Turner transforms Hereford

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The Independent Football

Since they dropped out of the Football League in 1997, Hereford United have failed to mount a serious challenge for a return. This season, though, the situation is different.

Since they dropped out of the Football League in 1997, Hereford United have failed to mount a serious challenge for a return. This season, though, the situation is different.

After Tuesday's 3-0 win at Kingstonian, the Bulls are in fourth place in the Nationwide Conference, eight points behind the new leaders: managerless Yeovil Town.

The man who deserves most of the credit for Hereford's resurgence is Graham Turner, the former Wolves and Aston Villa manager. He has a dual role at Edgar Street: as Director of Football he takes charge of coaching and picks the team, and as chairman he is also the boss off the pitch.

Turner is the club's major shareholder but, as he is anxious to make clear, he does not try to emulate some of his rival chairmen and buy success. "I couldn't afford to fund the club," he said. "Our income comes from football and other fund-raising activities."

Despite running the club "on a shoestring", as Turner puts it, the Bulls have kept a professional playing staff. "We still have ambitions to get back into the League, and to do so it's vital that we remain full-time," he added. "We have 14 full-time pros, of whom nine are 21 or under, and four part-timers. Our wage bill is smaller than a number of fully part-time clubs in this league."

Yeovil, who visit Hereford on Sunday, hope to name a new manager to succeed Dave Webb this weekend. Terry Cooper, Kenny Hibbitt and Billy Ayre are leading contenders. Two Conference managers have been sacked this week: Nuneaton Borough's Brendan Phillips and Northwich Victoria's Mark Gardiner.

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