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Skipper Luke Graham vows to keep fighting for Hereford United's cause
Hereford United Football Club v Yeovil Town FC. Pre-season friendly. Edgar Street, Hereford.Luke Graham122915-8 (3815486)
SKIPPER Luke Graham has vowed to ‘keep fighting’ for Hereford United - but fears the club could be facing another winding-up order.
United’s first-team players have been paid just 50% of their wages for January.
And the youth team set-up will be disbanded at the end of the season unless the club can secure in excess of £65,000 funding.
But Graham, the Bulls’ stand-out performer this season, says he won’t be lowering his commitment to the cause.
“The players have been paid every month this season until now but we have been paid only 50% of January’s wages,” said Graham.
“The club have not been paid the tax for this month or December and we fear there will be another winding up order around the corner and a transfer embargo.
“It’s going to be touch and go – the club needs to find another 50% of our monthly wages and the tax.
“It’s been a bit depressing but, on a personal level, I have learned a lot.
“I could have gone to other clubs over the summer for more lucrative deals but I felt there was unfinished business and I wanted to see it through.”
Rumours were rife last Friday that Graham was about to follow Josh O’Keefe out of the Edgar Street door before the closure of the January transfer window.
But the former Kettering and Luton defender said: “I think there were a few enquiries about me last week but, in my role as player, defender, captain and coach, I was not really going anywhere.
“None of us are on massive wages and we only have five defenders. I presume the embargo will come again and the club really has to try to get through the season.
“We are 12 points clear of the bottom four and we have to keep going up the league table.
“We have to keep fighting and working hard for each other for the next 12 weeks and doing as well as we possibly can.”
United’s youth-team assistant Steve Jenkins left the club this week during another round of cost-cutting.
And if the board are not in advanced negotiations with a potential sponsor by February 17, United’s youth set-up will be discontinued next season.
“Losing the youth system would be a massive blow to the club. If you have young players coming through, they should aspire to be in the first team,” Graham said.
“We have a problem attracting players to Hereford – most of the squad live two or three hours away.
“It was a great decision by Martin Foyle to bring in Peter Beadle and Steve Jenkins because they could easily form a management team at non-league level.
“It is vital funding comes through to keep the youth team running.”
Graham says Foyle deserves his manager of the month award for January.
“Martin and Andy Porter have done a brilliant job - the budget is a third of what it was when the club were in the Football League.
“The masseurs, who work for next to nothing and for the love of the club, have gone along with the catering team.
“We have no scout or analysis and the gaffer and Andy Porter are going to three or four matches a week.”
United have confirmed they are seeking a sponsor for the youth team.
A club statement said: “We have not given up hope of obtaining a sponsor, and will continue to discuss sponsorship options with any parties that wish to support the youth section.”