Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Brown To Discuss Future Tomorrow

Wayne Brown is to discuss his future with Chester manager Mark Wright tomorrow, according to the Chester Evening Leader.

Brown, who has 12 months remaining on his Chester contract, has told the paper that he feels like a Bulls man rather than a Chester player now.

But manager Mark Wright is keen to outline the future when the pair meet: "I'm looking forward to seeing Wayne after the season he has had at Hereford. I'm keen to tell Wayne what we intend to do at Chester for the new season and I want to tell him about the part he can play."

Green Signs For Rovers

Ryan Green has signed for Bristol Rovers on a two year deal.

Green, 25, played more than 100 games for the Bulls in three years at Edgar Street. Speaking to BBC Radio Bristol, Rovers coach Paul Trollope said: "He's got a lot of ability, pace and aggression, and he's a very good athlete."

"I've know Ryan for a long time and played in the full Wales side with him many years ago, and I've played against him and he's always impressed me. He's got a desire to play higher again and that's also what we're looking to bring in."

Slade Quits Grimsby

Russell Slade has quit Grimsby Town after failing to agree a new contract.

Slade, the former Scarboro boss who took Grimsby to this years League Two play-off final, rejected Grimsby's offer and gave the board an offer that he would accept. The two parties failed to agree, and the following statement appeared on the official Grimsby website: "It is with regret that the football club has failed to reach a contractual agreement with Russell Slade to be reappointed as the manager of GTFC.

"The board would like to put on record that Russell leaves the football club in an excellent position. In particular we have had an excellent season and Russell will be remembered for those good times.

"The football club will look to appoint a new manager as soon as it is practically possible. The board will be very mindful that this will have to be a person who is capable of taking the football club forward."

Bulls Announce First Friendlies

Hereford United have released details of their first friendlies.

They will entertain a Birmingham City XI (Sat, July 15th), and League One sides Bristol City (Sat, July 22nd) and Cheltenham (Sat, July 29th). All three games have a 3pm kick-off.

League Two News Round-Up

Scunthorpe have signed New Zealand international Dave Mulligan from Doncaster. The 24 year old full back was a regular at Doncaster but had a new contract offer withdrawn after he stalled on the deal.

Grimsby boss Russell Slade is attracting interest from Yeovil after stalling on a new deal with the Mariners. Bristol Rovers are set to offer pro deals to five academy players. Stockport are set to sign former player Tony Dinning from Port Vale. Peterboro owner Barry Fry has officially become chairman for the first time. Swindon have lost keeper Rhys Evans to Blackpool after the keeper refused to drop into League Two with the club. Manager Dennis Wise is lining up Chelsea reserve keeper Lenny Pidgley as a replacement.

Crawley To Enter Administration

Crawley Town's owners have begun proceedings to take the club into Administration, and are inviting offers for the club.

The club will start next season with a 10 point penalty, and the move to Administration will cancel all player contracts.

The club blame former managing director Steve Duly for the move, with a source quoted in Crawley News saying: "The club blames Steve Duly for us going into administration. If he loves the club so much why have his actions caused the club to go into administration."

In response, Mr Duly said: "I gave six years of my life to the club and I hold it very close to my heart and the most important thing to me is that is has a stable, secure future and that investors are not put off by them losing the 10 points."

Duly won an employment tribunal last week, landing the club with a £35,000 bill. He was the third employee sacked by the Majeed brothers to successfully claim, with a fourth case pending.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Pitman Signs For Forest Green

Forest Green have signed ex-Bull Jamie Pitman on a two year deal.

Pitman, 30, is quoted as saying: "Despite the rural location of Forest Green, on the two occasions I played against them last season, under Gary they proved on the day what formidable opposition they can be, drawing both games and coming from behind on each occasion to do so. Though I am long in the tooth, with extensive Conference experience behind me, Gary Owers is the type of manager that will suit my temperament. I not only look forward to working with him and the squad, with the new stadium but also their top class training facilities. Having left behind a successful club I now face new horizons and a new season with relish."

Shaymen Axe Seven After Play-Off Defeat

Halifax Town have released seven players following their play-off final defeat including goalkeeper Jon Kennedy.

Kennedy started the play-off final and spent most of his time at The Shay as first choice, but joins Steve Yates, Dean Howell, Brenton Leister, Lee Tuck, Craig Midgley, and Steve Bushell in leaving the Yorkshire club. Midgley and Bushell were the two longest serving players at Halifax, with over 300 appearances between them.

Perimeter Advertising Up At Edgar Street

It is being reported to Bulls News that Perimeter advertising board costs have risen considerably for the new season.

A ground-level board is now £700, rising from £550. While the rise is considerable, a quick look around other League Two clubs show that the Bulls price is still one of the cheapest available for a similar board.

Conference News Round-Up

Kidderminster have signed former Notts County striker Andy White and ex-Shewsbury defender Stuart Whitehead on free transfers. White, 24, scored one goal in five games in a stint on loan at Aggborough in February, while Whitehead was released from Gay Meadow after two years.

Tamworth have signed another ex-Notts County striker Matt Williams, who also had a loan spell at his new club last season. Oxford have lost the services of striker Eric Sabin. The 31 year old striker has chosen to follow business interests. Aldershot are chasing Tiverton's former Exeter man Chris Holloway, who was a member of Wales semi-pro side during last weeks tournament. Boss Terry Brown has also secured new deals with Dave Winfield and David Lee.

Weymouth have signed former Dagenham defender Ashley Vickers, who links up with manager Gary Hill for the fourth time. Weymouth are also enquiring into Bournemouth striker Steve Fletcher.

Peterboro Name Alexander As Boss

Peterboro have named former Lincoln boss Keith Alexander as their new manager.

Alexander, who succeeds Steve Bleasdale who quit after alleged interference from chairman Barry Fry, guided Lincoln to four successive League Two play-off places. He has signed a four year deal at London Road. Bleasdale has been linked with the return journey, having applied for the Lincoln post.

Alexander's first signing is likely to be Woking striker Justin Richards, with Woking boss Glenn Cockerill confirming this morning that Richards is likely to be heading to a league club. Woking have also released goalkeeper Clint Davies, who had a trial at Edgar Street a couple of years ago.

Wrexham Due To Clear Final Hurdle

Wrexham are due to clear the final hurdle in preserving their Football League status after creditors agreed to a CVA.

Creditors have accepted unanimously a 28p/£ offer from a consortium of local businessmen who intend to buy the club. Shareholders will meet later today to ratify the sale of the club.

Wrexham would be thrown out of the League if they fail to exit Administration by June 3rd.

Boston Chairman Hits Back

Boston chairman Jon Sotnick has reacted angrily at claims that his club are at the centre of a match fixing probe.

Speaking to the official Boston site, Sotnick said: "I am angry, upset and dismayed. It is quite obvious that whoever has started this rumour has a grievance against this football club. I have already instructed lawyers to investigate the matter fully and will do everything in my power to press charges against those that started this ludicrous story.

"Those who don't know me quite obviously underestimate me and I will do everything in my power to protect this football club against further untruths. We have worked extremely hard over the last three years to install a footballing culture and this is the last thing we expected. I will continue consulting with our lawyers until I get to the bottom of these events."

Pitman Looks To Play-Offs Again

Released midfielder Jamie Pitman has told the Evening News that the Bulls are capable of going up again.

"First and foremost, Hereford need to stay in League Two. It's important to stay in the division. Barnet struggled last season and they will want to avoid that.

"They have got to look at the play-offs again. If they finish in that sort of area, they will be delighted. It's not beyond the realms of possibility. They have proved that in the LDV Trophy in the last couple of years, beating teams in League One and Two.

"It will help if someone scores a lot of goals. Last season, if we had scored 15 or 20 more goals, we could have been looking at automatic promotion. They (Williams and Fleetwood) are young lads who can go a long way. They are going to improve.

"Although the standard of football is not going to be any better, they will find it a bit more physical in this division."

Monday, May 29, 2006

Boston Named In Match Fixing Probe

The Daily Mirror have named the Carlisle vs Boston match on March 25th as the game that is under investigation over match fixing.

The game ended 4-2, with Carlisle scoring a last-minute fourth goal. The suspicious betting centres on Carlisle having won by at least two clear goals. Reports from the match described the win as 'flattering', and that the final goal was scored into an empty net three minutes into injury time after Boston's keeper had been sent forward for a corner.

Boston are still tarnished by an FA probe into illegal payments to players with several current and former employees, including manager Steve Evans, due in court to face tax evasion and other charges.

Two Bookies Make Barnet Relegation Fodder

Two more bookies have released odds on League Two this season.

They place the Bulls at 16/1 (Ladbrokes) and 20/1 (Coral) shots. Barnet and Bury appear to be relegation fodder, with both no better than 40/1.

The 50/1 with Bet365 on Shrewsbury has now dropped to 14/1, although Ladbrokes have them at 33/1 and Coral 16/1. Swindon are generally favourites, with a best price of 8/1.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Bulls 20/1 In First Bookmaker List

The Bulls are rated a 20/1 bet, according to the first bookmaker to issue odds on League Two.

Bet365 offer the Bulls as a mid-table prospect, alongside both Accrington and Chester as 20/1 shots. Surprise of the odds is Shrewsbury who, despite a reasonable mid-table finish and the grand theft of three of Chester's regular first team, are rated a second last 50/1.

Swindon are unsurprising favourites at 6/1, with fellow relegated sides Walsall (8/1) and MK Dons (10/1) also making the early running with the bookies. The full odds are:

Swindon 6/1, Walsall 8/1, Milton Keynes Dons, Peterborough, Wycombe 10/1, Bristol Rovers 12/1, Darlington, Grimsby, Hartlepool, Wrexham 14/1, Lincoln City 16/1, Boston Utd 18/1, Accrington Stanley, Chester, Hereford, Macclesfield 20/1, Mansfield, Rochdale 25/1, Notts County, Torquay 33/1, Barnet, Stockport 40/1, Shrewsbury 50/1, Bury 66/1.

Cheltenham Win Play-Off Final

Cheltenham won today's League Two play-off final with a 1-0 win over Grimsby.

Ex-Bull Steve Guinan scored the only goal of what was a fairly poor game. Cheltenham also missed a penalty later on.

FA To Investigate Match Fixing Allegation

The FA are to investigate a match fixing allegation in League Two, according to the Mail On Sunday.

A professional gambler has written to the FA about several large bets placed in the far-east on one un-named League Two fixture. The bets were all on the winners of the game winning by more than one goal - an outcome that was achieved.

The paper reports that over £1m was staked on the game, causing the odds to fall from 4/6 to 1/4. By comparison, UK bookmaker BetFred took just £100 on the game in question.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

MP's get their priorities right

According to the Sunday Times MP's are in no doubt that Hereford's promotion to the Football League is more important than certain other issues.

Let's hear no more talk that MPs are not worth every penny of that pay rise they recently voted to award themselves. However, they might care to dwell on the following comparison.

Members who signed a Commons motion about the troubles of the immigration service, the big political issue of the moment: two. MPs who signed motions congratulating Hereford United (and Watford) on their recent promotion: 46.

Wales win Four Nations

Wales' 3-0 victory over Ireland this afternoon secured their third success in the Non-League Four Nations Tournament. England's failure to score three or more goals confirmed the victory for Wales. One more goal scored for the Welsh was all it took to overcome England.

2036 supporters turned up to see England defeat Scotland by two goals to nil, with the strikes coming from Justin Richards and an own goal from Ross McNamara but this wasn't enough for the English. In the earlier kick-off, Wales were helped after 24 minutes when Harte was sent off and two goals from Les Davies either side of Chris Moore's strike was good enough for Wales to secure the title on goal difference.

Simon Travis of Hereford United played in all three games for England but was subbed after 58 minutes in today's game.

Worcester could suit Pitman

Jamie Pitman, the ex-Hereford United midfielder, might find a new club very close to home.

Speculation this morning that Worcester City could be in line to sign him as a replacement for Graham Hyde who moved on recently.

Yesterday Pitman told the Worcester News:

"I've got things in the pipeline. I'm sure something will be sorted out quickly and that's good for my own piece of mind.

"I want another challenge. If I could stay in the area, then great.

"There are clubs in this area that I can still travel without moving home.

"But if needs be, I may need to uproot and move a little bit. I'm still a good player and I believe in my own ability.

"I want to still be competing at a good level. I believe I can do that in League Two. Unfortunately, it is not going to be with Hereford."

About leaving Hereford Pitman admitted he was gutted.

"But that happens, it is part of football and I have to get on with it. I'm not going to get upset about it.

"I know the club have got to look forward and they don't see me in their plans.

"It's hard to take having been there for so long, having helped the club into the position they are in today, being involved and helping them to promotion.

"It's unfortunate that their plans don't include me. I wanted to stay at Hereford.

"I live in the town and it would have been great to stay and play the first game of the season. There would be a big crowd and everybody would be buzzing. I'll miss those type of things.

"It has not been the greatest of years for me. I was slightly injured before Christmas and without having a reserve side, it was always difficult to get games under my belt.

"Because I was not match-fit, it was always that more difficult to move back into the side.

"I've got the utmost respect for Graham Turner. He's always been brilliant to me.

"Graham knows what he wants. He's not daft. It's always a difficult decision when somebody has been at the club for a long time.

"In the position he is in, he cannot show emotion or have room for sentiment. He uses common sense in his decisions.

"I'm sure he did not enjoy having to make his decisions over me and Tony (James)

"I've had two great spells, finished runners-up three times and got promoted. How many people can say they have done that at this level?"

Stevenage appoint Stimson

Stevenage Borough have appointed former Grays manager Mark Stimson on a three year deal reports the Official Stevenage website. Stimsom has led Grays to third in the Conference and also won the FA Trophy for the past two years. He replaces the outgoing Graham Westley.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Oxford Installed As Conference Favourites

Oxford have been installed as Conference favourites with the first bookmaker to release prices.

Skybet have Oxford at 5/1, with Halifax and Grays at 8/1, and Stevenage and Morecambe at 10/1. Tony James' Weymouth are 20/1 alongside Aldershot. Forest Green, Tamworth, and Southport are the 50/1 outsiders.

League Two odds are expected next week.

Turner Makes Brown Move

Chester chairman Stephen Vaughan has confirmed that Graham Turner has officially inquired about Wayne Brown's availability.

Speaking to the Daily Post, Vaughan said "I spoke to Graham Turner about Wayne. However, the decision is entirely up to Mark Wright. If Mark decides that Wayne figures in his future plans, then that answers the Hereford enquiry. If we decide to release the player we would require a fee for him, it's as black and white as that."

Brown joined the Bulls from Chester on a season long loan last July, firmly establishing himself as first choice stopper. He has one year of his Chester contract remaining.

Ex-Bulls Foster Named As Kiddy Physio

Ian Foster has been named physio at Kidderminster Harriers - his fourth spell at the club.

Foster, 29, was released by Kiddy last summer and spent unsucessful spells at Forest Green and Nuneaton last season whilst being plagued by injuries himself. He spent two seasons at Edgar Street, from 1996 to 1998, scoring just four times in 36 games.

Coldicott Departs Bulls

Stacy Coldicott has left the Bulls by mutual consent after struggling with injury, according to the Official site.

The second year of Coldicott's contract has been cancelled, and the former West Brom and Grimsby midfielder departs Edgar Street after starting just four games for the Bulls in his 12 month stay.

Coldicott played just 344 minutes for the Bulls, his final appearance being at home to Altrincham at the start of last September, and 300 for Cambridge in a one month loan spell during February and March.

His only appearance in a Bulls shirt after the loan spell ended was in a photograph on the cover of the Hereford Times eight days ago with coach John Trewick even being named on the bench instead of Coldicott, despite repeatedly being declared fit by the Bulls coaching staff.

Coldicott's departure leaves just four players on contract so far for next season.

If Only The Conference Stuck To The Rules...

Several non-league clubs have reacted with anger with the news that Oxford United will be allowed into the Conference whilst clearly breaking the rules.

A Conference rule states that spectators can watch the game for any side of the ground, but Oxford's three-sided ground flouts that rule.

Conference chiefs have dismissed reports that they would refuse Oxford's entry, with John Moules quotes as saying: "There is criteria which says spectators should be able to view a game from all four sides. The rule exists in the Football League as well, but gives discretion to the board of directors to make their own judgement. There is no hesitation on our part in welcoming Oxford to the league ? there was never any doubt about that. Obviously, they are going to be one of the best-supported clubs, and probably one of the most successful as well."

However what is notable in the Conference's decision is that they refused Marine, twice winners of the Northern Premier League in the mid-90's, promotion to the Conference for exactly the same reason.

Altrincham's chairman, Geoff Goodwin, sees the cases as one and the same: "I have got nothing against Oxford at all and it doesn't matter who the club is, but what I would say is surely rules are rules? You either have them or you don't ? it's as simple as that. I have had to sit through a hearing which lost us 18 points and cost us relegation because we broke the rules. It has left me with a bitter taste in my mouth and a poor view of football. I'm not really bothered about Oxford's ground, to be honest, but they didn't let Marine in under the same ruling, so why is that?

"It seems to me like part-time clubs get punished while full-time ones get away with it. But that will sound like sour grapes after what has happened."

Altrincham will get an unlikely lifeline if Scarboro fail to assure the Conference over their future.

Gorman Departs Wycombe

John Gorman has ended his time as manager of Wycombe after struggling to come to terms with the loss of his wife.

His wife Myra died from Cancer in February and Gorman spent two months on compassionate leave. He briefly returned in April, but was sent home shortly after. A statement on the official Wycombe site reads: "The Board of Directors of WWFC have today reluctantly agreed to release John Gorman from his position as Manager of this Club.

The Board believe John needs a great deal more time and professional help to deal with the tragic loss of his wife.

In the meantime, we need to continue with the operation of the Football Club and a financial package has been agreed with John which he is satisfied with.

The Directors and staff would like to thank John for his excellent contribution to the Football Club over the last 18 months and trust the next period of his life with what we have agreed today will enable him to stabilise and become stronger."

Stansfield To Consider Options

Speaking to the Exeter Express and Echo, Adam Stansfield spoke about his current situation:

"He (Graham Turner) has basically said he wants me but he is just waiting on his budget. Now we have gone up he is not sure what money he has got at the minute so he is just waiting on that before he gets back to us. I will wait to see what the offer is. I will see if there are other clubs who show an interest. I will talk to them and see which offer suits me best."

On the persistent rumours of a move to Exeter, Stansfield added: "There are always rumours. My family are living down there and they tell me about the rumours and every time I go home the rumours seem to start up again. There is nothing in them."

Thordarson Quits Notts Co

Manager Gudjon Thordarson has quit Notts County following cuts to his backroom staff.

Assistant Ross McLaren was axed yesterday after the Centre of Excellence and it's coaching staff was given the same fate. Thordarson was one year into a three year deal at the cash-strapped club.

Oxford To Be Most Expensive In Conf

Oxford will be the most expensive club to visit in the Conference after confirming that their prices would remain static for next season.

The freeze means that visiting supporters to the Kassam Stadium will pay £19.50 on the day, although tickets can be bought in advance for £16.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

England held by Wales

The Non-League International game between England and Wales ended 1-1 this evening.

Justin Richards of Woking scored for England and Chris Moore of Dagenham and Redbridge replied for Wales with a penalty.

Simon Travis, the Hereford United defender, played the whole 90 minutes.

Scotland defeated Ireland 2-1.

England and Wales top the table.

Fleetwood looks for new contract

Despite reported attention from Bristol Rovers, The Forester reports that Stuart Fleetwood wants to stay at Edgar Street.

Former Newent Community School pupil Stuart Fleetwood is hoping to get a new deal with Hereford United for next season after helping them to get back into the football league. Fleetwood's Hereford won a place in League Three (surely League Two - ed) with a nail-biting 3-2 win over Halifax in Saturday's Conference promotion play-off in Cardiff.

Fleetwood signed for the non-leaguers in February, after finding himself surplus to requirements at Cardiff City.

He signed until the end of the season, knocking back an offer from Scottish club Hamilton Academicals.

Fleetwood was a full-time professional with Cardiff City for three seasons, starting one league match. He has won Welsh under-16s, 17s, 19s, 20s and under-21s caps - qualifying for Wales because his father Keith was born in Cardiff.

Fleetwood was also a talented rugby union fly-half, playing in the Newent team which won the Gloucester Schools' Cup.

However, he quickly decided soccer was the route he wanted to take - after firing 104 goals in one season for Newent Youth.

Crawley Consider Administration

Crawley Town have admitted they are considering Administration as another ex-employee wins an industrial tribunal.

Former Managing Director Steve Duly, son of former owner John Duly, was awarded nearly £35,000 after being forced out of his role. He is the third former employee to win a tribunal after former manager Francis Vines and assistant Dave Swindlehurst both won their cases last month.

Turner looking for six more players

Graham Turner is said to be looking for six players to add to his squad for next season according to the Worcester News.

"I think we are looking to bring in half-a-dozen players during the summer," said Turner. "But I don't want to discuss what positions we are looking at.

"We've got to be speculative. But consideration has got to be given to the budget. We don't want to put the club in the predicament of five years ago."

"Our income will increase from the sponsorship money. But also we will be hoping for higher attendances and prices will go up in all sorts of areas, such as perimeter advertising."

For televised League Two games, the paper says home clubs receive £30,000 and away clubs £10,000, although less live exposure is expected for the Bulls next season.

"I don't think we will get the same exposure as last season. But every week, our goals will be shown on television," remarked Turner.

Physio Jones reveals he could have been sacked

Wayne Jones, the Hereford United physio sponsored by Bulls News, has revealed he wondered whether he would still be working at Edgar Street if he couldn't get goalkeeper Wayne Brown back in action when he was injured late in the Play-off final last Saturday.

"When Browny went down, I couldn't revive him for a while and I was panicking a little, not in respect of his injury but because we had already used our three subsitutes," Jones told the Hereford Times.

"Then he got to his feet and started wobbling about and I thought; 'Oh no - what if he lets one through his legs now. The gaffer will sack me tomorrow.'"

"But fortunately he did alright and was quite safe after that."

He commented that the game was a thriller and then cast doubt on the age of Guy Ipoua.

"And the old fellow up front, Guy, they don't know whether he's 30 or 45, came on with a great header!"

Notts Co Axe Centre Of Excellence

Notts County are to axe their Centre of Excellence and their youth football programme in a bid to cut costs.

Around 120 youngsters will be affected by the move, which is hoped will save the struggling club £250,000 a year. The club had run several sides from under 9 to under 16 as well as a Centre of Excellence side.

Gate capacity to be reduced

More details about the improvements required to Edgar Street have emerged in today's Hereford Times.

The paper says that the gate capacity could be reduced from 7,800 to around 6,500.

"We can put some more barriers in the Meadow End which will increase things slightly," said Graham Turner.

"We also have to improve our CCTV cameras, the police control box has to be extended and there has to be an improvement to the press box."

Meanwhile the paper confirms there will not be a victory parade nor a civic reception so many of the players are away from the area.

For example, Alex Jeannin is back in his native France and Tamika Mkandawire is on holiday.

Maamria Departs Stevenage

Volatile Tunisian striker Dino Maamria has left Stevenage - the 16th player to depart in two weeks.

Maamria was initially reported to have agreed a new one year deal 10 days ago but has now been released, leaving just nine players on contract for the new manager to work with. The new manager is expected to be appointed by the weekend.

Shirt Auction Raises £6,000

Over £6,000 was raised in the play-off final shirt auction on the Official Site.

The 'blood' shirts, signed by the entire team raised over £400 each, while the highest individual player shirt was from Tamika Mkandawire which raised £420.

Bury Deducted Point For Ineligible Player

Bury have been deducted one point for fielding an ineligible player.

The side fielded Colin Marrison as a sub in a 1-1 draw with Lincoln on April 15th, a week after his loan from Sheffield United ended. The point deduction represents the point gained in that match. A £5,000 fine has also been imposed, suspended until the end of next season.

The deduction does not effect Bury's final league position.

Crewe Target Williams

Several sources are reporting that Crewe manager Dario Gradi is weighing up a bid for Bulls striker Andy Williams.

Crewe had sent different scouts to several recent games, and both Clubcall and Vital Football are reporting that a move may be made in the summer.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Papertalk about Green

Hereford United's Ryan Green has several options for next season depending on which paper you read.

Yesterday according to the Bristol Press he was to have talks with Rovers.

This morning the Mirror sugests that both Milwall and Wolves are interested in him.

Meanwhile Green has been offered a new contract by Graham Turner to remain at Edgar Street.

In essence there is always paper-talk and speculation about players who hit the headlines after a 'big' game.

No doubt Green met with Rovers yesterday but Graham Turner will know what's going on and know to what extent he is prepared to match any deal offered elsewhere.

No Rest for Turner

Graham Turner took time out of his busy schedule this morning to update Trevor Owens of BBC Hereford and Worcester on the comings and goings at Edgar Street and why he has to work next Bank Holiday Monday. Some of the main points are below:

"We've got a Football League ground inspection next Monday. It's nice of them to come up on Bank Holiday Monday.

"We haven't had a weekend off for ten months!

"There's a fair amount of work to be done on the ground. Mostly small things - pricing of advertising boards, season tickets and all those sorts of things.

"As well as trying to get players settled in and bring new ones in.

"So it's a busier period than we have ever had."

Turner then spoke about the retained list.

"It's players I've not offered new contracts to (James, Pitman and Ipoua -see earlier stories).

The manager admitted to release players who have been at the club a long time wasn't easy.

"The timing is awful isn't it. All the euphoria of the weekend and then come Monday morning there is a dampener on it.

"I suppose when they go out and talk to the other players it has an effect on them. Even the ones we've offered new contracts to - they see some of their mates departing. That's never easy."

Turner confirmed he had agreed terms with Dean Beckwith.

"I've spoken to his agent. There are different contracts in the Football League. As soon as they arrive it's filling in the figures and details and getting it to Dean to be signed.

"So he is one that has agreed. I think the majority of the others will be happy to stay at the club.

"We'll just add a number of players to bring it up to 22,23 or 24.

"I think we've got to have a good enough squad to try and keep the momentum going."

Barnet To Stay At Underhill For Now

Barnet will celebrate their 100th year at Underhill after reaching a last-minute agreement with the local council.

The council had barred cars from Priory Grove, a road leading to Underhill, and the club would have failed a Football League deadline if they had tried to challenge the ruling in the courts.

The two parties have agreed a 'status quo' deal - meaning Barnet can use the road as they have done for many years.

Hopes about Stadium improvements

With League Two coming shortly, Graham Turner has told the Hereford Journal about the next stage in the club's development.

"Obviously the stadium needs refurbishment and moderation.

"We hope, over the next month, to conclude an agreement to progress that. Talks have been very amicable."

Meanwhile, the chief excutive of the Edgar Street, Jonathan Bretherton, has confirmed that discussions with the Richardson Brothers have taken place.

"I think it is important that we build something in the long term that allows the club to grow and not just a quick hit."

Pitman accepts release by Hereford

Jamie Pitman has told the Hereford Journal that his future does not lie at Hereford United.

"It's tough being released, especially as I live in the area.

"But that's football, these things happen and I have accepted the decision."

The Journal also reports that Rob Purdie has gone for a hernia operation.

Meanwhile the Dorest Press has a few comments from Garry Hill, the Weymouth manager, who confirmed the signing of Tony James from Hereford this morning.

"I've been a big admirer of Tony James for some time and I'm delighted that he's now a Weymouth player."

"Following the departure of our captain Matt Bound at the end of last season, we were left short in terms of numbers in defence and so getting Tony on board is a great bit of business.

"He has got a wealth of experience at Conference level having been Hereford's captain for many years and is someone who will provide us with many leadership qualities over the course of the season.

"I've watched him on quite a few occasions and in addition to his vast experience, Tony will bring a number of attributes to the club. He's mobile, quick, strong and can read the game well and at just 27 years of age he's also still got a lot of football left in him.

"Tony missed some of last season with a groin injury but he's over that now and after chatting with him I know he's really looking forward to the start of pre-season training in July."

Winning "Discriminates Against Ambitious Clubs"

Bulls News previously reported on how the Welsh League were struggling for participants next season.

Now, with the league likely to start one club short due to the feeder league winners being unable to sustain the finances demanded, the secretary of the Welsh League, John Deakin, has come up with a quote firmly up there with anything Graham Westley ever managed: "It is particularly annoying that we have three clubs in the North - Flint, Llandudno and Llangefni Town - who are keen to join our league. But their ambitions have been frustrated by clubs who have finished above them and are not interested in promotion.

I consider the current system discriminates against ambitious clubs."

Well, they could at least try to win the league!

Gray Named Grays Boss

Frank Gray has been named as the new manager of Grays Athletic.

Gray earlier quit his job as boss of Farnborough Town, and joins Grays on a two year deal. He is a former Leeds and Notts Forest defender and a former Scottish international.

It was previously reported yesterday by the Swindon Vital Football site that ex-Swindon manager Andy King had been named as manager.

Hopes rise that Superman will stay

Hopes are rising that goalkeeper Wayne 'Superman' Brown may stay at Edgar Street.

It is understood that there have been discussions between the two clubs which have cleared the way for Brown to remain at Hereford

Brown is said to want to stay at Hereford after a very successful season.

Sources close to the club say that Graham Turner and Brown are now in contract negotiations.

Peake Pummeled But Comes Back Fighting

Forest Green secretary Colin Peake, who has become a hate-figure on Conference message boards for his alleged involvement in the Altrincham affair, has hit back at his critics.

Claiming that some of his critics have 'their own agenda', Peake claims that the Conference itself asked both Forest Green and Tamworth to lodge complaints about the James Robinson registration but that both clubs refused.

Meanwhile, correspondence posted on a blog entitled For The Good Of The Game suggests that Peake pushed for the punishment to be the maximum available, and that Forest Green would "take whatever steps might be necessary to protect our position".

Peake's version of events can be viewed at

The FTGOTG Blog can be seen at

Aldershot Sign Two

Aldershot have signed former Barnet midfielder Louie Soares, and Northampton striker Jason Lee.

Lee, now 34, is best remembered for being the man with a pineapple on his head. Aldershot is his 13th club having scored around 100 goals in 500 appearances.

Alexander Quits Lincoln

Keith Alexander has quit Lincoln City after falling at the play-off hurdle for the fourth successive time.

Alexander had been under pressure all season, and almost lost his job in January after both he and then assistant boss Gary Simpson were suspended with Lincoln in 15th place.

Meanwhile, Stockport have announced that they have already sold 500 season tickets for the new season. Torquay have lost long-serving winger Tony Bedeau to Walsall on a free transfer.

James Signs For Weymouth

It has been confirmed that Tony James has signed for Conference new boys Weymouth.

James has signed a 12 month deal, with a 12 month option. He joins ex-Bull Ben Smith at the Wessex Stadium.

Turner confirms three to leave

Graham Turner has confirmed that three players are leaving Hereford United.

He named them on BBC Hereford and Worcester as Jamie Pitman, Guy Ipoua and former club captain Tony James. None of the three have been offered new contracts.

Turner admitted that Ipoua's goal in the play-off had been very important while Pitman and James had been great servants of the club.

"I've got to pay tribute to them for their contribution to the club over a period of time. But things move on and it will be a fresh challenge for them," Turner told the station.

"Both have done exceptionally well in the Conference, both will get decent clubs, I've no doubt about that.

"I think there is already a queue waiting to talk to them."

As regards Ipoua, Turner was greatful for his help:

"He was brought in with the intention of helping us gain promotion to the Football League.

"He's had a terrific finish to the season when he's gone on a subs in the Morecambe and the Halifax match.

"Great contribution in those two games. Helped us get up there and all we can do is wish him well wherever he goes from here."

Beckwith Signs But Ipoua, Pitman, James Released

Dean Beckwith has signed a new deal, but Guy Ipoua, Tony James and Jamie Pitman have been released.

Beckwith, 22, joined the Bulls from Gillingham 12 month ago, playing 39 times and often receiving rave reviews for his partnership with Tamika Mkandawire.

Ipoua, 30, showed glimpses of his immense talent but spent far too much of the season injured and, as the likes of Andy Tretton found out, that was the deciding factor when new contracts were being offered. He started less than one third of league games, but scored crucial goal in both the play-off semi final and final.

Pitman, 30, started over 150 games for the club and was the only current player to play for the Bulls in the Football League. His second spell, which started in 2002, was as a part time player combining his work at Hereford Leisure Centre.

James was the club's longest serving player, having signed from West Brom in 1998. He spent six of his eight seasons as an automatic first choice centre back and was rightly awarded the captains armband for his assured displays. Unfortunately, this past season was blighted with injury and he became third choice when fit. He amassed over 250 appearances for the club, scoring 16 times.

Two good seasons at Hereford

Steve Guinan is realishing the chance to play at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday as Cheltenham take on Grimsby for the last promotion place to League One.

The 30-year-old started his career at Nottingham Forest and after a plethora of loan deals has stopped off at Cambridge, Plymouth and Hereford before signing for Cheltenham in 2004.

However many Hereford United fans will be hoping that the Robins stay in League Two as it would mean another two local derbies next season.

Guinan has given an interview to Ian Clarkson of givemefootball in which he talks of his time at Edgar Street and his move to Cheltenham. Asked what persuaded him to move he replied:

"I had two good seasons at Hereford United and I didn't want to leave. However, the offer of returning to the Football League was too good to turn down. I was disappointed to drop out of the league originally but these things happen and you have got to make ends meet and pay the bills. Graham Turner was good enough to offer me a contract and I enjoyed my time at Edgar Street. There were quite a few clubs interested when my contract expired but I knew John Finnegan from my days at Nottingham Forest and said lots of good things about Cheltenham. My heart was set on Cheltenham in the end and it has turned out to be a good decision."

The Wilderness Years out before Christmas

Ron Parrott's book entitled 'The Wilderness Years' is expected to be published well before Christmas.

The book will trace the years Hereford United has spent in the Conference right upto and including the play-off final game at Leicester last Saturday.

"The publisher has wasted no time in contacting me to see if we're willing to take it on. The answer of course was "yes" and our deadline for completion of stats and text will be the end of August, " Ron told Bulls News.

"This will then allow sufficient time for editing, proof-reading, printing and distribution with it reaching the shops later this year.

"Advance subscribers will again have their names printed at the back of the book."

Ron also spoke about last Saturday:

"Football League status meant so much to me back in 1972 and second time around it was none less enjoyable, I really feel that we're back where we belong and for those who say we're better off being a big fish in a small pond, let them dare say that to the 10,000 heroic fans who graced The Walkers Stadium on Saturday! We want success and we want it at a higher level, no argument!"

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

League Two Terrace Prices Average £2 More

League Two terrace admission prices for next season will see the travelling Bulls fan pay on average £2 a game more than their Conference equivalents - but seat prices are set to soar.

Torquay are one of the cheapest, pegging their adult matchday prices under near neighbours Exeter, at £15 (seats) and £14 (terrace) while Swindon - barring reductions - are advertising matchday tickets at £23 (seats) and £15 (terrace). Stockport appear to have the most expensive terracing at £16, with £19 seats.

The most expensive Conference tickets for 2006/07 are £17 (seats) and £15 (terrace).

Shirt Auction Nears £4,000 Mark

An auction on the official Hereford United website is close to raising £4,000 for the Bulls from the sale of un-used play-off final shirts.

Each outfield player was given two shirts, one long-sleeved and one short-sleeved, to wear for the final. The players kept the match worn shirts, and the unused shirts have been signed by the player in question. Tamika Mkandawire's shirt currently has the highest bid at £350.

The club are also auctioning off four 'blood' shirts signed by the entire squad. Bids on these go up to £400. The auction finishes at noon on Thursday.

Blewitt Released By West Ham

Former Bulls loanee Darren Blewitt has been released by West Ham.

Blewitt, 20, joined the Bulls at the start of the season until the new year, making 11 appearances. He is one of 14 Hammers to be released this week.

Travis plays for England

Hereford United's Simon Travis played the full 90 minutes for England this evening.


England 2-0 Ireland

Wales 2-1 Scotland

Ex-Hereford United's Graham Evans scored for Wales as did Chris Moore (Dag and Red)

For England the scorers were Carr and Oli. Just 824 bothered to watch the game

Watson Quits Southport

Liam Watson has resigned as manager of Southport after a meeting with Chairman Charlie Clapham today.

With the club moving to full time status over the summer Watson, who remained part-time and had a career outside football, and Clapham agreed that it was unsuitable to have a part-time manager controlling a full-time squad.

The official Southport site quotes Clapham as saying: "This has been a sad day. Liam remains my friend but we both recognised a part time manager in a full time club was not going to work no matter how we tried to look at it. I have the highest regard for Liam. He can be very proud of his achievements at Haig Avenue. I respect Liam's decision and Liam has recognised in his own mind what would benefit the club the most and that was a full time manager. It has been a painful decision for all of us. As a club we will have to manage a major transition from part time to full time and that is a demanding full time role. The timing was right for the future of the club and Liam knew that. It is rare to have a managerial change in such amicable circumstances. "

Rushden Name New Manager

Ex-Notts Forest boss Paul Hart has been given the helm at Rushden.

Hart managed Forest for nearly three years, and had initial success until being axed near the end of the 2003/4 season as the club floundered near the Championship relegation zone.

Fairclough rates Simon Travis

Whilst the rest of the Hereford United squad have a well-earned rest Simon Travis has travelled to Sussex to join the English Non-League team. Hopefully he will be able to take part in all three matches. Last year he was carried off on a stretcher in the game between England and Ireland.

Manager Paul Fairclough has told the Daily Telegraph that he thinks the 29 year-old defender is worth his place in the squad.

"I had my doubts about him, but he's won me over. He has played his best football since he moved to Hereford where he has become a better player all round."

This evening: England v Ireland - Priory Lane, Eastbourne Borough, 7.45pm
This evening: Wales v Scotland - Nyewood Lane, Bognor Regis Town, 7.45pm
Thursday 25 May: England v Wales - Priory Lane, Eastbourne Borough, 7.45pm
Thursday 25 May: Ireland v Scotland - Victor Gladwish Stadium, Worthing, 7.45pm
Saturday 27 May: Ireland v Wales - Victor Gladwish Stadium, Worthing, 12.30pm
Saturday 27 May: England v Scotland - Priory Lane, Eastbourne Borough, 4.00pm

All players under 24 given offers says Turner

With most of the Hereford United players out of contract discussions started yesterday on new contracts.

"The players were in yesterday to sort out new contracts. They all expired after Saturday's game," Graham Turner told the Worcester News.

"All players under 24 were given written offers last week.

"They have been given a set period of time to consider the offers presented to them, but in the meantime we will be looking for players to strengthen the squad."

Turner wasn't giving much away but did admit he would have a little more money for next season.

"There's a bit more scope than there has been at any other time, because we are competing in a different market."

Meanwhile John Nagle, head of communications at the Football League, confirmed Hereford will receive an established sponsorship and broadcasting payment of £260,000 for next season.

Footnote: The following players of Hereford United's squad are under 24: Dean Beckwith, Tamika Mkandawire, Sam Gwynne, Craig Stanley, Stuart Fleetwood, Danny Carey-Bertram and Rob Purdie. (Andy Williams and Andy Ferrell are also under 24 but have already done deals)

Alty Relegated As Appeal Fails

Altrincham's appeal against their 18 point deduction for fielding an ineligible player has been rejected by the FA.

Altrincham had received massive support from other Conference fans, with 9,000 signatures on a petition against the deduction, and Grays chairman Mick Woodward paid for a barrister to represent Altrincham at today's hearing.

A statement from Altrincham reads: "After the FA today upheld the Conference's earlier decision, the Altrincham FC Board are deeply disappointed with today's decision by the FA Appeals Panel. After a successful season on the pitch, this decision has come as a complete shock. On the positive side, the management and Board are totally committed to take the club onwards and upwards on the foundations set over the last four years. We can but thank our own fans for their loyalty and also the supporters and clubs throughout the English football community for their support".

Conference News Round-Up

Aldershot boss Terry Brown has confirmed that he is in talks with 20 players as he looks to rebuild after a poor season, including ex-loanee Jonny Dixon who is likely to be released by Wycombe. Brown has completed a deal to take Cambridge City midfielder Mark Molesley on a free. Molesley played against the Bulls in the FA Cup earlier in the season.

Forest Green have signed ex-Scarboro defended Kevin Nicholson, former Exeter winger Les Afful, and secured striker Julian Alsop on a new 12 month deal. Morecambe have agreed new deals with Jim Bentley and Garry Thompson, but have released fringe players Michael Stringfellow and Jimmy Kelly.

Gulls interest in Fleetwood 'cooling'

According to the Western Daily Press, Bristol Rovers' interest in Hereford's Stuart Fleetwood is said to be cooling.

Rovers were connected with both Ryan Green and Fleetwood last week.

As yet, it isn't confirmed whether Graham Turner has offered new contracts to either of the players.

Commons praise Hereford United

Hereford United have been given parliamentary recognition for winning promotion to the Football League after a nine-year absence reports BBC Sport.

Two Commons motions have been tabled, congratulating the club after it beat Halifax 3-2 in the Conference Play-Off Final at Leicester on Saturday.

Hereford's Liberal Democrat MP Paul Keetch said he was hoping for "a bright future" for the town and club

Leominster Tory MP Bill Wiggins praised Herefordshire Council for its help.

He said it had helped ensure the pitch was "eligible for Football League status".

Mr Keetch said a new Hereford Stadium would be the centrepiece of the proposed Edgar Street Grid Development.

Both motions praised manager Graham Turner, along with the players, staff, and supporters for their achievement.

Council salute Bulls on their Promotion

The Chairman of Herefordshire Council has congratulated Hereford United on its promotion to the Football League reports

United's thrilling 3-2 extra-time victory over Halifax Town on Saturday in the Conference Play-off final was a 'massive boost' to the county.

The Bulls were relegated from the Football League in May 1997 and their return to the country's elite list will put the city back on the footballing map.

"This was a fantastic result for Hereford which the team deserved," said Councillor John Edwards, Chairman of Herefordshire Council.

"I offer them congratulations from all our Councillors and wish them all the best as they up their game for Division Two football next season.

"To say they had us on the edge of our seats would be an understatement. There's nothing like leaving it to the last minute and the goal in the second half of extra time which clinched the match certainly had us all biting our nails right to the final whistle," he added.

"United's status as a Division Two team will put Hereford and Herefordshire on the map and we look forward to welcoming supporters from near and far next season."

Councillor Edwards is currently having talks with Councillor Bob Preece, the newly elected Mayor of Hereford, with a view to arranging a civic reception for the team.

The End of the Game on H&W

The end of the game and the celebrations from last Saturday are on the BBC H&W website.

Go to listen live and click on the John Hellings show. As the football over-ran, the first part of his show is taken up by the football.

Trevor Owens, Terry Goodwin and in particular Malcolm Boyden front the coverage.

Well worth a listen.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Turner third longest serving manager

No sooner than he gets Hereford United into the Football League, Graham Turner has jumped straight into third place in another league.

Turner is now beleived to be the third longest serving manager in the Football League, and another ex-Conference manager, John Coleman of Accrington has also made the top five.

Dario Gradi at Crewe tops the list with 23 years in charge, Sir Alex at Manchester United close to 20 years.

And then comes Graham Turner, in charge at Edgar Street since 1995.

Uncertainty over Superman Brown

Wayne 'Superman' Brown's future is still uncertain.

Chester chairman Stephen Vaughan and manager Mark Wright are expected to talk to the on-loan Hereford United goalkeeper sometime this week. Brown has a two-year deal at Chester but is known to want to stay at Edgar Street.

Chester have already signed former Harriers goalkeeper Jon Danby, but Chris MacKenzie their former keeper has moved to Shrewsbury.

"We also have the situations surrounding Michael Branch and Wayne Brown, both of whom have 12 months of their contracts to run with us, discussions and decisions will have to be arrived at with them." Vaughan told the club's official website.

Shrews could net 1.5M from sale of Hart

League Two neighbours, Shrewsbury Town, could net up to £1.5M from the sale of goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Manchester City have confirmed the signing of Hart, an England Under-19 international, on a four year deal subject to a medical.

He will join for an initial fee of £600,000, but that could rise to £1.5m.

Shrewsbury need the money to help fund a proposed move to a new stadium.

We need strengthening says Turner

Graham Turner, the Hereford United manager, has been having contract talks with several players at Edgar Street today.

Andy Williams and Andy Ferrell have already signed for next season and Alex Jeannin and Stacy Coldicott are in the middle of two year contracts, although there is speculation that Turner may be able to negotiate with Coldicott over his future at Hereford as he has seldom featured for the Bulls this season.

Turner spoke to BBC West Midlands earlier today about how he sees the squad next season.

"I think we'll need one or two. I think everybody accepts that.

"The nucleus of the team has done extremely well this season and will be kept and they will lead the charge into the football league, but we would be foolish not to think we need strengthening and that's what we will be doing over the next few months."

Some of the squad were pictured drinking champagne at the ground. They were said to be still coming to terms with their promotion.

Ryan Green spoke about his goal.

"Unbeleivable, like a dream. I don't score many. I've only scored four in my career.

"To score the winner and get Hereford promoted, unbeleivable."

Williams - just pleased to have been involved

Andy Williams is still only 19 but has to be Hereford United's most improved player of the season.

Williams scored 14 goals this season including two in the play-offs.

"It's been a great season," Williams told the Worcester News. "I'm just pleased to have been involved.

"Some of the lads have waited a very long time for moments like this. Simon Travis has been waiting until he is 29 to get back into the Football League.

"I'm only 19 and I've got a lot of years ahead of me, but I'm looking forward to next season.

"I've been quite fortunate in my first full season that I'm with a great bunch of players. There's a lot of talent within the squad."

Now proud to be a Hereford United player, Williams said it hadn't always been easy to follow the Bulls

"When I was a bit younger I watched Hereford games, but I was never a loyal supporter because I was playing football on the same day on Saturday mornings and afternoons.

"But I always looked out for their results. Now I'm proud to play for Hereford. A lot of my friends are season-ticket holders, so I'm really pleased for them."

He spoke about Saturday's game.

"It was a cracking game - I suppose a good one for neutrals. But for Hereford fans, I'm sure they would have wanted us to win 3-0 or 4-0.

"We always seem to make it hard for ourselves. Obviously, it's always hard to come back in a game like that, but we've done a lot of that this season - we've always fought back and got back into games. That shows the character we've got at the club."

"I could not really miss my goal after Adam (Stansfield) put it on a plate for me.

"All the lads were tremendous. Tamika was awesome. He carried the team forward, driving everybody on.

"The whole back-line has been outstanding this season -- it's the reason we got to the play-offs. Then we've got two excellent goalkeepers.

"Our midfield was brilliant and they have been all season.

"It's probably not the best midfield we've had in terms of passing it around, but they work ever so hard. They fight for everything and drive us on."

Jamie has a long wait before celebrating

Jamie Pitman had to wait what seemed an eternity before he joined the after match dressing room party on Saturday. He was asked to provide a urine sample but was so dehydrated after the game it took him two hours.

"The celebrations on the pitch were terrific," Pitman told the Worcester News. "Unfortunately, I got drug-tested after the game, about 10 minutes after we got presented with the trophy.

"I was straight in to give a sample and I was there for about two hours, because I was a bit dehydrated afterwards.

"Wayne Brown also had to take a sample, but he managed to leave much earlier than me!

"It was so frustrating because I was sat in another room for two hours while everybody else was celebrating."

Eventually he joined in.

"It was fantastic. We took thousands of fans there and I know they enjoyed the celebrations just as much as we did.

"A lot of the players' friends and family were at the game. Afterwards, I had my little boy with me, also my wife and my parents.

"We all went back to Hereford and it's been pretty much non-stop for 24 to 48 hours!"

He spoke about Ryan Green's goal.

"I don't think Ryan could quite believe it. It was a great goal and he said he meant for the top corner.

"I'll have to believe him, but I've never seen a shot like that in training before. He has not got a left foot!

"It's quite funny that he scored in our first game of the season (against Scarborough) and has scored in our last."

"To be fair, all the goals were of high-quality. The finishing was superb and, on the whole, the game was a great spectacle for the level of football we're playing at. It was a great advert for the Conference.

"It's been a long time coming for us. The game was a rollercoaster of emotions - going behind, getting back in it, going behind again and then getting the winner. It was an unbelievable final."

"It's been a great occasion for me. It's nice for me to get back into the Football League. I've waited quite a long time and it's special to do it with Hereford."

Stansfield Hopes For New Contract

Adam Stansfield is hoping he's done enough for a new contract next season, despite missing a large chunk of this season through injury.

Speaking to the Exeter Express and Echo, Stansfield described the play-off win: "It was amazing. To come back twice was brilliant. We have worked so hard over the course of a long season. In the end it came down to one game and we produced the goods.

I have played in the FA Trophy final, but this was up there with the biggest games I have been involved in. The game had everything, the atmosphere was electric and to top it all off we won. The play-offs had become a sore point in the past few seasons. Finishing second and not getting promoted had been a blow, especially as the club have been calling out for two teams to get automatic promotion. But it doesn't matter now. We are up and everyone is so thrilled.

I haven't got a contract next season. I haven't been offered anything yet. We are in today and we will be told our futures in the next few days. I have had a few injuries, but hopefully I have done enough to be offered a new contract.

Hereford are a league side really and well equipped to go into League Two. Being in the Conference for nine years has been hard but they are back now. Hopefully now we will be able to get some more league players that will help us stay in there. I was disappointed not to be offered something at Yeovil. But I chose to go to the club who still had the best chance of getting back into the League and it has turned into a good move for me.

You look at the past few years and the teams who have got promoted from the Conference have either gone straight up again or they have managed to finish in the play-offs or just below them. So I think we have got every chance to do the same next season."

Transfer News Round-Up

Woking striker Justin Richards looks set to snub both Exeter and Burton to sign for an un-named League Two side. However, Burton's chances of signing Tom Curtis from Chester have increased after Chester decided not to offer him a new deal.

Forest Green have lost the services of Damon Searle to Newport after offering him a drastically reduced contract. Searle joins ex-Bull John Brough at the ambitious Welsh side.

York's chances of keeping loanee David McGurk have been dealt a blow after parent club Darlington offered him a new 12 month deal. Cambridge striker Craig Westcarr has joined big spending Kettering after rejecting a new deal at the Abbey Stadium. Kettering have also signed ex-Spurs man Darren Caskey from Rushden on a free transfer.

Scarboro have released 15 players after their relegation from the Conference (Altrincham appeal pending!), and have only three players on contract so far for next season.

Green put Bulls in the pink

Colin Stoner compiled this account of Saturday's match for the Birmingham press:

They have endured nine years of uncertainty, anguish and heartache but it was finally mission accomplished for Hereford United on Saturday night.

The team from the market town, home of the SAS, not only dared but also won in the most heroic fashion in front of 15,000 fans at the Walkers Stadium in Leicester to return to the Football League.

The scars of their last-day relegation in May 1997, the backs-to-the-wall fight for financial survival and the tears of twice suffering playoff misery seemed a lifetime away when Ryan Green's stunning extra-time goal earned the long-overdue return ticket to League Two.

Green's previous claim to fame had been in becoming the youngest player capped by Wales when he was a Wolves youngster but his name will go down in Bulls' folklore alongside Ronnie Radford and Ricky George and the heroes of '72.

Twice the Bulls, inspired by skipper Tamika Mkandawire, had had to show their steel after falling behind to Halifax, equalising through Andy Williams and Guy Ipoua before right-back Green snaffled a loose ball on the right-hand of the penalty area and steered a glorious angled shot beyond keeper Jon Kennedy into the far corner of the net.

Having finished runners-up for three years in succession, justice was undoubtedly done but manager Graham Turner admitted the over-riding feeling was one of relief.

"We've gone close in the last two years and it's been heartbreaking," said Turner. "But today has made up for it all.

"Both teams went at it hammer and tongs. We could have played better but in the end it was academic - we're back in the Football League.

"This is as big as anything I've done, even better maybe than winning the champion-ship itself away from home which can be a bit of an anti-climax."

Turner has enjoyed the highs after successes with Shrewsbury Town and Wolves, and managed in the top tier with Aston Villa but his 11 years at Edgar Street have been an Alton Towers roller-coaster. His own money rescued the club and no-one deserves the adulation more than one of football's real gentlemen.

"When I left Wolves I never thought I'd join as club as small as Hereford. The club was in dire straits," said Turner. "I was foolish to buy shares and not one day has gone by that I've not regretted it. But at this moment it's all been worthwhile."

Halifax, who had finished fourth in the table, had settled into their game quicker than the Bulls and were rewarded on 27 minutes when Lewis Killeen cracked a 20-yard half-volley past keeper Wayne Brown.

But it was 1-1 seven minutes later when Williams notched his 13th goal of the season with a diving header from Adam Stansfield's cross.

Former Hereford striker John Grant, on as a substitute, restored the lead to the Yorkshire side from Killeen's cross on 73 minutes but the Bulls provided their own supersub when Cameroon striker Ipoua converted a right-wing cross from Simon Travis with a thundering header on 80 minutes, five minutes after coming on.

Now August cannot come quickly enough for the Bulls.

"There is clearly a gulf between the Conference and the League," said Turner. We've got to go and try and prepare. But you look at the Championship to see how far well-run clubs like us can go. Southend and Colchester have proved it can be done."

Turner sees the light after dark days

Mark Venables wrote this report for the Times:

NINE YEARS OF HURT for Graham Turner, the Hereford United manager, were washed away when Ryan Green curled a shot past the despairing dive of Jon Kennedy to seal an extra-time victory in the Nationwide Conference play-offs final at the Walkers Stadium.

For Turner, the chairman and major shareholder as well as manager, it has been a dual role of turning the team around on the pitch while restoring some stability to the financially stricken club. For the third consecutive season Hereford ended the league campaign as runners-up, but unlike their previous two attempts, this year they negotiated the semi-final and on Saturday Turner's personal sacrifice was at last rewarded.

"I can recall the day that we were relegated from the Football League against Brighton nine years ago. It was full of despair and I have never known so much emotion," Turner said. "But distance lends a bit of forgetfulness.

"When I left Wolves I never thought that I would finish at a club as small as Hereford. The events that happened after that, the relegation - the club was in dire straits, the players hadn't been paid. It was a foolish thing to buy shares in a football club and there has not been a day that I have not regretted it.

"You become entrenched at one club, you can't walk away from it as managers could."

Hereford had twice trailed in a pulsating encounter, to a 20-yard drive from Lewis Killeen midway through the first period and a close-range effort from John Grant, the former Hereford player, with 15 minutes left, but both times they responded magnificently. A far-post header from Andy Williams restored parity just before the interval and a powerful header from the much-travelled Guy Ipoua sent the tie into extra time. Then Green stepped up to banish any fears of a penalty shoot-out, which Turner admitted he had been dreading.

"We could have played better but that's academic, we are in the Football League," Turner said. "We have had three outstanding seasons to finish runners-up."

Amid the euphoria, however, Turner was already planning for what will be a difficult transition. "We know there is a gulf between the Conference and League Two," he said. "I have always maintained that well-run clubs of our size can reach the Championship."

Maybe Turner had just remembered that his side had dropped out of the league after finishing 24th in the bottom tier in 1997. Wigan Athletic finished first and Fulham second.

Green's goal gives Halifax agony

Another view of the game - this from Sheffield Today.

RYAN Green, the first signing that Chris Turner made as Sheffield Wednesday manager, was the man to send Hereford back into the Football League on Saturday night.
Green, playing on the right side, scored from 20 yards with just 12 minutes of extra-time remaining to enable Hereford to clinch the play-off final 3-2 over Halifax at Leicester's Walker's Stadium and end Hereford's nine year exile from League football.
It meant agony for Halifax boss Chris Wilder, the former Sheffield United and Rotherham United dfefender, who has done an excellent job at the Shay.

"We've given it a go and there are a lot of things for us to be proud of," said Wilder.

"We said before the game that we needed to play well and I think we did that but we just didn't get the luck and that's not to take anything away from Hereford. Maybe it was just their day."

Former Sheffield United youngster Lewis Killeen put Halifax in front with a stunning 30 yarder and after being pegged back by Andy Williams they led again through John Grant only for former Scunthorpe striker Guy Ipoua to send the game into extra-time.
It was stalemate until the winning strike from Green who joined the Owls in November 2002 from Cardiff City as a right-sided player or utility man, but made only four appearances in all. He was released by Wednesday at the end of the season and joined Hereford in the summer of 2003.

Jubilant Hereford manager Graham Turner expressed his relief after his side banished their play-off hoodoo, the Bulls having suffered play-off heartache in each of the last two seasons after crashing out in the semi-final stages in 2004 and 2005 against Aldershot and Stevenage respectively.

"It's been a long hard nine years to get back in the Football League and the overwhelming feeling at the moment is one of relief," said Turner, who has been in charge since August 1995.

"We've been so close on many occasions and it's been heartbreaking not to go up before I thought it was a cracking game with some cracking goals and there's also the excitement and joy of the moment. We've brought nearly 10,000 fans here and they've enjoyed every minute it."

Turner took time out to praise Wilder: "Chris has done a great job and a lot of credit has to go to them for the part they have played in the game."

Hereford get redemption

Another report, this from Stuart James iin the Guardian:

For nine long years Graham Turner and Hereford United have sought redemption. The memories of a painful and highly emotional afternoon in May 1997 when Football League status was surrendered at the hands of Brighton left an indelible mark on the club and an even greater burden on their manager. The time spent toiling in the Conference has felt like a prison sentence for Turner but on Saturday he finally tasted freedom as Hereford claimed a place in League Two for next season.

As manager, chairman and majority shareholder Turner is entitled to take all the plaudits that will follow promotion. His CV charts more celebrated moments, including the old Third Division championship with Shrewsbury in 1978-79 and successive lower league titles with Wolves after a two-year spell at Aston Villa, but this was an achievement to cherish. After his investment of money as well as time, the reward is long overdue.

"I've dedicated 11 years of my life to Hereford United, so that's the personal expense but it's been worth it," Turner. said. "It was a foolish thing to buy shares in a football club. There's not a shadow of doubt about that and there's probably not been a day gone by that I haven't regretted it because what you do is you get entrenched. You can't walk away from it as managers could. That involvement has taken a lot of time and a lot of hard work, most of it away from the playing side, but right at the moment the feeling is whatever I've regretted, I don't regret a thing now because it's all come right."

Few will begrudge Hereford a place in the Football League. For the third successive season they finished runners-up in the Conference; on the previous two occasions they had lost in the semi-final . Against that backdrop even Chris Wilder, the Halifax manager, had to concede Hereford's ascent is deserved. "They have been tremendous competitors in the Conference," he said. "They have had the heartbreak that we have had today and, as their manager said, if there was any justice it was going to be their day."

With only 17 minutes remaining, though, it again appeared that fate had conspired against Hereford and their 10,000 supporters. After Andy Williams' far-post header cancelled out Lewis Killeen's superb early goal, Halifax again seized the initiative and seemed set to end their four-year exile from the Football League when John Grant, a former Hereford player, adroitly flicked in a volley from the corner of the six-yard box after Killeen, a persistent threat, crossed from the left.

But the introduction of Guy Ipoua proved inspired and within four minutes the Cameroon international emphatically headed home to send the game into extra-time. Halifax, visibly tiring after starting so impressively, were chastened and Hereford took full advantage. Ryan Green, the youngest player to represent Wales at full international level, bought himself another place in history with a sweeping left-foot shot that secured victory.

"I can recall that day when we went down against Brighton," said Turner. "It was full of despair, I've never known such emotion but probably distance lends a little bit of forgetfulness. I've been to Wembley with Wolves with 80,000 there, great days, a couple of championships. But under the circumstances and possibly because of my involvement as chairman and majority shareholder, this was as big as anything I've done. After nine years it has put right what went wrong on that day against Brighton."

Man of the match Guy Ipoua (Hereford)

Green gives a little extra

This report by Graham Nicklass is from the Independent:

Ryan Green, the former Wolves defender, chose the most opportune time to hit a rare goal that gave Hereford back their coveted membership of the Football League after nine years of trying. His 108th-minute extra-time effort sealed victory in an enthralling Conference play-off-final against a hearty Halifax side in front of a half-full Walkers Stadium.

Green was so overjoyed at grabbing only the fourth goal of his career that he tore his shirt off his back, smacked the corner flag with his fist and jumped into the crowd, which earned him a caution from the referee Dean Whitestone.

But the youngest player ever to wear a Wales non-league international shirt confessed that he might not be joining the Bulls in League Two next season. Green, who has served Hereford for three years, said: "I love Hereford and the fans but I am out of contract and I don't know what's happening with me now. I will be meeting manager Graham Turner on Monday where we will have to discuss terms. Maybe I will sign but I don't know because there are a lot of other League clubs interested in me and I might move on."

Green acknowledged the remarkable efforts put in by Turner, the former Wolves, Aston Villa and Shrewsbury manager who has spent the past 11 years keeping the club afloat as chairman and major shareholder. He added: "The fans love him - he's a legend. He took over when the club was nearly bankrupt and put his money in. I'm so pleased for him now he's finally taken us up."

Turner, who was at the helm when the Bulls were demoted in 1997, said: "This is my greatest achievement. Any regrets that I have had over the years have gone at this very moment."

The Shaymen twice led through good strikes from the dangerous Lewis Kileen and substitute John Grant, a former Hereford player. Yet the Bulls, perennial bridesmaids after finishing runners-up three years in a row and losing two play-off semi-finals, forced extra time with headers from Andy Williams and substitute Guy Ipoua.

Halifax manager Chris Wilder said: "Hereford have come so close in recent years that maybe, as their manager said, if there is justice, it had to be their day."

The Ricky George Report

Ricky George watched the game on Saturday after coming on the pitch and speaking to the supporters. Below are his thoughts from the Telegraph:

Hereford United ended a nine-year absence from the Football League after a thrilling Nationwide Conference play-off final on Saturday evening.

The Bulls' 3-2 defeat of Halifax Town in extra time at Leicester City's Walkers Stadium was watched by 15,499 spectators, of which almost two thirds had travelled from the Welsh borders. And it was Welsh international full-back Ryan Green who broke the hearts of an excellent Halifax side when he curled in the 108th-minute winner for only his second goal of the season.

The 25-year-old ripped off his shirt, removed the corner flag and hurled it along the touchline as Hereford's ecstatic fans danced in celebration and relief.

The fans weren't the only ones in an emotional state. "Relief is my overriding feeling right now," said Graham Turner, Hereford's manager, chairman and majority shareholder. "We've come so close to this during the past couple of years. The way we twice came back from behind shows the character of the side."

Halifax deservedly led on two occasions. Having had the better of the opening exchanges, the Shaymen went ahead after 27 minutes with a stunning goal from Lewis Killeen. Greg Young ran 30 yards with the ball before crossing from the left, and after Alex Jeannin failed to clear, former Sheffield United striker Killeen connected beautifully to beat Wayne Brown from 22 yards.

However, one of Hereford's great strengths this season has been their resilience, and no player has typified this more than their 22-year-old captain and central defender, Tamika Mkandawire. Seven minutes after going behind, the non-league international, who is surely destined to go further in the game, strode out of defence and found Adam Stansfield on the right. The striker crossed to the far post and 19-year-old Andy Williams dived to head in his 13th goal of the season.

Halifax striker Ryan Sugden, who got married on Friday, went close early in the second half. The exhausted Sugden was replaced by former Hereford striker John Grant in the 65th minute and eight minutes later the substitute applied the deftest of touches to Killeen's cross from the left to put Halifax back in front.

Hereford were not to be denied, however, and when Turner sent on Cameroon international Guy Ipoua in place of Williams, the big striker promptly thumped a header past John Kennedy with 10 minutes to go to force extra time.

How gratifying that a game in which neither side deserved to lose should finish properly, in open play. As disappointed as Halifax must be, penalty kicks are not a way to settle major issues such as this, with so much more at stake than the huge Bob Lord Trophy.

For Hereford it means an immediate £250,000, as reward for a giant step up the football ladder, but even more important is the effect that the club - so well supported through thick and thin - exerts on a whole community. Along with fellow director Joan Fennessy, Turner has rescued an institution.

"The club was in dire straits when I was foolish enough to buy shares," he said, "and not one day has gone by when I've not regretted it. But at this moment it's all been worthwhile."

Ten thousand Hereford fans would agree.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Mahon helps Watford to Premiership

Former Hereford United player Gavin Mahon has featured in the Watford team that defeated Leeds United 3-0 in the Championship Play-off at Cardiff this afternoon.

Mahon plays in the center of mid-field.

Following his release by Wolves in 1996, he joined the Edgar Street club where he made the first team in 1996/97. The midfielder spent two and a half years at Hereford before, at the time, he became the only player to be sold directly to a league team since relegation. Brentford shelled out an eventual £130,000 for the dreadlocked youngster, and he played a big part in their promotion to Division Two in 1999. He moved to Watford in early 2002.

He made 70 appearances for the Bulls and scored four goals.

Shrews Steal Third Chester Player

Shrewsbury have signalled their intentions for the new season by nicking a third player from local rivals Chester City.

Ben Davies has followed Chris Mackenzie and Stuart Drummond south to Gay Meadow, signing a three year contract. All three were first team regulars at the Deva Stadium.

Shrewsbury have also signed young winger Dale Williams from Yeovil on a free transfer. Williams, 19, only made one four minute sub appearance for Yeovil.