Well before kick-off at 1.30pm I had to be at Edgar Street to take over from Keith Hall on Talking Bull duties as Hereford’s very own John Motson had to go on air for BBC Hereford and Worcester at 1.40pm. I was early, but surprised to find other vendors already in place. I was feeling a little disgruntled as arriving earlier than normal, meant paying Hereford Council £4 instead of £3 for the pleasure of parking.
I took up a position near to the players’ entrance and opposite the new flats where numerous occupants were out on their balconies in the August sun looking down on the matchday comings and goings as Simon Wright serenaded them with the regularity of a persistent car alarm. Something I am sure they had never anticipated before moving in. If they haven’t already got double glazing they may well be thinking of getting it.
One fan asked where Jenny Prosser, who normally sells programmes week in and week out on the corner of Blackfriars Street was, and I had to tell him that she had passed away, and that there was a piece in her memory in Talking Bull written by HUST’s chairman Richard Tomkins. The guy was clearly moved by the sad news and said, “She was a lovely lady.” Later another fan said he had bought flowers and placed them where she used to stand. Good, kind, caring, ordinary fans who make the club what it is…
Sales were over, tension was mounting, 3 o’clock was approaching so I made my way towards the Meadow End only to pass long lines of fans still queueing to buy tickets and yet more with tickets queueing to get in. Apparently, the new system at one or more of the turnstiles had gone down. Not a good start! I found my way to what appeared to be the shortest queue showed my season ticket and was in. The players were coming out onto the pitch as I purchased my traditional pre match burger with onions, but as the start of play was imminent I didn’t stop to insist on my usual request of “Colmans English Mustard please” which normally results in a small jar being produced almost surreptitiously from under the counter. Oh, the illicit thrill of its heat upon the tongue. My burger now oozing some sloppy mild apology, I descended the steps to find that sadly my regular place on the barrier to the left of the goal had been taken, but my spirits were swiftly raised by the team’s endeavour. We looked the better team and the fans were in great voice. We looked quick, skilful, determined and tenacious, but isn’t it hard to clap to reward such endeavour with a burger in your hand. At half time we were one nil up and spirits were high in the queue for the toilets where Bill Thomas was giving way to each new arrival as apparently he didn’t want to enter the urinal until the last minute of half time so that he wouldn’t need to go again during the second half !!
When the second half started we expected a blitz on the Meadow End as the team faced its fans, but instead we found ourselves defending , and conceding a goal at the other end, and when Spennymoor went on to score yet another a small vociferous section of the crowd started giving Richards what I shall call “advice”. Symons came on and Liburd went off and Mike won balls in the air which Jordan had failed to do, but he lacks the latter’s speed. Tom Owen Evans, who appeared to have had his foppish locks cut recently, came on and sent the fans mad with excitement by scoring a goal within minutes of his arrival. Spennymoor looked to have settled for a draw as we pressed for a winner and when the final whistle went it was hard to decide whether it was a point gained or two lost against a tough, well organised side who narrowly missed out on promotion last season.
In summing up, the game was an entertaining one that should encourage many of the fans who were present, and no doubt many who were still away on holiday, to turn up to follow what appears to be a much stronger and more competitive and more skilful side than the one we fielded last year. Hopefully it’s onwards and upwards.
By Mike Baldwin
Images courtesy of Hereford FC/Andy Walkden