With the cold snap looking likely to ease by the weekend the Bulls’ game against Southport at Edgar Street looks set to get the go ahead. Simon Wright can hardly contain his excitement.
“High flying Southport provide the exciting pre-Christmas football fayre in a mouth-watering clash at Edgar Street. Liam Watson’s boys are in great form away from home and are sure to provide the sternest test for the Hereford FC flyers.”
That’s me trying to meet club expectations to be jolly and upbeat and positive.
You’d have to pay me to add any more to that because its ..well.. its Southport innit.. Recently Scarborough played at Southport and their manager Jono Greening spoke wearily of Southport’s “Physicality, directness and their set piece routines, their long throws.” Admittedly, Mr Pot had just met Mr Kettle.
Strange that Hereford FC are undefeated against Telford and York, but can never get the best of Kings Lynn or Southport. While we grudgingly admit that Lynn has a decent team and are of course are full time, the same cannot be said about Southport.
There is an ongoing frustration that Hereford FC cannot bring down the Sandgrounders. In 7 previous games, Southport won five and two were drawn. We didn’t even score in five of them. The Leamington of the North are apparently just too cynical for us to deal with. All their fault.
Last season at the Street was typical. Southport stole a lead, hung onto it grimly (though Hereford missing a penalty didn’t help). I was trying and failing to relax on a Lanzarote beach while listening to Radio Hereford FC. To this day, I remember the resigned, woeful tones of summariser Frank Williams: “Southport have all 3 subs to use and I expect them to bring them all on, one at a time, very slowly…”.
And they did.
Who is the summariser for Radio Hereford for Southport this month? Me. Lovely. Yawning on air isn’t ideal.
Better practice that line again. Repeat with conviction. “High flying Southport provide the exciting pre-Christmas football fayre in a mouth-watering clash at Edgar Street.”
Pause for Kevin Keegan-esque passion. “I would love it, simply love it if we beat Southport just once..”
Curious that Hereford United regularly defeated ‘Port, their final victory being 4-1 at the Street in 2014. That was the afternoon of the Great Murmuration with people in the main stand universally distracted by thousands of swooping, sweeping starlings. “Have we scored again? Missed it…”
‘Ports away form this season is bizarre. Watson’s men won 5-3 at Boston on the opening day in a freak result. It remains the record number of goals in a NLN match in 22/23. Just to demonstrate the freakery, they then lost five away on the trot. Followed by three away wins including one over the League Champions elect Kidderminster and a draw, all with clean sheets. All their other December away trips were postponed. So much for the hope of them being coach-weary.
The Northerners maintain a positive bank balance thanks to the legacy of a donor willing to buy £2.2 million worth of shares in regular instalments throughout 2018 and 2019. The donor is surely local lawyer Ian Kyle who now owns the vast majority of the shares. Over two thirds of that money is already spent. Their last profit and loss account doesn’t make good reading. A loss account is a more accurate descriptor.
Manager Liam Watson is now approaching 1,000 games and 22 years as a Gaffer. Over 620 of those matches were during his 3 spells in charge of ‘Port. He’s still only 52, a club director and his son Niall is second top scorer so no hope of retirement any time soon.
Southport briefly reunited the two forwards who gave us such grief when they did the double over us last season – Jordan Archer and Marcus Carver. Archer was lured away last January window but came back to the winter wonderland in the summer. The Sandgrounders offered him a deal until May 2024 to make sure he doesn’t escape again. Archer is the club top scorer with 7 goals. His previous partner Carver has only managed 8 games this season before departing to sunny Scunthorpe.
Overall, our visitors have had a lot of injuries this season. One summer signing is out for the season while 19 different players have played in League games. In 20/21, Southport slipped out of the play-offs late on due to departures and an appalling run of injuries which left them at one point with 12 available players.
We know that scenario.
See you for Southport. Wrap up warm and bring a kettle. I can’t wait…