Hereford Hero #26 – Chris Price

Here at Talking Bull we continue to build up our career archive detailing former Hereford players, and in this article we take a look back at a player who made a huge impact at Edgar Street, scoring a memorable FA Cup goal before fulfilling a lifetime dream of playing in the First Division and also in Europe.

Hereford Hero.

CHRIS PRICE.

Chris was born in Hereford on March 30, 1960 and was an apprentice with the club before signing as a full professional in January 1978. 

Whilst Hereford were romping to the Third Division Championship in the 1975/76 season, Chris was a member of the youth team which won the Midland Intermediate League under the coaching of Tony Ford. Other members of the squad alongside Chris were Kevin Sheedy, Brian Preece, Shane Walker, Julian Marshall, Stuart Cornes and Jimmy McCafferty all of whom went on to play in the Football League. Certainly, a youth programme to be proud of.

Chris made his Football League debut in a Second Division match away at Notts County in a 3-2 defeat just two days after his 17th birthday on April 1, 1977, having made his first senior appearance against Stoke City in a 1-0 victory in the Herefordshire Senior Cup the previous week.

Between 1979 and 1986 he made the number 2 Bulls’ shirt his own. However, because of his exceptional pace Chris was initially brought into the first team squad as a right-sided midfielder, but made his name for his overlapping runs as a full back. Chris was often a match winner due to his surging runs down the flank which led to a number of goals. His unstoppable forays often ended with a penalty being awarded as he was sent to the ground in the box. Price developed an understanding with Jimmy Harvey which became almost telepathic as the midfield playmaker would spray the ball into a wide position for Price to apparently appear from nowhere to mount an attack on the opposition.

Price was regularly selected for the PFA’s Fourth Division XI, and he was voted ‘Player of the Year’ at Edgar Street in 1982 and again in 1986. His most important goal for the club was the famous equaliser against Arsenal in the FA Cup Third Round at Edgar Street on January 5, 1985 which set up a lucrative replay at Highbury. His 330 Football League appearances for Hereford set a then club record, which was finally broken by Mel Pejic in 1990.

A cash crisis hit the club and Chris was transferred to Blackburn Rovers for a woefully meagre fee of £20,000 in 1986 – the bargain of the decade! He spent two seasons at Ewood Park, and in both seasons Blackburn featured prominently in the promotion race, but on both occasions narrowly missed out on promotion to Division One. Chris made 83 League appearances for Rovers, scoring 11 times, and also played in the Full Members Cup Final at Wembley in 1987 as Blackburn beat Charlton Athletic 1-0 to earn a winners medal.

In 1988 Graham Taylor paid £150,000 to secure Chris’ signature as the full-back moved to Villa Park. With Aston Villa he experienced European Competition in the UEFA Cup and in all played 111 league games for Villa. Remarkably Chris only found the back of the net twice for his new club, but they were both winning goals – at Arsenal and at home to Sheffield United. He rejoined Blackburn where he chalked up another 19 appearances including a play-off final place against Leicester City in May 1992.

A further move saw Chris transferred to Portsmouth where an injury cruelly ended his playing after 18 games for Pompey. His last match was on October 2, 1993 at The City Ground against Nottingham Forest where a ruptured achilles tendon forced his early retirement from the professional game.

Chris next moved into coaching and later management. First at Cinderford Town, then a spell as assistant manager at Cheltenham, before being appointed boss at Newport in late 1996, a post he left at the end of the season with Newport relegated from the Southern League Premier Division.

In September 1997 he returned to Cinderford as manager, but relocated to Spain in 2003 where he was involved with a Charlton Athletic European Soccer School in Torrevieja.

He then emigrated to Australia and made front-page news there in January 2011 after being dragged out to sea by huge waves as he played football on an Australian beach. He suffered a cardiac arrest and was found face down in the sea by lifeguards. After being revived twice he was in intensive care for several days before fully recovering at his Queensland home from pneumonia.

Price has continued to maintain close contact with Hereford, is a HUST member, and was guest speaker at the club in June 2014. 

By Keith Hall

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