The Paul Rogers Blog: Hereford United on the brink - are the club counting the cost of mistakes made by the board?

Hereford Times: Hereford United is in financial meltdown. Hereford United is in financial meltdown.

I KNEW it was bad - I just didn’t know how bad.

That’s what I’ve been telling a lot of people this week following Hereford United's AGM on Monday night.

I was reading through the figures released by chairman David Keyte and I could not believe my eyes.

A record loss of more than £528,000 last year, a predicted loss of £400,000 for this year and £300,000 needed before the end of May.

I thought it couldn’t get any worse for my beloved club, but it seems that it can.

Administration is now a real possibility, with part-time football likely to be played at Edgar Street next season.

The chairman says administration is the "last resort", I cannot see the club escaping it, unless someone comes in with some real cash.

Two potential investors have been in contact with the board, but unless they put up or shut up in the next few weeks, I can only see a downward spiral for the Bulls.

It saddens me that the club has got to this stage.

I still remember going to my first Hereford game against Halifax in 1992 and have witnessed many highs and lows - more lows than highs, admittedly.

The experiences gained from seeing the Bulls get promoted to the Football League at Leicester in 2006 and beating Brentford to clinch promotion to League One two years later will live with me forever.

Now, I may have to consider watching the team play Guiseley, Colwyn Bay and Vauxhall Motors in Conference North, or Concord Rangers, Boreham Wood and Tonbridge Angels in Conference South - depending on what league the club is thrown in should it get relegated.

And, that is if the Conference Board allows the team to play in those leagues if it is in administration at the start of next season.

Maybe, it won't be too long before Hereford and Westfields will be locking horns in the same league.

I don't want to be too critical of Mr Keyte, but I believe a number of mistakes have been made since he took over the reins, which are now costing the club dear.

It all stems back to when Simon Davey was appointed manager on a two year contract.

The club made an horrendous start to the 2010/11 season and Davey was sacked after just 10 games.

Hindsight is a lovely thing and I am sure many people at the time thought that a good appointment was made.

But, a number of players were paid way too much and the club over-budgeted.

That has been the case throughout Keyte's tenure.

Gone are the days when the Bulls can regularly attract big crowds - a lot of fans cannot afford to go to many games these days.

And, if they do, they want to see a winning side playing attractive football.

Appointing Jamie Pitman as manager to replace Davey was also the wrong decision in my opinion.

His inexperience ultimately showed in the 2011/12 season, which saw the Bulls relegated from the Football League.

Keyte has constantly referred to the lost Football League revenue, which has led to Hereford being in the situation is it.

Yes, the club would be in a much healthier position if it was still in the Football League, but relegation was always a possibility and you have to plan for that.

Traditionally, the club has been a lower League Two/top half of the Conference team.

Battling it out with the likes of Leeds and Leicester in League One, like Hereford did six years ago, was never going to last long.

We all have ambitions and maybe Keyte thought the club had potential to get to those heady heights again.

But, sadly those dreams have proved to be ill-found and the club could now be going down the leagues, rather than up.

The club has made cost-cutting measures and tried to bring some much-needed money through shares and debenture schemes, but I fear that is too little too late.

The club that has been at the heart of the city for 90 years could soon be no more.

Comments (1)

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3:49pm Fri 28 Mar 14

mizza21 says...

Mistakes by the board? Of course..
The board runs the club. Appoints the manager, sets the budgets and controls the financial situation.
Football is a business like no other. But ultimately has to obey the same rules.
The board has failed the club because they have been unwilling to face financial reality and take tough decisions.

The cultural significance of this is massive for Hereford.
1500 people go to worship every other week. That is the lowest the attendance has been for many years, yet it is more than the Cathedral can muster and they offer eternal life..!
Mistakes by the board? Of course.. The board runs the club. Appoints the manager, sets the budgets and controls the financial situation. Football is a business like no other. But ultimately has to obey the same rules. The board has failed the club because they have been unwilling to face financial reality and take tough decisions. The cultural significance of this is massive for Hereford. 1500 people go to worship every other week. That is the lowest the attendance has been for many years, yet it is more than the Cathedral can muster and they offer eternal life..! mizza21
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