Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lambert Joins Pirates For £200k

Rochdale have sold striker Rickie Lambert to Bristol Rovers for £200,000.

The sale comes after Bulls boss Graham Turner refused a £100,000 bid for Andy Williams from the Pirates.

What is more interesting is that Lambert, 24, was in the last year of his contract and was able to move for free at the end of the season. The terms of his move put the Pirates bid for Lambert, who has failed to score this season despite numerous chances, into perspective against a Bulls striker that is not on the verge of a Bosman free and has done nothing but improve over the last year.

Rochdale have, however, signed defender James Sharp. The former Torquay man was a teammate of the Bulls striker Alan Connell last season, playing 38 times for the Gulls.

Ince Secures Swindon Deal

Paul Ince has signed a one year deal as player-coach of Swindon Town after the Football League agreed to a refinancing package proposed by the club.

Ex-England international Ince, 38, will be unavailable for the weekend clash with Chester but will link up with his new teammates next week.

In other transfer not yet reported, Walsall have loaned rookie Graham Deakin to Tamworth, ex-Premiership defender Nicky Eaden has joined Lincoln on loan from Nottm Forest, Shrewsbury have signed Michael Symes on a free transfer from Bradford, and Ville Vaisanen has joined Darlington from FF Jaro in Finland subject to international clearance.

Mariners Snatch Ravenhill

With Chester struggling to free up enough of their budget to afford his wages, Ricky Ravenhill has signed a two year deal at Grimsby.

Grimsby were initially outbid in the summer by Chester but, with Chester playing with money they couldn't spend under the League's wage rules, Grimsby snatched the Doncaster midfielder back earlier today.

In other news, Aldershot have added a second Grant to their strikeforce. Joining ex-Bull John will be 19 year old Watford youth product Joel on a four month loan. Macclesfield have also been busy, shipping one out but bringing three in. Striker Marvin Robinson leaves after just two months for Oxford, while Spencer Weir-Daley arrives as his replacement on loan from Nottm Forest. Manager Brian Horton has also added Oldham defender Rob Scott and Bury's former Macclesfield player Matthew Tipton on four month deals.

Luke Webb training with squad

Luke Webb, who has signed for Hereford United today on non-contract terms, is training with the squad after suffering with a hamstring injury for several weeks.

He was first seen at the New Lawn when Hereford United played Forest Green Rovers in a pre-season friendly. That evening he impressed many spectators.

Webb at The Lawn

Since then he has been trying to impress Graham Turner but picked up a hamstring injury in training.

19 year-old Luke joined Coventry last August. He is described as being 6 feet and just over 12 stone.

Williams bid rejected by Turner

Andy Williams is expected to stay at Edgar Street according to Bristol Rovers sources.

Rovers have turned their attention to Rochdale's Rickie Lambert.

From this is Bristol:

The Pirates had made a £100,000 offer to Hereford United for 20-year-old striker Andy Williams, only to have it rejected by the Bulls.

Although they have not completely given up hope of landing the player who was Hereford's top scorer with 13 goals as they clinched promotion last term, Rovers today switched their attention to Dale's prolific goalscorer Lambert.

"This transfer deadline is a ridiculous thing and none of the Football League clubs are happy with it," said Bill Smith of Bristol Rovers.

"I spent hours on the phone yesterday enquiring about several players and some of the money that was being talked about is just silly. It does clubs no favours when they are trying to keep costs down.

"We are looking for strikers, but so is just about every other club and it is an absolute scramble."

Rochdale Striker Swap

Rochdale have loaned Iyseden Christie back to Kidderminster, just nine months after the striker made a permanent move to Spotland.

Christie has failed to set the League alight, with just two goals in 20 appearances, and was a in the starting line up for every game so far this season apart from last weeks draw with Accrington, where Rochdale scored their only goal of the campaign without Christie on the pitch. He joins Kiddy until January and will not feature against the Bulls at Spotland.

Arriving at Spotland is Blackburn reserve strikers Keith Barker. The 19 year old is yet to feature in the first team at Ewood Park, but spent part of last season on loan at Belgian side Cercle Bruges. He has been placed in the squad for Saturday's match.

Blizzard's not joining

Dominic Blizzard is not joining Hereford United after all according to BBC Hereford and Worcester. There have been some last minute complications, and the Watford midfielder will not be signing on loan.

The club spoke to BBC H&W ealier this morning with the news he was to join for three months but, for some unspecified reason, the club later informed H&W that the deal had broken down.

Wise Gets Manager Of Month Award

Dennis Wise has won August's Manager of the Month award for League Two.

The Swindon boss recorded the only 100% record in the division. Walsall's Richard Money and Peterboro's Keith Alexander were also nominated.

Meanwhile, Kidderminster have released one time Bulls target Duane Lee after just five games, with boss Mark Yates stating: "He missed a few weeks of pre-season and that hasn't helped. He hasn't done himself justice so I've had a good chat with him and we've decided its best if he goes."

In other news, Macclesfield Chief Executive Patrick Nelson has bemoaned his club's falling gates. Macclesfield had the lowest average attendance in the League last season, and cut Adult terrace prices from £14 to £10 in the summer but have seen a 30% drop in gates. He told the Manchester Evening News: "We are in the shadow of Manchester and Stoke so we have to work hard to get people to be interested in us. Last season, we had the lowest average attendance in the Football League."

Two Signings at Hereford

Luke Webb and Watford player Dominic Blizzard have signed for Hereford according to BBC Hereford and Worcester.

UPDATE: Blizzard has not signed after all - see later story.

Trialist Webb has been registered and Blizzard is on loan.

6ft 2in, 22 Year old Blizzard is a midfielder who has been at Watford for five years, starting there as a trainee.

He played 11 games for Watford last season but has suffered with illness.

New signing Dominic Blizzard. Picture from Official Watford Website.

He made his debut for Watford against Norwich City on 24th April 2004, scoring a goal on his debut. He made occasional appearances in his first full season for the club, but became a first-team regular when Adrian Boothroyd replaced Ray Lewington as manager in March 2005. He started the 2005/06 season in the first-team, but contracted the Epstein-Barr virus in late September and hasn't played a first-team game since. He returned to the bench for a single game, on 14th April last season. 2006

Pirates increase pressure on Turner

Reports this morning suggest that Bristol Rovers are turning up the heat as they bid to capture Hereford striker Andy Williams before tonight's transfer deadline.

The Western Daily Press print that the Pirates are thought to have submitted a bid of around £100,000 for Williams.

But Graham Turner reckons the 20 year old is worth more - and he's holding out for a better offer.

Turner comments about poor support

In his weekly column in the Hereford Times, Graham Turner has commented about the disappoining gates at Edgar Street so far this season.

"We have some concerns about the level of attendance.

"We have budgeted for an average gate of 4,000 this year but the disappointing thing for me is that, of our own supporters, fewer that 3,000 are turning up."

Turner notes that under 3,000 Hereford supporters watched the Coventry game.

"We look for reasons - it is a possibility that the holiday season is still underway and that is having an impact on the attendances; it could be the price of it now, with the Coventry game quickly followed by the match against Hartlepool."

Turner acknowledges that there are some very attractive fixtures to come.

"Bit I have to say that, in the long term, it really would cause us problems if we do not get nearer the average of 4,000."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fleetwood to miss Rochdale game

Stuart Fleetwood is expected to miss the away game at Rochdale on Saturday as he has been called up for the Wales under 21 squad.

Wales play Turkey on Saturday at Ninian Park in a European qualifier.

The news, in this morning's Hereford Times, is said to have annoyed Hereford United manager Graham Turner.

"I am livid. I think it is outrageous that he can be called up so late, on a Wednesday, when it is us who pay his wages, particularly when we will probably end up sitting on the substitutes bench."

Andy Williams is expected to take Fleetwoods place. Tamika Mkandawire is also expected to play despite missing some training earlier this week with his slight hamstring injury.

Meanwhile the paper says that Turner 'declined to comment' on speculation linking Williams with a possible bid from Bristol Rovers.

UPDATE - The Western Daily Press reports that Turner has rejected a £100,000 bid from Rovers for Williams.

Carling Cup Date confirmed

It has been confirmed that The Carling Cup 2nd round game against Leicester City will be played on Tuesday September 19th.

Kick-off at Edgar Street will be at 7.45pm.

Ticket prices are yet to be revealed.

Barnet refuse £150,000 offer for Kandol

Barnet have turned down a £150,000 offer for striker Tresor Kandol.

Brighton were the interested club but have decided not to increase their offer. Their chairman, Dick Knight said they had watched Kandol several times.

"He's 6ft 1ins, quick and strong, and we offered what we think is the player's value, but Barnet rejected the bid," said Knight.

"We are now pursuing other options ahead of the transfer deadline."

Kandol played for Barnet in their 3-0 win over Hereford United two weeks ago.

The price tag of over £150,000 for Kandol suggests there is a shortage of strikers in the League at present.

Swindon may not sign Ince

According to BBC Sport Swindon Town are unlikely to sign Paul Ince because they fear breaking the wage rules. Swindon join Chester and Hartlepool in having problems because of high expenditure on salaries.

"The League insists we have to pledge more money to cover it (the signing of Ince) and bring it back to the ratio they determine," said Swindon director Bob Holt.

Swindon are currently close to the 60% limit and are unlikely to be able to sell or release players quickly enough to bring them under that limit if Ince signs the one-year deal he has now agreed says the report.

"Now we know Paul wants to come and join us, we have to work as hard as we can to see if we can achieve that," Holt added.

Hereford United are understood to be well within the 60% limit.

Crawley Saved As Creditors Accept Deal

Crawley Town's immediate future is safe after creditors accepted the 50p/£ offer from the current owners and the club will now enter a CVA.

HM Revenues & Customs are believed to have voted against the offer but the resolution was passed by majority. Crawley have managed a good start to the season, wiping off their 10 point deduction in the first five games of the season, despite having a squad of non-contract veterans and teenage loan signings.

Ravenhill Deal Collapses Again

The deal to make Ricky Ravenhill's move from Doncaster permanent has collapsed again after Chester failed to free up sufficient funds to cover his wages.

Chairman Stephen Vaughan admitted last week that the club was barely inside the League's wage capping regulations, but the official Chester site now states that the club has 'just' exceeded the cap again. Chester had given free transfers to two players in a bid to free up enough of the budget, but have so far failed to agree permanent deals to get the players out. They are also still chasing a goalkeeper to aid inexperienced stopper Jon Danby but, again, a move can only come after players have departed.

Chester have a meeting with the Football League tomorrow to discuss the budget problems, and could face sanctions if they remain over the cap once the transfer window shuts.

Ravenhill's future is now uncertain, but he could have a future at Doncaster after Rovers sacked manager Dave Penney this morning. Penney guided the club from the Conference to their highest league position in 50 years, but has paid the price for a poor start to this season.

WDP Report Pirates Interest In Williams

This morning's Western Daily Press is reporting that Andy Williams is Bristol Rovers' top target to replace the departed Junior Agogo.

They report the Agogo fee as £125,000 - and note that the bulk of that money will be needed to prise Williams from Edgar Street. Director of Football Lennie Lawrence refused to confirm any interest in the striker, but told the WDP: "We are actively looking for the right sort of striker to strengthen our squad."

Williams has been chased by several clubs since bursting into the first team last November, scoring 13 times in 36 starts since, and Bristol Rovers is by no means the biggest club to show interest in the forward who has just turned 20, with more than a dozen Premiership and Championship sides sending scouts to games at the end of last season.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Agogo Deal Practically Done

The protracted deal to take Junior Agogo from Bristol Rovers to Nottm Forest has all but been completed, according to the Bristol Rovers official website.

Rovers had earlier refused a loan attempt by Forest for the striker that had averaged 20 goals a season for the last three years. A fee for the transfer is currently unannounced.

Rovers boss Paul Trollope told the site: "With Junior tied up, we hope we can now get one in. We have said before that we would need it, and if it can be done then it will be. If it happens, we will then obviously have to assess who that person is and whether they are up to match speed in terms of whether they would be able to play against Stockport County on Sunday."

Rovers' Director Of Football, Lennie Lawrence, was an interested party at the Bulls 3-1 demolition of Championship club Coventry. His ties with former pupil Stuart Fleetwood are well know, but forum rumours are also placing the ex-Cardiff, Charlton, and Middlesboro boss as chasing Andy Williams.

Meanwhile, transfer listed midfielder David Perkins failed to feature in either First Team or Reserve Team action for Morecambe as he was excluded from both 16 man squads. Fellow Morecambe man Danny Carlton has pledged his future to the Shrimps after protracted advances from Blackpool, but Perkins seems destined to leave after boss Sammy McIlroy expected both players to have their futures settled by the transfer deadline.

Bulls fans raise cancer funds

A small group of Hereford United supporters have raised £8,100 for the Macmillan Renton Appeal.

The Appeal was launched to with the aim of bringing better cancer care to Hereford Hospital. At present patients often have to travel long distances to Cheltenham or Cardiff for treatment.

From left to right: Wayne Brown, Ron Davies (appeal organiser), Brian Goodwin and Dan Jones (two of the fundraisers), and Alex Jeannin. Picture by Andy Compton.

Organised by Bulls News, the Hay-on-Wye based supporters manned a charity car park for the ten days while the Hay Festival was taking place.

A cheque was presented to Ron Davies OBE, who is in charge of the fundraising, at the recent home game against Chester.

Bulls News would like to record their thanks to Graham Turner, Joan Fennessy and in particular Grenville Smith for their help allowing the presentation to take place at Edgar Street.

HUISA confirm Fans Forum date

HUISA have confirmed that a Fans Forum will be held on Monday 18th September in Legends Bar with a 7.30pm start. Graham Turner, the Hereford United manager, will be in attendance.

The meeting is open to all supporters to have their say and ask questions. There will be a £1 admission charge, payable at the door.

HUISA have also confirmed that their Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday Seprtember 30th at the Richmond Club (across the A49 from the club), before the game against Macclesfield. All HUISA members are invited and the meeting is set to commence at 12.30pm.

The HUISA Committee is:

Keith Dodd - chairman
Dave White - secretary
Nicky White - treasurer
Dave Weaver - vice-chairman
Richard Burkin - committee member
George Webb - committee member
Andy Jones - committee member
Nick Brade - committee member
Steve Alexander - committee member
Peter Povall - committee member

Membership of HUISA costs £6 per year.

Bulls 33-1 to win League Two

Hereford United are now 33-1 with BetDirect to win League Two. As for promotion the best price available at present is 6-1 with SkyBet.

SkyBet are offering 16-1 if Hereford are relegated.

Surprisingly Stuart Fleetwood isn't in the list of prices for top goalscorer in League Two. Both Tim Sills and Andy Williams are at 66-1 and Alan Connell at 80-1 all with SkyBet.

After the defeat of Coventry last week in the Carling Cup and the possibility of another shock against Leicester in the next round, Hereford United are currently priced at 5,000-1 to win the Cup.

And for the FA Cup, odds of 10,000-1 are available to anyone who thinks Hereford could win it.

Kelly to meet former boss

Leicester City manager Rob Kelly is looking forward to meeting his former manager Graham Turner when his side make the trip to Edgar Street for the Carling Cup tie. Kelly was a player at Turner's Wolves in the 80's.

"I was delighted when we were pulled out of the hat to face Hereford. Graham Turner bought me from Leicester to Wolves. It will be nice to see him again." Kelly told the Official Leicester City website.

"I went to watch Hereford in the play-off final against Halifax here at the Walkers in May and rang him up to congratulate him. It was a great day for them."

"I know Graham's teams. They will be very well organised and they will be right in your face. We are under no illusions - it will be a very tough tie."

Kelly knows that his side are up for a tough game at Edgar Street. "Any team from a lower division away from home is going to be a tough draw - you only have to look at what happened to a lot of teams in the last round for conformation of that. But we have got plenty of work to do before that game."

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Day In Rochdale

Rochdale is situated in a valley with The Pennines to the east and the Rossendale Hills to the north. The valley was created by The River Roch (pronounced Roach), which flows off the Pennines and through the town. A large section of the river has been covered and paved forming what is claimed to be the widest bridge in the world (1460 feet wide and about 20 feet long)! It is also famed as the birthplace of Gracie Fields, the wartime "forces favourite" known for the song Sally, Pride of our Alley.

Rochdale FC was formed in 1907 and eventually played their first League game on 27th August 1921 running out 6-3 winners over Accrington Stanley. Despite spending most of their time in the lower divisions, in 1961/62 they reached the final of the League Cup losing to Norwich City over two legs having beaten Southampton, Doncaster Rovers, Charlton Athletic, York City and Blackburn Rovers along the way. Over the years the Club has suffered many financial problems and has managed a promotion only once during its history which came during the season 1968/69 under the managership of Bob Stokoe.

All four sides of the Spotland Stadium have been redeveloped in the last ten years making it now one of the best grounds we will visit this season. Away fans are accommodated in the Westrose Leisure Stand (Willbutts Lane) that officially houses 3644 supporters and is the newest of the stands offering unrivalled views of the game.
Facilities beneath the stand include a well-stocked catering kiosk where the pies are claimed to be among the best in the land.

The Bulls will arrive at Spotland on Saturday to face a team that has just four wins from the last thirty-three starts.

Admission Adults £15 Concessions £9

Travel by Car - Spotland is just over two miles off Junction 20 of the M62 following signs for Rochdale A627M. Bear left at your first opportunity prior to the traffic lights passing B & Q on your right. You will quickly approach a roundabout at which you will pick up the signs for Spotland Stadium directing you to take the second exit. After about two miles you will find the stadium on your left.

Trains - Via Manchester to Rochdale. The Station is about three miles from the ground and therefore a 30/35-minute walk so a taxi may be the answer. Alternatively, the 436 bus picks up at the station half hourly on match days (quarter to/past) and drops off in Sandy Lane next to the ground. Please note, the last bus back from Sandy Lane is at 17.10!

HUISA Coaches leave Edgar Street at 9.30 am and the fare is understood to be £16.00 Tickets can be booked through the Club office (01432 276666)

HUMADS Pick up at Ross (Cantilupe Road) 8.00 am, Ground 9.00 am, Malvern (Cross Keys) 10.00 am, and Worcester (Junc 7) 10.30 am. Fare £15.00 Members and £18.00 non Members Contact Reg on 01684 572945.

PRE-MATCH REFRESHMENTS - Rochdale offers a plethora of Pubs within a five-minute walk of the ground. Of particular note in the town is the Cask and Feather at 1 Oldham Road, which is the "brewery tap" for the Thomas McGuinness Brewing Co. The local Wetherspoons offering is the Regal Moon in The Butts which is a converted cinema and any lovers of Hydes beer can find satisfaction at the Merry Monk in College Road. At the ground is Studds Bar, which is accessible from outside the ground while the Ratcliffe Arms is to be found at the car park entrance to the ground in Sandy Lane. Also close to Spotlands are the highly recommended Cemetery Hotel at the traffic lights on the approach to the ground and The Church Inn on the corner of Willbutts Lane.
Finally, offers a quite frightening list including telephone numbers for those who want to make their own enquiries.

Rochdale Boss Targets Bulls Defeat

Rochdale manager Steve Parkin has targeted a win over the Bulls on Saturday after collecting their first point at Accrington two days ago.

Speaking to the official Rochdale site about the Accrington game, Parkin said: "They had a great result on Monday against Nottingham Forest and normally you find teams that come into the league are on a crest of a wave. They started better than us but I was pleased we managed to get a foothold in the game and got the goal.

"I thought we started the second half brighter than Accrington, but we seemed to lose the belief to keep playing the way we were playing. They went up a gear and started to push as many men forward as they could to get the equaliser which they managed to do.

"I have no complaints at the end of the day because I think they deserved a draw. Its been a tough couple of weeks for us and it was a tough game on Tuesday night especailly as we came away from there with nothing. It was disappointing to lose the lead but we have got up and running now and hopefully that will give us some confidence now.

"We may have had a penalty in the end but I didn't get a real good view of it. It may have been ball to hand but we have seen those given this season. Having said that it may have been a little unfair so we will take the point but we have to get three at home next week."

Sports Injury Clinic at Edgar Street

The Hereford United Physiotherapist, Wayne Jones, has announced that he is to set up a Sports Injury Clinic at Edgar Street.

"The clinic will be run from the Club and will be held early evenings on an appointment basis," Wayne told Bullseye.

"To make an appointment and for further details please contact the main office on 01432276666."

Rovers may chase Lambert

Speculation that Bristol Rovers could make a bid for Rochdale's Rickie Lambert might benefit Hereford United in two ways.

24 year-old Lambert has turned down a new deal at Spotland and Rochdale may listen to a 'substantial offer' for the striker who, according to the Western Daily Press, has found the back of the net 28 times in 61 starts.

Should any deal be agreed it will have to be before Hereford's game at Rochdale next Saturday. In turn it would stop rumours of the Gasheads possible interest in Stuart Fleetwood.

Rovers are set to lose Junior Agogo who is expected to sign for Nottingham Forest today.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Well - I'll Be Hanged! Monkey Business At Edgar Street As Pools Crash.

Judging by the size of the bandage the Hartlepool Number Five, Nelson, had on his amply-furnished noddle come the end of this bruising encounter - thanks to further 'leakage' of the red stuff after initial first-aid measures had been tried and subsequently found wanting, the lad had to return to the touchline in order to have another bolt inserted into it, or something - he must be the proud owner of one hell of a headache today. But not half as big as the one their poor manager - Danny Wilson, one time saviour of the Universe for Barnsley, in their all-too brief one-off Premiership incarnation, around ten or so seasons ago - will be nursing also.

Pools? Er - they're in a bit of a mess, really, having only managed to amass two measly points since they landed in this division with all the grace and dignity of a Skid Row bum landing in the gutter for the umpteenth time, come the end of last season. Boy, do they have problems - and, to be scrupulously fair, yesterday simply had to be one of those horrible, cruel occasions in football where, no matter what you do, and how often, the blasted ball simply refuses point-blank to do as bidden, and end up in the back of the opposition net on demand. Yup, life can be a bit of a bitch, sometimes - but that's football for you.

As for ourselves, we had set out that morning with noble intentions of doing a little retail therapy in the town centre prior to the game, but owing to the sheer volume of tractors on the road, or something - yes, I do know: it's an occupational hazard endemic in these parts, especially when the siren-call of ripening cereals and grain shifts agricultural workers off their collective backsides quicker than a lightning-bolt straight up the jacksi - we were a tad late for such conspicuously-consumptive pleasures. Still, on the way down, and with information on our League Cup fate - both West Brom's and Hereford's! - I'd managed to reach The Fart, our venerable Albion-supporting mucker, on my mobile. A short pause, during the course of which my blood-pressure soared to apoplectic-fit-inducing proportions (I was absolutely quaking at the thought of a Throstles-Bulls meeting, for obvious reasons!), then the revelation both clubs had missed one another, Edgar Street hosting Leicester City, and The Hawthorns Cheltenham Town. Phew!

Never mind, though. No sooner had we docked our car some way back from where we normally drop anchor, what should we find, but our old mucker the ice-cream van. The problem was - should we, or shouldn't we Grab ourselves a little bit of the chilly action, I mean? A real moral dilemma, that one, as the last time we'd succumbed to similar blandishments at Edgar Street, The Bulls had been thoroughly-bested by a well-organised Lincoln City side. Then our respective resolves simultaneously crumbled in the face of overwhelming temptation. 'Oh, soddit'.. we both chimed, in unison, as Satan, in the form of a Walls Cornetto, in my case, raised a beckoning finger - and that was me, hooked, yet again. No willpower, see!

Still, it was a pleasant enough sort of day to indulge in such sinful pursuits, albeit tidgy ones, when compared with such genuine horrors as starting wars, or spreading awful diseases, I mean. And very pleasant to just stand there, and watch the world go by - not to mention a sprinkling of opposition supporters, all bedecked in those royal blue away shirts of theirs. Not enough to make it worth their while hiring a coach, it would seem - mind you, the sheer distance involved would act as a major disincentive not to mention the inconvenient habit they have these days of not picking up points! And then there were the Hereford aficionados, or, more to the point, the rubicund, weather-beaten faces owned by some of the - erm more 'mature' ones - oh, soddit, old farts, then! Watching them troop by in ever-increasing numbers, I did speculate as to whether it was actually the fresh country air that did it - or was it the scrumpy?

Just as it had been on the night of the Coventry game, our little two-seater spot, next door to Nick Brade, his Mum, and Marion, their mate, was still empty, so off we trotted to park our bots. And, just before the kick-off, another very familiar face heaved into view, then plonked next door to Nick's Mum, with a very effusive indeed greeting for Marion, a little pre-match ritual 'for luck' they've been indulging in for years, apparently! There you are - I told you Talking Bill would show up today! Shame about him missing Tuesday night's jollifications, though - on the other hand - so elevated were the ambient adrenalin-levels in that stand that night, I reckon the lad would have gone into 'meltdown' with the sheer raw emotion of it all. But that's Bill for you.

The best news for the Bulls' aficionados, though, was word that Stuart Fleetwood, hat-trick hero of the hour versus Coventry, and pulled off towards the end with what looked suspiciously like a hamstring problem, would be playing after all! Coo - talk about a miracle recovery! Mind you, at the time, I did say to 'Im Indoors that although it looked like a hamstring, the very fact the lad had been able to hobble after a fashion for a while afterwards - reluctant to leave the action, I suppose, his own elevated adrenalin levels acting as a natural 'painkiller' - indicated the problem to be at the 'mild' end of the scale, rather than anything really worrying. Had the hamstring really 'gone' that night, it might well have been a stretcher job. But then, another thought occurred to me. Suppose Hereford, for whatever reason, were rushing him back? Could it be that by opting for the short-term continuance of effective firepower, they might simply land both themselves and the player in a whole heap of lumber instead? Hmmmmmm.

Back to the game, then. By now, the Bulls had started the ball rolling, both literally and metaphorically, and in brilliant sunshine, too, with a stiffish breeze keeping the temperature down to reasonable levels out there. Time also for Nick to cease and desist his selling duties, vault the partition sundering the left side from the right, then quite unceremoniously plonk his gluteus maximus right next to his mum. Meanwhile, on the pitch, after the initial exchanges had been dispensed with, it was being made abundantly clear that there would not be a continuance of the superiority Hereford had enjoyed over Coventry City just a few nights previously; not just due to the expected 'After The Lord Mayor's Show' Syndrome manifesting itself, Pools needed the points, badly - and it showed.

The result? Unlike the midweek Cup-tie, any sort of game-plan involving flowing football was almost impossible to discern, and had the number of attempts on goal counted towards the final result, then undoubtedly, Hartlepool would have won it in a walk. It was they, not The Bulls, who were showing the greater initiative at that point in the game. With less than ten minutes gone, Pools left The Bulls almost for dead with a devastating run down one of the flanks. Over went the cross, and with the Hereford custodian seemingly floundering badly in an effort to cut out the danger, it sure looked as though the ball was as good as crossed the line - and had Bullock, lurking in close proximity to the near post, been able to stretch sufficiently to connect, then it would have been all over for The Bulls, but, try as he might, he couldn't, much to the relief of the distinctly-battered home rearguard, no doubt.

Mind you, after that one-handed demolition of the Sky Blues defence the other night, Fleetwood's reputation had spread as far as the north-east, it would seem. You only had to watch what happened every time Pools grabbed a corner to see that. Look in the vicinity of the centre-circle, and there he'd be, shiny scarlet boots and all - and accompanied at all times by one, and sometimes two, jailers. Such close personal attention from the visitors meant, of course, that they weren't about to stand on ceremony. Some of the tackles were quite ugly in their execution, with the inevitable result that by the time the first half had reached its mid-point, Pools had not only racked up a fair number of fouls on the poor mite, but had two names in the ref's book also. Not only that, Fleetwood's 'shadow' seemed most reluctant to part with him, thereby begging the question from me that come half-time and the Hereford striker answering the inevitable call of Nature, would his newly acquired 'bosom pal' dutifully follow him to the ablutions as well?

With around 25 gone, the home side had yet another humungous let-off right in front of goal: Hartlepool's Matty Roberts crossed across the face of goal, and very close to the goal-line itself. Again, all the blasted thing needed was a toe-poke in, but with poor Eifion Williams seemingly involved in an impromptu game of 'Twister' out there, he couldn't quite apply the coup de grace.

With all that pressure and them not even getting a sniff of a goal, you just knew what was coming next. Football has this nasty habit of extracting the maximum embarrassment from opposing sides, doesn't it? With just under 15 of the half to go, The Bulls finally clicked into gear. A lovely example of 'pass and move' at its very best, I'd say, brought to fruition by Bulls player Tim Sills. Well, the header was his, but the custodial cock-up pure Paul Crichton! Confucius he say, 'keeper that have butter-fingers, not have good playing career?! So rumour has it. Anyway, whatever the root cause, it came pretty much against the run of play, the Bulls, once more, imbibing liberally at The Well Of Pure Luck. One-nil to them, and complete and utter blind fury for Pools head honcho Danny Wilson, no doubt! (Thought: was the 'thudding' noise I heard shortly after the goal that of the visitors' leader's ample nut taking it out on the nearest wall, perchance?)

Just moments after that, the home side's luck held again, the nasty-looking strike finding the 'wrong' side of the near post instead of the side that counted. That was followed by a ticklish sort of stop for the Hereford keeper, unsighted somewhat because of a crowd of players in front of him, pushed away for a corner, and glad for it to do so, no doubt.

The interval I spent contemplating the lad Fleetwood, and idly speculating whether or not our favourite football club might be tempted to come in for him towards the end of the transfer window. He certainly ticked all the right boxes: youngish, fast - bloody fast, in fact - a good scoring record for The Bulls, but had to leave Cardiff City under a bit of a cloud after a nasty car accident. It would seem that Edgar Street is the place players head for when they want a bit of a second chance, and Fleetwood's success seems to be a case in point. Will Robbo bite, I wonder? Oh - one other thought, while we all indulged in the obligatory mint-chomping fest. What had been the Len Weston Stand, now rejoicing in the monicker 'Floors-2-Go'. A strange name, that. Does that mean they turn up at your house and take away your existing floor, leaving you with just the bottomless pit where the foundations once were, I wonder?

But back to business - and, in no time at all, a Bulls penalty. Perhaps Hartlepool should take heed in future of the old adage: 'Beware of Greeks bearing gifts' - One minute there was the ball, seemingly heading for the comparative safety of Pools keeper Konstantopoulos and his great big mitts, with Fleetwood in pursuit, but well out of reach. And that's the precise moment the 'suicide pills' chose to work on the Pools defender, folkies! For reasons best known to himself, instead of leaving it be, he stopped the red-booted menace illegally, hence the ref pointing towards the spot almost instantaneously. Oh whoops! As for the conversion, that was left to the lad Purdie, a task he accomplished with consummate ease.

But the game wasn't over yet for the visitors. Just minutes later, they finally achieved what they should have done in the first half i.e. score. Justice done to some extent, I suppose, post-penalty sub Brown potting the pink after a splendid ball delivered from the right. At that particular point, The Bloke Behind Me - never one to mince his words, ever! - decided the time was ripe for the remainder of the stand to hear his dulcet tones, all of which mainly centred around the loudly-bawled observation: 'It's all YOUR fault, Ferrall?..- a statement that sure got my imagination working overtime.

War in the Middle East? ?It's all YOUR fault, Ferrall?.- Global warming in imminent danger of triggering an unstoppable runaway greenhouse effect? 'It's all YOUR fault, etc.!? An inexorable rise in Islamic fundamentalism? Yep - I reckon you've got the picture, by now! Well, it had me giggling fit to bust, at any rate, although I daresay Chummy behind me wouldn't have seen the funny side!

It was about this time also that Talking Bill's foghorn of a voice really began to impose its decibel-laden presence on the proceedings. Yet another Hartlepool foul, miles from the box, and there he was, on his feet: 'THAT'S A CLEAR GOALSCORING OPPORTUNITY, REFEREE!? and bawled in tones that must surely have deafened bystanders located as far away as the Cathedral grounds! Knowing Bill for the time I have, I've now come to the conclusion that his criteria for the commission of what is in essence a 'sending-off' offence encompasses just about every opposition infringement taking place on the ground. Mind you, while I'm banging on about infringements, former Baggie Tam Mkandawire was dead lucky not to get an early bath following what was, in essence, a last-ditch tackle to prevent Pools from equalising. Fortunately for the Bulls, the offence was deemed to have occurred on the 'right' side of the 18-yard line.

25 minutes gone, now, and Fleetwood was visibly flagging. Was that just down to running his fundament off the whole game, or was it the knock? Whatever the cause, he was quickly taken off in tandem with Sills, Connell and Williams the replacements, with about 20 to go. A timely move, for just moments later, the Bulls bagged Number Three, the perpetrator of the damage being none other than substitute Williams. A lovely build-up, too, with Travis on the flank making the accurate cross possible; all the lad had to do was prod it home.

And - a cheeky 40-yard Purdie effort apart - that, my leetle lieblings, was that. Another three-pointer for the Bulls - albeit a tad jammy - and, as I intimated earlier, a monster headache for poor Danny Wilson, still stuck too close to the bottom of the table for comfort. Next up for us will be the Rochdale caper; as we haven't got a game next weekend, and because neither of us have visited Spotland for quite some time, we've now decided that next weekend is high time we did so. Provided the Bulls can turn it on in the entertaining manner they have of late, then the encounter should be a pretty lively one, I reckon..


Transfer Activity Expected This Week

With Thursday being transfer deadline day, Bulls fans are expecting some movement by the Bulls to secure at least one new face.

With Wayne Brown expected to be out for another month a loan keeper is expected to be tied up with current loanee Scott Tynan due back at Rushden after Saturday's match. Bulls fans would probably welcome a second month on loan for Tynan after some assured displays in the last two games following a shaky start with unfamiliar players. However, with the player third choice at Rushden, the offer of a permanent move somewhere else may be more appealing to the former Barnet man and Graham Turner may have to look elsewhere for a new stopper.

A midfielder is also a known target for Turner, who admitted last week that he had made a cash offer for a player which was rejected. He is a known admirer of Morecambe's England semi-pro international David Perkins and his current boss, Sammy McIlroy, is keen to sort out the player's future prior to the deadline after finally accepting a transfer request. With Simon Osborn's sudden departure from Edgar Street, Turner will be keen to strengthen a midfield that still receives criticism from many fans.

Preview: Rochdale vs Bulls

If it's the basement of the Football League, then Rochdale's in there somewhere. They haven't left the division in over 30 years, and are tipped by most to endure another mediocre season this time round.

Saturday's game will be the first meeting between the clubs since February 1997 when just over a thousand people turned up for a drab 0-0 draw. Overall the Bulls have the edge in 40 competitive matches with 14 wins to 10, and Rochdale have not recorded a win in seven meetings, their last win coming in 1993 with a 2-0 win at Spotland.

Rochdale recorded their first point, and first league goal, of the season in a 1-1 draw with Accrington on Saturday to break a run of four straight 1-0 losses - including defeats to title favourites Walsall and Swindon. Their dangerman is Ricky Lambert - 22 goal top scorer last season who is yet to open his account this time round. Bulls fans will be familiar with former Kiddy pair Mark Jackson and Iyseden Christie, who moved to Rochdale in the January transfer window for a reputed £50,000 fee after Dale had sold Grant Holt to Notts Forest for £300,000. Christie has failed to replace Holt's goals, with just two in 20 for the well travelled forward.

The Bulls will be looking for at least a point from this game which could be Scott Tynan's last. His months loan will expire the day before the next match and the Rushden stopper, who has performed admirably in the last couple of games after a shaky start with unfamiliar players, will have to extend his loan before Thursday's transfer deadline in order to play on.

Rochdale vs Hereford United, Spotland, Saturday September 2nd, 3.00pm.

Chester Tell Three To Go

Chester have offered three player free transfers in a bid to free up the wages to sign Ricky Ravenhill on a permanent deal.

Graham Allen and Jermaine McSporran, who both only arrived at the club in the summer, are two of the players to be told their futures lie elsewhere. Chairman Stephen Vaughan told the Chester Daily Post: "We are now meeting the League next Thursday to talk about the situation, the League have been extremely helpful and we hope to clarify a number of points.

"The situation means we have to allow certain players to leave before we can bring others in. If we are to complete the signing of Ricky Ravenhill from Doncaster, we have to release others. Manager Mark Wright has spoken to three players and told them that their futures lie elsewhere.

"Graham Allen and Jermaine McSporran are two of the trio. We have had enquiries from Nationwide Conference clubs for both, but the four clubs concerned all want to take them on loan, with us part-subsidising their wages, so that is not satisfactory, but we are examining the option. We have targeted other players to bring in, but at the moment we basically have to move people out before we can bring anybody in."

Mark Wright, however, has admitted that their promotion target may be difficult this season after so many changes to the squad in the summer: "We've got 16 new players and to get them to bed down and reach a high standard overnight would be difficult. It's about learning about one another and learning what (assistant manager) Graham Barrow and myself are like and the shape we want to stick to.

"But do we want promotion? Yes we do, and we think we've let ourselves down in our last two league games. Promotion is what we're looking for but maybe this year will come a little bit too soon."

Meanwhile, a Chester City player was attacked after yesterdays game at Torquay by a man, described as in his late 60's, wielding a plastic corner flag. The player declined to press charges, and the man was given a £80 fixed penalty and banned from Plainmoor for life. The FA will now investigate the incident.

Ex-Bulls Watch

Last week the Bulls couldn't buy a goal. This week, the former Bulls struggled up front.

Adam Stansfield again drew a blank, and was substituted with 15 minutes left, as Exeter were beaten 1-0 by struggling Tamworth. Chukki Eribenne scored from the spot to sink Kidderminster with the only goal of the game.

Three ex-Bulls took to the field at Forest Green. Jamie Pitman was subbed at half time, and Danny Williams and Guy Ipoua were second half subs as they fell 1-0 to Gravesend in a performance that cost manager Gary Owers his job.

Paul Parry scored the second, and put in another good performance, as Cardiff became Championship leaders for the first time in 35 years with a 2-0 win over Birmingham. Gavin Williams also put in a good performance, and won a penalty, as Ipswich won at QPR 3-1.

Lawrence still dreams of Fleetwood

Lennie Lawrence, the former Cardiff City manager now with Bristol Rovers, is still talking about Stuart Fleetwood.

He watched him at Edgar Street last Tuesday and has spoken to the League Paper about Hereford's star striker.

"Fleetwood destroyed City on his own.

"I gave him his debut at Cardiff, but he lost his way in latter years.

"The kid always had potential, maybe now it's finally being realised."

The article from which those quotes come suggests that 'Rovers may go for Fleetwood' but there are no direct quotes saying that Rovers will bid for Fleetwood.

The chase for a new striker for Bristol Rovers arises because Junior Agogo looks likely to leave the club before the transfer deadline which closes next Thursday.

Also in the League Paper is an article about Fleetwood and how he has put his release from Cardiff City and the car crash he was involved in behind him.

"The Carling Cup is giving me a hugh lift. But any success we get isn't any surprise to me. Hereford can beat anybody on a given day at Edgar Street.

"You just have to take your chances against the higher-league opposition."

He talked about the effects of the accident.

"After the car business, things changed for me. When my friend Nicky (Fish) was in a coma, not too much mattered for me except his recovery.

"I don't remember anything about the crash. It's all been wiped from my mind.

"Yet all us four lads have stayed in touch since we've left Cardiff. I beleive some sort of bond has formed.

"We talk regularly. Nicky is still looking for a club. I hope he gets fixed up soon.

"I never lost faith in myself when City let me go. I was, though, stunned when Dave Jones didn't think I could contribute anything at the club.

"When I was a kid under City boss Lennie Lawrence, I was promised a bright future. Some said I could be the new Robert Earnshaw.

"Being ditched by Cardiff was very hard for me to take."

Meanwhile both Scott Tynan and Simon Travis are in the League Paper's Team of the Week.

League Two Results Round-Up

Swindon maintained their 100% record with a 2-0 win over Stockport, while Walsall remain second with a single goal victory over Darlington.

MK Dons are third after a 1-0 win at Boston, despite having Izale McLeod sent off with 10 minutes left. Jamie Forrester scored all four, including two penalties, for Lincoln as they won 4-2 at Mansfield and Peterboro drew 0-0 with Notts County. County's fans have seen just six goals in total in five league games so far.

Wycombe beat Mansfield 2-0 thanks to two first half goals, while Wrexham drew with Barnet 1-1 - Tresor Kandol scoring again for the Bees. Bristol Rovers beat Shrewsbury 1-0 and Torquay and Chester drew 2-2 with Roberto Martinez snatching a late equaliser for Chester.

Accrington drew with Rochdale, next Saturday's opponents for the Bulls, 1-1 thanks to a late Gary Roberts penalty - that is Dale's first point of the season, and Bury also earned their first with a surprise 3-0 win over Grimsby.

HUISA help the Club.

HUISA, the Hereford United Independent Supporters Association, have helped the club with a donation according to Graham Turner writing in yesterday's Bullseye.

"I would like to take this opportunity of thanking HUISA for their donation to the Club. It always goes down well if there are specific things for them to contribute to rather than the money just going into the general fund.

"New portable goals, nets and sprinting aids (sledges with weights on for the players to tow behind them when sprinting) have all been aded to our equipment at the training ground thanks to the donation."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Owers get sack at the Lawn

The first manager to be sacked this season is Gary Owers of Forest Green.

A statement on the FGR website says:

After a meeting of the Board of Directors, following todays match, a subsequent meeting was held with Gary Owers and Shaun Taylor, where it was mutually agreed to terminate their employment with immediate effect.

Forest Green currently lie bottom but one of the Conference without a point from four games. However pre-season they looked a useful outfit when they defeated Hereford United in a friendly.

Four ex-Hereford players are in the FGR squad.

Stats show Monkeys had more shots

Hartlepool had more shots on target than Hereford in this afternoon's game, 20 against 14. Of those the Moneys had 8 on target whereas 6 were on target for the Bulls.

Scott Tynan, the Hereford goalkeeper, was awarded a 9 for his performance and both Simon Travis and Tim Sills got an 8. Sub Brown received an 8 for Hartlepool.

Only Mkandawire was yellow carded for the Bulls whereas four Monkeys received cards.

Hartlepool manager Danny Wilson was reported to be fuming after the game.

"There's a weakness here which needs addressing very soon. We could've been 3 up if we'd done the job properly but the goals we conceded were atrocious."

Absolute Joy says Sills

Absolute joy was Tim Sills' reaction to scoring his first goal for Hereford United this afternoon.

"I've worked extremely hard pre-season and through the games. I've enjoyed Fleet scoring a lot of goals and I hope he enjoyed watching me score one today because it felt fantastic," Sills told BBC Hereford and Worcester.

"I've been delighted for Fleet. Knowing if I'm going to win the flick-ons there's someone there who is capable of putting them away. Hopefully I can share some of the plaudits with him."

Sills and Fleetwood celebrating after Sills' goal - picture by Andy Compton of the Hereford Journal

Sills admitted that in the first half Hereford were poor.

"May be a bit of comedown after Tuesday night. We were fortunate to go in 1-0 up at half-time.

"Second half was a little bit better. When Fleets and I came off and Alan and Willo they ran them ragged as well.

"We've got to learn to start better in games."

Sills thought Hereford were lucky with the penalty.

"It was a weird one. Not many refs would give it. A plain bodycheck, Purds put it away brilliantly." (Later Danny Wilson, the Hartlepool manager, agreed it was a penalty.)

Reminded by Keith Hall that Hartlepool soon got one back much like the Coventry did in the cup game Sills continued:

"We dealt with it well Tuesday night and I thought we dealt with it well today. Perhaps there was a lapse of concentration - we're a young side - those kind of things are going to happen."

Talking about after the substitutions Sills agreed that Connell and Williams had an instant impact.

"Came on, looked very sharp. Willo got his goal, Alan contributed to that and got some really good touches."

Sills off the Mark

Tim Sills opened his Hereford United account with his first goal of the season this afternoon, as United overcame a Hartlepool United side full of confidence following a Championship scalp in the League Cup midweek. Of course, The Bulls themselves had recorded a similar victory in the Cup, and just one change was made to the sixteen, with Glyn Thompson making the bench for the first time in place of Karl Lewis.

The first half was a poor encounter as both sides came out of the blocks slowly, though it was the visitors who had the better of the opportunities. This was mostly down to the threat posed by Joel Porter, who crossed dangerously twice across the goalface, with Anthony Sweeney just inches away from meeting the first, and the second was mis-hit by Eifion Williams at the far post.

In between, the ball took a bounce back towards goal off Martyn Giles after a corner, and the big centre half Michael Nelson hooked over the bar. Stuart Fleetwood was unsuprisingly lively for the hosts, and it was his running that was troubling the Pool rearguard. He crossed for Andy Ferrell, who fired harmlessley wide in United's first attack, after twenty five minutes. The first shot on goal from Hereford came after thirty three minutes, and it resulted in the first goal of the game.

It was also the first time United got the ball down and passed it out wide, and it paid off as Sills netted with his head. The target man had a big part to play in the build up as well, as he collected and released the ball to Trent McClenahan, who crossed from deep. Sills' header was straight at Dimitrios Konstantopoulos in the Pool goal, but he somehow let the ball slip through his hands and into the back of the net. The visitors did come close to levelling things up before the interval, but Scott Tynan palmed Gary Liddle's low drive around the post.

The second half was a far more lively spectacle and six minutes into it, the referee signalled for a penalty to Hereford. It was Fleetwood's willingness to chase what seemed a lost cause that earned it as well, as he ran after an overhit pass from McClenahan. Nelson was covering as his 'keeper came to collect, but he lifted his arm to block off Fleetwood and a penalty was awarded. Rob Purdie stepped up clamly and placed the ball into the top corner in front of the Meadow End.

Just as it was on Tuesday, United had a two goal lead, but conceded almost immediately after. Just two minutes later, Hartlepool were back within a goal as James Brown, who'd been on the pitch no more than a minute netted with a low shot across Tynan. There was a decent call for handball though as the striker took the ball down, but Hereford gave their opponents far too much time to pick out the pass in the midfield (something that sounds familiar by now?).

Sills saw a tame effort easily held having received the ball from a Purdie free kick before Tamika Mkandawire fouled on the edge of the box, following Nelson's burst from defence, unopposed through the Hereford midfield, but Porter fired off target from the set piece. With seventy one minutes on the clock, fresh legs were obviously needed in the Hereford side, so Graham Turner replaced Fleetwood and Sills with Andy Williams and Alan Connell, giving an all new strike force. And it had an immediate impact.

Williams was dangerous during his spell, and linked up well with Connell from the start, as he trapped the ball and his strike partner hammered a shot inches wide with his first touch from twenty yards or so. The two were involved again a minute later, as Hereford sealed their 3-1 victory. Connell provided the ball to set Simon Travis away down the right, and he cut back from the by-line for Williams at the far post, who side footed into the back of the net.

Tynan was tested again this time by Lee Bullock as he pulled off the save of the game, fully outstretched he managed to push the long range effort over. Goalscorer Purdie made way for John Wallis, making his Hereford debut with ten minutes remaining, and Wallis did well in his short spell.

It was the two previous subs running the show by now though, as they again linked up to provide Richard Rose with a chance to make it four. Connell played Williams away on the left with a tricky flick, and was then on the edge of the box to dummy Williams' centre for Rose, whose effort was drilled just the wrong side of the post. Tynan was on hand to deny Hartlepool just one more time as Porter got in benhind Hereford's backline, as he rushed and and blocked the shot well.

Hereford showed once again they've undoubtedly got the quality to compete in this league, in front of a crowd of 3,156 (189 away), but the midfield showed up as a week link once again. Too much time on the ball allowed Hartlepool to get their goal, and have their most dangerous efforts on goal. Graham Turner's realised his side has much less time on the ball in this league, so it has to be asked why his side to give their opponents so much time on the ball. If United sort this problem though, they can look forward to a good league campaign.

HUFC: Tynan, McClenahan, Mkandawire, Beckwith, Giles, Purdie, Ferrell, Rose, Travis, Sills, Fleetwood. Subs: Gulliver, Thompson, Wallis, Connell, Williams.

HUFC: Konstantopoulos, Darren Williams, Liddle, Nelson, Brackstone, Eifion Williams, Bullock, Sweeney, Robson, Porter, Proctor .Subs: Provett, Clark, Humphreys, Strachan, Brown.

Three more points for Hereford

Hereford United move up the League table to eighth place with a 3-1 victory against Hartlepool this afternoon.

The goals came from Sills, Purdie (penalty) and Williams.

Tim Sills celebrates his first League goal for Hereford United - picture by Andy Compton of the Hereford Journal

Bulls draw Leicester in Carling Cup

Hereford United will play Leicester at Edgar Street in round two of the Carling Cup.

The game will be played in the week commencing September 18th.

The last time the two clubs met was in the FA Cup third round in December 1999. Leicester were held to a draw by the Bulls at Edgar Street but won the replay 2-1 at Filbert Street.

Leicester were in the Premiership at that time. Had Hereford defeated them it would have been another great achievement by the Bulls.

Setanta TV to cover Conference.

Irish TV company Setanta Sports is to screen Conference matches in a 5-year deal starting next season with the Nationwide Conference according to the Altrincham official website.

The matches will include league games, play-offs, and a relaunched Conference Cup competition, which will be renamed the Setanta Sports Cup. It is expected that the games will be mostly screened on Thursday nights. Some 80 games a season are to be broadcast.

Former Alty chairman and now Nationwide Conference Chairman, Bill King, stated: "We are delighted to be part of the new and growing Setanta football family".

It is believed that the deal is reported to be worth £2.8 million to the Conference.

Why no game on Monday?

It's a Bank Holiday next Monday but Hereford United supporters haven't got a game to watch.

In fact there are only two League games, at Middlesborough and Sunderland. However the Conference has a full fixture list.

The probable reason for no games is the international fixtures next weekend. What they have to do with League Two is questionable.

Bank Holiday Monday has traditionally been a day when families watch games.

The last August Monday game at Edgar Street was in 2003 when Aldershot were the visitors. It attracted some 4985 fans who watched a thrilling match which the Bulls won 4-3.

Why a midweek fixture couldn't be played on Monday is unknown. Perhaps the Tuesday September 12th home game against Wycombe could have been brought forward.

Whilst attendances can vary for different reasons, it's probable that a fixture on Monday might have brought an extra 1,000 fans to a game resulting in around £10,000 more income for the Bulls.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Carling Cup draw at 1.30pm

The Second Round draw of the Carling Cup will take place at 1.30pm this afternoon and will be shown live on Sky Sports.

The 48 teams left in the competition will be split in two groups, seeded and non-seeded, see the list below. A seeded team can only play against a non-seeded team in the second round draw.

So who ever Hereford United are drawn against it will either be a Premiership or Championship club.

Ties will take place in the week commencing September 18th.

Seeded Teams:

1 Aston Villa
2 Barnsley
3 Birmingham City
4 Bolton Wanderers
5 Charlton Athletic
6 Derby County
7 Everton
8 Fulham
9 Hull City
10 Leeds United
11 Leicester City
12 Luton Town
13 Manchester City
14 Middlesbrough
15 Norwich City
16 Portsmouth
17 Queens Park Rangers
18 Reading
19 Sheffield United
20 Southampton
21 Southend United
22 Watford
23 West Bromwich Albion
24 Wigan Athletic

Non-Seeded Teams:

1 Accrington Stanley
2 Barnet
3 Brentford
4 Brighton and Hove Albion
5 Bury
6 Carlisle United
7 Chesterfield
8 Cheltenham Town
9 Crewe Alexandra
10 Darlington
11 Doncaster Rovers
12 Hartlepool United
13 Hereford United
14 Mansfield Town
15 Millwall
16 Milton Keynes Dons
17 Notts County
18 Peterborough United
19 Port Vale
20 Rotherham United
21 Scunthorpe United
22 Walsall
23 Wrexham
24 Wycombe Wanderers

It's great to be back in the League

Graham Turner has been talking to Tony Leighton for an article on the Football League website.

The Hereford United manager speaks about the last two games and how his side bounced back from the defeat at Barnet to the great win over Coventry.

He then looks forward to the rest of the season.

"There are lots of hard matches ahead of us," says Turner, "but it's great to be back in the League and we're determined to stay there.

"With all due respect to the clubs in the Conference, it was lovely to look at the new season's fixture list when it came out and to see some of the teams we'd be up against and the grounds we'd be visiting.

"I'm delighted for the supporters in particular. A lot of them have stuck with us from the old days, but we've also got a lot of younger fans who we've nurtured and it's great for them because a lot of them had never seen us play in the League before.

"So it's hopefully going to be an enjoyable season for everybody concerned with Hereford United, but we know it's also going to be tough because League 2 is stronger than a lot of people give it credit for.

"Just look at this week's Carling Cup results - eight teams from League 2 knocked out Championship sides and that statistic speaks for itself. Nobody should kid themselves that this isn't a hard division.

"What we have to do is reproduce the form we showed against Coventry. That proved what we are capable of, but now we have to retain those standards. Even then though, I'd say that finishing in the top half of the table this season would be a good achievement."

Turner does what Quinn couldn't

Comparisons between Graham Turner and Niall Quinn have been made in the press today.

Quinn has been trying to manage Sunderland whilst being chairman without much success.

This from the Western Mail:

When managers get sacked it doesn't usually take too long for them to start whining about 'that interfering chairman' who was the root cause of all the problems.

But when your name is Niall Quinn you can't trot out that time-honoured excuse for failure.

Why? Because Quinny was both manager and chairman at Sunderland, who endured a disastrous season in the Premiership last year before being relegated.

This week, after a fifth successive defeat to start the season - a humiliating Carling Cup exit at the hands of Bury - the former Republic of Ireland international showed himself the red card.

It didn't take Quinn long to find out what the rest of us already guessed - you can try all you like to wear two hats, but getting both to fit is nigh on impossible.

Usually there is one exception to most rules and in this case maybe Graham Turner is the one to prove it.

Hereford's return to the Football League at the end of last season was a triumph for the man who has managed to wear two hats with a degree of success.

Ironically, Turner never fancied being a manager/chairman, he just took on both roles by default when he almost single-handedly saved the club from extinction.

Now in his 11th season at Edgar Street, Turner has been holding down both jobs for all but three of them.

Maybe Quinny was a little too hasty in writing his own P45.

Rovers sign two ex Bulls

Forest Green Rovers have completed the signings of former Hereford players Danny Williams and Guy Ipoua. Williams was playing for Stevenage last season, but his time at Broadhall Way was plagued by injuries. He spent three years at Edgar Street. Ipoua spent last season at Edgar Street, and scored some vital goals to help Hereford to promotion. He will be best remembered for his winner against Morecambe in the semi final of the play-offs and his equalising header in the final.

Both players are available Rovers game against Gravesend and Northfleet tommorow, and join another ex Bull, Jamie Pitman at Gary Owers side. Both Williams and Ipoua had trials at Forest Green in the summer, Williams featuring in Hereford's pre-season defeat at The New Lawn.

Meanwhile, another former Bull, Mark Beesley, who plays for Forest Green, has been loaned out to Conference North outfit Lancaster City in a bid to regain fitness.

Fleetwood expected to feature tomorrow

Despite coming off during the end of Tuesday's game, it is thought Stuart Fleetwood will be fit for tomorrow's League clash against Hartlepool.

"Stuart Fleetwood has a slight hamstring injury and it's in the balance," Graham Turner told the Worcester News.

Turner is said to have no new injury problem in his squad.

The Hereford United manager spoke about the Monkey Hangers.

"You always have to be a bit wary after a result like that. The players have to get themselves back down to earth but, equally, Hartlepool had a good result in the Carling Cup as well.

"If we can repeat that (Coventry) performance then we can beat most teams in League Two but it's a case of being consistent.

"We have had them (Hartlepool) watched, they are a decent outfit and it won't be easy. But Hartlepool don't overly concern me, it's our own performance that concerns me.

"We went up to Stockport and battled and we had an outstanding second-half against Lincoln and almost came back from two goals down.

"I am tending to think it was only Barnet that's been a massive hiccup for us. Seven or eight players were well below-par.

"We talked about it, we had them in on Sunday and we made amends for that poor performance against Barnet on Tuesday."

Hartlepool boss Danny Wilson insisted: "If we can perform like we did at Burnley then we will give ourselves a chance."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

It's, It's An Edgar Street Blitz!

Nick Brade, to me, just before the game started: How do you rate Coventry City?

Once I'd managed to stop wetting the stand floor with my own nitrogenous waste products, I finally answered Nick's innocently-put query. Not the most subtle of respones, sure, and neither was the hysterical laughter from me once that question had been posed, but in short - erm I didn't. Why? Over the years, Coventry City have been subjected to more humiliation at the hands of West Bromwich Albion than I've had hot dinners: that includes a whole heap of five-goal drubbings, a handful of six-goal embarrassments and, on one particularly memorable occasion, back in the late Seventies, an amazing seven-goal dicking carried out in front of our own supporters. And that wasn't all; that same day, the Sky Blues chose to wear one of the most hideous away kits it's ever been my misfortune to see on a football pitch. Chocolate brown, with go-faster stripes all down the sides, anyone? As we pointed out to Nick, perhaps it was just as well they'd been so-attired that day; the colour of those underpants must have beautifully-camouflaged their defence's smelly gut reaction, the moment they saw Albion's rampant attack bearing down on their keeper for the umpteenth time. Take Coventry seriously? You had to be joking.

I'm not entirely sure just how seriously Nick etc. all took me, as this conversation took place not long after both sides kicked off, but by the time the final whistle went, I guess he could see where I was coming from. Mind you, never in my wildest dreams did I envisage seeing last Tuesday night a victory far more emphatic, in some ways, than those other Albion triumphs of long ago; in fact, were it possible to measure degrees of embarrassment, in scientific fashion, then I'd say the Hereford-Coventry League Cup tie would have driven the pointer right off the scale for the visiting club!

Our early-evening journey down the twisty windy road that leads from Worcester to Edgar Street was made far more palatable by playing Steeleye Span CDs the whole journey through. We don't know why it is, but Steeleye Span and Hereford seem to go together like salt and pepper, thunder and lightning or, if you want a decent Albion slant on it, Jeff Astle and Bomber Brown. Because of being slowed down by that perennial harvest-time hazard, the common or garden hay-laden farm tractor, we were slightly late getting there, but still well in time for the kick-off. Just as well, really, as Hereford managed to score right from the kick-off, near enough!

What made that unexpected strike all the more remarkable was the fact that Coventry had elected to put out their proper side, which included such veteran stalwarts as Dele Adebola and Stern John, for this one. Clearly they had intended taking the game seriously, which was the last thing we did, both of us chortling merrily at their discomfiture as they trotted back to the centre-circle, tails well and truly between their sky-blue legs. The goal came about because of a defensive howler of massive proportions from City, when a hopeful Hereford punt up field was totally-misread by defender Ward, the bladder bouncing right over his shoulders and straight to the grateful feet of Bulls hat-trick hero Stuart Fleetwood, who then left the remainder of City's rearguard for dead. It doesn't help, either, if your defence insists upon backing off all the while, thereby making Fleetwood's scoring task all the more easy. Yep, it was a really good night for the old Schadenfreude glands, was Tuesday, and rapidly shaping up to become even better still!

But first, the queue for the main stand. Just in front stood an harassed-looking Tottenham-loving mother, complete with two little sprogs, both decked in Hereford attire. It became evident within seconds of our joining them that the pair of them had been well and truly brainwashed into the ways of The Bulls; amazingly, they knew enough history to refer to the historic 1972 Cup tie, and all those Parka-clad kids running on the pitch following that Ronnie Radford strike: a shame, though, that I didn't manage to get my oar in on the subject of my other half being one of them, an accusation that gets him going first time, every time. Mind you, it's his alleged lack of fashion sense that winds him up, not the palpable fact he probably broke the law by doing it!

Into Edgar Street, then, where a decent League Cup atmosphere was rapidly coming to boiling point. Once we'd taken our seats, behind Nick and his mum and next to Marion, their mate, we noticed the 657 opposition following for the first time that night. All of them shoehorned into the Len Weston stand, then, inexplicably, bursting into their trademark, "Sky Blue Boating Song", essentially a rip-off from its more well-known Eton counterpart. And very melodic it was, too. Don't worry, we said to Nick and Co, as both sides emerged to do battle, "Thats the only flaming song they know!" In retrospect, I should have guessed they would be humiliated that night, as they had still to register a Championship win this season. Mind you, what was even more remarkable was the Coventry away kit: a blue so electric, you really could have plugged it in to boil up water for a nice cup of tea.

But back to the game, which we'd left a couple of paragraphs above and the scoreline reading one-nil to The Bulls. From then on in, Hereford, giving City a torrid old time while they were at it, really lived up well to the attacking and goalscoring credo first established back in 1972 with that famous Ronnie Radford goal of theirs against then-high-flying Newcastle, and amazingly referred to by that small child outside. At first, the visitors' response to the mortal insult inflicted upon their reputation consisted of Route One in its entirety which got them absolutely nowhere, so with 15 minutes gone, they then tried Plan B, passing and movement. Had they stuck to that from then on, they would have probably got the game back in their favour, especially considering that whilst employing such tactics, they virtually passed the Bulls to death, got to within reasonable striking-distance as a result, then hit the post. Truly, the Edgar Street lot's defence had creaked mightily. which is why it came as such a mystery to me they didn't persist with such tactics, reverting instead to more ham-fisted methods.

Much to Coventry's discomfiture, it could have been a whole lot more in the back of their net, that trauma-ridden first half. Not only did the Bulls have the ball in the net again ruled out for offside on at least two subsequent occasions, and within the space of about five minutes, too, Fleetwood could have quite easily worked his magic again, had the final effort not been narrowly off-target. My other lasting impression of that astonishing first half, Nick Brade simmering volcanically following a string of refereeing decisions I considered downright daft and that's me at my most charitable!

Come the break, The Ceremony Of The Chomping Of The Mints with our Bulls-lovin' counterparts. This is fast developing into one of those daft matchday superstitions footie supporters everywhere delight in, by the way, one begun by Marion, the lady that sits adjacent to us on those occasions we can spare the time to come down to games. She always considers it her bounden duty to purchase a couple of tubes of mints, and that night was no exception. The strange thing is, she never eats them at all when she's not sitting inside a football ground, and only bothers for Hereford-watching purposes!

Off we started again, only for The Bulls to nearly blow it in similar fashion to Coventry at the very start of the game. It was just as well for the League newbie upstarts that The Sky Blues really were incapable of hitting a barn door by that stage, and missed by a country mile instead. That small aberration aside, the second half really was all Bulls, as the home side built up yet another head of steam with a series of corners that truly had the City defence rocking. You could tell the excitement was getting to some of the main stand's more venerable members by the remarkable fact that even such common items as travel rugs and Thermoses were being waved enthusiastically by them.

The only thing that surprised me at that point was the sheer length of time it took for The Bulls to finally double their lead. Error piled upon error for the hapless Midlanders, and by then, everyone just knew a second was only a matter of time. All of ten minutes, in fact, their next strike coming from a bit of defensive "After you, Marshall, no, after YOU, Whing?." from the now-panic-stricken visitors. Once more, it was that man Fleetwood nipping in to take advantage of the confusion, giving rise to an immediate chorus of "Championship - you're havin' a larf!" from the home stand. As for Nick and his mum, all those passionate kisses and hugs in front of me were looking positively incestuous!

Two minutes later, a slight glitch, as City managed to grab an unexpected goal, courtesy Adebola's sheer bulk, which could have put quite a different complexion on the game, of course - but once more, it was an eternal mystery to me why City never really sought to capitalise on this unscripted piece of good fortune. The Bulls simply responded with more of the same instead, and just five minutes after the visitors had pulled that one back, Fleetwood had got his rightful rewards for such a good night's work, a much-deserved hat-trick, the lad once more leaving the City defence literally wondering what happened before putting the ball away in fine style once more. Oh, whoops. Not for the first time that night, I seriously speculated as to whether they'd overdosed on suicide pills prior to kick-off.

The visitors did try to remedy the situation, 'tis true, and on one occasion making Bulls keeper Scott Tynan perform a full-length fingertip save, the high standard of which would probably have earned applause from Gordon Banks, had he seen it, but City's doom was upon them, now, and they knew it. As for their crowded away end, total silence, highly-reminiscent of an active volcano about to go up in an explosion of Krakatoa proportions, in fact. I really did wonder by that time as to whether or not they were quietly organising the manufacture of brown paper bags with eyehole-slits cut out, so as to face the considerable trauma of having to show themselves in their city workplaces the following day.

As for this Baggie, pre-knowledge of Kevin Phillips signing for us (it was our chum "The Noise" - The nickname? Don't ask! - that told us on our way back from the game, by the way), I was by then left wondering whether Albion's scouts were watching Fleetwood's remarkable performance, and making copious notes while they were at it. In fact I was to discover today that there had been representatives of most League clubs at last night's game, which really does beg the question of just how long The Bulls can resist the financial temptation of off-loading his talented services onto some other, much more opulent, outfit?

Back to the game, now, and with three in the net by that stage, and City's own attack getting absolutely nowhere every time they tried to get past former Baggie Tam Mkandawire, you could see the visitors wilt visibly. Most sides would have throttled back, by then, secure in the certain knowledge mortal damage had been done, but not The Bulls. Instead, they cheekily tried for more, and given a little more luck, plus a decent following wind, they might well have made City's humiliation all the more telling. Particularly notable was one audacious back-heeled attempt from Hereford's Rose, from point-blank range, and giving the City keeper much food for thought in the execution of his duties. All in all, the visitors must have been mighty glad to hear that final whistle go, I reckon.

So, onward do The Bulls progress in this tournament; totally deservedly, might I say, they go into the hat for Saturday's draw, and what with West Brom being frighteningly-successful in their League Cup venture at Orient tonight, a nasty thought is gradually taking shape in the back of my mind. Suppose Albion and The Bulls get paired on Saturday? Great for Hereford, as that would very likely ensure a live game for your lot, and the nice little earner for the club such an appearance would attract from Sky, but not so good for me and marital harmony! The main problem is, of course, that my other half, still has considerable passion for Hereford in his blood, a disturbing state of affairs that would undoubtedly totally-eclipse what affection he still has for The Baggies, and very likely have us both at loggerheads well before the tie! Hmmm, I'm now left wondering whether or not the other marital partner supporting another football club has ever constituted legally-sound grounds for divorce proceedings! Especially considering that over the course of almost ten meetings of the two clubs over the last few decades, friendlies, League Cup, etc whatever. Albion have yet to win a single one!

Floors-2-Go take over Len Weston Stand

Many Hereford United supporters will lament the disappearance of the Len Weston name on the Stand next to the A49. Floors-2-Go are now the sponsors of the stand with their orange advertising all along the top.

As well as the stand Floors-2-Go have sponsored the stewards at Edgar Street with bright orange jackets. To be fair they do look a lot better than the previous dirty yellow jackets which were once sponsored by McDonalds.

Is it a sign of the times that a flooring company, rather than a brewery, now backs Hereford United?

As far as the club is concerned it has to get as much advertising at Edgar Street to help pay the bills. How much Floors-2-Go are paying is unlikely to be made public but one source suggested about £3,000 per year.

So who are Floors-2-Go?

Floors-2-Go plc is said to be the largest Real Wood and Laminate Flooring specialist in the UK with over 140 stores including one in Hereford.

The company was set up in 1999 as a family business in Birmingham. It expanded quickly, opening stores throughout the Midlands, the North, the South and East and more recently in Northern Ireland.

In April 2004 the company was sold by the family and floated on the AIM. It looks as though they sold at the right time as the share price was then around 70p.

However recently sales and profits have dropped and the share price is now only 18p.

Cheap Tickets lifted gate at Southampton

Last week Bulls News highlighted the difference in admission prices for the Carling Cup games at Hereford and Southampton.

The price at Edgar Street was the same as for League games except that no cheap tickets were available for children.

However at Southampton prices were reduced (Adults £10, Concessions £5, Under 12's £1) for the visit of Yeovil.

Hereford's gate was disappointing. Only 3404 went through the turnstiles which included 657 from Coventry.

Southampton's was surprisingly high. 20653 watched the game including just under 2,000 from Yeovil.

How many of the Southampton gate were attracted by the low price is unknown, but their gate was the one of the highest for the Carling Cup anywhere this week.

Preview: Bulls vs Hartlepool

The Bulls entertain Hartlepool United for the first time since 1999, when an FA Cup second round game brough the Sky cameras to Edgar Street.

Rob Elmes gave the Bulls a 1-0 win on the day in front of just under 5,000 fans. The last League meetings between the sides came in 1996, with Hartlepool gaining a double for the 96/97 season with wins in September and December, but the Bulls won in March and April to record a double for the 95/96 season. The Bulls retain the lead overall, with 18 wins to 10 and seven draws.

The Bulls, fresh from an anything-but-lucky win over Coventry in the Carling Cup, have been something of a Jeckyll and Hyde side so far this season. A win-loss-win-loss sequence so far this season needs to be broken with a good performance against Hartlepool. The loss of Simon Osborn will be a blow to the side, but manager Graham Turner is still intent on bringing a midfielder to the club before the deadline in a weeks time.

Hartlepool enjoyed their own Carling Cup success over a higher graded side, beating 10-man Burnley 1-0, but needed a penalty to decide the match. They have scored just one goal in four league outings, conceding seven times, and recruiting a striker is manager Danny Wilson's top priority but it is unlikely to happen before the weekend. One player to come in is former Cardiff midfielder Willie Boland, who played more than 200 times for the Bluebirds before being freed in the summer.

Hereford United vs Hartlepool United, Edgar Street, Saturday August 26th, 3.00pm.

Osborn opts against Bulls

Graham Turner has confirmed to BBC Hereford and Worcester that midfielder Simon Osborn has decided not to join Hereford.

"He told me last week that he wasn't interested in continuing with us. He would prefer now to move back down south; his wife was keen to go down there, so that's where he is going."

Turner also told Trevor Owens that for the first time in a while, he had made an offer involving a fee.

"I actually made an offer for a player; I must have had a mental aberration! We're obviously trying to strengthen the squad; I felt the offer was a realistic one, but it was turned down."

"We would have like to have brought somebody in; the search will continue as we want to get somebody into the club to strengthen things. We're a bit light in midfield; that's where we would like to bring a body in."

Turner went onto to talk about Stuart Fleetwood after his fantastic hattrick against Coventry.

"He's got to keep his feet on the floor. Sometimes with young players they get carried away with a bit of success and the acclaim that they have had."

"Stuart is a level headed lad; if he continues to work hard we can benefit from that because he looks full of goals at the moment."

Finally, Turner went on to discuss the level of football they have now set themselves.

"We'll be emphasising the good points from the Coventry match; the standards that we set ourselves in that game, and we've got to maintain those standards.

"The message to the players will be: "You've done it once; there's no reason why you shouldn't do it repeatedly in the league"".

The article, amongst others, can be found if you follow the link below.