MIDFIELDER Harry Pell has paid an emotional tribute to his former Hereford United teammates - and insisted they’re heading in the right direction.

The 21-year-old said he arrived at Edgar Street as a boy but was leaving ‘as a man trying to make his way in life’.

“With Martin Foyle and Andy Porter in charge, Hereford United can only go one way and that way is up,” said Pell, who has joined League Two strugglers AFC Wimbledon for an undisclosed fee on a two-and-ahalf- year deal.

“The Hereford squad are brilliant – there’s a great team spirit.

“But I have only spoken to about half the squad because everything has happened so quickly.

“I got my tea from Asda and I was on my way home to Little Dewchurch when I had a call from my agent saying that I needed to get to London.

“I had a McDonald’s on the way home and I put all my life into my car. I only had about half an hour to say goodbye to everyone in Hereford.”

Pell, who scored four times in 71 appearances for the Bulls, was outstanding on his debut at Cheltenham in February 2011.

He said his mum’s illness had helped him make the decision to return home to Chigwell in Essex.

“I knew there was a bit of interest in me from Cheltenham and Port Vale but my mum has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

The gaffer pulled me in to his office and told me Wimbledon wanted to sign me,” he said.

“Martin spoke to me on a daily basis about their interest. I have been living far away from my mum and my sister has had to deal with my mum’s illness.

“I am moving home with my mum for a short time and I am looking to buy my first house.”

Pell said he had a roller-coaster spell at Edgar Street with Football League relegation, Nicky Munn’s tragic death and a loan at Cambridge United.

“Nicky was mum to about 20 of us and her death was hard for us to accept,” he said. “And then, in the final game of last season, I don’t think I have ever been so up and down in a game.

“I scored a penalty and it was incredible. But when the final whistle went I could see people with their heads in their hands and other fans crying.

“I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me - it was awful.

“Some days I have been the best player and sometimes I’ve been the worst player. Gary Peters didn’t rate me but Richard O’Kelly brought me back from Cambridge.”

Pell trained with Wimbledon on Monday and admitted it wasn’t easy telling his friends he was leaving the Bulls.

“I have got to know a lot of lovely people and Hereford has felt like home to me,” he said.

“So many people have helped and supported me.

“I probably spent too much time in the bookies in Grandstand Road and I also played a lot of snooker. My biggest break was 42 and there’s even a photograph of me on the wall of the Potting Shed.”

He added: “I had a big moment with Nick Nenadich on the pitch at Edgar Street when we said our goodbyes.

“This has been a big decision and, for my career, I need to be playing in the Football League.

“It’s great to know from my transfer deal that everyone, and importantly Hereford, have benefited.”