Football: Hereford bullish about future

Non-League notebook
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The Independent Online
For the first time since 1972, Hereford United will be playing non-League football tomorrow, when they entertain Welling at Edgar Street in the opening round of GM Vauxhall Conference fixtures.

The Bulls will launch their campaign to regain their Nationwide Football League place with Graham Turner, their director of football, still at the helm. Turner, the former Aston Villa and Wolves manager, offered to resign in the aftermath of the traumatic final game of last season, when Brighton gained a draw at Edgar Street to save themselves and relegate Hereford.

Turner changed his mind, however, and has maintained a full-time playing squad which has been strengthened by the signings of the forward Neil Grayson from Northampton and two defenders, Ian Rodgerson from Cardiff and Richard Walker from Notts County.

The man in charge on the pitch at Hereford is their captain David Norton, a former Villa midfielder, who said this week: "It's been a long three months since the Brighton game. Everyone has had those three months to reflect on what happened last season... I've been surprised at the quality of our football pre-season, but against Welling it's three points that matters, not how we play."

Not all of Norton's team-mates from last season have stayed at Edgar Street, though. The centre-back Dean Smith has gone to Leyton Orient for pounds 42,000 while two forwards have left: Adrian Foster to Rushden & Diamonds and John Williams to Walsall.

In Hereford's last season in non-League football, 1971-72, they finished as runners-up to Chelmsford City in the Southern League. Tomorrow the Essex team play Clevedon in what may be their final game at their New Writtle Street ground, which has been sold for redevelopment. City have arranged a ground-sharing deal with the Jewson Eastern League side, Maldon Town.