Back in 2018, Hereford FC were Step 3 Champions. We had a squad of winners who were remarkably consistent. Without raking over old ground, we started the next term in the North rather than the South with the guts of the team missing and the manager shortly to depart. We struggled badly.
Contrast this with our opponents Scarborough who sneaked unexpectedly through the Step 3 Play-off backdoor while the big beasts knocked each other out. They have adapted remarkably well to the higher level. ‘Boro kept nearly all their players and their Gaffer.
Interesting guy ‘Boro manager Jono Greening. He’d been knocked back over 50 times for managers jobs – even his home town club Scarborough repeatedly said no to him. He has a Champions League winners medal and a string of coaching qualifications. He also used to have hair so long his Fulham club name was “Jesus”. Both Jono and our own Josh Gowling have quietly opined about possible prejudice – just because they looked different. Sad. Very sad.
Back in his playing days, Jono had a reputation for not being very bright, probably mostly manufactured by mickey-taking team-mates. I remember one player claiming that Greening said that Portugal had a different sun to England, a claim later denied. Another team-mate was at Greenings house watching him try to hang a mirror by putting a nail through the middle of it. But look at him now – Greening has a UEFA Pro Licence, apparently a man of independent means who doesn’t need to work, a family guy with 3 children, a regular church goer and now on a contract until July 2026. Sounds like a bloke with his head screwed on.
Greening lives near York and is a former York player so there was an obvious concern that York City would line him up when they had a vacancy. The Minstermen sacked John Askey quite recently in strange circumstances. Greening killed speculation right away with words to the effect of “there’s no way I’m joining them if that’s how they treat managers.” Very few Gaffers can afford to be that choosy.
Like Curzon Ashton, ‘Boro is a co-operative (820 owners) so are obliged to provide more financial information than limited companies. The Seadogs keep a tight ship, aim to be sustainable and spend only within their means. Hereford board members have said much the same, many times. The seaside club seem rather better at keeping their promises. The Seadogs made a £60,000 profit after tax in 2021, a covid year. In 2022, they made £77,000 profit. Total costs for the first team (presumably including travel) is £211,000. This data refers to ‘Boro’s Step 3 days of course so their next set of accounts will be massively different.
Step 2 remains a learning curve for Scarborough, both on and off the field. As Chairman Trevor Bull said: “I went to the pre-season chairmen’s meeting and several said they’d had to cut back because they’d only got £1m to spend!” A lovely soundbite yet sounds to me like the Boardroom version of sending the new apprentice for stripy paint. “Let’s wind up the newbies..”
“People like the fact it’s a bunch of volunteers trying to do their best,” added Bull, talking to local press. “But now we have a massive proportion of people who don’t understand we’re fan-owned. The amount of time I get told I should put my hand in my pocket because we need a striker…”
All season, some Scarborough followers have been shouting about adding a new striker, even though their club are the second highest scorers. Captain and local born striker Michael Coulson is top scorer with 8, so the goals are widely spread around. So wide their scorers include a certain Luke Haines whose mistake settled a pretty grim encounter when the teams met in August. Strip aside the new club novelty and you’re really left with yet another direct team keen on long balls and huge throw-ins. Boro players are making it work.
On the road, they’ve won at AFC Fylde, Blyth, Farsley, Gloucester, Buxton and most recently at leaders Darlington. They’ve lost a few but none since late October. Not surprisingly, given that most grounds are new and they don’t lose many, away support is very impressive. Their away travel organiser Paul Stephen Adamson believes Scarborough will have 130 people in the away end on January 7. He changed his mind recently – he now thinks 150 visitors.
Yes please, come on down guys. See you there.