We were sent this yesterday...
Matthew Norman wrote in The Daily Telegraph on 2nd May 2014 “it is an alarming fact of human existence that the only unbreakable bond of loyalty is the one to the football team you supported as a child. People routinely change their religion, politics and nationality. They forsake their parents, children, friends and those from whom they swore never to be split asunder until death they do part. What no-one ever does is transfer allegiance from one club to another.”
But what do you do when your club’s very existence is threatened? And it is not just your club, but your whole way of life. It’s the family tradition down the generations, the old school friends you keep up with, the friendships you make, the people you spend every other Saturday with whose names you don’t even know, yet you have a bond of camaraderie, the shared ups and downs, and yet in a blink of an eye that may all disappear.
I’ve lost a lot this year; I didn’t think I’d be losing my football club as well.
As I watched the Hereford Times twitter feed yesterday afternoon, with the refresh every 30 seconds button ticked, the reality of losing our club finally dawned. When I wrote my article on Monday, I did sort of hope, even assume we’d get out of this mess. It is said a cat has nine lives and if that analogy is taken into football, just how many did our club have this year? Three winding up orders, the Conference gave us endless deadlines, but looking at things now, did we ever stand a chance? I just don’t know what to believe.
It is incredible to think Tommy Agombar came into the club not knowing exactly how bad it was, and exactly how bad is it? From £148,000 to £350,000 to £1.3milion – where was the due diligence? How can you buy into something without knowing the bottom line? As a club we have lurched from one extreme to another. Looking back, what an incredible job Graham Turner did – but he was a football man. He didn’t pay agents; he only paid out what we could afford and made use of the loan market to incredible advantage. Where would Gary Hooper be today if it wasn’t for Hereford United? Yet David Keyte seems to have gone in the opposite direction.
Not long after he took over, when Simon Davey was still manager, he came to speak to the London Bulls. I came away thinking nice man, but very naïve and it seems that any lessons from the Davey era were not learnt. One of the most telling pieces from Bulls News this week was the report on what Rob Purdie said about contracts and wages. Did David Keyte not take any advice before he took over? I am sure that in his wildest nightmares when taking over Hereford this scenario was not even thought of. While he has put a lot of money into the club and has other personal issues to contend with, his mistakes have cost us supporters everything and confidence in him and our new owner are non-existent in my mind.
The player’s statement just issued on Bulls News illustrate that David Keyte should not be running our football club and should leave as soon as possible. How could any young player on trial even consider working for our club with David Keyte still in charge? And how on earth are we even holding trials when we have no idea of whether we even still exist?
A final word to our players – sincere good luck to Kingsley James at Chester, Chris Bush at Welling and Daniel Lloyd Weston at Southport, and here’s hoping the rest of the squad find footballing homes that look after them properly, pay them on time and develop their careers. I hope you all stay fit, have a great season and look back at your time in Hereford as one of great footballing achievement, if nothing else. You were treated abysmally by our club but know that you all had the fans support and everlasting gratitude for your attitude and commitment to our cause. That afternoon at Aldershot was magical – thank you.
What’s next? Just how far down the football pyramid have we fallen, and which, if any league will want to take us? What, if anything will we be watching next season? Last Friday I was on a train from London to Southampton and passed through Woking and Eastleigh – I won’t be stopping off at either of those destinations anytime soon. The most important thing is to secure the ground and ensure Hereford United continues in whatever form. We have to look at the clubs that rose from the ashes – Chester, Halifax, AFC Wimbledon – and hope and pray we can rise like them. I’ll try and make it to the London Bulls meeting on Saturday and I guess we start again.
A very sad time for all connected to Hereford. At present I am beyond angry, as I am sure many Hereford fans are, but this is a righteous anger, that we need to put to good use to defend what is ours and build again.
Gomez the Mexican Cat