We don’t want to get carried away after winning at the League leaders. No worries, its Southport next…

Hereford 2 Southport 0.

Let’s bask in this result, our first victory in 8 attempts against this opposition. This was one of those Get the Job Done games when one goal would be decisive. And it was. Our luxury second goal was so late there was barely time to kick off again. Another win would be lovely.

Southport are in their 6th season at our level and their highest finishing position in the previous five was 11th last term. The Sandgrounders do have a long history, as befits a club who have played at the same Haig Avenue ground for 118 years. Way back when. they used to enter the Welsh Cup and even reached the semi-final in 1932-33. Amazing how county lines change…

Their biggest trophy was winning the Fourth Division Championship back in 1972/73. Hereford United finished right behind them. Older supporters will remember Southport versus Hereford fixtures in what is now called League One. But everything changes around football and we should now refer to ‘Ports home ground as being the Pure Stadium. Come up with your own one-liner at this point.

For them – and many other clubs – it’s about making the most of what to outsiders may seems rather limited appeal. Southport, partly because of their style of play, only lost twice at home last season. By the end of January, they’d already lost three. Impossible to be certain from match highlights, but I get the impression that their playing surface seems better than I remember it and the touchlines further out than before. Can’t be certain, maybe just wishful thinking on my part.

Around 1,000 people on average attended home games this term, that’s currently slightly more than last season’s 940. But the Sandgrounders have played nearly all their local rivals already so interest and attendances will drop in these tough times. Southport v Hereford, two mid-table sides in February inside a very open ground, won’t pull in many neutrals or big game hunters.

From this distance, Southport appears to be a “traditional” town. A population of 90,000 of which one third are over 60 (our radio crews will fit right in) and a town where 95% of people believe their ethnicity to be white. A town where boiler repairers are in short supply.

Still, there are modern novelties. Southport is home to the British Lawnmower Museum. If you’ve hankered to find out what machines the rich and famous have used to cut their turf, this is the place for you. Don’t think our Grass Guru Ben Bowen travels away often but he might make an exception here. It’s in 11thplace on Tripadvisor out of 168 attractions. Maybe more interesting than you might think.

Our last visit to the Pure Stadium was in December 2021 and hard to think of many highlights that day, other than a working boiler. The media bods had a decent pre-match meal but after that … probably best to draw a veil over the weather, pitch and game. Hereford FC have visited here four times and have only one point to show for it.

My advice to our support is opt for a seat rather than the exposed open terrace. Seats are £15 adults, £11 concessions. The open terrace is only £1.50 cheaper. No cash entry here, either buy in advance or go in the club shop on the day to buy tickets. To ‘Ports credit, last season they moved our support from terrace to seats because the weather was so unpleasant. Other clubs in the past weren’t so flexible.

The stand has over 1,800 seats and was recently renovated costing a big seven-figure fee but sits pretty as a asset on the balance sheet. Club owner Ian Kyle and his then fellow shareholder paid the club’s contribution.

See you there in sexy Southport? Don’t mention boilers.

Simon Wright

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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