Once more into the season, my 49th. The first pastie chomped en route, the first fanzine with free staples on sale but the same old faces. Some of them apparently much older. I jest. It was genuinely uplifting and warming to meet those same old faces. People and place is so under rated among football folk, until they are rudely ripped away. Now I try to more appreciate what I used to take for granted.
Unusually I felt nervous beforehand. Nervous that our club had spent big, and had Martin Watson burning the midnight oil with the plethora of registration documents. We needed a quick, positive response to justify their investment. The management certainly did. I pondered aloud whether the Board members felt nervous. “Not at all”, quipped Dodsy Graham, “I saw the players training on Thursday…” And that’s just the sort of imaginative positivity you’d want to hear from the top. Meanwhile, a former Club Chairman ghosted by without a word. Unfortunate. We are still in this together.
Today was the first League match since the passing of programme seller Jenny Prosser. Many supporters felt a little of their matchday experience was missing, others just wanted to share memories. I’ve heard a suggestion that a memorial blue plaque could be erected, local authority permitting. This seems an eminently sensible and realistic suggestion. Jenny was a brief part of most supporters’ lives. I deputised for her just the once and fielded more enquiries about missing Jenny than I sold programmes.
I’m grateful to everyone who bought copies of Talking Bull today. Far from easy to maintain this alternative reading as we stubbornly compete the internet, and other free info sources for fan attention. There is only one other fanzine surviving in the whole of the West Midlands. TB though is part of Hereford heritage, making its debut in 1989. Thus, its older than many of our supporters, so to the editors it’s a family heirloom, to be preserved as long as possible. All profit this season will support HUST’s share buying fund. I’m not sure why that important info is tucked away on Page 4, for me it should be shouted across the front cover. I’d better have a stern word with myself later.
I tend to attract people selling other things and today had the additional company of programme and badge seller Adrian Herbert, now a B Block reject. I read a graphic on Hereford Awaydays Facebook this week which suggested programme sellers were extremely loud. Hmmm I’ve heard louder cats. That is not to diss our prog sellers who bravely soldier on in all weathers but come on, they aren’t that vocal. Unless in Adrian’s case, there is an assistant referee in front of him. Or a Didcot official.
Hands up who feared technical breakdowns with the new stilecards? Yep, me too. Pleasing that my turnstile at least was running smoothly. It is the way forward and so much easier to keep in a wallet. Neither are there any visible reminders of games you’ve had to miss, pleasing for our many exiles. Thanks David Moore-Tabb for that line.
And so to the game. Others wiser than me will describe the game in great detail. The 90 minutes held my attention throughout as we battled with arguably the best, certainly the best-funded, club in the Division. Enjoyed the early lusty rendition of “On Our Way”, probably for the first time since September last season. But after that, vocal support was muted.
Our expensive first choice strikers could make little impact against Spenny’s well-drilled back line. Just one game against top notch opposition on a very hot day so nowt to be worried about yet. The difference now is that we have fresh new strikers to bring on, a luxury denied us last term. I hear good things about Bradley Ash. Same for our wide players. We have competition now. And know- now though that doesn’t seem to yet extend to getting on the right side of referees. Three bookings to nil and so many pushes, shoves and lunges from the opposition ignored.
I would happily take a draw beforehand so the point was perfectly acceptable. We won’t have to deal with Glen Taylor every week, thank heavens, so the future looks interesting. Starting with sorting out Gloucester on Tuesday.
By Simon Wright
Image courtesy of Hereford FC.