Wednesday, January 31, 2007

State Of The United

So here it is, the end of the transfer window. And are we surprised?

Well, yes.

We're surprised we've paid money for someone for the first time in a shade under ten years - a period when my hair has gone from vibrant to struggling like the last cash purchase, Neil Grayson - and brought back Ben Smith to what he knows best.

We're surprised the one-time golden boy Fleetwood has joined Accrington for a month. I guess the realisation that there is worse than Edgar Street is an actual threat in this day and age - and Mr. Fleetwood will do his very best to avoid that fate worse than death by rapidly acquiring the goalscoring touch that deserted him long before Santa waved his merry hand.

We've taken Steve Jennings on loan til the end of the season, and - after a trio of fantastic performances - that boy should only leave the city under armed guard and, only if he's signed permanent terms, should he be allowed to live.

I'm surprised more of the 'peripheral' figures at Edgar Street haven't been given loan moves - neither Sam Gwynne, Jordan Fitzpatrick, nor Marcus Palmer - or the training cone mafia, as they appear to have become, will get regular games in a non-existent reserve side.

Maybe it's time for the current regime to acquire the second string that a 25 man squad requires.

Total Confusion in the Press Box

There is an article in today's Manchester Evening News which relates to the problems that journalists had in the press box at Gigg Lane last night when Bury drew with Hereford United and the reporters couldn't agree who had scored two of the goals.

Included in the box were Richard Prime for the Hereford Times, Keith Hall for Vital Football and H&W and our very own Ex-Landlord who wrote the match report for Bulls News.

The article is by Mike Whalley.

EVERYONE has a bad game sometimes - including journalists. My many cock-ups in seven-and-a-half years as a football reporter include getting a goalkeeper's name wrong all the way through one match report, and once turning up 25 minutes late for a game at Altrincham and having to crib a fellow reporter's description of the first goal.

That's the thing, though; when you're having an off day at a match, there's usually someone else in the press box who is on the ball enough to help you out. It's very unusual for an entire press box to have a nightmare - but that's exactly what happened at tonight's League Two match between Bury and Hereford.

If you were following the match via local radio tonight, or read the reports in tomorrow's newspapers, you will probably wonder if we were all watching the same game. (It's a favourite put-down of supporters, that one, when a match report doesn't quite hit the mark: 'Were you at the game?' Yes I was, and I can't say it helped me very much.)

Let me explain; tonight's match at Gigg Lane finished 2-2, and of the four goals, three of them were very untidy, to the point were there could be some dispute over the scorer. Unfortunately, several of us had a very thin strip of the penalty area at the Cemetery End obscured by a pillar. It's never been a problem on my previous visits to Gigg Lane. Very unfortunately, this thin strip of penalty area seemed to be where a good chunk of tonight's goalscoring action took place.

So after 29 minutes, Dave Challinor's long throw into the penalty area led to an almighty goalmouth scramble which ended in Bury's opening goal. Teenage midfielder Richie Baker raised his arm to celebrate the goal - giving what turned out to be the crucial clue - but still the BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester reporter sitting next to me wasn't sure. Neither was the public address announcer, who took a good five minutes to confirm the scorer. Neither were most of the other journalists around me. Eventually, we all settled on Baker as the scorer. Crisis over.

Er, not quite. Twelve minutes into the second half, Andy Bishop's shot was deflected towards his Bury team-mate Glynn Hurst, whose lob over the goalkeeper was hacked in at the far post. This goal was at the other end, so at least there was no pillar to worry about. Hurst raised his arm to celebrate. The vital clue. Except that it wasn't. "Simon Travis own goal," said the Hereford and Worcester chap. "I thought Marc Pugh got the final touch," said another reporter. "I'm sure it was Hurst," I said.

Eventually, most of us settled on a Travis own goal. Except for Hurst himself, who claimed the goal after the match (thanks, Glynn), and Bury's official website, who also gave it to the striker.

OK, so two disputed goalscorers. It happens. Put it down to bad luck, and write your report.

Six minutes later, Hereford striker Steve Guinan hit a cross-shot that clearly took a deflection on its way past keeper Andy Warrington. Unfortunately, my view of the deflection was obscured by said pillar.

"I think it's Guinan's goal," I said. "Ben Smith has turned it in for Hereford," shouted the Hereford and Worcester reporter. The man from the Bury Times suggested it had gone in off Bury midfielder Nicky Adams for an own goal. He turned out to be right, but by this stage, our heads were all spinning. What chance an accurate match report now?

I shouldn't say this, but I felt a tinge of relief when Hereford substitute Andy Williams fired a spectacular equaliser into the top corner from 25 yards with 12 minutes left. "Thank Christ for that," I thought. "A goal I can actually describe accurately."

So I apologise if my match report differs wildly from others tomorrow morning. It's just that, well, I couldn't really see what was going on.

Not that I got any sympathy afterwards from Bury's media officer Gordon Sorfleet, a man with a wonderfully dry sense of humour. "Ah, yes, the pillar," he said. "The thing that holds the roof up."

Fair point, Gordon. I'll stop complaining now.

Jennings to stay at Edgar Street

Tranmere have confirmed that Steve Jennings is to stay at Edgar Street for the remainder of the season.

Jennings was man of the match for Hereford United in last Saturday's game against Notts County but appeared to be slightly off the pace last night against Bury possibly because of a knock he received late in the game last Saturday.

Steven Jennings joined Tranmere at the age of 14 after being released by Everton. He is regarded as 'a central midfielder with an eye for getting forward.'

He signed a two year contract last April.

His first game for Hereford was at Macclesfield where he showed his glimpses of his ability but it was at Edgar Street last Saturday that he took command of the mid-field and showed what a useful addition to Graham Turner's squad he will make.

Meanwhile Jon Wallis played for Dagenham yesterday afternoon in a friendly game against Leyton Orient.

Finally transfers and loans have to be confirmed by mid-night this evening.

Fleetwood moves to Accrington on-loan

Accrington Stanley's manager John Coleman has rounded off transfer deadline day with the signing of 20 year old striker Stuart Fleetwood on a month's loan from Hereford United.

Stuart Fleetwood

Fleetwood was a trainee at Cardiff City, making eight appearances for the Coca Cola Championship side. He moved to Hereford United last January on a free transfer and has made over 40 appearances for the Bulls.

Lately he has found it difficult to regain his form after contracting a viral type illness.

Bulls News, who sponsor Fleetwood this season, will continue to monitor his progress.

200 Hereford supporters at Bury

There were exactly 200 Hereford United supporters at Gigg Lane last evening for the League Two game.

The figure is just 15 more than Bury brought to Edgar Street last September in the first game between the two clubs this season.

Boston Takeover Off, Or On...

The imminent takeover of Boston United is up in the air with conflicting statements reaching the local press.

The Leeds-based bidders were apparently rejected last week by the owners of the York Street ground - the Malkinshaw family, who issued a statement noting their refual to deal with 'these people'.

However chairman Jim Rodwell has dismissed the story, saying the regardless of the Malkinshaw's intentions the deal could still go through. The Malkinshaw family would only be involved in the deal if the bidders purchased the ground, but Rodwell has confirmed that they are equally happy to remain as tenants at the ground:

"I have been informed by the potential purchasers that even if the Malkinson family decide not to sell to them, then by no means is the deal dead. They are still keen to conclude a deal for the football club, meaning Boston United would remain tenants for the 11 years left on the lease, providing the outstanding rent was paid and in future kept up to date ? as they have assured me it would be."

The club have been forced to offload a string of players this season, accumulating over £100,000 in fees, in order to cover the wage bill as falling gates saw some games played in from of less than 1500 paying customers. In a statement on their official website, manager Steve Evans was less than happy at the repeated sales:

"I have never been one to feel sorry for myself but just at the moment, I feel like I have got kicked in the teeth again. Julian Joachim, Anthony Elding, Tim Ryan and now Lee Canoville have left us in recent times and while I understand we may have needed the money on each occasion this season, this transfer has been hard to swallow."

Play-Offs Set For Cardiff Again

The Football League play-offs are set for Cardiff again, as the FA have failed to assure the Football League that Wembley will be ready in time.

With the FA Cup scheduled for Wembley a week before the play-offs, most observers believed that the play-offs would be a certainty for the new national stadium. However the Football League have major misgivings about the readiness of the new stadium, which is yet to receive the necessary health and safety certification, and have to give the Millennium Stadium owners a definite answer by the end of February.

Speaking to the BBC, one Football League insider stated: "The FA has been unable to give the sort or assurances the League needs. The League was very keen to hold the Johnston Paint Trophy in April as a warm-up event but the FA wanted to stage its own warm-up events to be sure of the Cup final and the league had to move it to Cardiff, and now it looks very likely the same will happen to the play-offs."

News Round Up

Kidderminster have signed striker James Constable from Walsall for an undisclosed fee. The 22 year old, a reported target of Graham Turner, scored nine times in a two month loan spell at Aggborough earlier in the season. Lincoln have signed Nottm Forest defender Nicky Eaden on loan until the end of the season. The veteran has played 17 times for Lincoln already in an earlier loan spell after failing to break into the Forest side after a summer move.

Peterboro will see striker Lloyd Opara return to the club after Burton declined the opportunity to extend his loan. The former Cambridge man has flitted between League and non-league football all his career. The Posh have confirmed a deal bringing Gavin Strachan to the club on a permanent basis until the end of the season after a successful loan.

Cambridge United have confirmed to shareholders that the club is still losing £5,000 a week despite heavy cost-cutting. Morecambe's Craig Stanley is the only ex-Bull named in the latest England National Game XI squad. York rejected a £50,000 offer from Hibernian to take Clayton Donaldson immediately after the striker signed a pre-contract agreement with the Scottish side.

Shrewsbury have signed Boston full back Lee Canoville on loan until the end of the season for a five figure fee with the player out of contract at the end of the season, although Colin Cryan has joined until the end of the season from Lincoln. Brad Maylett's proposed move to Chester has fallen through. Bristol Rovers' loan signing Stuart Nicholson is unlikely to make a permanent move to the Memorial Ground after West Brom gave the player a new 18 month contract.

Grimsby have signed defender Matt Bloomer from Cambridge on a free transfer after negotiating his release from the U's. It will be his third spell with the Mariners. Chester have signed midfielder Alex Meechan from Forest Green after FGR released their long serving player to move back to his Liverpool home. The club have also received a second bid from Darlington for striker Gregg Blundell.

Accrington have signed Bolton keeper Przemyslaw Kazmierzak on loan for a month. He replaces Rob Elliott, who has returned to Charlton. Torquay have sold sought after forward Jamie Ward to Chesterfield for an undisclosed fee.

Results Round Up

Torquay's brief revival - a 4-1 win over Grimsby - was quickly extinguished last night as they crashed 5-0 at Mansfield. Ex-Gulls striker Martin Gritton bagging a hat-trick. Leaders Walsall won 2-0 at Macclesfield and, with Swindon only gaining a 1-1 draw at Peterboro, now lead by four points.

Stockport's 1-0 win at Wrexham, who are yet to win under new manager Brian Carey, puts them five points inside the play-offs after a disasterous start to the season. Notts County remain eighth after a 1-1 draw with Barnet.

More quotes about Williams

There are some quotes in this morning's press about the decision of Andy Williams to stay at Hereford and that great goal he scored at Bury last night.

"That goal was right out of the top drawer. It was Rooneyesque. If it had happened in the Premiership everybody would have been raving about it," said Graham Turner as reported by the Western Daily Press.

"We will just have to wait and see whether he goes anywhere but it will happen sooner or later because the lad has ability."

Paul Trollope, the Bristol Rovers manager also commented:

"Andy decided not to join us and thought the move wasn't right at this stage of his career. I think he's made a mistake, but we don't want anybody who doesn't want to be here."

The official Rovers website also added this quote from Trollope: "It's not a major blow to us, it would have been nice to have him because we think he's quality, but I think he will find this decision was a mistake in his career path."

Rovers have clinched the signing of West Brom's youngster Stuart Nicholson on loan until the end of the season.

Casper says it felt like defeat

In his post match comments on Shakers World Bury manager Colin Casper said:

"The first goal against us was an own goal that came off Nicky Adams' studs, and the second was a strike from thirty yards. It's the way things are going at the minute. The lads gave everything they've got and we had players playing out of position such as Paul Scott playing in the centre of the park and I thought he had a tremendous game.

"We had another goal from 19 year old Richie Baker. We need that little bit of experience just to take the sting out of the game. The warning signs should have been the goal that was ruled out for offside, but it wasn't to be.

"Hereford threw everything at us and they've thrown a lot of money at it and they had good experience in Steve Guinan and Ben Smith and other people that they have brought in. They were always going to be tough to beat, but we haven't got beat, it does feel like a defeat and it should have been a victory.

"For an hour we totally dominated the game. Andy Warrington had one save to make in the second half and it's so frustrating and disappointing. We knew at 2-0 that the next goal was very important. 2-1 can easily become 2-2 which it obviously did. 3-0 would have been game over."

Mkandawire to miss Chester game

UPDATED 1pm: Hereford United's captain Tamika Mkandawire will the game against Chester City on February 10th as he has reached five yellow cards. (We originally reported he would miss the Stockport game next Saturday but the FA has said the suspension will be a week later)

Mkandawire was carded for unsporting behaviour last night at Gigg Lane. No other Hereford players were booked.

There is also confusion over who scored the goals last night. Guinan's shot which led to Hereford's first goal was credited to Bury's Adams. Some thought Smith had got a touch to it.

Bury's second goal was credited to Hurst although some sources suggested Simon Travis might have helped it on its way. From behind the goal it did look as though Travis had got an unfortunate touch to it but the ball might have already been over the line.

The stats show that Hereford and Bury both had seven shots on target and that it was a very clean game with just ten fouls, six against Hereford and four against Bury.

Ben Smith was awarded an eight with Connell, Guinan, Jennings, Purdie and Mkandawire given a seven each.

However Bury had 56% of possession against 44% for Hereford. Much of that figure came as a result of the poor display by Hereford in the first half.

Willo proves his worth

Supporters arriving at Gigg Lane last night were pleased to see Andy Williams out on the pitch warming up. Many had been delayed reaching Bury because of an accident on the A49 above Shrewsbury.

The pitch reminded some supporters of Wales - a mountain in the middle and a valley on either side.

And as soon as news reached them that Williams had turned down a deal to join Bristol Rovers, there was little else to talk about, except, once again, the facilities at an away stadium.

Williams didn't start but came on in place of Steve Jennings, who looked to be suffering from some sort of injury (he had a knock late in the game last Saturday)with just fifteen minutes to go.

The fans had been chanting for Willo to come on for most of the second half before he made his appearance.

Just three minutes later he proved his value to Hereford United with a 25 yard strike that sailed into the far right side of the net. It was probably the best goal Willo had scored in his career.

"They were getting a bit tired at the back and we had started to play a bit of football towards the end and when we got the goal back to make it 2-1 they dropped out a bit," Williams told BBC Hereford and Worcester.

"I got a shot off and thankfully it went in."

He also spoke his position at Hereford United.

"I couldn't tell you what the gaffer and that are thinking of but as far as I'm concerned at the moment I'm a Hereford player and that's all I want to be."

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bulls on song in last 30 minutes.

After an hour of slow, slow, quick- quick slow, it was all "Zippety Doo Dah" in the final half hour as Hereford fought back from two goals down to earn a deserved point on Tuesday evening at Gigg Lane.

Manager Graham Turner named an unchanged team following the impressive victory over Notts County on Saturday. The travelling Bulls fans were heartened to see that the bench included young striker Andy Williams who had been the subject of considerable speculation during the few days prior to the game. Williams was reported as confirming that he had declined the offer from Bristol Rovers and was joined on the bench by keeper Karl Lewis, Beckwith, Sills and Luke Webb.

The game started with the Bulls attacking the away end and looking bright for the opening ten minutes. On five minutes a Purdie cross found Alan Connell in an aerial challenge with Fitzgerald with the latter clearing at the expense of a corner. The set piece was taken short to McClenahan who hooked the ball into the danger area where it almost fell to the feet of Steve Guinan. Fortunately for Bury, Chris Brass was on hand to make a desperate clearance. Shortly afterwards, the industrious Jennings released Travis on the left and the strawberry blonde delivered a hard low cross which was met by the advancing Purdie whose crisp effort whistled just wide of the upright. As The Shakers worked their way into the game, a Nicky Adams corner found the head of Dave Challinor but the ball was scrambled clear with Bulls keeper Wayne Brown being clearly impeded by ex York City striker Andy Bishop. In the 27th minute a Guinan flick-on found Ben Smith in an advanced position but his snap shot was tipped round the post by the fingertips of keeper Warrington. Just a minute later however, Bury took the lead. Paul Scott launched a ball into the visitors box which the Bulls defence failed to deal with effectively and although Brown blocked the first attempt Richie Baker was on hand to force the ball over the line. As the half drew to a close, Mkandawire collected a yellow card, which, it is understood, will mean a short suspension. From the resulting free kick Glyn Hurst's sloppy header was dealt with by Brown. HT Bury 1 HUFC 0

Shortly after the break, McClenahan tested Warrington but a quick counter attack saw Baker drag his shot wide of Brown post. On 14 minutes Bury doubled their lead. Again, there appeared to be uncertainty in the visiting back division when a ball looped into the box. Hurst got a touch to direct it goal wards and Simon Travis' attempted clearance sliced off his boot into the roof of the net. Seventeen minutes into the half, the Bulls had the ball in the net only for Alan Connell to be ruled offside. However, just a minute later Hereford dragged themselves back into the contest. Following a period of pressure the ball arrived at the feet of Ben Smith who's swift sidestep just outside the box created the room for his rasping shot at goal. There appeared to be a second contact before the ball settled in the net and Guinan's celebration seemed to indicate the he, rather than a defender, may have got the touch. As United took control of the game, Purdie's probing became more effective and his short corner found Jennings but the Tranmere loanee could only fire over the bar. With 15 minutes of normal time left on the clock, Turner introduced Andy Williams at the expense of midfielder Jennings. Connell moved to a deeper position and just 4 minutes after his entrance Andy Williams picked up the ball and from fully 30 yards unleashed a thunderbolt of a shot that scorched into the net leaving Warrington grasping thin air. The locally born youngster stood facing the bench with his arm raised as Hereford and Worcester's Keith Hall screamed "look what you missed Bristol Rovers"! It was truly a goal to remember and shortly afterwards only a blatant foul when Adams hauled him to the ground prevented Williams getting clear when in full flight towards goal. Fitzgerald also dragged Connell back towards the end as the Bulls pressed for the win but despite an added three minutes the game ended a draw when referee Eddie Ilderton signalled the close.

Full Time Bury 2 Hereford United 2

MOM Rob Purdie, he was all over the pitch.

Attendance 1775 (Approx 200 visiting fans including Craig Mawson !)

Bulls Fightback To Claim Point

The Bulls drew 2-2 at Bury in tonight's League Two match after trailing 2-0 early in the second half.

Goals from Ben Smith, though the stadium announcer gave it as an own goal, and a rocket from Andy Williams, underlining his decision to stay with the Bulls, clinched the fightback after Bury had taken a half time lead and doubled it early in the second half.

The result moves the Bulls up one to ninth, leapfrogging Bristol Rovers in the process.

Full report later.

Williams Rejects Pirates

It has been confirmed that Andy Williams has rejected Bristol Rovers' offer of a contract after talks were held.

Sources at the ground tonight confirm that Williams turned down the move earlier today after meeting the Pirates heirarchy and, unless Rovers return with an improved offer, will remain a Bulls player.

News Round Up

Boston have agreed to sell winger Brad Maylett to Chester for an undisclosed fee. Maylett, 26, missed nearly four months earlier in the season through injury but has impressed since returning. He will be the fourth player to leave York Street, with just one signing permanent terms.

Notts County will look to add a loan striker before tomorrow night's deadline. Loan signings will be forbidden for seven days once the transfer window shuts. Accrington have signed Portugese defender Mauro Silva Almeida until the end of the season. The 25 year old former FC Porto player has also played in Holland and Belgium.

Peterboro are waiting on the paperwork for the signing of striker Craig Mackail-Smith from Dagenham. The clubs confirmed the move yesterday, after the player announced last week that he was staying with the Daggers, and Mackail-Smith now appears to be stalling on signing the deal. Wycombe have released goalkeeper Steve Williams, who spent much of the first half of the season on loan at Forest Green.

Northern Press Predict Bury Win

This from The Manchester Evening News.

BURY midfielder Brian Barry-Murphy faces a late fitness test to see if he can figure in the home clash with Hereford. The 28-year-old playmaker suffered a hamstring injury in Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Hartlepool.
Shakers boss Chris Casper has come to the Irishman's defence after rumours that he was about to leave Gigg Lane. "Brian's not going anywhere," Casper said. "He hasn't been in the team for much of the season, but we spoke about whether he'd like the opportunity to get first-team football elsewhere and he said `no,' and that he wanted to fight for his place. He's going to get better and better and I'm pleased he made the decision to stay because you never want to lose a quality player like him. He's got his chance now and it's up to him."
Key opponent: Tamika Mkandawire - A rock for the Bulls
Prediction: Bury 2 Hereford 1 - It should be a close game but the Shakers are due a win.

Williams to decide his future

According to this morning's Western Daily Press, Andy Williams, the young Hereford United striker, is set to make a decision on his future today.

The paper confirms speculation that Williams went to Bristol Rovers for talks with Paul Trollope yesterday.

It also says that Hereford United have accepted an increased offer of around £150,000.

However there are no quotes in the article.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Commentary from Bury this evening

BBC Hereford and Worcester will have full second-half commentary on the game from Bury this evening when Hereford United are the visitors.

As ever there will be updates from the first half as well.

Keith Hall will be their man at the match.

Meanwhile Hall, the 'voice of Edgar Street', has taken on the task of running the Hereford United Vital website.

Hall used to be a member of the Official Hereford United webteam prior to the recent upgrade of that site.

Since that upgrade Hall has set about launching the Vital site.

Although he uses a number of names, including Colin Green and Alan Brown, much of his recent input to the site has been well researched and written. No doubt his journalism course has helped.

For the record the editor and contributers to Vital receive 'In return for maintaining the content of a Vitalfootball website, Vitalnetwork Ltd offer 50% of the net profits of each website to the editor.'

Update: Keith Hall has been in touch with Bulls News to confirm that "any profits from the site are to be donated directly to the Football Club."

"Anyone who runs a website will realise the work far outways any reward - as I'm sure everyone on the official website team and those at Bulls News will confirm," said Hall

"Hopefully, with the Bulls dedicated websites running in tandem, Hereford United will begin to achieve the publicity and exposure it has lacked for many years".

Trollope still interested in Williams

The Bristol Rovers manager, Paul Trollope, has confirmed on his Official Website that he is still considering his position over Hereford United's young striker Andy Williams.

However Williams, born and bred near Hereford, is understood to be reluctant to move anywhere at present.

Andy Williams - Bulls News picture

"We are currently talking to one or two. The transfer window is not very far away, and although I don't think we'll have anything in place for tomorrow night, hopefully we'll have one if not two additions to the squad by the weekend.

"Andy Williams is one player we are interested in, but whether we get him or not, we will see in the next couple of days.

"As for Stuart Nicholson, I think there have been a few reports that have jumped the gun to be honest. We do have an interest in him, but there is a lot of talking and sorting to be done, and our talks with West Brom have been minimal as of this morning.

"We will pursue that over the next day or two to see where we are, and find out whether or not we can bring him back.

"With Scott Shearer, his situation still has to be resolved as well, although Shrewsbury have indicated that they would like to keep him. But the finances of that deal have to be sorted out first."

Gasheads arrested at Derby

Several so called Bristol Rovers supporters were arrested at Derby on Saturday as Police had to deal with trouble both before and during the Cup game.

Police bussed 160 Bristol Rovers fans, described as "risk supporters", from the city centre and took them to the game to avoid further disorder.

"If they had been allowed to walk through the town, we could have had major problems," said a Police spokesman.

Twelve arrests were made, and Police said investigations were continuing and more arrests and charges were likely to be made.

The Derby press reported that there had been treats of trouble made on internet chatrooms.

Rovers were said to have taken close to 6,000 to the game.

Last May Hereford United took over 10,000 to Leicester for the Conference Play-off final.

Mkandawire misses training again

Tamika Mkandawire missed training again today according to Hereford United manager Graham Turner.

Turner confirmed he has an 'ongoing groin niggle' but is hopeful he can play at Bury tomorrow evening.

"However, Martyn Giles is ruled out with the back problem he has had for a little while but we don't think it's anything too serious right now," said Turner.

Turner, in an interview for the official website, also gave an update on the transfer window.

"Although we are still looking, at the present time there is nothing new to report in terms of incomings or indeed outgoings. Obviously we have until Wednesday to do any business but then we do have the option of emergency loans after the February 7th should we find ourselves really short. I can't say for sure what may happen between now and the close of play on Monday (surely Wednesday -Ed) I'm afraid, we'll just have to what and see what happens."

Referees for next two games

The Football League have announced the names of the referees for Hereford United's next two games.

Tomorrow at Bury, the referee will be Eddie Ilderton from Tyne and Wear.

On Saturday at Hereford, when Stockport County are the visitors, the referee will be Andy D'Urso from Essex.

Preview: Bury vs Bulls

The Bulls travel to Gigg Lane for a rearranged League Two game against Bury on Tuesday night.

The venue has changed much since the Bulls last trip there nearly eleven years ago. That day in March 1996 Bury ran out 2-0 winners with one of the scorers, Michael Jackson, a team mate of Bulls loanee Stephen Jennings last season. It was the second part of a Shakers double over the Bulls that season, following up a 4-3 win at Edgar Street earlier in the season with Bulls legend Phil Stant bagging the winner for Bury.

Since the Bulls gained a tepid 1-0 win over Bury at Edgar Street in mid September, the Shakers have been on the up - rising above the Bulls into eighth at one stage. Recent form has been poor, however, and the Shakers have not won in the last seven games - coinciding with the club being thrown out of the FA Cup for fielding an ineligible player. Strikers Andy Bishop and Glynn Hurst have formed a formidable partnership since Hurst arrived from Shrewsbury, bagging 19 goals between them, but Hurst hasn't scored in any of the last seven games.

The Bulls were a visibly better side with the additions of Steve Guinan and Ben Smith as they beat Notts County at the weekend, and there appears to be a renewed energy in the camp. Guinan, the old man of the squad at 31, will be keen to build on his sensational return to the Bulls and prove his worth as a permanent signing. Graham Turner has suggested that two more players could be on their way into Edgar Street, so departures should also be expected by Wednesday's transfer deadline.

Bury vs Hereford United, Gigg Lane, Tuesday 30th January, 7.45pm.

News Round Up

Peterboro have confirmed the double signing of Dagenham pair Shane Blackett and Craig Mackail-Smith. The announcement comes despite Mackail-Smith declaring last week that he was staying with the Conference leaders.

York striker Clayton Donaldson has signed a pre-contract agreement with Scottish side Hibernian, meaning he will leave on a free transfer in the summer. York had turned down several six figure bids for the forward but will now not receive a fee.

Wrexham have signed Championship Manager legend Cherno Samba on loan from Plymouth. The young forward's real career has not mirrored his fictional one, and has been mainly used as a sub during his short time at Home Park. The Welsh side have also taken Robert Garrett from Stoke on a months loan.

Wycombe have sold midfielder Kevin Betsy to Bristol City for a fee that could rise to £200,000. The much travelled former Woking trainee makes the Robins his ninth club in ten years. Chester are giving a trial to Rhyl striker Lee Hunt. Torquay have signed veteran midfielder Paul Smith on a contract until the end of the season.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Bulls to Hatchet The Bury?

Don't you just love following Hereford United? When many were undoubtedly beginning to doubt the wisdom of a Tuesday evening trip to Gigg Lane, suddenly a few new faces and glimpse of the flowing football of old makes this a far more interesting prospect.

Bury FC was founded in 1885 and became tenants of a field in Gigg Lane which belonged to the Earl of Derby. Their first home game saw them beat Wigan 4-3 and accrue gate receipts of £1 16s 7d (£1.82)! The turn of the century saw them win the 1900 FA Cup beating Southampton 4-0 at Crystal Palace, a feat they repeated in 1903 when defeating Derby 6-0 (this remains a record victory in a Final). In common with many clubs, Bury have suffered their share of financial problems but 1992 saw "The Shakers" undertake a massive re-development programme at Gigg Lane, which was completed in 1999 with the building of the Cemetery End Stand. The ground is now an 11000 plus all seater facility, which accommodates visiting supporters in the Cemetery End. The end is covered and has good acoustics, meaning that even a small amount of fans can really generate some noise. The catering is quite good, with a range of burgers and hot dogs (£2.20) and the delicious 'Football's Famous Chicken Balti Pie' (£2.20). On the whole Bury is normally a relaxed and enjoyable day out.

Admission - Adults £14, Under 21's £10, Concessions £7 (Concessions apply to juniors, senior citizens, disabled and the unemployed).

By Car - Leave the M6 at J21A (sign Leeds, Bolton, Manchester) and join the M62. Leave the M62 at J12 and join the M60 - keep left onto the M60 (sign Ring Road N, Leeds M62). Leave the M60 at J17 and join the A56 (sign Whitefield). Continue forward onto Manchester Road - A56 entering Bury. After about a mile, turn right into Gigg Lane. Street Parking looks the order of the day.

Postcode BL9 9HR. Distance Approx 150 miles. Allow 2 hours 45 minutes.

HUISA Coach - Departs Edgar Street at 3.00pm. Fare £15.00 (Club 01432 276666)
Fun Bus - Departs 3.30 (ish). Est. Fare £12 (Contact Rodders on Official forum).

Refreshments - It has been many years since I crawled the streets of Bury so on this occasion I am guided by the excellent "Ground Guide" website:-
"There are plenty of pubs around the ground and along Manchester Road in particular. There is also a supporters club at the ground, which sometimes allows in small numbers of away fans. My pick of the pubs on Manchester Road, is the Swan & Cemetery, around a ten-minute walk from the ground. This Thwaites pub, is quite comfortable, serves good hand pulled beer and has a separate restaurant area. Nearer to the ground are the Pack Horse & the Staff Of Life. The Pack Horse on my last visit seemed to be the main pub for away fans and has a conveniently situated chippy around the corner from it. The Staff Of Life is a stone's throw from the Park and is a basic pub serving hand pulled Lee's. Also recommended on Manchester Road, is the Waterloo, nearer the town centre."
Alternatively, John Barleycorn (of Talking Bull fame) recommends the Rose and Crown in Manchester Road and The Trackside in Bolton Street. I have no doubt that Mr Barleycorn's selections will have the edge when it comes to matters of the palate!

Bernard Day leaves Edgar Street

Goal-keeping coach Bernard Day has left Edgar Street.

His absence was noted yesterday but news of his leaving has only been made public today.

It is understood that for whatever reason Graham Turner, the Hereford United manager, decided to dispense with his services last Wednesday.

Day has been coach at Hereford for the last four and a half years and was well -liked by both players and supporters. His jovial figure will be sadly missed.

Happy Times - Bernard Day and Wayne Brown

A bit like our old selves says Turner

In his post match comments after yesterdays game Hereford United manager Graham Turner said that he thought the Bulls deserved to win.

Graham Turner - Bulls News picture

"We were a bit like our old selves with the pace and movement of our attacks," said Turner as reported by the League Paper.

"We made ourselves a little uncomfortable in the second half when we got a little bit sloppy. They are always a threat with big Jason Lee up front, but I thought we deserved to win.

"The new lads did a good job for us with Steve guinan obviously capping it with his two goals and Ben Smith unlucky with the one that hit the post."

As regards more additions to the squad Turner told the Nottingham Evening Post:

"We worked hard towards the end of the week to get further players in. We will have to wait and see. There may possibly be one more, maybe even two before the deadline."

Steve Thompson, the Magpies manager, must have made the quote of the day with this statement.

"If we had been capable of not conceding then I think we could have won the game."

Thompson also had a go at the officials.

"I was disappointed with the officials. I thought their second goal was blatantly offside, but you can't fight that. We've had the Referee and Linesman before; and the thing is these days the game is getting quicker and the Official's are getting slower and they can't keep up with the game."

The possession stats for yesterday's game gave Hereford 60% and Notts County 40%.

Finally West Mercia's finest must have had a day off yesterday as there was no sign of any police around the ground.

Hereford v Newcastle tops the poll.

Several weeks ago Bulls News and others published details of a poll in the Observer to find the 'best FA Cup-tie ever'. The results has been announced this morning and the Hereford/Newcastle game won the poll.

With the help of the Hereford United historian Ron Parrott, Jamie Jackson has interviewed several of the personalities from that day in 1972.

Below are a few of the interviews - all of them are in today's Observer.

Malcolm Macdonald, 57

Then Newcastle and England centre-forward - Now Century FM pundit

The tie wasn't a one-day affair, it was a saga that took five postponements, two games and three weeks to complete. We were called off at St James' Park twice for rain before we finally played on 24 January, a Monday evening. It was a 2-2 draw - an awful lot is made of the goals scored in the replay, but people forget that Hereford produced two phenomenal strikes at Newcastle, long shots by Colin Addison and Brian Owen. The replay at Edgar Street was then called off three times. We were trying to fit in league games while seeming to live most of January in limbo land down in Worcester. The replay was scheduled for 26 January. We went down three times for it and it became a 10-day wait before we finally played the match. We packed an overnight bag for one of the trips and because we had to hang around for days, our clothes began to stink. Cecil Gees in Worcester had never known a time like it. We were their best customers. It was a very bizarre situation.

On 5 February - fourth-round day - the pitch still wasn't fit enough, but the match had to be played. Seven minutes from the end, Viv Busby knocked over a cross and I headed in. We thought it was finally over. But of course there was Ronnie Radford's phenomenal goal. I was four yards behind him. The ball sat up on a divot. He didn't know that was going to happen. Without that, it would've been a mishit and a throw-in to us. So all the fates colluded on Hereford's behalf.

Then, Ricky George came on and scored the winner. We hit the bar, we hit the post, the keeper made tremendous saves. You would think Ricky would never have a bit of luck like that again, but of course he did. He bought a jumper that won the Grand National [Earth Summit in 1998]. On the coach back to Tyneside we felt utter disbelief because we hadn't played badly. I've taken a bit of stick because of a story that appeared before the tie that claimed I was going to beat Ted MacDougall's record of nine goals in an FA Cup game. Well, I never said that. I was a North-East football columnist and my paper saw this as an opportunity to get one over a rival. So they made up the story saying I'd promised to score 10.

Years later, I was invited by Hereford to their annual dinner and it exorcised the ghost a little.

Martin Brain, 46

Then 11-year-old ballboy - Now media marketing manager

There was no room for ballboys that afternoon - the club placed crates behind the goals to pack in more spectators - so I sat on the Newcastle dugout. Joe Harvey [the Newcastle manager] didn't even know I was there. Radford's equaliser was unbelievable, but Ricky George's winner took for ever to trickle in. I hadn't run on for the first goal but now I couldn't resist. I thought: 'Bugger it, we're going to win, so who cares?' As I jumped off I hit Joe Harvey! I was one of the first to Ricky and when we came off there were people everywhere, absolute chaos, so I sat on the ground.

It was nothing like football today. A similar shock could never be repeated. Neither will the run. A side like Hereford will never again play against a very top club's first-choice team. In last year's third round Burton played Manchester United's second XI. And, there was the unique nature of our pitch that day.

Barry Griffiths, 65

Then Hereford Times chief photographer - Now retired

There were 64 press requests for the match, plus photographers - I know, because I dealt with them. Together with Ted Woodruff, the sports editor of the Hereford Times, I also organised the match programme. All 6,000 copies sold out. They weren't plush affairs like today's programmes, but after the tie another 2,000 were printed.

The victory had a wider significance beyond getting through to the FA Cup fourth round. For the previous two seasons Hereford had sought election to the Football League. I helped Ted, who led the campaign along with the directors of the club. The previous year we failed by four votes. At the end of that season we tied with Barrow but won a revote easily.

Grenville Smith, 64

Then police constable No 578 - Now director of Hereford United

I've been a Hereford fan all my life - I'd cycle 13 miles as a youngster to watch them. That day I was on duty and Edgar Street was rammed with fans of all ages. They were on the roof of the stand, in the trees, behind the goals, everywhere.

When Ronnie scored the crowd ran on, but I was ahead of them, cheering! I threw my police hat in the air, caught it, then remembered myself and shouted: 'Off the pitch!' When Ricky scored everybody invaded again, then began biting their nails until the final whistle.

It was a great day. But unfortunately our supporters' club burnt down about 10 years ago, so although there are photos in the boardroom, there's nothing dedicated to the Cup run.

Peter Isaacs, 71

Then Hereford physio and club factotum - Now retired

The town is all about football and farming. I played for Hereford - a family-run club where the directors cleaned the windows - for eight seasons as a goalkeeper and worked there for 30 years, and this was an unbelievable fairytale feeling. All the press came down from London - they loved a pint in the bar, so we shared a few. Roy Short was a regular policeman at Edgar Street and was always in the dressing room enjoying a drink - at the end of a game there would be eight empty pint glasses on the ledge outside. Well, after Ricky's winner he took off some of the players' boots, and a photograph got into the national newspapers. He got a right rollicking from his boss.

Roger Griffiths, our right-back, was injured early on. When I treated him, Roger -who died last year - said: 'I'm in pain, but I'll be all right.' So I put on cold water and he continued. It turned out to be a broken leg. Adrenalin and the atmosphere must have kept him going until he was subbed by Ricky George after Malcolm Macdonald's goal.

Ronnie Radford, 63

Then part-time footballer and joiner - Now retired.

It was an unbelievable feeling when my goal went in. It could have finished in the car park, but as soon as it left my foot I knew it was going for the top corner and Willie McFaul [the Newcastle goalkeeper] had no chance. There's a marvellous picture taken side-on - McFaul's in midair and hasn't yet realised that the ball is in the back of the net. What a time to score! Especially after going behind having played so well.

I've not seen Willie since. But I'd love to see him or any of the Newcastle players again. These kind of memories are what make football the great game. The day's significance did not sink in until later - I didn't realise how famous it would become.

Fred Potter, 67

Then Hereford goalkeeper - Now retired

I had only been a keeper since I was 18 - I replaced the regular at Aston Villa one Boxing Day through injury and played 11 first-team games there. Supermac made a big mistake before the tie. At the hotel bar in Newcastle he said: 'I'm going to get effing 10 against you.' That wound me up and I did make a few decent saves that afternoon, the most memorable in the second half when Macdonald produced a bullet header from a Newcastle corner.

John Motson, 61

Then BBC football commentator - Now the same

I was on trial at the BBC, as I'd only been there three months. I was concerned with my capacity to do the match - if I could identify the players, see over the crowd, all those kind of nervous things. I've thought many times since that no goal is shown on the BBC as often as Radford's and it was 35 years ago. I often shudder when thinking about if I'd got the scorer wrong - you wouldn't spot it, but when I say, 'What a goal!' there's a pause between the 'a' and 'goal' so that I could say 'shot'.

Ricky George, 60

Then Hereford's 84th-minute substitute and match-winner - Now newspaper columnist

The night before John Shrewsbury, Motty, Billy Meadows [the centre-forward] and I went out dinner. We returned to the Green Dragon hotel in Hereford at around 10.30 and bumped into Jackie Milburn [Newcastle's greatest centre-forward, a star of the 1950s]. He said: 'Nice to meet you son, but if I was your manager I'd have you in bed by now.' I replied: 'If I come on tomorrow and score the winning goal, nobody will mind will they?'

I lived in Barnet and a convoy of four cars drove back to Billy Meadows' house in London to watch Match of the Day over fish and chips and a few cans of lager. On the way we stopped for petrol. A very schoolboyish Motty ran from his car and said: 'Its just dawned on me that you've created history!'

If somebody had said that in 35 years people would still be talking to me about it, I would've laughed. But Motty put it into perspective.

For me to regard the experience as less than the greatest moment of my life would be insulting to the dreams of millions of school kids. It changed my life.

Colin Addison, 66

Then Hereford player-manager - Now retired

Hereford had good facilities and a nice little ground. I could see the League potential. They paid three grand to Sheffield United for me. It was my first management job - a real crash course. Everyone else was part-time and the players were scattered everywhere. Ricky George and Billy Meadows lived in London, Ronnie Radford in Cheltenham, Alan Jones in Swansea, Brian Owen and Tony Gough, the skipper, in Bath. I was lucky if I saw them one night a week. It was the games that kept us fit [Hereford played 79 matches that season].

When we drew Newcastle I thought it was a great incentive, because we'd yet to beat Northampton in the second round.

The FA Cup was really special then. And there was a bigger gap between League and non-League clubs - now many Conference teams are full-time. Mick McLaughlin, for example, had a job in Newport, so after the draw at Newcastle he travelled back on the supporters' train. He arrived at Hereford at 3am, had a few hours' sleep in his car at Edgar Street, then drove to work for eight.

During one of the periods when we were trying to put the game on, I was at the ground with Joe Harvey and his assistant Keith Burkinshaw. When the match was called off again - this was the second occasion - Joe was absolutely distraught. I took them to my house. Joe had a whisky. And I thought: 'They're having to go home again, this will help us.' They absolutely did not fancy it at Edgar Street. Before the game there was a meeting with Frank Miles, the Hereford chairman, and local police. There was a knock at the boardroom door and a man said: 'Frank, we've sold out of tickets.' He said: 'Don't worry about it. Print some more.' Officially the crowd was 16,100, but the true number will never be known.

Every day I walk through the town someone mentions it. I'm from Somerset, but I'm adopted here. They named a street after me, Addison Court. That was nice. Five years ago I went back to St James' Park for the first time. I saw Malcolm Macdonald. The fag fell out his mouth and he said: 'Fucking hell, not you again!'

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I'm Proud again to be a Bull

Simon Wright watched this afternoon's game without Glynis. Proper Hereford Football!

That's Entertainment by Simon Wright

Notts County was a game too far for Er Indoors. She'd endured Bristol Rovers and Mansfield lately and just couldn't take any more so soon. This wasn't the United side she'd enjoyed for several seasons - a black and white entertainment machine who always attacked and virtually always scored. The contrast was sharp with another side just two miles from our door who prior to Saturday were the country's joint top scorers. I felt the contrast too - its not one of higher class or snobbery, not even that of winning - just simply a matter of enjoyment and for me Hereford had lost their way. I didn't try to persuade as truth be told I didn't much want to go either. I've seen most things in football over the last 40 years or so and most of them wash over me but don't repeat don't bore me.

I'd go along to the match against the country's oldest football League club I decided purely out of duty, a little payback if you like for Tucka's efforts at the Club Open Day to make us semi-outsiders feel part of the furniture. The PR payback from such an event cannot be calculated but I digress. I had no great enthusiasm to travel through the county's verdant countryside (even less enthusiasm to visit the Custard Bowl of Wolverhampton the day after but I'm digressing again) until.. I read Bulls News. Ben Smith back at the club in exchange for actual money? Real genuine, hard cash. Wow ... and Stevie Guinan too. I couldn't help myself - I broke into a one man chorus of "Da da da da Stevie Guinan" right in the middle of a huge open plan Birmingham city centre civil service office.

Fortunately my obviously ill-founded reputation as an eccentric came to my rescue. Pairs of eyes looked up from dozens of PC's all around me but didn't dally long as "its only Simon." I could almost hear them muttering those very words. "Guinan - isn't she in Star Trek?" asked one close colleague, trying to understand. " Er no.." But I had a reason to attend Edgar Street now, a positive surge of energy... which was fortunate because my chest infection was becoming more of a nuisance and I needed an incentive.

Now after a decade and a half of selling fanzines, I've got a pretty good idea what I can cope with and what I can't. A chest infection would lead to fits of unpleasant dry coughing and so I gave my apologies to Pete Povall for fanzine selling duties. He seemed unperturbed ... as usual. He's such a laidback character is our Peter. Tell him to hold onto this rope to stop the Meadow End roof blowing off and he'll get on it without the need to change his trousers. (Dagenham - back in the Conference days - remember?) So regular passers-by in the Merton Meadow car park were spared the prospect of me shouting at them for three parts of an hour. Pete and the famous Nick from B Block seemed to manage fine in my absence anyway - maybe they are too discreet to mention that at Edgar Street its not how loud you shout, its how many people you know that impacts on Talking Bull sales.

Those of you who bought their copy today will have noted that a new editor is required for next season. Peter understandably wants to move on to other things. The fundamentals are in place - a reliable cheap printer, a solid sales base, a decent photographer and a sturdy bunch of contributors - all so handy but any prospective editor should bear in mind that its easy to do a shoddy job but its really hard work to do a proper job. Peter, half-jokingly I'm sure, asked if I was interested. I believe I could do the job but a part-time supporter living 50 miles away cannot give a club fanzine the kind of intuitive bedrock understanding the job requires. It wouldn't be fair to anyone. Oh dear digression again.

I really just wanted to say what a splendid difference the new blood has made to the team. I'm sure Bulls News will have their finger on the match pulse as usual but think back to those 90 minutes. So many clever flicks, the reverse sweeps, the awareness of blind side running. Shooting with confidence. The crunching tackles of a proper midfielder. And all these improvements from men not properly match fit or even fully acquainted with their team mates. And best of all three goals. In one match. In the opponents net. That's entertainment!

I'm now reinvigorated, excited, looking ahead to more opportunities to catch up with the Bulls. Its good for everybody. Ben Smith must be pleased to be back at a stable, well run club. Weymouth have been a financial basket case for several years as former Chairman Ian Ridley describes in his book. And they play in nauseating claret and blue. Meanwhile Guinan is back at the only club where he's been a regular goalscorer... and already in 90 minutes he has scored as many as Sills in half a season. "Waylon" Jennings will appreciate the chance to look like a footballer again - my, he's a class act at our level. Proper Hereford football and now I'm Proud again to be a Bull

Lee - We blew it

Jason Lee, the Notts County striker, was disappointed his side didn't take anything from the game at Edgar Street this afternoon. He scored the Magpies two goals.

"It takes the shine off it for me scoring goals, if we don't win.

"It's embarrassing if I'm honest. They say you are always at your worst when you have just scored. If we knew how to address it we would. We are working hard and as I said to supporters at the start of the season, stick with us because we are doing our best.

"You have to be disappointed because we felt we could win the game, no disrespect to Hereford.

"If you score two away you expect to get at least a point. We worked hard to get back into the game and we blew it. Threw it away if I am honest."

First Double of the Season

This afternoon's win against Notts County was Hereford United's first double of the season. The Bulls won the first meeting between the two clubs just before Christmas.

The three points puts the Bulls in tenth position in Division Two, some four places up on the day. However there wasn't a full programme of fixtures today because of the FA Cup.

7 Stockport 29 7 44
8 Notts County 29 3 41
9 Bristol Rovers 28 0 40
10 Hereford 29 -4 40
11 Chester 29 0 38
12 Darlington 29 -2 38
13 Peterborough 29 -6 38

The stats shown that Hereford had eleven attempts at goal of wehich four were on target. Notts County had seven attempts of which three were on goal.

The Bulls were penalised for just six fouls against nineteen for the Magpies. However the Bulls were caught offside nine times this afternoon.

Not surprisingly Steve Guinan received an eight for his efforts, however he did receive a yellow card for time-waisting. Man of the Match Steve Jennings was only awarded a seven along with most of the Hereford team except Connell, Rose and Brown who had sixes. For Notts County Jason Lee received an eight.

I'm delighted to be back says Smith

Ben Smith made an excellent return to Edgar Street this afternoon with a competent performance for the Bulls.

He told BBC Hereford and Worcester that he was delighted to be back.

"I was having a good time at Weymouth but with no stability there I had to think about my career.

"Five league teams offered me contracts but I wanted to come back somewhere I had enjoyed playing and Hereford was the only place I enjoyed as much as Weymouth. So that's what swayed it.

"I feel I'm good enough to play at this standard so this gives me an opportunity to prove it."

It was the first time Smith had played since New Years Day as he was suspended last week.

Ben Smith celebrating Trent McClenahan's first goal - picture by Andy Compton of the Hereford Journal

"I was quite happy with the way I played. It was nice to start on a winning note.

"I enjoyed playing with Steve (Guinan). He seems to know where I am and I know where he is.

A very happy Steve Guinan - another Andy Compton picture

Reminded by Keith Hall that he had signed a two and a half year contract Smith continued:

"It gives me a bit of security. I think it hurt Graham (Turner) to give me that. But I was in a good position as I had a few other offers. I actually turned down a three and a half year contract somewhere else so I think that showed how much I wanted to come here.

"Graham pushed the boat out for me but I had to make a few compromises myself. I think that shows how much he wanted me here and how much I wanted to be here."

Finally Smith was asked about his shoulder.

"I had it pinned at Hereford and again up the A49. It now two and a half years and it's been fine since then."

Happy Days!

A week in football is a long time, it's proved once again. Following the second unacceptable performance in as many weeks by Hereford United, the gaffer Graham Turner took out his cheque book, made three signings and it has paid off following todays encounter with Notts County.

Though there was no place for Danny Thomas, Ben Smith and Steve Guinan both made their first starts following their singings, and Steve Jennings was star of the show as he made his home debut. Turner axed Dean Beckwith, Stuart Fleetwood, Andy Williams and Alex Jeannin from the starting eleven and there was no place for Gareth Sheldon on the bench either. In came Trent McClenahan, Smith, Tamika Mkandawire, Alan Connell and Guinan.

The Bulls made a positive start, as they attacked the Meadow End with Smith and Guinan both showing early promise, however it was the visitors who netted first. The presence of Jason Lee paid off for County as he got a touch off his head to an inswinging cross from the left, and the ball bounced off the far post before hitting the back of the net. The lead lasted just two minutes though, as United seemed to adopt an old policy of, "we'll score one more than you", which was familiar in Guinan and Smiths last spell with the club. And the two were involved in the goal as well, as Guinan played to Smith, who volleyed from the edge of the box against the foot of the post. The ball ran to the far side of the box where McClenahan was hand to fire into the roof of the net for the equaliser.

Rob Purdie burst away on the right flank but was hacked down by Michael Edwards, who was booked, before Connell met a half clearance with a full volley that only went behind thanks to a deflection off Alan White. Smith had a very ambitious effort from all of forty yards, having been picked out by Guinan, with the Kevin Pilkington off his line, but his attempt was wide. Then the two new signings linked up fantastically as Guinan netted on his return to Edgar Street to put The Bulls into the lead. With twenty seven minutes gone Smith played a perfect through ball for Guinan to race onto, and he took the ball around the 'keeper before passing into the net in front of a delighted Meadow End.

Smith almost doubled the lead when Purdie found him on the right, Smith advanced into the box before flashing a shot inches wide of the far post. Guinan whipped a cross into the box, which Jennings didn't connect enough with to make Pilkington work before a rare chance for County at the other end. Simon Travis sold Wayne Brown short with a poor head back, but Andy Parkinson, having raced in, toed the ball wide. Connell went close again with another volley following a poor clearance, but this time it was only just wide of the mark. Then at the end of the half Purdie played an inch perfect pass through to Smith, in a crowded area, and Smith beat Pilkington, but was denied by the post, though the flag was raised for offside.

United came out in the second half with a little more relaxed mentality, and compared to the first, the second forty five was lacking in opportunity. Jay Smith crafted an half chance for himself, but fired wide before Jennings was denied by a point blank range save after a free kick, but again the flag was up. Despite not looking under any pressure, United conceded on sixty four minutes, as Lee netted again. It was his aerial ability that paid dividends again as, again from the left, he rose to head in powerfully from twelve yards. Some blame may be layed with Brown, who came to catch but got nowhere near the cross.

Guinan was having none of it on his return though, and four minutes later had restored his side's lead with a stunning strike. McClenahan crossed from the right, Guinan controlled with his left, taking the ball into his stride, and hammered home from just inside the box with his right foot to make it 3-2. Connell was replaced by Williams with fifthteen minutes left, and he almost got a fourth for Hereford as he cut in from the right, but Pilkington made a low save. The midfield general Jennings, who'd worked all day long cutting up attacks, making good passes and charging forward, seemed to pull up late on and was replaced on eighty nine by Luke Webb. Hereford had to defend in injury time and survived a couple of late scares to take all three points.

You could say it was almost scripted, with Guinan and Smith linking up as much as they did, especially for the second goal with saw Guinan cap a wonderful move. No doubt the two will steal the headlines, but there were many other good performances today, and undoubtedly if they continue in this way, there will be an improvement on the crowd, which was 3,218 (with 396 away) though most were very entertained.

HUFC: Brown, Rose, Gulliver, Mkandawire, Travis, McClenahan, Purdie, Jennings, Smith, Connell, Guinan.

NCFC: Pilkington, Gleeson, White, Edwards, Silk, Smith, Somner, Martin, Parkinson, Lee, Dudfield. Subs: Deeney, N'Toya, Mendes, Sheridan, Wilson.

League Two Results Round-Up

Torquay earned their first win under Lubos Kubik last night to move back within five points of safety with a 4-1 win over fellow strugglers Grimsby, who slip into the relegation spots for the first time. Macclesfield stay out of the drop zone on goal difference despite losing 2-0 at Swindon (2nd), who are now just one point off the top spot.

Wrexham earned a 1-1 draw at Darlington to give them a points breathing space at the bottom, and Accrington didn't play. Boston earned a surprise point at leaders Walsall to move to 31 points, where they are joined by Rochdale who earned result of the day with a 5-0 demolition of MK Dons.

Lincoln hold the final automatic promotion spot after a single goal victory over Peterboro, who slip to 13th. Stockport moved three points clear in the last play-off spot after a 2-0 home win over sixth placed Wycombe. There is an eight point gap between fifth and sixth. In the only other game, Chester drew 1-1 with ten man Mansfield who had Barry Conlon sent off after just ten minutes.

Sign Him On, Sign Him On, Sign Him On...

...was the chant from the Meadow End as Steve Guinan bagged a brace of goals to send the Bulls fans home happy with a 3-2 win over Notts County in today's League Two match.

Guinan about to score - picture by Andy Compton of the Hereford Journal

But the Bulls had to come back from behind thanks to Trent McClenahan, and survive a late storm, to clinch their first win of 2007 after Jason Lee, a former teammate of Guinan at Forest, also scored twice with pinpoint headers.

The Bulls move back up to tenth after todays results, still four points away from the play-off spots.

Full report later.

Harrison talks about Smith's move to Hereford

Weymouth chairman, Martyn Harrison, has been talking to the Dorest Echo about the move of Ben Smith to Hereford United.

"When we first started on this upheaval we had clubs interested in his (Smith's) services and we had some offers including one from Hereford. Looking long term and at the rest of his career Ben decided it was best that he moved on.

"Hereford offered him a two-and-a-half year deal and a salary that we could never match. It would have been nice to keep him but there was no way that we could stand in his way.

"He had a contract with us until 2009 and at the end of the day we could not keep up with his salary for that length of time. We had to think in the best interests of the club and the player."

Rovers cool over Williams

Bristol Rovers can't make up their minds about whether to bid for Andy Williams, the young Hereford United striker.

Earlier this week it was reported, mainly in the Western Daily Press, that Rovers were going to try to sign him after failing to get his signature several months ago.

However this morning the paper reports that Stuart Nicholson is going to rejoin Bristol Rovers on Monday for the rest of the season after Albion's manager Tony Mowbray decided the injury crisis at the Hawthorns was over. Mowbray signed Dutch Under-21 international striker Sherjill MacDonald yesterday.

The paper goes on to suggest that 'it is unclear whether the Pirates will progress their interest in Hereford United striker Andy Williams, with the Bulls likely to demand a six-figure fee for the 20-year-old.'

Turner and Bull talk about rivalries

This morning's Guardian has an article about the rivalry between Wolves and West Bromwich who meet tomorrow in the FA Cup. Both Hereford United manager Graham Turner and Steve Bull, who Turner signed twice in his career, are quoted.

"I would put this hatred on a par with Celtic and Rangers," said Bull, who briefly played for Albion before going on to become a Wolves legend.

Graham Turner managed both Aston Villa and Wolves between 1984 and 1994 before moving to Hereford. He remember the rivalries in the Black Country.

"There are bigger local derbies when you look at the Manchester rivalry and the Liverpool one but Wolves and Albion is as intense as anything you could wish to come across," said Turner.

"It conveys itself into the dressing room amongst the players and from a manager's point of view you cannot say that it's just another game because of the pride that goes with it. I can remember losing to Albion at Molineux and the depression amongst the supporters afterwards after being let down by the team takes some getting over. I had to apologise to the fans afterwards because the result, not the performance, is the only thing that matters in games like this."

There has always been 'mutual disrespect' between Albion and Wolves, even more so after Graham Turner had brought Wolves back from the lower divisions with several promotions in the late 80's. Then in 1989 Wolves defeated Albion.

"To a lot of fans that 2-1 victory at The Hawthorns was one of the big games in Wolves' history because after the years of disaster and almost being out of business we were back," said Charles Ross, editor of the Wolves fanzine, A Load Of Bull.

"It was our first derby match in years and in the 89th minute Steve Bull swivelled and hit the ball into the top corner in front of the Wolves supporters who celebrated to the Cadbury Roses tune, 'Thank you very much for Stevie Bull'."

Bull had been rejected by Albion so when the two clubs met it wasn't easy for him.

"I had absolutely loads of stick whenever I went to Albion," said Bull.

"They would say things about my mum and my daughter, they would spit at me but the only thing I could do against them was to score and luckily for me I did that in most of the games.

"Now, I don't think the players understand the intensity between the two clubs. Unless they live locally I don't think they know what the fans are like. Whether I was in the bookies, the pub or the dry cleaners, there would be people saying, 'Come on, Bully. You've got to get them going. We've got to win this match'. That's all I've had for the last 20 years. Even now they say, 'Can you go into the changing room before the game and let them know what the derby is all about?'"

Albion refer to Wolves' supporters as "Dingles", likening their adversaries to the much derided family on Emmerdale. Wolves, conversely, describe Albion as "the Tesco carrier bags" because of their blue and white striped shirts.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Lewis returns from Aber for tomorrow's game

Graham Turner has recalled goalkeeper Karl Lewis from Aberystwyth Town to cover for an injury to Glyn Thompson.

Karl Lewis at Aberystwyth - picture from

Lewis, a former West Bromwich Albion youth, has made eight Welsh Premier appearances for the Seasiders since joining from Edgar Street, where he was third choice with the gloves.

He will go straight onto the Bulls' bench for the home League Two game with Notts County tomorrow.

They'll know what to expect says Turner

Notts County will know what to expect of Hereford United tomorrow said Graham Turner in an interview with BBC Hereford and Worcester.

"Notts County are one of the bigger clubs in the Second Division. They will be fancying their chances to go back up.

"They've been quite hefty spenders during the last couple of seasons.

"They will be thinking that perhaps we are country bumpkins but in some ways they won't under-estimate us for what we did up there.

"We totally out-played them for the first fourty five minutes."

Meanwhile John Trewick, the Hereford United coach, has been telling the Worcester News about the three new signings at Edgar Street.

From left Steve Jennings (who joined last week), Danny Thomas, Ben Smith and Steve Guinan today at Edgar Street - picture by Andy Compton of the Hereford Journal.

"Ben Smith scored goals from midfield when he was with the club previously. He's a proven midfielder and he will just give something different to the squad and he's a good footballer as well.

"Steve had a very good spell with Hereford the last time he was here. He's a proven player and had one purple patch when he scored a lot of goals in a short space of time."

"Danny Thomas started at Leicester and had spells at Boston and Bournemouth. He adds to the squad. He's quick and he's prepared to run with the ball and take players on."

Parry in Welsh Squad

Former Hereford United player Paul Parry is in the Welsh squad for their International against Northern Ireland in Belfast on February 6th.

However another former Bull, Gavin Williams, has missed out again.

Neither has Stuart Fleetwood, currently with Hereford United, been chosen for the under 21 squad who also have a game on the same evening.

The Welsh FA called Fleetwood up for their last under 21 game just a couple of days before the match much to the annoyance of manager Graham Turner at the time.

Hereford's Superfan Prize announced

Hereford United have announced what their Superfan will receive as a prize for collecting the most money for the club in the Coca-Cola Buy A Player Promotion.

The fan that raises the most money for Hereford United will be crowned 'Superfan' and win a ride in the team bus to a match and have a pre-match meal with the players!

Currently supporters have raised £41 for the club with Karandip R from Hereford topping the list with £4.50 collected for the club.

£20,000 fee for Smith

Hereford United have confirmed that the fee paid for Ben Smith was £20,000. They also say that they did not ask Weymouth for the fee to be kept a secret.

Gary Calder, the chief executive of Weymouth has issued this apology:

There was a misunderstanding from Weymouth Football Club regarding the sale of Ben Smith. Hereford United are more than happy for the fee that they paid for Ben to be made public. The figure was Twenty Thousand Pound. I would like to apologise publicly to Hereford United for any inconveniance caused to any of the club officials and their supporters.

Meanwhile manager Graham Turner has said, in an interview on the Official Website, that he is hopeful that Tamika Mkandawire will start tomorrow. Only reserve goalkeeper Glyn Thompson is out with an injury but Turner will also miss Andy Ferrell who is suspended for one game after being red-carded last Saturday.

Hereford are a footballing team says Thompson

Notts County's Steve Thompson is hoping for revenge on Hereford United tomorrow at Edgar Street after the Bulls defeated the Magpies 1-0 just before Christmas.

"Hereford have been struggling a little of late, but they are a footballing team who like to get the ball down and play.

"Like all of the games we have lost at home, I thought when they beat us we didn't deserve to lose back in December.

"Graham Turner can mix things up with a change in formations and sometimes put one behind the front players, but like I said they are a team who like to get the ball down and play.

"Hopefully that will suit us playing a side who like to like to play a bit."

Guinan said no to Turner initially

It appears that Steve Guinan said no to Graham Turner when first asked if he would return to Edgar Street according to the Cheltenham manager John Ward.

"Graham Turner (Hereford manager) wanted Steve a week ago, but he said no as he had other irons in the fire," Ward told the Gloucestershire Echo.

"He tested the water a little bit, but they have taken him now and it's a familiar set up for him."

Meanwhile, Ward admitted that he had tried to sign Ben Smith.

"I have spoken to one player, who has decided to join another club, so that has died down," Ward said.

News Round Up

Peterboro will not be signing Dagenham striker Craig Mackail-Smith after all. The England National Game striker has changed his mind about the move, which was due to take place on Monday. Defender Shane Blackett will still make the move to London Road.

Chester are on the verge of selling striker Jon Walters to Ipswich for an initial fee of £150,000. The former Bolton and Blackburn trainee left Wrexham on a free transfer in the summer after a fairly dismal season, but has scored ten in 33 appearances this season.

The Notts County Supporters Trust is now the largest shareholder in the club after they took their shareholding to 60%. They currently have one representative on the board. Wycombe have signed Scott McGleish from Northampton for an undisclosed fee. The former Barnet striker has scored 13 goals for the League One side but was out of contract at the end of the season.

Grimsby have been given the go-ahead by planners over their new stadium. The £14.4million project will start out at 12,000 capacity but has permission to enlarge to 20,000. The club will leave their current Cleethorpes home for a site nearer Grimsby.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sun report Bristol will bid for Williams

This morning's Sun has reported that Bristol Rovers are to make a bid of £150,000 for Hereford United's Andy Williams.

Meanwhile a report on Radio Solent says that the fee for Ben Smith was £35,000.

Five figure fee for Smith

Below is part of a post from the Weymouth Forum. we reprint this beleiving it to be creditable:

As for Ben Smith, Ben was, as I am sure you are all aware the highest paid player at the football club with a contract taking him through to June 2009. With the decision that Martyn (Harrison -chairman) had taken to bring future sustainability to the football club, THIS ALSO INCLUDES SEASON 2007-2008.

Ben was talking to clubs in the football league and initially like Lee Elam, Steve Tully and Shaun Wilkinson had Ben agreed personal terms prior to the 16th January he also would of gone on a free transfer. But as soon as Martyn made his decision to honour all players? contracts, Ben was taken off the transfer list.

Ben had been offered better personal terms than we were currently paying him and Martyn along with Jason agreed if an offer came into the club which was acceptable, the club would not stand in his way.

Ben on the 18th January handed in a transfer request to the Chairman. This brings us to where we are today. Hereford Utd have asked us, as part of the agreement not to disclose the figure they have paid for Ben, it is not all cloak and dagger, we have to respect Hereford's wishes but it was a five figure fee which, with the best interest of the future sustainability of the club we accepted.

Diana knows how to improve her English

Budding model Diana Teodorescu, pictured by Andy Compton, is busy brushing up on her English by reading Hereford United's book 'Onwards and Upwards'.

Romanian Diana, aged 22, lives in Hereford, likes sport and is busy improving her English in her spare time.

Hopefully after finishing the book she'll become a regular at Edgar Street.

25 Players in training this morning

It's a long time since Hereford United had 25 players in for training but that's what happened this morning.

With Steve Guinan, Ben Smith and Danny Thomas joining the Bulls today, Graham Turner will no doubt be pleased with the shake up in his squad which he thought was required. And he seems hopeful that another signing or two could emerge before the transfer deadline comes next Wednesday.

"We do have definite targets," Turner told the Official Website in a detailed interview this afternoon.

He spoke about his new arrivals.

A celebrating Ben Smith

"We've been lacking goals since our return to the Football League and Ben has the potential to both score and create them. He has been in excellent form for Weymouth and though he is stepping up a level, there is no doubt he has the ability to succeed with us. He is that little bit different to the midfielders we already have here and hopefully he'll compliment them by being more productive in the final third. He's excited to have returned to League football and cannot wait to get started after a difficult few weeks at Weymouth.

Steve Guinan at Edgar Street - both pictures by Andy Compton of the Hereford Journal

"In Steve Guinan we have brought back a player we again know a lot about but someone who enjoyed the best spell of his career here. He is an intelligent player who is very good at linking up the play and has the experience that our current forwards lack. He will take a little bit of pressure off the younger lads and, knowing the game as he does, will provide someone for them to learn from.

"Initially he comes here on a month's loan but he is available for transfer and has the chance to prove himself and earn a longer deal. Ideally he will make it very hard for us to let him go again.

"Danny Thomas is someone that Rob Purdie knows well as they were together at Leicester and Danny asked if he could come and train with us. He was released by Shrewsbury but was impressive against us in the League up there and has the chance to show us what he can do.

"He has been excellent in training this week and has signed non-contract forms for now and starting on Saturday, like Steve Guinan, he has the chance to show us he is worth a longer deal. Again, let's hope he does just that.

"He has pace and very good feet and again is a little different to what we already have here. Certainly he has done himself no harm in training so hopefully he can carry that forward into the match day opportunities he has."

It looks as though Ben Smith hasn't come cheap. Although no fee has been confirmed Turner words suggest he had to dip into the club's bank account to secure Smith's move.

"We are in a stronger position financially than we have been for quite some time and therefore we are able to make more attractive offers for players."

Asked how it felt to make a bid for a player Turner replied:

"It's been quite an unfamiliar experience to be honest and I did have to do a bit of research to try and remember how you go about that type of thing! Seriously though, the fact that we have been able to compete for and secure Ben Smith's services shows we have come a long way and everyone connected with the club should be very proud about that."

Ward talks about Guinan

More has emerged from Cheltenham about the move of Steve Guinan back to Hereford United.

"We've made Steve available because we are looking to change things and move on a little but and he understands that," said manager John Ward.

"His chances will become more limited but at 31 years old he wants to play.

"I've got every respect for Steve. He's a good professional sportsman and he is very supportive of everything whether he is in the team or not. If we can help him get a bit more regular football then we'll do that.

"Steve has been very influential in the way that we have played even though he will probably admit that he's not scored as many goals as he would have liked. I'm sure if you ask Kayode, Steven Gillespie and Damian Spencer they will say they enjoyed playing with Steve because he's an unselfish player and also does a lot of unseen amounts of defending when we don't have the ball. I always look at strikers and ask what they're doing when they don't score and Steve does an awful lot."

Guinan Arrives On Loan

Signings are like buses, or at least they are today with the news that Steve Guinan has arrived on a months loan from Cheltenham.

Guinan, 31, originally joined the Bulls for the same two season as Ben Smith, 02/03 and 03/04, bagging 39 goals in 81 matches. He struggled to made the same impression with Cheltenham, scoring 18 times in around 100 games over the last two and a half years.

In a similar vein to Tim Sills, Guinan's Conference record is far superior to his League form. His record before signing for the Bulls was woeful, netting just three times in over 30 appearances for Plymouth prior to his arrival at Edgar Street, but a reuniting with Ben Smith should see the former Forest trainee find a fresh vein of form on his return to the Street.

Guinan will be available immediately, and could be available on loan for up to 93 days in total which would include all but one of the scheduled Football League matches excluding the play-offs.