Hereford have paid an undisclosed transfer fee to Stourbridge to secure the signing of striker Jason Cowley. A proven lower league hot-shot it will be fascinating to see how he slots into the new look Edgar Street team under new boss Paul Caddis.
Right man, right place?
Simon Wright goes all positive about the arrival of Jason Cowley.
Sometimes, a signing just makes so much sense. A case of when all the stars are in alignment, etc. Living just 4 miles from Stourbridge FC, I do take in their mid week matches (handily on a Monday) and to be honest Jason Cowley always caught my eye. Cowley played alongside a certain Gibraltar international, and in fairness, benefited from his astute knock-downs.
I checked these details back in March because moving to HFC made so much sense. (To me, anyway).
27-year-old Cowley lives with his partner and daughter in Birmingham. He appears to be self-employed in the Birmingham motor trade in some sort of high-pressure cleaning business. He is both flexible and close to the as yet unnamed “Birmingham area training base.” Boxes ticked. And for the player, where is he going to get a bigger part-time club locally?
There is a famous Stourbridge supporter Irish Jim who knows everything and everybody. As he was tapping me for 50/50 tickets before their last home night game in April, I asked him;
“What are the chances of Hereford signing Cowley?”
“He’ll go if the money is good. But he’s got a lousy first touch.”
I spent the whole of the first half watching Cowley. His first touch seemed absolutely fine to me. That Cowley is aware of his worth is no great shock. Goal scorers are.
We seek localish-to-west-midland based players who are comfortable with evening training. Players who are proven at a lower level and are hungry for a new challenge at a higher level. Or to be cynical, players who aren’t expecting the higher wage that established Step 2 or step 1 players’ command. Box ticked.
Stourbridge are no longer a Step 3 powerhouse. Gates have shrunk dramatically and home matches are largely silent. They are a mid-table team at best and that’s hard for fans used to play-off battles. Much as elsewhere, Caddis took advantage of another clubs limited horizons. The Glassboys have now lost 3 strikers since March (Rushall snapping up one of the others – be assured we got the better player).
That Hereford have paid a fee is surprising, presumably because there was another year on his contract. But where else can we acquire such a consistent and local goal scorer?
Cowley’s style has much in common with Joey Butlin. Not tall, runs a lot, nags at defenders with the key difference being Cowley scores more often at higher levels. Hard to imagine Butlin scoring 29 times in Step 3 as Cowley did last term. He can play a lone role, but is more effective feeding off a target man. Old head Andy Williams might be that man or a new player yet to be announced.
In his early days, Cowley formed a deadly partnership with Richard Gregory at Bromsgrove and they were quite brilliant to watch, leading the club to 3 promotions. (Before you ask, Gregory struggles to play 90 minutes in Step 4 now). I was only able to take in a few games though I will never forget an epic Play Off Semi and Final (3-2 and 4-3) where desperate defenders were just kicking the Rouslers forwards in desperation to slow them down.
As some of our supporters pointed out, Jason Cowley was previously on trial with Hereford FC three years ago. Although he was never officially named, he played up front in matches at Wellington, Halesowen and (ironically) Stourbridge plus a home game too. This was the farcical period of naming a whole team of triallists. Imagine trying to commentate on that?
I was at both Black Country games though I fully admit to losing complete interest when the sides were almost announced. At the time, the story was that Cowley was “impatient” for an answer about his future. When he didn’t get one quickly, crazily joined Macclesfield who were clearly only weeks from closure. I hope everyone is older and wiser now.
It’s been a long time since Hereford FC have signed such a proven goal scorer.
We live in exciting times. Welcome Jason.
There is still plenty of time to secure a season ticket if you haven’t already done so. Go on. You know it makes sense.
Header Image: Graham Goodwin