good years at St James's Park and it will be nice to play there again," Jeannin added."It would be nice if I got a good reception but I am not sure I will. At Hereford the Exeter fans didn't react well to me when I ran out onto the pitch - maybe they were just trying to wind me up."I played more than 80 games in two years at Exeter and always gave 100 per cent so I'd hope I'd have left a good impression.But I am not too concerned about it, I have to be focussed on doing my job for Hereford."

Jeannin's first reunion with his former team-mates ended in defeat with City recording an excellent 2-0 away win.But the French defender says he wasn't impressed with City's style of play, and remains confident the Bulls can reverse the result tomorrow."I wasn't that impressed with them when we played at Hereford," he said. "They don't play football like we like to, but they are a very physical and fit side and are tough to play against."There have been a lot of changes at Exeter since I left and when we played at Hereford probably half the team was different to when I was there."But we know what to expect, they won 4-0 on Boxing Day so the team will probably be much the same."We dropped two points against Forest Green in our last game, so it is even more important we get three points at Exeter."We have been playing well and playing good football, so there is a lot of confidence in our squad at the moment."Our league form has been very good and we had a great result in the LDV Vans Trophy against Scunthorpe."We know we need to start picking up more points though and get ourselves into the top five as quickly as possible."I don't think we have had much luck so far, so hopefully things will turn around for us in the second half of the season."We all believe we can still win the league if we put a good run together."Exeter and Hereford have developed something of a rivalry over the years, and last month's Edgar Street clash was marred by crowd trouble.

Jeannin insists such rivalry is confined to the fans and is not something the players pay attention to."There is rivalry between the fans, but it is not something the players are too aware of," the Frenchman said."There were riots when the teams played at Hereford so hopefully there won't be anything like that and everyone can enjoy a good game of football tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Valentine Day At Southport

Hereford United will be making the trip to Southport on Valentine Day after all.

The Official Southport Website has reported the change of date back to February 14th.

Originally the two clubs agreed this date and Bulls News published the news, but then Hereford United requested a change of date to January 17th because of the National League XI game on the 15th February.

However Southport are due to play Barrow on January 17th in a Lancashire Senior Cup game.

Transfer Window Opens In Four Days

With the transfer window opening in four days, Bulls News looks at the possible targets Graham Turner may have in mind.

With Stacy Coldicott a long term absentee, the midfield has been a man short all season and has been the butt of constant criticism from fans for its lack of creativity in successive games. Andy Ferrell, who saw a specialist over a knee injury and could be out for anything up to six weeks, will be sorely missed as well as bringing the midfield cover down to a minimum.

Speculation regarding a return of former midfielder Ben Smith has grown over the last month since Smith told the press he was looking to leave Shrewsbury in January rather than the summer.

Smith's career at Gay Meadow has been as injury plagued as his time at Edgar Street, but the creative midfielder has never really been replaced in the squad since taking a double-your-money offer to move up the A49. The player remains popular both on the terraces and within the dressing room with the remaining members of the squad that thrilled the crowds during the 2003-04 season. His wages, however, will prove to be a stumbling block to any deal with the Conference squad budgeting rules limiting any outlay Turner could offer and Weymouth, with a seemingly total disregard for their future, may be the only non-league club that will be able to match his League Two wages if the player cannot negotiate a suitable settlement with Shrewsbury.

With Darren Blewitt seemingly likely to leave in January, Turner will have lost a player that is probably the cheapest in the squad with West Ham continuing to cover the vast majority of the players wages. Blewitt arrived as a fourth centre back for a three man defence but, with the system currently abandoned, a direct replacement is unlikely with both Ryan Green and Alex Jeannin both capable of filling in where necessary. Turner would, however, be happy to keep a quality low cost player since it does not free up any significant sums in the budget to chase other targets.

A more likely place to reinforce is either wing role. Andy Williams proved against Forest Green that he is yet to be consistent enough to claim the wide right role, while Jon Brady or Rob Purdie may be better suited to the free role in midfield than the wide roles that they have occupied for most of the season. Aldershot's Nick Crittenden has been touted elsewhere as a target for Exeter in the transfer window but the player, who was linked to the Bulls before his move to Aldershot, may fit the bill at Edgar Street to link up with his former Yeovil team mate Adam Stansfield and provide additional creativity to the midfield.

Up front Turner is not short of options so is unlikely to look to strengthen with four of the five strikers having proven their use to the side, with only Graham Evans yet to prove his place in the squad from the limited chances he has had in the first team. Even Jon Brady has had brief spells up front during the early season injury crisis to decent effect. The Ipoua-Stansfield partnership has certainly flourished when given the supply from midfield. The more likely scenario is that one of the forward line is released in order to free up funds to strengthen the midfield.

In goal, the Mawson-Brown combination is probably the strongest goalkeeper line up the Bulls have had in the Conference and is unlikely to change. A permanent deal for Brown, again on League Two wages, is unlikely with Chester's stubborn refusal to allow him play cup matches an indication that they are looking to force the long serving and popular player out of the club.

Whatever moves Turner decides to make he has repeatedly stated that he only has space within the budgeting rules to bring in one player, so at least one departure is likely if Turner is to make the moves this article suggests.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A few details for Exeter on Friday

The next game for Hereford United is a visit to Exeter on Friday. This game kicks-off at 7.45pm.

The HUISA coach will leave Edgar Street at 1:30 pm and costs £13. These tickets are on sale from the club office.

HUISA also suggest that in order to raise the profile of the club and fans, supporters attending this game are urged to wear yellow where possible.

According to the Official Exeter City Website ticket prices for Friday are Adults £11 and Concessions £6. However Exeter have said that prices may rise by £1 due to the cost of policing this game.

Away supporters will use the St James Road terrace. Seated areas will be available, probably in the Old Grandstand.

For those travelling to the ground:

Follow M5 to Junction 30 and follow signs to City centre car parks. The ground, St. James Park, is situated within a residential area and parking is exceptionally difficult at any time. Where possible, visitors should park in one of the many city centre car parks. King William Street car park is the nearest to the ground.

After a warm but showery day, the weather at Exeter on Friday evening is expected to be mainly cloudy with light rain showers. Winds westerly with a temperature of about 8C.

Grays Slip At Home To Canvey

Despite playing in front of a crowd of 2910, nearly double their average gate this season, Grays lost at home today to Canvey 2-1.

Grays have now taken just one point at home from their last three games to slip from top spot to third. They are now five points behind leaders Accrington. Canvey move up to 12th.

Turner leaves Stockport

Chris Turner has left Stockport County by mutual agreement.

Stockport are bottom of Division Two and were defeated 6-0 by Macclesfield yesterday.

However the Hatters easily put Hereford United out of the FA Cup three weeks ago.

Chief executive Kevan Taylor said: "Chris is a first class guy, he knows his football and he's done his hardest to make this job work."

Challinor: "I Can Relax For Hereford"

Exeter midfielder Jon Challinor spoke to the Exeter Express and Echo about the abuse he received from a section of the Aldershot fans during yesterday's 4-0 victory:

"Throughout the game they were at me, but that only made me focus and concentrate more on doing the right things. They accused me of moving just for the money, but that was pure speculation and they don't know what happened.

"I was relieved to get this game out of the way to be honest. It was the first fixture I looked out for at the beginning of the season and until it came along I was apprehensive about what would happen.

"But I'm pleased it's out of the way and to score as well feels like a weight has come off my shoulders. We've got Hereford next and I feel I can relax for that one. We know what Hereford are about and hopefully we can take this form into that match. But I am still relishing the return at the Rec and I can't wait for that one."

Cambridge Clearout Continues

Cambridge United manager Rob Newman has released striker Parys Okai after the former Luton man failed to score in 13 Conference outings.

He is the third player to leave the Abbey Stadium in a week with Newman telling the official club website: "We're quite close to securing a few deals but we have to release a few from here. We know we need to add to the squad and we're looking at three or four new bodies coming in."

Cambridge have used 30 players in the Conference so far this season, more than any other side.

I could have been at Old Trafford yesterday

Simon Wright choose to watch Hereford United yesterday and appears to have enjoyed his trip to the Lawn.

I could have been at Old Trafford instead of here... but I'm glad I wasn't...

Quite true. I was standing next to 'Er Indoors at the Hawthorns ticket office as she bought herself a ticket for Old Trafford. I had everything necessary to purchase a £32 ticket too but I'd long discarded that idea. Forest Green for me please.

And it was a good call. OK, I like Forest Green. It's a unique club in a unique area. So much so I can laugh in the face of a 30 minute queue to buy an outrageously expensive coffee and I can still maintain my good humour when agonising over which of the two urinals to use. Every year at the Lawn, the goals flow. Generally in Rovers net but they flow alright. And I know I'm in a minority when I want to shout how much I enjoyed the Boxing Day game.

As Bulls News wisely warned us, FGR have improved. They've begged, stolen or borrowed better players and this year, they were not giving way to a Hereford onslaught. I had to admire their steely determination and that all their forwards contributed. And talking of contribution, each time the Bulls were in possession, they had four forwards in a line to aim at. Wow! Which other professional club would dare to do that - at home, never mind away. The first half was generally frustrating but the second half... with wave after wave after Hereford attacks and those oh so sweet passing moves that management had been demanding throughout the game... oh it was excellent stuff to watch for a bargain £9. Sky would love it. Had Jeannin's effort formed part of a Premier League match, you'd be seeing the goal again and again for weeks on end. It was curious though that with all the attacking players on the pitch, the visitors' goals should come from two of the back four.

So please... not too gloomy guys. Nothing is settled by a single away game in December. There were lots of positives. Celebrate each moment. There will be lots of downers to come. Just having the chance to follow such a comparatively smooth-passing attacking likeable team is a pretty important factor - football as it ought to be - perhaps the biggest one of the lot. It could have been much worse... you might have been at Old Trafford, for instance. Yawn.

Two points lost says Travis

Simon Travis, interviewed by Terry Goodwin after yesterday's game for BBC Hereford and Worcester, admitted that Hereford United had come to Forest Green hopeful of a win. A flavour of what he said is below.

"Our first half performance was sub-standard but we thought second-half we dominated and had chances to win the game.

"A lapse in the defence let the lad (Madjo) in. A credit to him, he took his goal well.

"We knew they were a strong team, they're a big side. It's a difficult pitch to play football on. It was up to us to match them and try and impose our game on them, which I thought we did in the second half.

Travis was appreciative of the travelling support yesterday.

"It's fanastic. The support we have, not just today but throughout the season, is awesome. The lads really appreciate it especially going 1-0 down at half time. We came out second-half and the roar they gave us was brilliant.

Asked what Graham Turner had said at half-time Travis admitted a few harsh words had been spoken.

"We weren't playing as well as we can do. We knew they might tire towards the end of the game and it was up to us to get the ball on the floor and not try to beat them at their own game. They're a long ball team, they battle, they flick things on. We tried to impose our game which I thought we did and it proved dividends as we scored two goals but unfortunately we couldn't hold on to it.

"The pitch here was not conducive to playing decent football. It's not the greatest surface."

It later emerged yesterday that, contary to some speculation, Simon Travis is set to stay at Edgar Street for the remainder of the season.

Meanwhile Garry Owers, the Forest Green manager, was pleased with a point but not so happy with Guy Madjo. He confirmed that he will take action against the on-loan striker.

"If you're a professional footballer then you should have the responsibility to get to the ground in time - Guy knows that and it will be dealt with," Owers told the Gloucester Citizen.

"I had planned to start with Guy but he didn't arrive in my dressing room until 3.20pm, so it's just as well he scored."

Monday, December 26, 2005

Guy causes trouble

Just as Hereford United supporters were thinking that this afternoon's game could be won, up pops Guy with a goal for Forest Green.

Guy Madjo hadn't been on the pitch all that long when he scored the Grumpers second goal, but the loanee caused the Bulls defence problems from the moment he arrived on the pitch.

Madjo had arrived at the ground late. It is understood he might have come on much sooner otherwise. His intervention probably gave Forest Green a well-deserved point.

(It was later revealed that Madjo had been held up at Heathrow Airport)

Some supporters wondered whether Madjo, whose loan spell at the Lawn ends at the end of the month, would be worth recruiting to Edgar Street.

The other scorer for the home team was Alex Meechan. It had been announced before the start of the game that he had become engaged over the holiday. He certainly knows how to score as Hereford have found out before in his career.

He has spent time at Halifax, Leigh RMI, and Dagenham. This is his second spell at the Lawn.

Forest Green may be a small club, but it always seems well run with plenty of helpers. One recent appointment is that of Natalie Ward, their charming commercial manager. Amidst her jobs to to gain advertising and sponsorship. Their excellent 48 page programme is a tribute to the work of the club.

Ms Ward was handing out an information letter from the FGR Chairman as supporters entered the ground. In essence the letter said the new ground, just up the hill, would be a centre for sporting, social and commercial activities.

However most noticable was the proposal to split the commercial side of the club into a separate company to be partially owned by the supporters.

That idea may not suit every club, but there is little doubt Forest Green Rovers are looking to the future, and getting as many businesses and supporters involved as possible.

Bulls stumble at The Lawn

Hereford United failed to continue their recent impressive form as they could only manage a draw at lowly Forest Green Rovers. Graham Turner had to make a couple of forced changes, so Darren Blewitt started along side Tamika Mkandawire at the back as Dean Beckwith was banned and Tony James was injured. Andy Ferrell was also out injured and so Craig Stanley regained his starting place.

Julian Alsop was a constant threat for Rovers, as he troubled the United defence with his height and strength, which resembled Forest Green's general style. Their physical approach disrupted The Bulls' game as they struggled to make anything of the first half. Alsop was first to threaten, but he headed wide before Stanley, Adam Stanfield and Rob Purdie all had efforts, which came to nothing.

Paul Wanless came close to breaking the deadlock with twenty minutes gone, when he found himself with some space just ten yards out. Unmarkerd, he controlled a cross into the box but saw his low drive beaten away by the on-rushing Craig Mawson. Fifteen minutes later though, Mawson was beaten. It was against the run of play, but Green countered well on the mis-positioned Alex Jeannin, who'd just been involved in an attack. Alex Meechan paced away down the left, from just inside the Hereford half, turned Mkandawire and fired beyond the reach of the advancing Mawson and into the bottom corner.

After the restart, United came out with renewed hope and started to pressure the hosts again, and it paid off little more than ten minutes into the half. Purdie delivered a free kick into the box and Mkandawire out-jumped 'keeper Ryan Clarke and looped a header into the far corner for the equaliser. Guy Ipoua then burst into life as The Bulls searched for the lead and the Cameroonian should have netted when he controlled Andy Williams' cross, but was denied by a smart save. Moments later, he superbly turned his man on the edge of the box but fired against the cross bar.

Just as it seemed that Forest Green had weathered the storm, Alex Jeannin put Hereford in front with a goal, pretty much, out of nothing. The Frenchman played a one-two with Purdie and lobbed Clarke with a wonderful twenty yard volley, much to the delight of the 1,000 or so away fans. However, their jubilation was short lived, as they paid for a lapse in concentration and Rovers were level again just two minutes later.

Super-sub Guy Madjo, who didn't start because he turned up to the game late (a good thing for United, as he caused plenty of problems when introduced), latched onto a long ball and held off Mkandawire and Jeannin before firing a well placed half volley into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. Hereford tried take the lead for a second time but couldn't create a lot in the remaining ten minutes, and it was Madjo again who almost stole a winner for the hosts in injury time, but Mawson was out quickly to deny him the chance.

All in all, it was a very disappointing afternoon for Hereford at The Lawn, as they would have fully expected to take all three points at the start of the afternoon. A lacklusture first half performance meant that they had it all to do in the second half, and it was a lapse in concentration that spoilt their second half efforts as, other than the goal, they were rarely troubled in the second period. The attendance of 1,957 was the highest of the season for Rovers, in which the home fans were seemingly outnumbered by the away supporters.

HUFC: Mawson, Travis, Mkandawire, Blewitt, Jeannin, Purdie, Stanley, Pitman, Williams, Ipoua, Stansfield. Subs: Gwynne, Brady, Brown, Evans, Carey-Bertram.

FGRFC: Clarke, Simpson, Richardson, Graham, Searle, Meechan, Gadsby, Wanless, Harding, Alsop, Teixeira. Subs: Harrison, Rogers, Rendell,Garner, Madjo .

Preview: Exeter vs Bulls

The Bulls will be looking to end Exeter's record of four straight wins in this fixture. A 2-0 home loss a month ago followed a double last season, and an FA Trophy loss the year before.

The Bulls come into the game in better spirits and better form than the last league defeat despite only gaining a 2-2 draw at Forest Green on Boxing Day. The silky football of seasons past returned with the 2-0 LDV Trophy win over Scunthorpe, which followed a confidence boosting 7-1 demolition of Conf South side Bognor Regis Town.

Exeter's shaky home form has seen them lose three times at St James Park this season - as many as any side in the top half, but they righted the form book as they brushed aside Aldershot on Boxing Day.

Exeter vs Hereford United, St James Park 7.45pm December 30th. Live On Sky Sports.

Conference Results Round Up

Accrington remain top after grabbing a last minute equaliser at Halifax (5th) to make it 2-2. Exeter are second after a comfortable 4-0 win over Aldershot. Morecambe (4th) won 3-0 at Southport. Stevenage's (6th) disciplinary problems continue, picking up their seventh red card of the season as they lost 1-0 at Cambridge. Dagenham beat Gravesend 3-1 thanks to two late Chris Moore goals. York (8th) got back to winning ways - their 3-1 win over Scarboro was their first win in six games. Burton and Tamworth shared the points after a 1-1 draw at The Lamb. Kidderminster and Altrincham also drew 1-1 to stay 16th and 17th respectively. Woking and Crawley played out a goalless draw at Kingfield, with Crawley having Darren Woozley sent off midway through the second half.

Bulls Draw With Forest Green

A crowd of 1957, nearly four times their last home gate, saw the Bulls draw 2-2 at Forest Green.

Goals from Alex Jeannin and Tamika Mkandawire earned the Bulls a point. They remain seventh in the table.

Full Report Later.

Elding Future Back In Doubt

Stevenage striker Anthony Elding has cast more doubt on his future with the promotion chasers by telling manager Graham Westley he will stay at home this Christmas.

Elding, whose love-hate relationship with Westley has already taken several twists this season, has told the club that he will remain at home with a sick grandfather than play for Stevenage.

With Darryn Stamp struggling for fitness, and Dino Maamria unavailable through suspension, Stevenage will be desperately short of strikers for todays trip to Cambridge. But the long term implications of Eldings decision may see the striker leave the club in January.

Graham Westley, in his "Christmas Card" to the fans on the official Stevenage site, refused to go into the situation further but did outline his intention to bring in three new faces - adding that to do it three players would have to leave.

Turner's Barmy Army on route to FGR

Graham Turner's Barmy Army will shortly be setting out for the Lawn where Forest Green will entertain Hereford United this afternoon.

Well over 1,000 Bulls supporters are expected to attend the game. The away fans will outnumber, and outsing, the home fans.

Last season at the corresponding fixture, Forest Green had a record gate of 2142. Over 1400 were Hereford supporters.

There is a park and ride scheme in operation this afternoon from Nailsworth to the ground. Parking close to the Lawn is limited.

For those unable to attend, BBC Hereford and Worcester will have second half commentary from the game both locally on 94.7FM and on the Internet.

UPDATE 10am:

There are a few seats available for Hereford United supporters this afternoon at the Lawn. These can be purchased at the entrance to the Main Stand from 2pm on a first come, first served basis. They cost £11 for adults and £7 for concessions.

It is understood that Hereford United failed to sell their full allocation of seats.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Seats remaining on HUISA coach for Monday

HUISA have said this afternoon that there are a few seats remaining on their coach for the game at Forest Green this Monday.

There are still a number of seats available for this away day to our Gloucestershire rivals, therefore anyone wishing to turn up and pay for their seats on the day will be able to do so.

The tickets are priced at £8 and the coach will be leaving Edgar Street at 12:30 pm.

Inglethorpe Expects Home Form To Improve

Exeter manager Alex Inglethorpe expects his side's home form to improve after two successive home defeats.

Exeter face the Bulls on December 30th at St James Park but first face Aldershot on Boxing Day, with Inglethorpe telling the Exeter Express and Echo: "I've got no worries at all. Teams tend to raise their games when they come to us because they're playing in front of a bigger crowd than they're used to. They also play differently in terms of getting men behind the ball. It provides us with a potential problem and we have to solve that problem."

Inglethorpe chose to blame the state of the pitch for the Canvey loss: "In terms of our past games at home, I think the Canvey Island defeat had a lot to do with the pitch, which really levelled the sides out. But overall I'm delighted with our form home and away."

The Bulls trip to Exeter is live on Sky Sports, kick off 7.45pm.

Impress or leave says Owers

Forest Green manager, Gary Owers, has warned his squad that he could let some of them go in the New Year unless they impress in the next three games starting on Monday with the game against Hereford United.

On loan Bristol City striker, Guy Madjo, is one of those players. His spell at the Lawn finishes on December 31st and Owers hasn't decided whether to try and extend his loan spell.

Madjo scored in his first outing for the Grumpers against Aldershot but was sent off later in the game and missed three matches. He is expected to start on Monday as Zema Abbey is injured.

"We've only seen Guy for half a game in the league so we're not going to be rushing into anything," he said.

"From what we've seen in those games and in training he looks like a player, but I'm not going to try and second guess what might happen," Owers told the Gloucester Citizen.

Last Tuesday several other squad players failed to impress in a local cup game.

"To be brutally honest, some of the lads have been here since the summer and I can't wait around forever for them to produce.

"I can accept the other side of the argument, which is that we don't have reserves and some of these lads haven't had many games. But that's not my fault.

"It may be that we'll have to let a few go in January."

Problems at Macclesfield

Macclesfield Town, who entertain Hereford United in the LDV on January 24th, have problems both on and off the field at present.

The Silkmen lie in 22nd position in League Two having obtained just 22 points from 22 games.

However at home they are draw specialists. Their record to date is won 4, drawn 6, lost 2. They have scored just 14 goals with 16 against.

Their manager is Brian Horton. His squad is 26 strong but with three players currently out on loan. One of those players is Neil MacKenzie who played for Scunthorpe at Edgar Street last Tuesday.

However their main worries are off the field with the club facing hugh financial problems.

Bulls News has already outlined the position in two articles earlier this week, but below is an edited insight from written by Andy B.

Last Monday morning, Macc Town were a club with strong links to the community, who, despite a lowly League ranking and small attendances, had as bright a future as any other club in the League.

By 4pm, they became a club on the verge of extinction.

I won't bore you with the details, but Macc Town were charged by the FA of misusing a Football Foundation grant which paid for a new stand. At no point did the money go near the playing staff, and the club gained no competitive advantage (no points were docked).

Our current board (which bears no relation to the board of 4 years ago which committed the offences) plead guilty to those charges, and they were fully co-operative with the FA at every stage of the investigation.

Naturally, we were mainly optimistic about the outcome of the FA's enquiry. Of course no-one expected a pardon from the FA, but we did expect a substantial but even-handed fine that would see justice done without unnecessarily hampering the considerable efforts we've made in building a community club.

After all, the FA (according to their website) are about 'Promoting the development of the game amongst all ages, backgrounds and abilities in terms of participation and quality. This also involves promoting the availability of the sport to the greatest possible number of people.'

Perhaps I am being particularly short-sighted, but I am unsure how giving Macc a £300,000 levy to pay in six weeks quite ties in with this. Sadly it will almost certainly prevent us from helping the FA to achieve these laudable goals, due an imminent lack of existence on our part. Perhaps there is a clause in the FA's many regulations which exempts Macclesfield from this having to do any of this tedious 'promoting the availability of sport' stuff.

Essentially, the FA is serving a brand of justice with a much greater injustice. If you'd like a portrait of how the great minds at the FA work, I recommend Simon Jordan's article from The Observer, 'So Who Is Barry Bright?'. He talks about the sort of people running your game - people unconcerned about promoting the availability of football, but in expanding a relentlessly punitive bureaucracy.

Samuel Johnson is always good for a quote, and he once said 'An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.' And so it is the case here, because this is a punishment that will aid nobody. £195,000 will admittedly go to the Football Foundation, but the benefits of that will be entirely outweighed by the loss of a community football club.

By fining Macc so harshly, the FA are in fact failing in their fundamental obligation to promote football, which is a much higher injustice than the extinction of a tiny club in Cheshire.

Of course, I implore you to donate to this scheme because it will directly save my club. But I also offer this as a referendum against the damaging bureaucracy of the FA, and ask you to consider that by assuring the future of Macc Town, the goals of 'promoting the availability of sport' are upheld. If the FA can't do this, then we must.

It's Macclesfield Away

Hereford United will travel to Macclesfield away in the semi-finals of the LDV. The game is expected to take place on January 24th.

Northern Section:

Carlisle United v Kidderminster Harriers
Macclesfield Town v Hereford United

Southern Section:

Cheltenham Town v Colchester United
Swansea City v Walsall

Graham Turner was hoping for a home draw in this morning's LDV Draw.

The Hereford United manager told BBC Hereford And Worcester that either of the three other clubs left in the Northern Area would fear coming to Edgar Street.

However he really didn't want to have to travel to Carlisle, both from the team and the fans point of view.

Below is the latest fixture list until the end of January:

Monday Dec 26th Conference Forest Green A 3.00pm
Friday Dec 30th Conference Exeter City A 7.45pm
Monday January 2nd Conference Forest Green H 3.00pm
Saturday January 7th Conference Scarborough A 3.00pm
Saturday January 14th FA Trophy Halifax A 3.00pm
Tuesday January 17th Conference Southport A 7.45pm
Saturday January 21st Conference Crawley Town H 3.00pm
Tuesday January 24th LDV Macclesfield Town A 7.45pm
Saturday January 28th Conference Grays Athletic A 3.00pm

As reported earlier this week, the Conference Home fixture against Cambridge United, which was due to be played on January 24th, will be rearranged.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Three players to miss Lawn game

Three regular Hereford United players are to miss Monday's game at Forest Green. Graham Turner revealed the details in his weekly interview with Trevor Owens, head of sport at BBC Hereford and Worcester. Extracts from the interview are below.

"Andy Ferrell, with a knee injury, sees a specialist. It doesn't look as though he is going to make it.

"Tony James with torn fibres of the groin muscle looks as though he will out for three or four weeks.

"So that's a blow to us, losing those two.

"Dean Beckwith is suspended, so it gives an opportunity for Darren Blewitt to come back into the side."

On the brighter side Turner spoke of the return of confidence to player in particular Adam Stansfield.

"Stansfield, for instance, coming back into the side. Scored against York, scored against Bognor, and again against Scunthorpe. So his confidence should be going upwards and he is getting better with each game that goes by."

Turner revealed that his watched Forest Green recently when they defeated Burton recently.

"I thought they played very well that night. Very spirited performance. Got a lot of size in the side, physical presence and they've also got a lot of experience in the team.

"And I don't expect for one minute that we will go there and have an easy ride.

"I expect a very difficult game at Forest Green. They're fighting for survival again."

Robinson linked to Harriers job

Former Hereford United player/coach Phil Robinson has been linked to the vacant managers job at Kidderminster Harriers according to the Kidderminster Shuttle.

Barry Norgrove, the Harriers chairman, said that they had noted the Stafford Rangers boss whose side are currently top of the Conference North.

"There are some decent managers that have done well in the lower leagues.

"The chap at Stafford for example and they won again on Saturday. There's some decent sorts in there."

The shortlisting process, which was scheduled to take place last week, has been delayed until January 5 at the earliest.

More about Robinson from

Robinson joined Hereford United in July 2000 after a succesful career in the Football League. Phil spent three seasons as a professional at Aston Villa after an apprenticeship, and then joined up with Wolves, then under the guidance of now-Hereford chairman and boss Graham Turner. He had a hugely successful two years at Molineux winning both the Division Four and Division Three championships, before moving on again to Notts County, whom he rejoined in 1996 after spells at Huddersfield and Chesterfield. At Meadow Lane, he won the Division Three title for a second time, before joining Stoke City on a free transfer in the summer of 1998. He was Stoke's captain and played in central defence despite being known as a midfielder. Not the tallest of players at five foot ten inches, he has little left to prove in what has turned out to be an illustrious career, and joined Hereford in the summer of 2000 to link up once again with Graham Turner. 'Robbo' was almost ever present in the Hereford team in his first season, but last season an injury curtailed his appearance. Robinson was appointed manager of the side on October 1st, 2001 as Graham Turner tended his resignation, but at the end of the season, his contract was not renewed. He wasted little time, though, in linking up with Stafford Rangers as their new player-manager in the Dr. Martens League Premier Division.

Seven points will be a good return says Purdie

Rob Purdie has told the Non-League Paper about his hopes for the Christmas period.

"Forest Green are a team we tend to do well against. Looking at the table we are going for seven points over the Christmas and the New Year period, " said the Hereford United player.

"It we can beat Forest Green twice, a point against Exeter would make it a good return.

"Their two midfielders will try to get amongst us and intimidate us, they are a very physical pair, but as long as we play our own game we can be reasonably confident of getting the three points."

Jamie Pitman, the Hereford United midfielder, has also been talking to the press.

"Confidence could not be any better. Our performance on Tuesday night was one of our best for a while, especially in the first-half. We were miles better than Scunthorpe. We've got to match that same performance over a period of time. If we do that, we can move up the league table very quickly," Pitman told the Worcester News.

"We've got games over the Christmas period which we should be winning. We know how many points we want over Christmas. We really need to try and win every game.

"It's going to be a tough game at Forest Green. It's not a nice place to go, although we do take a great following. I expect we will have a lot of supporters down there. It's like a home game for us.

"That makes a massive difference for us and we are riding on a bit of a crest of a wave after the Scunthorpe win. We've had two or three great results on the trot and we know we can play at that level all the time.

"It's frustrating that we can't play the way we did against Scunthorpe every week. It's frustrating more so for the staff, because we train like that quite a lot, but it's not been materialising in the games."

Meanwhile Gary Owers, the Forest Green manager, is said to be looking forward to the game.

"Hereford always bring a large following, so the atmosphere will be good.

"Somehow the Chrismas games always seem more exciting anyway."

Last year the Bulls took around 1400 fans to the Lawn which helped to set up a new record for Forest Green as the total gate was 2142, their highest ever at the ground.

Commentary from the Lawn

Trevor Owens, head of sport at BBC Hereford and Worcester, has given Bulls News details of coverage from the Lawn next Monday, when Forest Green play Hereford United.

As well as updates in the first half, there will be second half commentary both locally on 94.7FM and on the Internet.

Terry Goodwin will be at the Lawn for H&W as Keith Hall who usually covers Hereford United is unavailable.

Skeets Slams Bulls News Article

Skeets (Keith Hall) has slammed Bulls News for the article it posted regarding his article suggesting the official HUFC website would go pay per view.

Skeets complained that the Bulls News article was misleading and distorted the facts of the article. Skeets later reposted what he claims to be the original article back on the official news blog, but it was an edited version of the original which no longer referred to Hereford United directly but "clubs like Hereford United", had a changed headline from "Official Website Subscription" and had made several key changes to text within the article:

Original: "Various packages and club branded audio and video material are being made available and it is conceivable that Hereford United will follow suit at some stage in the future."

Reposted: "Various packages and club branded audio and video material are being made available and it is conceivable that Hereford United may, or may not decide to follow suit at some stage in the future."

The reposted article also contains the notion of a poll on the official forum, but it has been posted in black on a black background - meaning it is barely visible without highlighting the text. The article appears to have been hastily edited to remove the debatable references.

EDIT 3.30pm - The edited article has been re-edited to remove the quotes included above, whilst adding another footnote accusing Bulls News of mounting a personal attack. This reporter wonders, with the club liable for the comments, whether the Official News Site is the place to air a personal grievance.

Turner says it's going well

Graham Turner, the Hereford United manager, seems very pleased with the attitudes of his players going into the Christmas period.

Speaking to BBC Hereford and Worcester yesterday, Turner revealed that he thought the victory over Scunthorpe had put his side in good shape for Monday's game at Forest Green.

"You can really sense a spring amongst the players that it's going well. We're playing well and the confidence is soaring."

Turner also said that the squad planned to train over the Christmas period, including Christmas Day morning.

As suggested yesterday on Bulls News Tony James is unlikely to feature on Monday. It is reported that he has a groin problem. Darren Blewitt could take his place but this is not confirmed.

Turner also spoke about the prospects for the rest of the season.

"There isn't an outstanding side in the Conference this season that will run away with it. So with everybody capable of taking points off the other sides, it's all to play for.

"I think we are just beginning to get into our stride and if we are more than a match for anybody, I can see us getting at least into the playoff places."

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Conference News Round-Up

Scarboro boss Neil Redfearn has told midfielder Ian Clark to find another club and criticised the midfielder for his attitude since Redfearn became manager. Clark joined in the summer on a year long contract, but will move in January. Tamworth hope to make Jake Edwards loan move permanent in the transfer window after Exeter confirmed no fee would be required. Cambridge have released striker Matt Nolan after the former Peterboro man failed to score in ten Conference games. The U's have also lost goalkeeper Darren Bechet, who returned to West Ham this week after ending the work experience deal. Southport will offload Farrell Kilbane in January when his two months on loan at Stalybridge Celtic becomes permanent. They have also allowed Dominic Krief to join Farsley Celtic.

Beckwith to miss Forest Green game

Dean Beckwith will miss Monday's game at the Lawn as he has collected five yellow cards.

If fit Tony James will return to the squad to replace him. If not, it's possible that Darren Blewitt could get his first start since the Kidderminster game.

Blewitt is due to return to West Ham next week as his loan period is up. There is no indication that either Graham Turner or Blewitt wish to continue his loan spell at Edgar Street.

Meanwhile the Football League has confirmed to Bulls News that the draw for the semi-finals of the LDV Vans Trophy will be at 9.30am on Sky Sports' Soccer AM programme on Saturday.

Bulls To Go Pay Per View?

An article which appeared on the Official Hereford United Newsblog suggests the club are looking into making the official site pay per view.

The article was posted by Skeets (Keith Hall) last night, but was removed swiftly and has not been replaced, and suggested that the club had "contacts in the specialised service areas" required to make the switch to pay per view. The "contacts" may be Keith Hall himself with the one-time PA announcer now working for both the BBC in local radio and Teamtalk Media doing commentary and camera work for

The article cited Woking's recent move to pay per view, with subscription packages up to £99.99 a year, as the model and stated that a poll would be set up on the official forum to gauge interest.

When contacted the club had no knowledge of a move to pay per view, suggesting that the article was not an official piece of club news and was removed when seen by one of the more senior website team.

A move to pay per view would be a kick in the teeth for the existing official website team who have worked hard to develop the site free of charge to the club for nearly ten years, also raising several thousand pounds over time.

Macclesfield Set Up Fine Fund

Macclesfield Town held a Supporters and Shareholders meeting last night to discuss the implications of the massive bill imposed on them by the FA.

With a £300,000 bill due in less than six weeks after the club were found guilty on several counts over grants obtained from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, over 250 Macclesfield supporters attended last nights meeting to explore ways to pay the bill.

With the Silkmen apparently writing off the chances of an appeal being successful, the meeting focused on covering the massive debt. Macclesfield are not a rich club, and falling attendances mean they are currently running at a weekly loss of around £3,000. The clubs owners, the Iraqi Alkhadi brothers, have already pumped £2million into the club since buying a stake in the club two years ago - rescuing it from ruin in the process. The club had issued redundancy notices to several backroom staff two weeks ago in a bid to stay afloat and the brothers had already indicated that the club had to stabilise itself financially. has information on the fundraising initiatives, including a pixel purchase page which has raised over £1200 so far.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Turner pleased with result

According to the Scunthorpe Telegraph, Graham Turner described the Bulls performance last night as one of the best of the season.

"The first half was very pleasing," said Turner.

"I was delighted with the way we defended, even though we didn't have to do a lot of it.

"We hit the woodwork twice and should've scored at least one of those. We also could have had a penalty.

"The way we broke out and passed the ball was as well as we have done all season.

"In the second half we had to show a bit of resilience and could, and maybe should, have killed them off on the break.

"We said at half-time the next goal would be crucial, but in the end we didn't need it."

Brian Laws, the Scunthorpe manager, spoke highly of Hereford.

"Give credit to Hereford, they came right out of the traps, didn't they?

"They have obviously gone straight on from their 7-1 win (against Bognor) last Saturday. They were are full of confidence and they have come right at us and not let us settle.

"That first 15 minutes we were all over the place because we couldn't get to the tempo of the game.

"In the first half they wanted it more than us - and it showed. They wrapped the game up in the first half.

"You don't give any team a start like that. They had the first shot, the first tackle, the first header, and we were second best.

The Hereford supporters made their feelings about the Irons well-known.

"Football League, you're having a laugh", chanted the home fans. Security Is A Shambles

Two days after went pay per view, the direct links to games without the need for subscription have already appeared on various forums.

Security issues were claimed to be the problem when the original TFFC site went under, with the owners claiming that too many people were accessing the site without paying.

Now, the lessons of the past have been ignored with direct links to the games accessible to all. The previous site upgraded security immensely but then shot themselves in the foot by using the same easily discoverable naming for the individual matches.

Now it seems the new owners have chosen the same route, with an anonymous poster on the Confguide forum offering a brief tutorial on how to watch games - and several other posters posting correct links to games after following the instructions. Though the thread disappeared after less than 90 minutes it had received over 300 views. In a poll on the unofficial HUFC forum, 84% of respondents were unwilling to pay the £14.99 subscription charge.

How long the site will survive this time will rest squarely on the shoulders of the new owners, but if they continue to ignore the past then the "experiment" may not survive the season.

Manager Owens plays for Grumpers

Forest Green were defeated by Mangotsfield 1-0 last night in the Gloucestershire Senior Cup. The defeat came after two victories, firstly against Burton Albion and secondly against Garry Hills' Weymouth, both with a 1-0 scoreline.

The Grumpers included manager Gary Owens and several youngsters in their line-up. However there was a return for striker Guy Madjo, on loan from Bristol City, after suspension. There was also a start for youngster Paul Stonehouse who played at left-back.

37 year old Owens told the Citizen that he had registered as a player at the start of the campaign, but has not even named himself as substitute so far in competitive games.

"It'll be my first run-out of the season and it will be my last - unless we draw Bristol City (his former club) away in the next round."

According to the Citizen, Forest Green employed a 4-3-3 formation. They were said to look uncomfortable with the system, launching too many long balls and committing niggly fouls against their lower league opponents.

Owens has several of his squad struggling with injuries. He has recalled midfielder Scott Rogers from a loan spell at Weston-Super-Mare.

Skipper Richardson missed Saturday's 1-0 FA Trophy win at Weymouth with a foot problem, while Abbey (hamstring) and Simpson (head) both picked up injuries during the game.

Hereford United could be without captain Tony James for Monday's game. He limped off at half-time during the LDV game last night and was replaced by Dean Beckwith.

Travel to Exeter

HUISA have announced travel details for the game at Exeter on December 30th.

The coach will leave at 1:30 pm and costs £13. These tickets are on sale from the club office.

In order to raise the profile of the club and fans, HUISA is asking supporters attending this game are urged to wear yellow where possible.

Meanwhile Hereford United have published details of when the Main Office and Club Shop will be open over the holiday period.

Thursday 22nd December 9.00am to 12.00 (Noon)
Friday 23rd December 9.00am to 12.00 (Noon)
Wednesday 28th December 9.00am to 4.00pm
Thursday 29th December 9.00am to 4.00pm
Friday 30th December 9.00am to 12.00 (Noon)


Monday 2nd January Office - 11.00am to 3.00pm. Shop - 12.30pm to 3.00pm
Tuesday 3rd January 9.00am to 4.00pm

Should the shop be closed, please call at the Main Office for assistance.

Halifax Progress To Face Bulls

Halifax earned the right to play the Bulls in the Second Round of the FA Trophy last night after beating Southport 1-0.

A late Danny Forrest strike was enough to seperate the sides, and the next round game will be played at The Shay on January 14th.

In the other FA Trophy replay last night, Grays beat Aldershot with a single goal deep in extra time proving decisive.

New Stadium on the way for Forest Green

They may be one of the smallest clubs in the Conference, but Forest Green Rovers are set to move to a new stadium just up the hill from their present site. So next Monday is expected to be the last time Hereford United will play at the Lawn.

The new stadium will be more than just a place for their team to play at. It will also provide a fully equipped health club, sauna, conference facilities, pub, kitchens for catering for all occasions and many other good things according to their website.

The new stadium will be a centre for sporting, social and commercial activities, never before seen in that part of Gloucestershire.

A venture such as this has to make money just like any other business venture and this will be reinvested in strengthening the team. Consequently, there will be changes to the Club's management structure. It is proposed that all commercial activities are put into a separate company to be owned partially by the supporters, through a share issue.

Travel to Forest Green

After the last two excellent performances by Hereford United, there is sure to be a good following of Bulls supporters for the Forest Green game at the Lawn on Boxing Day kick-off 3pm.

As ever HUISA are running coaches and this trip costs just £8 and the coach leaves from the Merton Meadow car park at 12:30 pm.

Due to the anticipated high demand for places on this trip supporters are urged to book their places early. Tickets are available now from the Blacfriars St office.

Supporters are reminded that, although this fixture is not all ticket, those supporters wishing to have a seat at the ground will need to buy their match ticket in advance and these are available now from the club shop UNTIL CLOSE OF BUSINESS TODAY, priced at £11 (£7 concessions).

There will be a park and ride system for this game. The first bus will leave Nailsworth Bus Station at 1.30pm and will run every 15 minutes up until 2.50pm. The bus will run for one hour after the final whistle.

Trewick praises team

After producing one of their best performances of the season, Hereford United coach John Trewick spoke to BBC Hereford and Worcester.

"First fourty five minutes was exceptional. I think we've really taken a division one side to task.

"Great attacking play, Defensivly we were very very sound.

"We had a game plan. The lads really stuck to it particularly well tonight. To be fair at half time it could have been three, four, five, and we would have deserved to have been three, four, five up."

Trewick also spoke to the Shropshire Star.

"We've shown on many occasions that we can match sides form the League One and Two.

"Its not as if we are catching these teams on bad days. We have beaten them by playing good football."

Graham Turner, the Hereford United manager, commented to the Worcester News.

"The first-half was about as well as we could have played. The only disappointment was that we hadn't killed them off."

Meanwhile the Scunthorpe manager Brain Laws spoke to Iron world.

"In the first 15 minutes we were all over the place.

"We could not get to the tempo of the game. It was only in the second half we competed like a team. If you start like that, that is what you will get."

"Thankfully, it does not cost us points in the league."