As Hereford are travelling to Southport next Saturday, we take a look back at the Talking Bull archives with this article from April 1998. The Bulls managed a goalless draw, but in truth… it was all about the weekend.

With a weeks holiday to take before the end of March coinciding with Hereford’s rearranged midweek trip to the seaside at Southport, a couple of days of footy, liver abuse and seagull culling was hastily planned. Skeets booked some time off and we found ourselves in sunny Southport at 1.30. Actually the sunny bit was a lie, it was raining and would proceed to lash down for the entire evening. We had a recce around the ground and spotted a piece of that famous scouse wit. Written across some rather large exit games was the message “Fat people’s entrance”. Very handy for some of our supporters we thought!

We quickly arranged a B&B for £13 and had the pleasure of staying in the small but more than adequate accommodation that Eduardo Romero uses when he’s playing on the nearby Birkdale golf course. Apparently he’s well known – in golfing circles I presume – Skeets claimed he’d heard of him but I though the pictures in the dining room looked more like Burt Reynolds.

After loading up we headed for the front and a chance of annoying the local seagull population. Much to the amusement of my fellow travelling Bulls I’d almost sunk a few seagulls in Morecambe with some well aimed stones earlier in the season. However, we were disappointed to find pigeons, loads of them everywhere, and not one Brighton mascot in sight. Not much sea in sight either, it was bloody miles away. So after a brief wander around town we headed for the Coronation hotel – it really is a dirty job but as they say someone’s got to do it!

It wasn’t long before we were joined by TB1s editors, councillors Statto (Elder & Junior) and Darren from London. A couple of jars were sunk before we moved round the comer to the more pleasant surroundings of the Old Ship. Here we found some more travelling Bulls and some rather excellent Jennings Best Bitter. So excellent it was that we thought we’d better sample it a couple more times just to make sure that the first one wasn’t a fluke.

A taxi took us the mile or so up to Haig Avenue, home of the Sandgrounders and we nipped into their club, somewhat reminiscent of our old Supporters Club with pennants hanging around the walls. A quick spirit was despatched as we chatted to the Yorkshire branch of the HUSC, based in Keighley. Back outside it was still chucking it down so we decided to go into the East Stand, an impressive all seated stand that runs the length of one side.

Considering it was a cold, wet Tuesday, our season was as good as over and that live footy was on TV the turnout of around fifty was fairly reasonable. Most of them going on the uncovered away terrace. Mad, the lot of them! I can’t understand why they didn’t all go in the stand as together under the roof we could have made one hell of a racket.

Mind you had that happened we might have been thrown out for enjoying ourselves by the miserable stewards. Elaine thought we might be as it was and left us to join the others on the terrace. Our first warning came because we were standing up, and our claims that as we were in the back row and not obscuring anyone’s view met with no sympathy. “If you want to stand go on the terrace or we’ll throw you out’, was the reply from the Southport Gestapo. We went further away from favour after the steward walked back to the bottom of the stand to join his colleagues who were all standing up and I shouted aloud “Oi – you lot in the orange, sit down – it’s not allowed in here that sort of behaviour” The second warning came after a few Hereford ventures into Southport’s penalty area. We encouraged the team with some banging on the wall behind us. That wasn’t allowed either and our excuse that “we were just trying to create a bit of atmosphere – something you find at league grounds or have you forgotten?” did not go down very well. Duly told off we remained as good as gold for the remainder of the game and enjoyed some banter with the terraced Bulls. “Give us a song East Stand’ was immediately countered with “You’re getting wet – we ‘re not’.

As for the game (I thought you might be wondering about that!) Agana and Leadbeater led the attack, Leadbeater being retained for another month following Larry’s exit to Cheltenham. It looked promising with Hereford enjoying much of the play in the first half. However, playing a skilful passing game on the waterlogged pitch was probably a mistake as the ball kept rolling to a halt before reaching its destination. The conditions gave us some entertaining sliding tackles though, one comical incident being when Cook slid off the pitch and into the perimeter wall. Mind you, I expect he wasn’t that chuffed about it.

For all the possession we could not achieve enough scoring opportunities. The majority of the efforts being long range shots with few on target. The same story went on for the second half though Southport occasionally broke free and alarmingly seemed to club through our defence with ease. When they did this they virtually always managed to get a goal bound shot in, but Andy Quy was in tremendous form and managed to foil Southport’s attempts. He even managed to block one shot with his face and had to receive several minutes treatment from Shakey’s replacement. It was a bit like deBont trying to take a bit out of a flying pie – marvellous stuff. Final score 0-0.

Overall a draw was a fair result and the Man of the Match award goes to two people. The first being Andy Quy for keeping another clean sheet, the other being the lunatic on the away terrace who was running about with no shirt on for the majority of the second half. You’re off your trolley mate!

Sonic – aka Ian Keeble

By Editor

Lifelong Hereford supporter who has endured the rise and fall of the club through progressive generations. Sports journalist, broadcaster and commentator who will never forget his Edgar Street roots.

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