Following a dramatic game at Aldershot that ensured their Conference Premier survival, Hereford United's players returned home to a joyous welcome

He's the man! Michael Rankine (centre), who scored the winner for Hereford, joins in the celebrations with (left) Sam Smith and (right) Dom Collins.

Dom Collins frantically waved a black and white flag throughout the evening,

Director Dave Preedy addresses the Bulls' supporters. The Hereford squad joined him on stage at the Starlite Rooms.

Sam Smith (who scored the first goal for Hereford) enjoys a well-earned drink.

Club photographer Steve Niblett (second from left) joins in the celebrations with Hereford fans Clive James, Russell Cheasley, Angie Cheasley, Matt Price and Luke Griffiths.

(l-r) Hannah Lloyd and Sarah Phipps were just two people who wore red caps to honour Hereford boss Pete Beadle.

First published in News
Last updated
Hereford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

HEREFORD United supporters partied with the Bulls' players last night following an unforgettable evening of relegation drama.

Dozens of fans went to Addisons' bar as soon as they returned from Aldershot and joined fellow supporters who had watched the drama unfold live on BT Sport.

But it was the players they wanted to share the occasion with - and they were not disappointed.

The players shared drinks with the fans, posed for photographs and even performed dances to the delight of everyone when they arrived back in Hereford shortly before midnight.

Champagne was sprayed and some of the players even recorded video footage on their phones to ensure they would never forget the day they pulled off the great escape.

"It was an escape and it was so emotional - it is something I will never forget," said Michael Rankine, who scored the dramatic winner to ensure Hereford's survival.

"It was nail-biting stuff, but weird things sometimes happen in football and this was one of those moments.

"This will never happen again - I don't think it will anyway."

Rankine was just one player who was treated like a Hollywood star by fans at Addisons and the Starlite Rooms last night with many people not wanting to go home.

Rankine performed an impressive breakdance for his doting public, with further dances provided by Sam Smith, Kingsley James and director Dave Preedy.

The players eventually left the club at 12.50am and continued the celebrations in the city.

Rankine said he could not thank the fans enough for sticking by the players through difficult times this season.

"The fans have been absolutely brilliant - you can see what it means to them," said Rankine.

"It went from one of my worst seasons to the best, but throughout it all, the fans kept the faith."

Club photographer Steve Niblett said the day was for the "unsung heroes" at the club who had carried on working despite not being paid.

"Today has been worth all the heartache," he said.

"There have been so many unsung heroes at the club - not just the players - but people like the club secretary Lee Symonds.

"This is for them."

Steve said Aldershot directors came into the Hereford changing room after the game to congratulate United and said that there was a "free bar" if they wanted one.

Steve also got Bulls' boss Pete Beadle to sign a red hat to honour the caretaker manager.

Some fans were debating whether yesterday's achievement had eclipsed promotion to the Football League at Leicester in 2006 or beating Brentford to go up to League One two years later.

John Martin, a Bulls fan for 60 years, said: "I have seen many highs and lows, but this is right up there.

"It was absolutely brilliant."

Angie Cheasley watched Chester's game against Salisbury live on BT Sport in Addisons.

She said that the atmosphere in the room was electric when Salisbury equalised just seconds after Hereford had made it 2-1.

"I had the Hereford game on the radio - I couldn't believe what happened, I was almost in tears," she said.

"The gods were definitely on Hereford's side.

"This place just erupted when Salisbury scored and everyone was shouting 'we are staying up'.

"The last few minutes were nailbiting, but Hereford did it. It was a footballing miracle."


Comments (2)

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6:04am Mon 28 Apr 14

B the B says...

Well done for staying up,
If they had played like that all season they wouldn't have been in that position,
Well done for staying up, If they had played like that all season they wouldn't have been in that position, B the B
  • Score: 1

1:13pm Wed 30 Apr 14

fordshire77 says...

Now we need REAL investment over the summer or we are going to be struggling from the very start next season.
Now we need REAL investment over the summer or we are going to be struggling from the very start next season. fordshire77
  • Score: 0

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