Non League Daily

Lets give Hereford something to be proud of - Hale

A club that spawned one of the greatest FA Cup moments of all time is no more. But from the wreckage of Hereford United, hope and promise rise in the form of Phoenix club Hereford FC.

It's only four month since Hereford United were wound up by the High Court. Ninety years of history and ninety years of creating moments like Ronnie Radford and Ricky George's FA Cup heroics against Newcastle United in 1972 all just memories and the club that created them now lives only in the hearts and minds of their supporters.

A one club city became a no club city. The Bulls were the first senior football club to be wound up since Scarborough in 2007, both clubs collapsing under the weight of ever-increasing financial heartache.

However, with the ashes of Hereford United still smouldering plans were afoot. A new club, a community focused club, a club for the fans, ran by the fans was being discussed and in the last week these plans have clicked up a gear.

Hereford FC will, according to Chairman Jon Hale, give the city something to be proud of and the club will play their games at the spiritual home of their predecessors, Edgar Street. The place where sideburn adorned men and parka wearing children burst on to the pitch in glee after Radford's thirty yard thunderbolt saw the then Southern League Bulls knock First Division giants Newcastle United out of the FA Cup on a mud patch of a pitch in 1972.

"What is gone is gone and we can't bring it back but we can move on. We need to move on together, to work together as a city and a football club and give ourselves something to be proud of. This club isn't just about the football, we want to push the community forwards and represent them with pride.

The amount of local businesses who suffered when the old club disappeared, the way we felt something was missing, we have to put that back. We feel we can get attendances up to where they were and support our community, we want the club to be the heart and soul, at the centre of Hereford"

The old club, United, went under in sad process played out in front of a group of supporters who were understandably disgruntled and toxic in their feelings towards the events. Their club had been mismanaged and they saw it crumble before their eyes but, as Hale explains, that has not prevented them getting before the newly formed club.

"There has been an incredible reaction because people realise how the old club went downhill so quickly and it upset everyone involved. The opportunity to get football going again, so quickly, needed everyone behind us and the FA understand that what we are doing is credible.

That support has been a massive help to get things going so quickly and the supporters have got behind us, that suggests they will embrace us and we will hit the ground running"

A notable positive for the new club has been the agreement of a new lease on Edgar Street with Herefordshire County Council. Hale confirmed that the process is almost complete, with only "the crossing of the t's and dotting of the i's to do" but he explained that work is very much ongoing behind the scenes to give the club the best possible foundations to build upon.

"Everything has been on the back burner until the lease was agreed on Edgar Street and that is now done. The legal teams on both sides are now completing the conditions on the lease and that should happen in the next week or so. We have to have all of our details into the FA by the end of March if we are to enter the league pyramid and that includes details of the lease.

In the background we are busy talking to sponsors, kit manufacturers, exploring merchandise opportunities and of course looking at appointing a manager. It's a busy time"

The managerial role is one key position that needs to be filled and there have been many applicants. Club legends like Rob Purdie and Steve Guinan have been linked with the position, as well as former manager Peter Beadle. However, whoever the chairman and his board appoint, they know they have to get the right person in and will take their time to do so.

"We have a list of about a dozen applications that are credible but in total I think there were around forty applicants. There is no time scale for an appointment, we are going through a process and we hope it will be made before the end of the season but we have to get the right person to do so"

After a chat with Hale you can't help but be impressed with his attitude towards the new club. Professional and seemingly organised, the club has a real chance of in his words "hitting the ground running". And the man himself insists that he is fully aware of the expectations around the place but he is adamant that the board have the skills in place to "give Hereford the club it deserves"

"We are a group of supporters and long standing supporters at that. But we have the skills on the board to drive this club forward and to give Hereford the club it deserves. We know we need to be patient and there is an air of expectancy but we can manage that and hopefully have some success. We are very well aware we will have to work at it, we have no right to be successful, the supporters know that too"

With that sort of attitude maybe the glory days of Radford and George may not be too far away, just without the Parkas and sideburns maybe?

Photo - Hereford FC website

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