Saturday’s resilient win over Telford at the New Bucks Head ensured Hereford got back on track, but Josh Gowling’s side now need to back that up with an Edgar Street victory over newly promoted Peterborough Sports.
So, it’s more midweek action for the Bulls faithful against newcomers who may set a new low for the number of travelling supporters, currently held by the gallant 8 from Blyth last term.
Sports are the last of the new arrivals in National League North and given that our paths have never previously crossed, it’s worth dwelling a little on their history.
Peterborough Sports Football Club was founded in 1908 and were initially known as Brotherhoods Engineering Works. This was to be a non-competitive factory side for the company famed for designing and manufacturing the first steam turbine engine in the world. The turbine engine features in the club badge and “The Turbines” is the club nickname.
Until ten years ago, they played in the Peterborough League Premier Division. In 2017 they were still in the United Counties League (step 5). Under manager Jimmy Dean, they were promoted from Step 5 in 2017 (scoring 150 League goals), became Step 4 Champions in 2019 and won the Step 3 play-offs in 2022. Theirs is a remarkable rise on small gates and small budgets. Brothers Mark and Richard Jones, Hillard, McCammon and Sembie-Ferris have been with Dean all or nearly all the way during their promotion charges.
Considering Peterborough Sports are, by most criteria, the smallest club in our League, they have acquired an in-depth squad which certainly doesn’t come cheap. It features several instantly recognisable Step 2 “names”. Such as Kennedy, Kettering’s Captain last season, Johnson, Kettering best defender last term while Gash, Fryatt and Fox are all formerly part of THAT annoying Kings Lynn team… They’ve used 27 players so far including a certain Oluminde Durojaiye who played twice in early August and then left for yet another spell at Haringay Borough. Not an uncommon experience for Olu.
And just look at the management line-up which doesn’t include senior player Michael Gash’s coaching duties in between his defender bashing. That’s nearly enough for them to field their own side.
We are the Management
Jimmy Dean (Manager)
Daniel Ruscillo (Assistant Manager/Physio)
Ant Coombe (Sports Scientist)
Ammar Qadeer (Analyst)
Chris Plummer (Head Coach)
Harry Howarth (Assistant Analyst)
Kelly Rayner (Assistant Physio)
Paul Beeston (Kit Manager)
Nick Conroy (Goalkeeping Coach)
Manager Dean can call upon two classic Big Bloke strikers with a theoretical choice of three wingers to support them. I caught Peterborough Sports in a key end-of-season Step 3 game at Rushall in April 2022. Although they apparently had zero supporters there, the standout player that night was wide man Dion Sembie-Ferris who had extraordinary speed and pretty much won the game on his own. He’s scored around 70 times in 140 odd games.
Winger Jordan Nicholson (Ex Darlington) found the net 20 times in 38 games last term. With striker Mark Jones, the trio were fairly regular scorers this term even though the unfortunate Nicholson broke his leg in late September. The team went nearly 6 games without a goal in late October/ early November.
The Turbines are far stronger at home than away.
On the road:
Southport. Won 3-0
Gloucester lost 1-3
Kiddy lost 0-2
Darlington lost 0-2
Alfreton drew 2-2
AFC Fylde lost 0-1
Brackley lost 0-2
The Turbines own their ground which left their most recent accounts (2021) in profit, though they owe “creditors” over £125,000 (presumably the owner?) In 2020, they had no contracted employees at all, and only 4 in 2021. The 2022 accounts will look massively different. Handily, majority owner and Chair Grant Biddle is into finance and estate management. He will need all of that expertise. The visit of Kings Lynn apart, their average gate is sub 300 (only 187 turned up for Curzon in late October) while their outgoings have shot up.
Is this a classic case of too much too soon?